5 Tips for Developing an Effective Social Media Plan

The biggest mistake most people make when it comes to utilizing social media as part of an overall business marketing strategy is thinking that it’s a one-time deal or that they can simply update their social media platforms when they want to push new products or promote new campaigns. The truth is that social media can definitely contribute to business success in a variety of ways (increasing awareness of your brand, helping you to connect with prospective customers, and acting as a promotional tool, just for example), but only if you use it appropriately and understand its potential and its limitations. And you’re going to have to put some time, effort, or money (or all of the above) into developing your social media plan if you want it to be an effective part of your marketing strategy. Here are just a few tips that should help to make social media work for you.

  1. Set goals. What is it, exactly, that you want social media to do for you? Are you looking for ways to spark up a conversation with consumers and get them invested in your brand or do you merely want to increase traffic and followers, racking up shares and likes in order to spread your brand name and increase your potential for sales? Perhaps you’re interested in both of these ends. However, before you start creating profiles and posting content willy-nilly, you need to have goals in mind that will help to guide your efforts and ensure a targeted outcome.
  2. Consider metrics. You are probably aware of the fact that social media platforms provide a slew of tools for tracking and analysis. And there are all kinds of third-party software out there to supplement your efforts here. In fact, there are so many options when it comes to social media metrics that you may soon be overwhelmed with data, and it can be difficult to determine which metrics are going to provide you with the information that will best serve your business interests and aid in future online efforts. A good place to start is by measuring traffic and conversions. This information will give you a basic snapshot of how your social media campaigns are performing. From there you can try a variety of metrics tools to get the data you need to tailor your approach to social media.
  3. Quality content. No matter what you’re doing with social media, you need to make sure that you provide followers with quality content that is timely, informative, entertaining, and valuable in some way. Regurgitating information from other sources or posting filler material (i.e. fluff) is not a good strategy if you want to keep people hooked, spark conversation, and ultimately hit critical mass so that the online community you’ve created fuels itself without your constant input.
  4. Post frequently. Keeping up with social media can be a chore for someone whose time would be better spent running a business. But you cannot hope to gain significant advantages from your social media usage if you’re posting only a single update a day (or less). For this reason, it is a good idea to limit the platforms you use to just one or two of the most popular (read: Facebook and Twitter) so that you’re not spending all of your time toiling away on your social accounts when you should be managing your company. Or if you have the scratch, simply hire a social media manager to handle these tasks for you.
  5. Follow up. Although you can get away with being an absentee landlord of sorts, using tools designed to autopost, for example, so that you don’t have to spend all day posting and monitoring your network, the truth is that you’re missing out on opportunities to connect with prospective customers, encourage involvement with your brand, and secure ongoing patronage if you take this tack. Whether you handle social media on your own or you hire a company likeĀ Evolve Media to develop and implement a plan for you, it’s important to understand that one of the greatest gifts of social media is that it gives you the chance to directly connect with customers. Don’t blow it by ignoring them.

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