With the rapid growth of social media platforms and social media tools, having a social media networking strategy is the key to employing them successfully. A social media networking strategy or plan helps you ease your social networking efforts by aligning your social networks with your business goals.
A social networking strategy also helps you track your results, so that you can see how effective each network is in helping you achieve your business goals. This way, you will not have to waste your time on a social network platform if it is not meeting your goals. In this article, we are going to take a look at the essential elements of an effective social networking strategy.
Establish Your Social Networking Goals
Being on the popular social media sites “because everyone else is on them and you do not want to be left out is” not a goal.
Is your goal to promote the awareness of your small business or brand? Develop leads? Get referrals? Promote your products? Then you should go with a platform that matches your goal and you will have greater success than just choosing one at random. The goals should be business goals and you should articulate and note them down.
Research shows that people who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them, and in social networking, it is no different.
Choose the Social Media Networking Sites Carefully
Since there are hundreds of these platforms, you will need to do your homework and find out which site best suits your needs and business goals. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the most popular when it comes to social media marketing, and while they are excellent social media sites, they are not the only ones by a long shot.
Sticking to just these three platforms means that you are on the popular sites, but it is important to make sure that you are not missing out on some other additional business networking opportunities that could benefit your small business.
For instance, while building relationships is fundamental when doing business online or offline, some social networking sites are more open to promotion and relationship building while others prohibit products or service promotions in varying degrees. It is therefore imperative that you choose a site that will not limit you and go for a platform that will get your relationships and promote your products accordingly. Once you have a feel for some of these sites, choose the best few as it is almost impossible to be active in more than three at a time.
Be Consistent in Participating
Once you have chosen your ideal social media platform, you will need to participate regularly by posting valuable content, answering questions, sharing your expertise and making connections. You should ideally know how you can meet an identified need. Also drive traffic back to your site by including your site and blog links in your posts, videos or articles.
Decide on the Ideal Contacts
What are you searching for? While you may have hundreds or even thousands of contacts, if you decide on who you want to reach out to and make deeper connections with them, your strategy will be more successful.
Are you looking for authors, corporate executives, recruiters or writers? You should be clear about who you are looking to connect with, as this will determine how you connect with them. Focus on getting people who have your goals and match your target audience. Also, be selective instead of accepting every invite that you get.
Plan Your Time for Social Marketing
It is important that you allocate the time to engage in social marketing. This is where a social marketing strategy will help. Most businesses jump into this with no plan at all, find other things that are more important and soon become overwhelmed with the amount of time it takes to fully participate.
In this regard, you should be really patient and create a strong network that is focused and supports your business goals.
Review Your Strategy at Intervals
Are you maximizing your time on your social media networks? Are your networks still relevant after a couple of months? How does your activity translate to your goals and do you need another network for better results?
Reviewing your social marketing strategy is important and you should tweak it if necessary.
Track Your Results
Small businesses tend to suffer from a lack of time as they are doing almost everything themselves. You should invest time in building solid relationships, but also make sure that these connections and relationships are gearing you towards your goals. If you have set measures for networking from the outset, you can as well track how successful you are in meeting your goals and make changes accordingly.
Measures could be for instance the number of times your offer has been bought, the sign ups, the leads obtained and many more. While attaining traffic is good, you must also tie what you are doing into your strategy and financial goals.
Now that we have identified some of the key elements of a social media business strategy, you know exactly what can make or break your business.
If you have other elements in mind that we didn’t cover in this article, sound off in the comments section below.