A 5 Step Guide to building your Social Media Strategy

With all the buzz around Twitter and Facebook it’s hardly surprising that there are so many companies clamoring to use social media to drive sales and enhance marketing efforts. It’s not too late for your company to start. Just remember, that like any other marketing campaign, it’s going to require an investment, human resources and careful management! This is also available as a slideshare presentation.

Step1: Your objectives

The first step is to understand what specifically you are trying to do. Are you trying to increase revenue at a particular outlet? Increase footfall at a event? Raise awareness of your brand? Understand market feedback to a new service? Whatever your campaign objectives are, make sure these match, or don’t conflict with your corporate objectives.
Understanding your objectives is critical. It will determine your audience, the mediums you’ll use, what content you produce, and ultimately the objectives are your benchmark for measuring the success of your social media campaign. Example campaign objectives could include, to increase inquiries for our valentines day event by 50%, or to increase the number of café guests by 15%.

Step2: Knowing your audience

There are a lot of people that use the Internet. Just like in a traditional marketing campaign, you need to know whom you’re going to target, or your message will disappear into the crowd. Segmenting your audience will make it easier to reach them, you can use traditional demographics (age, gender, location), grouping (customers, reviewers, critics, journalists, suppliers) and behavioral profiling (readers, bloggers, mobile access, web access, home access, work access, viewer objectives). For instance: Customers are aged between 25-35, live within 3km of the property, they are tech-savvy, participate online on blogs and review sites, they have a high use of mobile devices, likely to have a profile in one or more social networks, and are consumers of video content, etc.
Understand what they are currently saying online, and if possible meet these people to verify your research –invite some of them for a free tasting, cocktail evening, or anything else that will let you learn more about your audience.

Step3: Choose your medium

Today there are literally hundreds of social media channels you can use. More than just Twitter, LinkedIN and Facebook, there are many other mature mediums such as Flickr, Picassa, TripAdvisor, AllRecipes, Burrp, Yelp, MouthShut and BuzzInTown. Understand what mediums your audience uses and represent yourself there. It’s a waste of time putting content onto a medium that your audience won’t ever visit!

Step4: Implementation

Now you can start the process of creating the content that your audience has been waiting for. Each medium will need a different type of content, event and party photos for Flickr/Picassa, regular recipies for AllRecipes, etc. You’ll need to allocate internal resources or appoint an agency to begin the process. Remember to restrict the number of mediums to a manageable number and prioritize them, bearing in mind that using these mediums will require time, money and management time. To promote engagement, put widgets from the mediums you’re most active onto your website, and onto any other offline spaces for promotion you have.

Step5: Management

Once you begin, you’ll find that you’re now the host of an on-going event, and everyone that visits is your guest. Treat your readers like you do your guests! Increase efforts where you get positive responses, listen carefully where you get negative responses and manage the situation as per your corporate policy. Regularly ask your guests for feedback, and constantly measure against your campaign objectives. You need to continuously monitor and manage to make sure you’re objectives are being met and that your guests are happy.

Business Plan

A quick ONE PAGE Business Plan Template

There are many business plan templates available that you can download, your local entrepreneur and start-up clubs will no doubt have samples you can use and people that can guide you on how to create a well thought out business plan. However, sometimes you have a brilliant idea that you need to thrash out before you begin the process of building a real, fully fledged business plan – which I strongly recommend.

ONE Page Business Plan Template (Editable)
Click here to download One Page Business Plan Template (24.73 KB 3758 downloads)

This template is designed to give you a better idea as to what’s involved in establishing your business, and to help you communicate the idea to people that can provide you feedback. It’s not a substitute for a full business plan, but it’s a great way to get a good (more objective) view.

Yes, this does actually fit on one page after your take out the instructions!
Here’s the SlideShare version: