Planning a social media Strategy

Recently, of, which makes an embeddable custom social search portal called a “Swicki”, posed a question on LinkedIn about how one would go about defining a, and how you would prioritize each social media channel.

There is no cookie cutter approach to social media marketing. Your strategy will depend on:

1) Your goals – SEO, PR, traffic ( to drive awareness? advertising click-thus? conversions?)
2) Your audience – where does your target demo hang out?
3) Your resources – you, you plus an intern, internal team, agency?

Here are 6 steps to help you design your social media marketing roadmap.

Step 1: Understand What Social Media Is

The best way to look at social media is to view it as one of many Internet marketing channels, one that has the amazing power to go viral. In the very least, it has the awesome ability to engage your audience in meaningful conversations about your product, issue areas, company, and brand.

The social media marketing umbrella includes sites that are both Web 2.0 and Web 1.0 – basically you want to be anywhere that enables discussions, sharing, and user-generated content (UGC), such as:

  • Blogs and Forums / Discussion Boards
  • Consumer Review Sites
  • Social Networks / Online Communities
  • Social Bookmarking Sites
  • Social News Sites
  • Social Music Sites
  • Video and Photo Sharing Sites
  • Wikis

Step 2: Understand What Social Media Can & Can’t Do

Social media can engage your audience, encourage online conversations that are user-generated, increase your web presence, expand brand awareness, generate publicity (both good & bad) and provide SEO benefits. It doesn’t convert.

For most marketers, but is great for:

  • Brand building
  • Relationship management
  • Product development
  • Reputation management
  • Customer interaction
  • Customer feedback
  • Customer support
  • Community building
  • Defensive SEO – Yes! Bury your bad press with positive UGC

In some cases, social media can convert – usually if you own the community, and have the power to strategically capture leads. But that’s like being the D&D Dungeon Master.

Step 3: Determine Where Conversations are Happening

You will need to respond to conversations that are already happening. To determine where conversations are happening about your brand, you will need to have some kind of buzz monitoring or online reputation management system in place.

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