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5 Steps to Creating a Social Media Strategy

What will your social media strategy be for the coming year? Whether you’re just starting out or have a solid presence, creating a strategy for the coming year will enable you to push social media farther for your organization.

It does not have to take extensive time. But it does take some intention. Take these 5 key steps to craft your social media strategy and action plan for the coming year:

1. Set measurable goals.

Take the time to answer your WHY. Outline the specific organizational goals you’re hoping to achieve through the use of a given social media tool. These should reflect your organization’s goals for the coming year. If you’re organization is interested in gaining more women ages 34-44 as customers, set a goal of building a following of that same demographic on social media.

2. Choose a tool that matches your goals. 

From Facebook and Twitter to LinkedIn and Instragram, they all have delivered solid results for businesses. But they all are not for everyone. Choose one tool you’ll focus on in the coming year. If you have a solid Facebook presence, set new goals to grow it and better leverage it for your organization. Then, dabble in another tool that could further help you achieve your specific business goals for 2016. Who you’re trying to reach and why will dictate what tool makes the most strategic sense.

3. Create a content strategy.

If you do not know what you want to say, you’re going to have a hard time saying it. Don’t fumble your way through. Identify three questions you want to answer on social media – or three key messages you want to reinforce. Then, develop a content plan on how you can deliver it. Focus on value you’ll bring. Social media provides an opportunity to validate your expertise and provide ongoing interest for what you’re selling. Building and engaging a following all depends on the information you share. Spend some time here to get it right and make it easier to execute later.

4. Set usage guidelines.

Make it clear up front how your organization will use the tool. Know the best practices and set posting parameters related to how often, when and with what elements. On Facebook, that may mean posting 5 times a week. On Twitter, that could be a rapid-fire approach during key events. On LinkedIn, it may be a certain number of blog posts published a month. Go beyond the quantity to set quality expectations, too. Posts with images expand their reach by up to four times and micro-videos gain more engagement than a traditional post. Determine how many posts should have each of the key elements and then make sure the team has the tools to execute. That may mean arming them with new smart phones, selfie sticks or video editing software.

5. Keep score every month.

Identify key metrics to monitor each month – and celebrate success. For Facebook and Twitter, start with the number of followers, reach and engaged users and review the top 5-10 performing posts. Look for trends. This will help you determine what content is most valuable to your followers and should be repeated.  On LinkedIn, pay attention to the number of new connections, number of prospects in those connections and even how published posts are performing. Use the information to make better decisions each month and even refine your strategy along the way.

One of the best moves you can make is start the year with a big, yet attainable, target, such as doubling your followers to 5,000. This will help set the pace for the year and keep you focused on achieving results month after month. Social media rewards boldness. What may sound crazy now could easily be what you’re celebrating at year-end.

This was previously published in Business Central Magazine

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