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How to set up a social media strategy?

Srinivas Chari
18th Apr 2013
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This is the 6th article in the series of seven articles on social media. To read the previous five, click hereWhile the decision to take the social media plunge requires careful consideration, figuring out what exactly to do through a social media presence requires a robust, comprehensive strategy. Merely jumping on the bandwagon and putting up minimal/irrelevant updates can only lead to major trouble for your brand’s reputation. Some fantastic examples of how big brands have leveraged social media to power their brand communication include GE, Citibank etc.

So how does one exactly go about setting up a social media strategy? The entire process is extremely commonsensical and not something you need to lose your mind over.

Start at the beginning.

To begin with, determine and understand what your business’ goals are. Without absolute clarity at this level, it’ll only be too easy to have your social media initiatives spit out results which are not satisfactory. One you know what your goals are at an organizational level, break them down to departmental levels. At this point, it becomes simple to establish social media goals. The goals should ideally be specific, measurable, achievable and realistic.

Identify your target audience.

One crucial aspect you need to ascertain is who your target audience is. When the target audience is unclear, the messages can seem like they lack focus.

Establish a content strategy.

Decisions on content need to be made in advance to ensure timely, relevant and engaging content.To ensure that matters go smoothly on the content front, its best to establish a foolproof content strategy for social media beforehand. Here you will decide on details such as

  • Positioning
  • Type of posts/updates
  • Frequency

…and so on.

Choose the right channels.

Making the right choice for your channels depends on multiple factors. Where is your audience? What channel suits the nature of your business? Are you seeking free resources or paid options?

Start small.

Formulate a plan for a smaller, finite period (say 4 months) in order to be able to measure the progress of the strategy. To do this, you need adequate and apt measuring systems in place.

Mark your calendar.

Once the finite period is decided, you can go ahead and break the plan to smaller tasks, deciding topics and themes along the way so that it is clear what is to be achieved on a day-to-day basis.

Deciding the yardstick.

At this point, it is a great idea to decide what metrics are relevant to your social media initiatives. Keep in mind that metrics depend on aspects such as social media goals, initiatives planned, channels chosen and so on. The right metrics are crucial to accurately measure he efficiency of the initiatives that are being executed.

Delegate to apt talent

Social media experts are often right under your nose in your existing team disguised in a variety of other roles. Check if you can utilize existing resources to serve as your social media executives. Delegating the broken down tasks to these employees will set your social media engine in place to churn out content effectively as per schedule.

Evaluate, Adjust.

At the end of the decided finite period, go ahead and evaluate how your efforts have fared. Taking objective view of things will help in identifying what is working and what isn’t. Accordingly, one can make tweaks where required to optimize the entire process.

Organizations are also increasingly learning to analyze their competitors’ social media engagements in order to get one up on the competition.

In future, social media will come to revolutionize operations more than we can imagine. It is expected that surveys will be completely replaced by social feedback and decisions will be increasingly driven by social intelligence. It is only wise to ride the wave, taking calculated, measured steps.

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