How to build your company's social media strategy

Q: There has been a lot of talk about social media marketing lately. Is it just a big hype? Do I really need a social ...

Q: There has been a lot of talk about social media marketing lately. Is it just a big hype? Do I really need a social media strategy?

A: The answer depends on your business model. If your target group extensively uses the Internet to buy products related to your business, search for solutions or just communicate online, you need a social media strategy.

Q: I'm terrified by lack of control of social media. I am afraid that very few unhappy customers can present a substantial risk for my company's reputation.

A: This is probably the most common concern that we regularly get, particularly from business people with strong and established businesses. Of course, you want to control your marketing. Keep in mind, however, that your customers will communicate online anyway. By using your own social media platform, you can channel and control their communication better. Furthermore, you can more quickly address their concerns, perhaps even turning your once unsatisfied customers to the most loyal ones, while demonstrating to other customers that you care.

Q: Where do I start when planning my social media strategy?

A: As always with marketing planning, start with the situation analysis. First, check out what the competition does: maybe they have already found out an intelligent way to leverage the power of social media. Also, learn more about your customers' online behaviour. How do they communicate online? What social media platforms do they use most? Then think how to connect with your customers better and create value through social media.

Q: What social media should I use for my business?

A: There are many available media such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, LinkedIn and Google Plus. To help you choose, check out this extensive list of various social networking sites.

Again, think about where your customers are. Facebook and Twitter may be a good start. We recommend using both of them, so you can get access to more people.

Q: I'm sold on social media. Where do I start my social media marketing campaign? What are the dos and don'ts of social media marketing?

Do:

  • know your social marketing objectives;

  • plan enough time and effort to succeed in your social media marketing strategy;

  • monitor your social media regularly and stay on top of all communication; and

  • hire someone in your company and/or in an outside agency to spend a specified number of hours on social media each week.

Don't:

  • try to do too much at once: focus on your most important social media platforms first;

  • forget to track your success regularly (e.g., number of likes, followers, etc.);

  • forget to engage in online conversation with your customers;

  • just use social media to send one-way messages to your customers: make sure to create "wow" by personally responding to all customers' questions, concerns and requests.

BizTech 101 is our answer to the most common technology questions related to your business. Email us your questions at questions@biztech101.com, and we will respond. •

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