Insider Lessons for Building a Social Media Strategy

By Deana Cacus

About three-quarters of all Internet users are members of at least one social network, and social media ranks in as the number one daily activity among Americans.  With so many consumers networking online, it is essential for today’s businesses to have a strong social media presence.  If your company has been slow to hop on the bandwagon, here are some tips on how to climb aboard and stay mobile.

1. Set Goals

Outlining reasonable daily goals will help you stay on target.  Determine what the minimum amount of posts per day should be in order to obtain maximum results.  Don’t set the bar too high initially.  The number can be adjusted accordingly, but setting a limit as a beginner will create a benchmark.  Be sure to do your research to determine how often your competitors are posting, what their overall message is and how well it is being received.

Compiling your content in an editorial calendar is a good way to stay organized.  Establish a weekly, shareable calendar separated by network that your coworkers can view and comment on before posting.  Planning ahead will ensure that you spend enough time preparing and strategizing.

2. Tailor Your Posts

Social networks aim to be unique, and each one should be regarded as such.  Certain content should be posted to all channels—especially good news and rave reviews—but you should generally tailor your posts to suit each individual forum.

For example, LinkedIn is strictly business, and their audience is looking for in-depth, informative content, while Instagram users expect meaningful visual imagery.  Pay attention to your follower demographic in each network to ensure that you are publishing content that will interest them.  Also, consider the space limitations of each medium as you craft your post.  At a 140-character per tweet maximum, Twitter thrives on brevity, as do many of the channels.

3. Engage With Users

Visitors who tweet at you or post on your Facebook page should receive a prompt reply, as leads can be lost if their questions are ignored.  When you deliver a thoughtful reply, the visitor will feel as though their comments and concerns have been heard and addressed.  Although often bemoaned for its lack of humanity, social media networks enable users to reach out to each other in a significant way.

To stay on top of customer or follower feedback, assign a member of your team to monitor each social media channel.  Have a system in place for responding patiently and professionally to negative comments.  Reward followers for promoting your business and engage them through contests and giveaways.

4. Track Data

Tracking may be time-consuming, but the useful data that it provides is worth the effort.  Set aside time to review important metrics on a monthly basis.  Statistics to focus on include number of posts, follower growth, feedback from followers including “likes” and retweets, page views and clicks to your website.  Analyze each channel separately and compare them to those of your largest competitors.

For companies that are short on time, software can be enlisted to help track data, including free tools such as Hootsuite and Google Analytics.  Determining which content received the most clicks or shares will help you to strategize for future posts.  Share your results with the different marketing forces within your company for further evaluation and seek additional input from other departments.  Customer service and sales departments may have good insight into your social media market, as they are the people who interact with prospects and customers the most consistently.

5.  Stay Active

Just because your business is generating exceptional buzz on one particular site does not mean that you should decrease your engagement with the others.  Interest in social media networks fluctuates as channels compete and introduce new features.  In that vein, be careful not to underestimate the viability of certain platforms.  Google+ does not yet have the reputation that Facebook does, but it actually gets more hits: according to iMedia Connection, Google+ actually averages more visits per month than Facebook, with Google+ receiving 1.2 billion visits per month compared to Facebook’s 809 million.  Additionally, Google+ is tied to both Google search and YouTube.  The more often your business posts on Google+ or YouTube, the more free ad space you will have when users search for you on Google, and your network will continue to grow as a result.


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