Social media is becoming a primary area of marketing for many businesses.  The various platforms are great ways to connect with users and build a brand.  However, just like any other marketing campaign, there should be a strategy and goals defined before embarking into the wild west of social media.


Define the “Why” of Your Strategy

Of course, the first thing a strategy should have is a goal.  Social media is no different.  There are costs and risks involved in a social media strategy so it should include achievable and measurable goals.  These goals include increased sales, traffic to your site, or other.  The key is to make them realistic and quantifiable.  The goals will be used to build the strategy as every part of the strategy should be tied to a goal or else removed from the plan.

Define the “Who.”

With the goals set, focus on who is the primary target market for achieving the goals.  Can the goals be achieved by targeting college students?  Moms? Dads? Executives?  The better the target market is defined, the more likely the goals to be achieved.  Again, this decision is not made in a vacuum.  The target market should be the best way to achieve the goals.

For example, a site that sells athletic accessories can have a goal of creating more sales through qualified leads.  The social strategy can be to build a relationship with athletes by getting them to sign up for a newsletter.  The target market is athletes that buy their products.  Thus, young and professional athletes may not be addressed (as their accessories are purchased by others) nor would older athletes (they have bought their gear).


Define the “Where.”

This part is critical in a social media strategy.  There are several major social networking sites and hundreds or thousands of smaller ones.  A good approach will focus on the sites that contain the most members that match the target market. For example, business people flock to LinkedIn; young adults are on Snapchat, and Pinterest has a high female membership.  Facebook and Twitter have a large user base and are hard to ignore; the strategy just has to be targeted within those memberships.


Define the “When.”

Consistency is key to a good strategy.  When interaction on a social media site (posts, responses, etc.) is regular and reliable, it is better received.  An example is always responding to posts within an hour, producing monthly newsletters, daily blog posts, or all of the above.  The target market and networks will help dictate the “when” of the strategy.  Some sites see more traffic during business hours, some on weekends.  Also, there are sites where frequent posts are better while others can have too much content provided.


Define the “What.”

That leaves us with the “what” of the approach.  Social media craves content in all forms.  However, the target market and platform dictate the best forms of content to deliver.  Find some examples of similar companies or brands using the selected platform(s).  Look at what sort of content works best.  Twitter forces short content but can include links to posts and images.  Facebook requires some text content and can refer to video and pictures.  Pinterest is highly visual while LinkedIn is more often short articles.

The “when” and “what” often combine to produce a full featured approach to social media.  For example, monthly newsletters, weekly blog posts, and a twenty-four hour maximum on all responses can be a great strategy.  Do not forget to include approaches to the strategy like responding to other posts, sharing links to useful articles that are not original, and otherwise finding ways to contribute indirectly to the target communities as well as the direct approaches.


Rob Broadhead

Rob is a founder of, and frequent contributor to, Develpreneur. This includes the Building Better Developers podcast. He is also a lifetime learner as a developer, designer, and manager of software solutions. Rob is the founder of RB Consulting and has managed to author a book about his family experiences and a few about becoming a better developer. In his free time, he stays busy raising five children (although they have grown into adults). When he has a chance to breathe, he is on the ice playing hockey to relax or working on his ballroom dance skills.

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