THE BLOG
10/10/2014 05:06 pm ET Updated Dec 10, 2014

7 Tips for a Successful Social Media Strategy

Social media can be a very rewarding marketing channel, but it can often be an elusive domain for small businesses. There are a lot of avenues you can go down and there are a lot of variables to consider given the specific nature of your business and industry. To be effective you need to plan a complete strategy and implement it in a careful and measured way. The following are 7 important tips to formulating and guiding a successful social media strategy.

1. What Question Are You Answering?

The key to any successful social media channel is to be clear about one question: the question you are answering for your audience. Discovering this question will keep your social message on point and relevant. Try to focus your posts, information or articles on answering your central question.

2. Establish Your Brand Messaging

Based on your goals, mission statement and branding, you need to start creating messaging categories and tones that are in line with your business. This is your "voice", and it needs to be appropriate to your brand, industry and audience.

3. Create a Social Media Calendar and Stick to it!

To make your social media investment worthwhile you need to implement time management. Break down your strategy and goals into quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily objectives. Miscellaneous business tasks can easily derail your social media strategy, so keeping track of objectives will help you, or your team, stay on task and be more effective all around.

4. Be Patient

It takes time to see results from social media. You need time to develop relationships and establish a credible reputation with fellow influencers and your audience. The early phase of building an audience is usually the most time consuming and requires the most effort, but the great news is that the bigger your audience gets the easier it is to grow and expand.

5. Monitor and Measure What is Working

From the start, analyse the success of your efforts and keep in mind that the smallest developments are huge improvements. No, you aren't going to get 100 followers the first week. But as long as you are increasing your followers and engagement a little each week, you are doing well.

6. Make Pivots When Needed

As you monitor your actions, if something is not working after a long enough period of time, you need to adjust or eliminate it. If you find certain messaging is not resonating with your audience then change it up. If your brand is growing on Facebook and Twitter, but stalling on LinkedIn, re-evaluate your efforts and invest your time in the platforms that are working or try another platform.

7. Pay When Possible

Your budget may be small and there are great things you can do with native advertising, but paying for advertising can accelerate your growth on social media. The targeted advertising that many platforms offer can find the exact followers that will connect with your brand and become evangelists.

Planning and outlining your strategy in full will give you greater success and more engagement than other businesses who jump in blind. Stick with your carefully planned strategy, making small adjustments based on your analytic assessment, and you will see great results from your social media efforts.

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