1. OBJECTIVES
Define your business objectives.  What do you hope to achieve: increased traffic, leads, followers, sales, brand awareness?

2. TARGET AUDIENCE
Decide on your target audience.  Research where your audience spends their time online.  Make it a point to understand them.  What are they saying about your brand, your competitors?  What are they interested in?

3.  CHOOSE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS
This will be dependent on the nature of your business and your audience.  Do you want to provide valuable content with limited user engagement – which would make a blog a good channel.  Or would you prefer higher levels of interaction which would be more suitable to Facebook or Twitter?  Consider other platforms like Google + and even Pinterest.

4.  SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY
Your business MUST have a social media policy.  This serves as a guide for all your employees.  How much are you willing to share?  What should not be shared?  A Social Media Policy ensures that you don’t have to resort to crisis management. Choose to be pro-active as opposed to being re-active.  I’ll discuss more about this in a later post about Online Reputation Management.

5.  ASSIGN ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES 
In order to ensure a simple and manageable process it is best to include who does what and how often as part of your strategy.  There are guidelines as to when are the best times to Tweet and a recent study conducted by a Facebook page analytics company states that you should not post more than 1x every three hours.

 

6.  ENGAGE  
People hang out online for three reasons:  They want to feel special,  they want  free stuff and/or they are there to complain.  Respond to every post even if it is negative feedback, it shows that you’re are interested and that you’re listening to them.  Remember: in certain instances heated debate allows for rich engagement.  Did you know that 80% of users who received a response to their post made a purchase as a result of that interaction?

7.  PROMOTE YOUR PRESENCE
Promote your social media presence via your website, in your e-mail signature, newsletters etc.

8.  LISTEN & MEASURE YOUR SUCCESS
Measuring the effectiveness of your Social media activities is imperative to any strategy.  There are many tools out there which you can use.

 

Some wonderful goodies for you to check out:

1.  Buyer’s Guide:  A strategy for managing Social Media Proliferation (Altimeter Report)

2.  Social Media Policy Tool