Define your strategy before anything else

baby stepsIf the previous post convinced you that your business needs to be on social media your first reaction maybe to start creating accounts on all social media platforms you know.  If this is your case, please give full attention to the next line:

STOP!

The reality is that SMBs do not have the resources to be effectively present on all social media platforms as large multinationals do.  This includes, but is not limited to, time, money, and specialised staff to ensure a proper social media presence.  For this reason, before dedicating your precious time in any new marketing activities you must be clear on what you want to accomplish from it and how you plan to accomplish it.

With this in mind, the first question you should ask yourself before adding social media to your SMB is:

What are your business objectives for adding Social Media?

‘Sell more’; ‘Make more money’; ‘Grow my business’.  All these are valid and necessary objectives for your social media strategy.

‘To be present online’; ‘Because it’s the future’; ‘Because others are also doing it’.  These are examples of wrong answers because they are not linked to business objectives, and as such are extremely likely to fail.

Regardless of your specific answer, make sure it is directly linked to a business objective for your company.  If your social media objective is associated with your business you will find importance in dedicating time to social media, you will feel comfortable in giving these activities higher priority, and you will have a higher chance of succeeding in it.

A generic objective such as ‘to be present online’ or ‘because it’s the future’ will not give you the proper guidelines to carry out your social media strategies, will not motivate you to spend time on it, and on the long run will likely result in wasted efforts spent on activities with no measurable results behind them.

Now that we are sure you want to start with social media to fulfil a clear business objective, the next question to ask is:

How do you plan to achieve your objective?

This is where you have to be more specific on how you will ‘make more money’ or ‘sell more’.  Do you need to increase foot traffic to your business?  Do you need to inform your potential customers of your company’s portfolio?  Do you need to increase the sale of related products on your website?  Do you need to increase your business’ footprint to other regions?

It’s important to know exactly what your company wants to achieve because this will be key to determine the strategy, where you will need to have online presence, what kind of content you will need to create and publish, and several other factors.  It’s also necessary to be able to adjust your strategies in time, and the only way you will be able to measure the success of your activities in the future.

Dedicate some time to think about this and ensure your company is clear on its objectives.  This will be useful not only for your social media strategies, but for your business strategy in general.

Once you’ve thought about the first two key questions, it’s time for the next question…

Who and where is your target audience?

Think about your customers.

How old are they?  What do they like?  Where are they located?  How do they express themselves and communicate with their peers?  What key need will you fulfil with your product or service?  How do they make their purchasing decision?  What do they use to inform themselves before deciding?  Do they decide alone, or do they depend on their peers or a large organisation?  Why will they choose you over the competition?

Stop thinking from your company towards the world, and think from the world towards your company.  Understand your customers, their habits, preferences, motivations, desires and fears.  Understand how your company fits into this world, and how your company helps fulfil their needs.

If you have answered these 3 questions you now have a much clearer view of your company’s objectives and who your customers are.  This will be extremely useful for setting up your social media strategies, and for your business in general.  If you still are not clear I suggest you dedicate some more time on these 3 questions which are essential to be successful on using social media for your business.

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