Don’t Spend on Social Media Until You Follow These 4 Steps

effective social media strategy

If your social media strategy doesn’t align with your business objectives and target audience, your marketing budget is probably better spent elsewhere.

Almost half of CMOs report they do not feel prepared to manage the challenges that accompany the rise of social media. Regardless marketers report that they plan to double social media spending in the next five years.

Pouring money into increasingly complex and expansive social marketing campaigns will not guarantee success, however. Instead, Keith Quesenberry, author of Social Media Strategy: Marketing and Advertising in the Consumer Revolution, suggests that marketers need to boil their social strategies down to the basics to improve results.

“They must use fundamental marketing concepts and modify them for this new two-way, consumer-empowered medium of social media,” says Quesenberry in a Harvard Business Review article. He offers these four steps for developing a basic social strategy.

1) Identify your business objectives.

Any strategy your business adopts should carefully align with your goals. Are you hoping to grow brand awareness? Generate more leads? Rebrand your business? Your social strategy should serve those objectives.

2) Listen to your target audience.

Yyou should have a thorough understanding of who your target audience is and how they use social media. After all, millennials use different platforms at different times than, say, Fortune 500 CEOs. Quesenberry suggests using analytics tools within social networks and secondary research, such as the Pew Research Internet Project, Nielsen, or Edison Research, to identify larger trends in social media use.

3) Produce engaging content.

Create the kinds of content your target audience seeks, and distribute it through the platforms on which they seek it. How-to videos on YouTube? Thought leadership on LinkedIn? Optimize the material you distribute for each channel. Use the social channels that best suit your brand message, type of content, and target audience.

4) Link marketing goals to social media KPIs.

Measure key performance indicators such as social media click-throughs to purchase (if the goal is online sales), social impressions (for brand awareness), or number of campaign-specific forms completed (for lead generation).

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