There are still quite a few small to mid-sized businesses out there (especially in the Washington, DC metro region) that are trying to figure out their social media strategy. In quite a few cases, many of these businesses simply do not have one.
Do not be embarrassed if this is you.
In the world of a business owner, you have to focus your energies to the few key areas you know best. For executives who end up wearing the sales and marketing hat, this means you are focused on attending local events, cold-calling, trying to build referrals and sending out emails – all with the goal of chasing down a few leads to grow your revenue stream.
But you are not isolated to the world around you. You see other websites and think they are better than yours. You see your competitors appearing in search results where you are not. And you stumble upon other companies with videos, active Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, and an online presence that looks compelling. This is usually when you decide to explore using social media.
The first thing you must do is realize that you do not need to be on every social networking site or use every social media tool that exists in the market today.
The next thing you need to do is sit down with a social media professional and start to identify your real business strategy and goals. Here is a simple list of steps I work through with executives and their teams:
- Discuss business strategy and goals. This usually begins with taking a company’s core mission. Sometimes this can be an easy process. However, very often companies realize as they go through this exercise that there is misalignment on the company’s core strategy.
- Build a profile of your customers and your prospects. The more you know your audience, the easier it is to know where to engage them, and how to engage them in valuable conversations – not sales pushes. To accomplish the customer profile, it is a good idea to build a persona. Not all customers are the same. If you are a government contractor reaching different agencies, a company that offers both products and services, or even a company with a single offering, you will never have just one customer persona. Within this persona you will have the following and more:
- A profile of who each customer is – male or female, age, budget/income level, job/position in organization, etc
- The interests and needs of each customer type.
- A list of what influences their decision-making to buy.
- An understanding of how they best consume information.
- And an insight into whether or not they are actively engaging people online.
- Determine your business objectives for social media and your website. While the above is a simplification of the process we use at Social Web Tactics, it does cover the core steps. What’s more, by taking these initial steps with a trained social media consultant you reduce your long-term business risk and costs. What we do at Social Web Tactics is help your company get started by building out the social media plan that takes into account your human and financial resources, as well as your revenue needs.