How do I plan my social media strategy, as an independent consultant?
I have just installed SFDC, am getting ready to launch my website, and now need to think about better leveraging all aspects of social media.
I have been consulting for various company's over the last 7+ years. A few things that are true about having a social media strategy is:
1) Know your potential followers and which social site(s) they use. This way when you do your content marketing strategy you are speaking to your audience.
2) Connect before you try to close. To many businesses go on social sites using it as a place to put their ads, promote their product and/or service. This is why companies who don't have a massive marketing budget are having a hard time on social sites. This comes down to the value you provide through your content marketing and how you respond to your followers. If you don't have a following you will have to build one by getting involved in meaningful discussions. Do not jump into a conversation and try to pitch and sell. This turns people off quickly no one wants to be sold.
3) Follow the age old 80% educational content and 20% sales driven content. Really help your followers, answer their questions and provide extraordinary support. Tell authentic stories about your business, your products and your clients experience.
4) Be consistent
5) Enjoy what you are doing
That is just my two cents when it comes to having a great social media strategy.
Good luck with your business
The simple things is add value to the social community you are in. This means adding valuable content, answering questions, and having fun. People will repay you in turn. Don't pitch your products and services. 80% content / 20% promotion. Fill all social media profiles as much as you can, consistently. Beyond that, the details are to complex to explain. There are lots of webinars, books, and videos on the subject.
Be respectful of each social platform and its native users. Use social media as it's intended to be used, not as a billboard. ENGAGE with your audience. A few things to consider when posting: educational value, entertainment value, value of expertise and level of engagement.
There are a lot of complexities that accompany social media strategy. No strategy will be identical for different companies. It's about finding the right balance to reach your marketing goals.
The most important thing I teach everyone is to focus on building relationships. That might come by way of offering help to someone with a question, providing something (for free) which people want (info, ideas, humour, etc.). You really MUST be passionate about what you do - passionate enough to want to help others with questions in your area of expertise.
Be human. Be natural. Be yourself. One thing many people forget is that people want to connect with others like them. If you come across starchy, stiff, and robotic in your social media interactions, people will think you're a "bot", or someone who is trying to hard. Connect in a manner that is natural to you. Share insights about your team (or, if solo, your daily routine). That could even be the great coffee you had over at "X" place on the way to meet a client.
There are plenty of online resources (too many) with slight variations on the "formula" for social media 'success'. The commonality is that the most successful approaches involve organically building your relationships in a real and sustainable way. Showing a zeal and passion for what you do, and your desire to help others. Once you've attained enough of a following in this manner, the rest will come.
One other thing: Be good at what you do. The best social media strategy in the world will rarely save a poor product. As your reputation grows, the 'word of mouth' referrals you'll recieve will grow and grow.
Hi there. =) Thank you very much for sharing this interesting questions and I like the way how you guys shared your ideas. Really grateful for it as I learned particular points one should consider. Though I agree most with Nate. Social media platforms are made and designed not just as another portal for creating advertising project but rather has their unique purpose that I think specializes with how a business can engage or communicate with people particularly with potential customers. I look forward to hear and learn from you all. =)
Social media is a two way communication process. This means you need to develop a relationship with your followers by asking for their input. Ask them questions, engage with content your potential clients would be interested in, ask for their feedback, hold a contest where your followers need to contribute their thoughts etc.
Use pictures or videos in your content to hold interest .
Blog, be consistent and have original content
You need a strategic plan and a tactical plan. Here's a blog post I wrote for SCORE:
You should plan according to your need. Social media is a community project, which means that many people will be participating with different thinking and different ideas. Do not expect to have one specific answer to meet your specific need.
Your goal must be broad and big. This is to make sure that your social media subject can be sustainable and continuing as long as you like.
You should have the capability to attract your audience and keep growing your social media activities until you have achieved your goal, which should be an honourable one. That requires knowledge & skill.
Lastly make sure that everyone can benefit from the process and learn a lot from it.
CONSISTENCY. Brand yourself with one sentence that says all it needs to in order for people to know "who what why" and consistently use it across every platform you decide to engage with. That consistency will build a comforting familiarity that will make it easier for people to choose to do business with you. You may find inspiration in this article http://www.ghostbloggermarie.com/you-can-spell-success-c-o-n-s-i-s-t-e-n-c-y/
You have a fair number of answers to combine and work with here. As a social media consultant, I also have to say I agree with Brandon Krieger on all of his points, as well as Joseph Gedgaid on the 80/20 ratio and Nate Anton's respect the channel and it's users.
I will just add:
Delve into more than just 'seeking followers' to 'seeking your business' target market'.
+ Yes, build Genuine community - be human, inform/educate/support partners and followers - but ensure it's also Relevant community. This is where well-thought-out strategy comes in - social media and content strategy - and where people can get frustrated. It helps if you start by knowing your target market, their budgets, etc, what content they respond to and where they are online.
+ You'll know if you have relevant community because they will ask about your products/services, they'll share your content and they'll seek your expertise on relevant topics. It's nice to have people like your page and ideas, but they should also Want what you Sell as well.
Hope this helps!
Two important steps in order to kickstart your social media strategy: 1. Determine who you want your audience to be. The most specific you can get in terms of geography, type of industry and demographics, the better. 2. What kind of content will you be creating and sharing? That will help people understand your expertise and what you are really offering as a service.
First, determine your goals and what metrics you care about. G+ has SEO benefits. Twitter is good for connecting with influencers. Facebook is great for engagement/really segmenting by your demographic. So whether you care about branding, lead generation or traffic should determine where you should spend the most time. http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/4-social-media-goals/ is a good post that lays out the framework for you and http://www.truesocialmetrics.com/ is a free service that can help you determine the economic value of a visitor from each of the channels so you can see where the best use of your time is.