There are a lot of tips and “how to create a social media strategy” guides all around the web, but I’ve noticed they miss quite a few things. Most often, I would come across tips that are too complicated for a newbie to take in. As a business owner, let me tell you one thing. You do not need to master Facebook Marketing, Twitter Marketing, LinkedIn Marketing, or the whole marketing thing. You are in business because you are passionate about something and you are excellent in what you do. What you need to know is how you can put your message out there to your target market in an authentic way and determine which sites are worth spending time on.
No matter where you are in terms of marketing your business online, there’s always something you can improve. You probably already have a Facebook fan page, LinkedIn profile, and profiles on other channels, but have you ever thought about what goals you would like to achieve by participating on these sites? Have you considered which of your activities you should prioritize over the others?
In this article, let’s talk about assigning different levels of priorities for your chosen channels.
Assuming you have already chosen the social media channels for your business, put them on a chart and assign a priority level by checking the corresponding column.
“How do I know which social media site to prioritize?”
Good question. When you assign a priority to a social media site, you will base it on four things:
The presence of your target audience on that specific social media site. Is your target audience even active on that social media channel? Take note that the popularity of a social media site isn’t your basis. Do your research before choosing the channels to participate in. Search for your keywords in a social network and check if your competitors are there as well. Determine if the topics of your content are being discussed in conversations. You can also ask your clients or existing customers which social media channels they use.
The specific goal you want to achieve for your business by using that site. Determine what you would like to get out of that specific social media channel. Some of your goals could be any of the following: to increase your online presence (almost all social media sites help you with this), receive reviews and tips from customers (Yelp, Foursquare, Gowalla, etc.), virally distribute your content in the form of documents (Slideshare, Scribd, etc.), or network with like-minded professionals offline (Meetup).
The strengths of the site. Do an evaluation of the site and how it would benefit your business. Take for example Flickr. It’s great to post photos to show you are human and not a bot that keeps on posting automated tweets. If you are a business coach, life coach, speaker, or a marketer, you can upload photos of your offline events or retreats. If you are selling products such as crafts, jewelry, clothes, or fabrics, you can upload photos for your potential customers to see. Ask yourself “How will Facebook benefit my business?” or “How will LinkedIn help me generate targeted leads?” If you feel the functionality of this site won’t benefit your business, go to the next one.
The amount of time you can afford to spend on that site daily or weekly. Social media marketing is not a one-time investment. In order to build a community and engage that community, you need to actively participate on an ongoing basis. If you can only devote 1 hour each week, then you won’t be able to build awareness of your brand. Ask yourself how much time you can afford to spend maintaining your Facebook fan page, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts. If you can only devote little time per week or month, then creating accounts on several social media channels would be useless.
If you are just starting out with social media, I highly recommend giving the highest priority to your blog/website. Why? Your blog is the center of all your online marketing efforts. All efforts to create buzz about your business point back to your blog or website.
Your To-do List:
- Grab a pen and a piece of paper or open a notepad on your laptop (I prefer this cause I love being paperless) and create a chart. Write down the social media channels that you are currently participating in and are planning to participate in. On the right side of each social media channel, write down the priority level of each (high, medium, low). You can also create a chart similar to the sample I have provided in the article.
- Think about how much time you normally spend on social networks to network and market your business. Each day, determine the approximate hours you have spent on your social media channels and write down the goals you have achieved. Here’s an example: If you spent 30 minutes participating on LinkedIn discussions today, have you received new email signups? Or have your Facebook fan page “likes” increased? Have you received an invitation to connect?
What other priorities do you have when it comes to social media? I’d love to hear your comments below. If you found this article useful, please like, tweet, or share it with your friends.