Businesses today don’t just want to use social media for improving strategic business growth, they want to run with it and own it. They want to be masterful social media strategists that beat their competition hollow when it comes to implementing social media strategies that improve brand awareness, engagement and reputation.
But this isn’t as easy as it sounds. If you want to drive a business revolution with social media, you need a roadmap in place to implement your strategies successfully. The scope and scale of social media is immense and you need to identify the right networks and approach that will help you optimize their use to spread your business message.
Here are a few tips to help you create your own roadmap for your social media endeavors:
1.What do you want to do with Social Media?
Do not get onto the social media bandwagon just because everybody else is doing it. The first thing you must do is define your objectives from the social media presence you want to create. Social media can be used as an integrated tool for brand building, customer interaction, customer support, relationship management and also some serious relationship building vis-à-vis SEO. It can either be an integral part of your SEO strategy or an extension of it. So the first step is to understand why you want to use social media? Everything else comes later.
2. Which Social Media Networks Should you Tap?
Ideally, most of the popular networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube need to be made a part of your attempts to building your brand by harnessing social media. But, there is a danger of spreading yourself thin, if you do not have a team in place that will manage and monitor your business’s social media activities. Also, there is a chance that your target audience prefers one or two networks over others. In such cases, it makes sense to focus on these networks rather than trying to create influence on multiple networks.
So, if you think a large percentage of your target consumers are working professionals, LinkedIn could be the network you focus on, and so on and so forth. It’s important to identify your target audience and the social network they prefer, before your business sets off on its social media journey.
3. Content Production
The foundation of any social media campaign rests on how consistently you can share useful content with your target audience. Do you have the framework in place to create such content? If not, you need to hire social media strategists, content writers and internet marketers to conceptualize and create shareworthy content consistently.
It’s important to merge your content and social marketing strategies to optimize the potential of your social media presence. You can’t have a social media road map without clearly knowing where your content is coming from.
On great content rests a reliable and solidly performing social media presence and you ignore it at your own risk.
4. Who are you going to Build Influential Relationships with?
Social media is not only a means of connecting with your target audience but also with niche influencers and brand advocates. Do you know who they are? If you do, great; but if you don’t, you need to start searching for them and know their social media identities. The idea is to form connections with them on social media and build personal relationships. They need to be able to trust you to share your branded content with their fans and followers. These people have the ability to make or break your brand. So make sure you interact with them regularly and build some credibility among them. It will be fair to say that your social media influence will depend on the amount of relationships you build with brand influencers and advocates and how you are able to leverage these relationships.
5. How will you Evaluate Results?
A roadmap has a starting point, the journey itself and the end, which in this case means results. So, how will you go about evaluating the results of your social media strategy? Are you looking at tangible benefits in the form of increased sales figures or intangible, but still valuable benefits, like enhanced authority or a more credible reputation? By working out the nature of your results, you will be able to put in place an evaluation plan that will tell you whether your social media roadmap has been successful or not.
Your social media strategies need to be refined keeping in mind the value your current strategy brings to the table. If you believe it isn’t delivering as per your expectations, you’ll need to modify it or shift the goal posts or just correct whatever it is that is wrong with your strategy.
An ideal social media roadmap is one that is future proofed. All its fundamental components should be in place so that all you need to do is make a few cursory changes to its setup, if it isn’t delivering the results you are looking for. Your roadmap must be built from the ground up otherwise you might have to go back right to the start in order to modify it. This will be time taking and you might have to make wholesale changes to it to get your strategy rolling again. This is the reason why you need to create a comprehensive and well thought out social media roadmap to kick start your social media efforts.