Executing your Social Media Strategy is ideally an everyday activity, but one that needs to be managed in the following targeted and focused manner:
- Choose the social media platforms or channels that will reach your audience and add value to your products or services; you don’t have to engage in all the social media platforms — it is not a contest, it is about what will bring bottom line revenues to your business.
- Consider who will be handling your social media interactions and how they will be channeled and to whom/ which department.
- Time-manage your social media efforts: schedule days for blogging, scan your forums daily for mention and answer inquiries, take 20 minutes a day to review others blogs and comment (great for back-links), try to be on Twitter 2 to 3 times/day for 10 minutes each time to divide your tweets throughout the day and check what is said about you as well.
- Integrate your social media strategy with the overall branding, communication and marketing planning of your business; add your social media URLs at the bottom of your Email signatures, on the back of your business cards, on your website.
It is then incumbent on you to use social media to:
Monitoring conversation and reputation management are some of the crucial and most important aspects of social media as they allow you as a business to respond in real-time to what is said about you, it puts you closer to your audience as you learn what is their impression, conceptions, how they feel and think about the business.
It is also puts you in a position to respond with rapid damage control in cases of defamation, derogatory information or angry customers. Not only that but on the positive side, it potentially encourages strong customer relationships, the customers who may become evangelists and sing about your business;
By locating customers, following what they say, thanking them and show them your appreciation whenever due, this lets your audience know that you care, listen and respond to their needs. A great recent case study is the “Domino’s Pizza” campaign about revamping themselves showing their clientele that they listen and are not afraid of admitting their mistake and correcting their course.
There are different tools to manage monitoring and listening: Some are free and some cost some money, the Free ones are organic searches on Google, setting Google Alerts, Google Analytics (to monitor the effectiveness of specific marketing efforts), search in Facebook since its real-time search engine has been implemented with Bing, Twitter through its search box or the #button search or even search.twitter.com. Mashable had a great post about the top monitoring tools worth paying for by Dan Schawbel.
2. Promote & Publish
Half of the battle is won once you have identified your audience and know where they hang online. The next step is to start promoting yourself, increasing awareness about your business, and establishing your credibility as an expert without pushing your business or your products on your audience. in this guise, you may promote credible, helpful content to your target audience within their communities.
- On LinkedIn join the group discussions, Q&A forum, start your own group and manage it well.
- On Facebook create a Fanpage, engage in the groups of interest discussions
- Combine your social media networks like link your LinkedIn profile to your Twitter account, link facebook to Twitter, link your blogs to your LinkedIn profile and add a LinkedIn widget to your blog,
- Use RSS syndication, use tools like ping.fm, Hootsuite and Hellotxt to update your news across multiple channels as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn at the same time, saving you time.
- Publish your blogs on WordPress, Blogger (Both Free) or buy your own domain like on WordPress.org, publish your videos on Youtube and Vimeo, publish your presentations on Slideshare and Google presentations, publish your pictures on Flickr. You can create your own channels or profiles on many of these platforms.
You have planned, set, and defined your strategy. Now it is time to decide on how you will set metrics to measure your success and find out if your efforts paid off. You might utilize free analytics tools — Google Analytics, Social Mention and TweetReach — or paid ones like Hubspot, Trackur and Radian6. Another method of measuring your efforts is monitoring the increase in the number of followers, commentators, or members joining your mailing list through a specific landing page for an event or a marketing effort, website traffic, blog traffic.
Measuring social media results is still a challenge and is not a firm science — you can’t really measure conversations but you can analyze the tone of the conversation.
Measuring your results has to be done regularly and you need to be flexible as to change or redesign. You may need to tweak what is not working for you and, if necessary, add the use of new tools as they emerge.