Getting Started With Social Media

Unlike many other marketing tools, when people begin to build out social media for their business, they’re starting from scratch. They don’t know what questions to ask and figuring it out can be both difficult and time consuming. Even experienced social media marketers struggle to iron out exactly what “The Plan” should be.

So where do you start?

Start with a plan.

Every action you take on social networks should be a part of a larger social media marketing strategy. Create a comprehensive social media plan and the rest of your social efforts will follow much more easily.

A social media strategy will help you understand  where you currently are in social media today, where you want to be tomorrow and how you’re going to get there.

Be specific about what you have and need. Create a schedule and stick to it. Stay focused on YOUR plan and if it’s working.  Keeping these things in mind will help you more effectively implement your plan and prevent you from having unrealistic expectations.

1. Determine what you have

A key part to creating a social media marketing plan is conducting a social media audit.  Your audit you should have a clear picture of every social account representing your business. Who controls them?  What purpose are they serving? Are they meeting your needs?  There are many different steps involved when doing a social media audit but at a high level you’ll create a spreadsheet of account information and owners (which may not be you), if the profile accurately represents your company and your mission and the process you’ll have for moving forward with updates and new establishing new profiles.

2. Determine what you need

With your audit, it should also be evident which accounts need to be updated and which need to be deleted altogether. It will also help you identify any missing networks that need to be created.  Remember to spend your time wisely on networks best meet your business goals.  Build new profiles with these broader goals in mind.  Refine and update existing accounts as well – and then refine again, and again whenever your goals change.

3. Develop a content strategy and calendar

Social media absolutely requires a content to support it. Creating and publishing content on a consistent basis can be a lot of work. Even if you’re planning on having someone else run your social show, you’re still the decision maker. When you’ve got a content calendar you can commit to, it will be less overwhelming and much more efficient. Having a clear mission and a content calendar you are committed will help you to prevent missteps like posting too many updates on one network and not enough on another, re-using content that performs poorly, or missing important dates. Having a content strategy will also help you create better performing posts by allowing time for appropriate research.

4. Measure progress and adjust

Tracking is important.  Social media analytics to track the success and reach of social campaigns. Record and analyze your success and failures, and then adjust your social media marketing plan in response.

The most important thing to understand about your social media plan is that it should be constantly changing. As new networks emerge, you may want to add them to your plan. As you attain goals, you may need to adjust them or find new goals for each network. This is a plan that is meant to change, so be flexible and open to these changes.

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