Friday, 23 December 2011

Develop a Winning Social Media Strategy in 6 Easy Steps

So you have set up a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and you’ve also created your business blog.

Great. What next? What’s the plan of action? What are your marketing strategies?

Hopefully you’ve decided to get into social media for a valid reason – and not just because every business acquaintance you speak to appears to be doing it. So how do you go about reaching new potential clients, whilst establishing your credibility online?

Follow these 6 easy steps and you’ll soon be using social media like a pro:

Identify Your Target Audience.

Take a long hard look at your brand and who you want to appeal to. Write a one-line statement about your ideal target customer. What is his age? Where does he live? What is his favourite media? What are his hobbies? What is unique about the product or service you are offering him? In other words, why should he buy from you?

What Language Does Your Ideal Customer Use?

To engage on a social level with your customers, you need to be speaking their language. That means using the right words and the right ‘conversational’ tone. The essence of social media is that conversations are informal – it’s certainly no place for the hard sell!

What is Your Reader’s Most Pressing Problem?

When thinking about content for your blog, focus on the questions your target customer would most like answers to. Make a list of their most burning questions. Of course you won’t have to have immediate answers to these problems, just some idea where you can find the answers!

As chief blogger, you’ll be acting as a researcher and editor – and in this role making sure you only provide links to the most interesting and timely content for each topic. In doing this on a regular basis, your readers will come to recognise you as an authority on your subject – and importantly – someone who doesn’t waste their valuable time. Like any great editor, you’ll only be using information from the most trusted and reliable sources!

Create Your Action Plan

Okay, so you’ve got some great ideas for potential topics in mind, it’s time to get them into some kind of logical order. One of the best ways of doing this is by using a Mind Mapping tool. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. If you don’t want to use a computer programme, a sheet of paper works fine. If you start with yourself/ your brand in the middle of the page, you can start extending ‘branches’ to your ideal type of customer, their problems ; possible topics and sources of content . . . you get the idea. Before you know it, you’ll have a whole load of possibilities worth exploring further. Just type ‘Mind Mapping’ into your search engine and you’ll find a whole host of resources, some of which are free to use.

Schedule Your Content

Using an editorial calendar to plan your blog content will make the process a whole lot easier. Also check out applications like HootSuite, TweetDeck and SocialOomph, which allow you to post simultaneously to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media platforms. You will also have the option of scheduling posts for a later date, which is really handy if you’re not around to do it yourself.

Put Quality Above Quantity

I can’t over-emphasize the importance of posting at regular intervals to your blog. Some people do this daily, but once every three days, or even once a week is fine. The quality of the content is more important than quantity, although don’t leave it too long between posts, otherwise you may find your loyal following dropping off.

Remember that, as an editor, your primary task is to source fresh concepts and topics and turn that information into valuable content that keeps your readers looking forward to the next instalment.

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