5 steps ensuring social media serves your business

Social media is a vital part of any online marketing campaign. It is an important fact that marketers need to understand. However, getting to a point where your business has successful integrated this reality may prove a little tricky.

Here are five steps to ensuring social media is on your side in the marketing game.

Define your target

It may seem that there is one objective – marketing. The bigger picture is a little more complex. Research if your targeted outcome has the SEO ranking to create awareness of your brand, PR or traffic. The social media trend is growing rapidly and you will need to write a plan to steer your company in the right direction. We all know the top sites in the internet are primarily social media websites like Facebook, Youtube, Blogger, Twitter, LinkedIn and WordPress, as ranked by Alexa.com.

Define your approach to social media

Because social media is such a nebulous thing for many, you need to put concise parameters on what it is, says internet marketer Jack Harold.

In his view, social media is simply an online channel that has the amazing power to go viral. And thats the view startups and established business should take when aiming for gold in the social media space.

Even if you are not creating a YouTube sensation or a record-breaking Facebook fanpage, at the very least social media has the capability to engage your audience in meaningful conversations about your product, company and brand.

Blogs, forums, social networks, social bookmarking sites, social news sites, video and photo sharing sites and wikis are all avenues to market. The decision you need to make before going further is choosing where you are going to market your product, company and brand among all the choices available.

Define your key business goals

What do you want to achieve at the end of the day? Not having any idea on why you are entering the social media space is suicidal. You can end up wasting a lot of time, effort and money on board the social media ship without knowing what your final destination is. Like anything in life, social media is effective only when it has a purpose. The medium is not the message. Your ingenuity is. A social media presence alone just won’t cut it.

Make your goals business goals, not social media targets. Ensure you aren’t removing your core business offering from your social media strategy. When someone is reading your social media goal, ideally, they shouldn’t be able to tell it has anything to do with social media or even the internet (unless of course you are an internet service provider of social media site). The key is to stay on message.

Set a timeline

It will never be easy to plunge into any major project right from the start. You cannot expect a full-fledged social media marketing program running full-swing with the push of a magic button. Defining which baby steps to take one at a time gets you in momentum to achieve the greater objectives, as socialmediatoday reports.

Seriously consider the time required to set up your very own blog, followed by the processes required to set up accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube for example, if you have yet to do so.

Bear in mind that setting up accounts alone is not the end of the road. Once you have registered you need to set aside the time required to familiarise yourself with the social media tools and platforms.

Consider the time required on each social media platform to do some networking and what is needed to create content, such as posting on your own blog, making videos and podcasts.

Don’t fail to budget

Prepare to possibly spend some money, so create at least a basic budget. Examples include covering the costs to setup your blog if you are looking for an exclusive design. Some successful companies outsource the repetitive and tedious tasks to others as well, allowing the entrepreneur and his or her team to focus on the core product of service that the company focuses on.

Services like Freelancer and ODesk have become essential platforms for those doing social media marketing. There are literally millions of skilled people who are waiting to do your work and many can be hired at an absolute bargain.



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