Many professionals get jazzed up after reading an article on social media, but the excitement and strategy escape as soon as the page is minimized in exchange for the next enticing link in their Twitter feeds. I see it all too often -- a quick "high" followed by complete memory loss on what they have just read. It looks good on screen, but do those tidbits of advice make it past your monitor?
Content marketing isn't just for the Fortune 500, and effective social media isn't reserved for the companies packed 20 employees deep in their communications department. But your social strategy isn't going to be served to you on a silver platter, either. If you don't change your actions, you are destined to get the same results. And that shouldn't be a surprise. Social media is fun to talk about, tough to implement, and an even bigger challenge for companies to be creative and stay consistent.
Getting started is often the hardest part of any task, and social media is no different. But having a better understanding of your brand will help you navigate and create a social media presence that truly makes an impact. Get in touch with your company, for only then can you begin to create fresh content and a strategy that you can rely on.
First, we must look at ourselves. If you are a business owner or a professional eager to make big changes with your company's online strategy, own it. You are now a social media ambassador. You don't have to be a PR professional or in your 20s to understand the social media game. Thinking different is almost always a catalyst for change. Don't be afraid to jump in with both feet and explore ways to discover and redefine your brand and its communication strategy. Mental blocks are your fabricated obstructions, so drop them.
If you don't think you have a "brand," you do.
Find your voiceThe kind of content you create centers around a common tone. For some it's professional, casual, witty, conversational, or sarcastic -- if that's your shtick. You can be a few things, but not everything. Decide now.
Identify goalsA dear friend of mine always says, "You have to know what you want to get what you want." Increase exposure, gain fans and followers, increase engagement and comments, get more newsletter subscribers, get new leads, position your brand as a resource, educate on certain topics, find partners, etc. Decide what you want to gain out of social media and make sure that all content addresses one of these goals.
Choose channelsNot all channels are for every company. Not everyone needs every social outlet under the sun. But brainstorm how each platform can be leveraged and decide what makes sense for you. And you don't have to launch all platforms at once. Set yourself up for success by starting with Facebook, Twitter, and a blog. Branch out only when you have mastered those tools and explore how to effectively integrate others.
Identify fans and followersKnow your audience and always keep them in mind. Categorize your fans and the things that interest them. Make lists that include categories such as clients, partners, prospects, and local businesses. Create content tailored to what is important to your audience. This will help keep you on track when deciding what to post or blog about.
Have a baselineTo know where you are going, you have to know where you have been. Note your number of fans and followers so you can track your growth as you move forward. Also, use tools on Facebook to see current demographics, which posts were seen by the most people, and what went the most viral.
Amy Kauffman is director of client relations for HMG Creative.
On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.
"Back to basics" image via Shutterstock.
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