Social Media is here to stay. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ are of course the main networking sites and dominate the internet. The people who originally thought social media was a fad are now accepting that social media is a very powerful tool and should be part of every businesses marketing strategy.
It has many benefits. It’s advantages of being able to reach people globally are a huge asset to any business. It is great for driving traffic and more importantly creating conversations that are normally out of most peoples reach. It’s also a great tool to be able to manage your reputation and respond to clients who are talking about you in a quick and efficient way. Businesses need to learn to work differently and be transparent, what your customers post online stays online.
There is still a learning curve for the best way to use this great tool. Many people are still overwhelmed with the time it takes to get results and often don’t know the best way to profit from this opportunity.
Why should you create a social media strategy? Without a clear direction the medium can pull you in different directions. Clear goals and realistic expectations can help avoid wasted time, wasted effort, backlash, fatigue and missed opportunities.
You need to ask yourself “What are you trying to achieve?” Client leads? Buzz? Awareness? Brand recognition? Leadership?
A core philosophy gives you a daily focus and helps define your goals.
How will you know your plan is working? The great thing about social media is that it gives you the opportunity to set metrics that suit your philosophy.
There are many ways to measure the success of your campaigns: blog posts, reader comments, Twitter mentions, Twitter followers, Facebook Fans, Facebook likes, links, RSS subscribers, Google trends, Alexa rankings, search results, inbound traffic, click throughs, YouTube views, YouTube scribers, Diggs, Stumbles and Klout.
There are many different tools on the marketplace that now help you measure your results from these sites. If you’re on a budget you can do this via Google Docs and simply set up and create graphs to see the growth. Once your scope and budget grows you can try tools like Radian6.
Who is responsible for your campaign? Social Media is a mix of PR, customer service, marketing and much more. Every company needs to have someone who is responsible for carrying out these tasks and ensuring that it becomes profitable. There are 100’s of social media experts who can show you how to get a positive return on your investment.
Social media is a very important part of any business. It needs to have a clearly defined plan where you can measure the results to make sure it’s working and you are achieving the goals you want to.
You need to be creative and try and think how you can differentiate from your competitors. It is not a fad and it’s time that every business had a strategy so that not only do they have a better presence online, but are engaging with their customers and potential prospects. Businesses cannot afford to hide anymore. You need to be online, reachable and leading the way.