October 18, 2011 / by Cision Contributor

Likeable Media and PRWebWe’re going to go ahead and say the dreaded “s” word….we’re talking strategy in today’s #PRWebChat recap with Lauren Sleeper, Director of Social Media Strategy for Likeable Media. Likeable Media is a social media and word of mouth marketing firm with over 200 clients that is the #118 fastest growing company according to the Inc 500.

Strategy can be a scary word to small businesses–especially social media strategy. What platforms should you be on? Where should you start? How do you increase your fan base? What’s the value?

Here are some social media strategy benefits and mistakes to stay away from:

What happens when you don’t have a social media strategy: With no social strategy, you’re missing an opportunity to energize brand advocates that are just waiting to be activated. You’re taking a gamble by not knowing what your competitors are doing and not listening to your customers. If someone is praising, or conversely, criticizing your company on social networks, you will not be there to thank or fix it. Your customers are likely online and already talking about you. With no strategy in place, you won’t be there to engage with them.

Biggest mistakes businesses make when formulating their social media strategy:

Mistake #1) Thinking you can launch (or sustain) your entire business exclusively via social media.

Mistake #2) Not having clear goals in mind. If you don’t know what you’re working torwards, you’ll never be able to measure your success.

Mistake #3) Thinking that social media is 100% free. (Hint: it’s not!)

Mistake #4) Not realizing the importance of quality content

Mistake #5) Not being a likeable brand!

Mistake #6) Implementing tactics without fully understanding them (hashtags are a perfect example).

Mistake #7) Thinking you should talk at your customers, not with them. Lesson: Don’t be a salesperson, be a trusted resource – even a friend!

Who should own the social media strategy in your biz? Everyone! The execution can be done by one department but everyone should play a role in the strategy and sharing of information. Community managers should be in open communication with all departments. The more insights that can be provided in real time, the better. Social media should impact your entire business – not just the marketing team.

3 biggest benefits of using social media for your biz:

#1) The ability to connect with current and potential customers via a two-way conversation at a scale that has never been possible.

#2) The gain of incredible insight into what your customers like and want. Think of social media as a daily, virtual focus group!

#3) Building a positive brand image and also building relationships with loyal fans!

Measuring the success of your social media strategy: You first need to identify your goals to then be able to measure whether or not you have met them. Very important!  Once goals are identified, metrics should be assigned to that goal to make it measurable. Metrics include: fans/followers, engagement/interaction level, revenue, ID of brand advocates, sentiment, social mentions, etc. Take advantage of Facebook page insights (Who’s excited for the updates?) – they are an invaluable resource.

These great social media tips for your business are adapted from the latest edition of PRWeb’s Twitter chat, #PRWebChat. Join us for #PRWebChat every Thursday at 2pm EST on Twitter by following the hashtag and our handle: @PRWeb.

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy: Why Social Media is Like a Marriage 5 Other Great Social Media Tips

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This post was written by a guest Cision contributor.