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The 5 steps for an amazing social media strategy

It is often said that “content is king” and it’s true. The purpose of a well thought out social media strategy encourages sharing, builds lasting relationships, helps fuel sales with prospective clients, and builds your online reputation.

However, creating that wonderful content that delivers results isn’t always easy. It takes planning. Especially if you want dedicated, continuous results every day. The worst thing you can do is stare at your screen day in and day out and try to be creative about what you’re going to post. So how does one become effective and execute a strategy?

First and foremost, it’s important to identify internal goals. Before reaching out to an audience, sit down and figure out what the message is, what the platforms will be, who you’re reaching out to, and what your goals are with social media. Fact is, not all businesses belong on social media. Your business might have certain restrictions about social content or there isn’t enough about your business that can be considered social. If you can’t effectively create communication around your brand, a more traditional form of marketing might be your best approach – like a print ad. Also, not all platforms might be relative. Instagram and Pinterest might be the two shiny social media stars however if there’s nothing exciting for people to look at related to your brand; you’re better off skipping these platforms.

Once you’ve brainstormed a marketing plan, it’s time to source and gather ideas. Ideas can come from all over. Have you studied your competition online or a similar concept? How are they using social media? Can you do better? Does your business fulfill a unique need? What can you offer that others can’t offer? Do you have a blog? If not, does your business need a blog? Social media content needs to offer value to the audience. How does your business add value? These questions will encourage sharing and fuel the revenue stream so this stage of your strategy is crucial.

Get analytical. Not everything you share will be gold and that’s perfectly ok. You have to consider it a learning curve to study your audience and tweak your content. Analytics will tell you what’s working and what’s not. Does your audience like your blog posts? Are they driven by the photos you share? What time of the day do you get the most feedback? Keep tabs on what works and focus on creating content that readers are more likely to share and get your audience to engage. Viralheat offers detailed analytics for Twitter and Facebook. With this data, you can see the number of retweets on a Twitter post or view the negative feedback associated with a Facebook post. By reviewing this information, you can pinpoint posts that resonate or do not resonate with your community.

Create alerts. Even before you go social, someone might already be talking about your brand however since you’ve been oblivious to it, you probably missed the conversation. Good or bad, you need to watch for any commentary concerning your business. Search the web, Twitter, Facebook etc daily to see what’s being said and follow trends. Address all positive and negative opinions and see how trends can be incorporated into your business. You can also use Viralheat, a social media monitoring tool to monitor conversations on the web that match key words associated with your brand, industry, or products.

Go offline. No, that doesn’t mean take a social media vacation. It means network outside of social media and get out in the real world – where your clients and potential customers are. Hibernating at your desk will stifle your creative energy and also prevent you from meeting new business partners. Always be networking, attending conferences relevant to your industry, and learning about the social space. You never know when an idea will hit you or where you’ll meet your next customer. Ask questions and gain feedback. This is all valuable information for your social media strategy.

How do you create your social media strategy and what has worked for you? Where do your ideas come from? Let us know in the comments below.

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