Do you have a social media strategy for your business?

As small business owners are becoming more comfortable with social media, many want to know how to create strategies and plans to use social media tools to drive business results.

Many small business owners, and many of the consultants they hire, jump right to tactics without taking the overall business and marketing strategy into account.

Selecting tools that make publishing easier (i.e. Hootsuite and TweetDeck) and creating a schedule of who will post what, when, are important parts of your execution plan. However, the execution plan is not the same as a strategy. If the tactics you are executing are not rooted in a strategy, then these tools will only help you fail more efficiently.

Before you jump into selecting your tools and creating your publishing calendar, take a few minutes to consider these 3 questions:

1. What do you want to gain from your social media plan?

Have you defined what success will look like for your social media plan? Having a clearly defined business goal, whether it is building a community, driving traffic to your offline store, or enhancing your customer service, is the first step the first step to creating a successful social media plan.

2. What do you do or offer that people will want to talk about?

People will talk about and share things for their own reasons, not for yours. Do you know what your audience wants to talk about? Sometimes, they may want to talk about the features of the products and services that you offer; more often they want to talk about the benefits those product, services, or just knowing you, bring to their lives. If you want to be part of the conversation, talk about the things that interest your ideal customers.

3. How do you make money and how can social impact that?

Do you make money by selling products online? Do you have brick and mortar stores? Do you sell directly or through affiliates? Are you a consultant looking for long term engagements? The answers to these questions will make a difference in how you use social media in your business.

If you want to create a social media plan that drives business results, start by asking and answering these 3 questions.

Bill Brelsford Small Business Marketing Consultant