Do you plan your social media?

Social media

I meet a lot of social media ‘experts’. At least they tell me they are experts. When I ask how long they’ve been doing social media, the answer is usually about a year! In my book, to become an expert you need many years of experience in a field; to have seen it from all angles and to have worked out the best way of doing it.

The problem I see with social media ‘experts’ is that they know a bit about some tools, but not how to create a plan that works. They jump into recommending something without looking at it long term or in relation to other marketing. Here are some tips on how you can do this for your social media and your business.

Successful marketing starts with a plan and the same applies to social media.

1. Where are you now? Start with looking at where your business is now – how much do you know about social media, how much do you use it, how much time do you have for it and what’s been successful? If you’ve not used social media tools before, or you don’ think you’ll have time, you might need to look for someone who can help you. If you’re using social media tools but you don’t know what’s working effectively, stop and measure your activity before you go any further – you really need to know what’s working and what isn’t before you spend any more time and money.

2. Where do you want to be? Too many people start using social media tools without clear objectives. What do you want to achieve? If you want to increase your sales, develop an online presence or build a strong reputation, you’ll need different tools and tactics. Until you’re clear where you want to go, you won’t know the best way to get there.

3. Who are your ideal clients? Who do you really want to work with? Be specific so you can find the places where your target market hangs out. Too many people try a bit of everything with social media, without thinking about where their potential clients are and how to reach them.

4. What are the best tools to use? Once you’ve worked through the first three stages above, you’ll have a clearer idea of which tools to use. Don’t be tempted to ‘have a go’ at different social media tools without doing this planning. Only then is it safe to look at the different tools available. Create a short-list of the ones you want to use and before you make any final decisions, look at each one in relation to these areas:

  • Who will do it? You’ll know from the first stage of the planning process if you’re the right person to do your social media. If you love writing, are full of ideas and have the time, then it’s over to you. Otherwise, look for people who can help.
  • How much will it cost? If you can do it yourself, the only cost is your time. If you need help, there will be a cost to set up your social media tools and costs to keep them going. Think about how much you can afford to spend and how much you can save by paying someone who can do it more quickly than you.
  • How long will it take? This is in relation to getting the work done and how long it takes to get results. Remember that even though social media happens quickly, you might not get the results you want over night.

When you’ve looked at your short-list of social media tools in terms of who, how much, what return and how long, you can be selective and pick the tools that will work for your business. Don’t do everything – it’s better to do a few things really well. Spend some time planning your social media before you rush in and you’ll get much better returns for your time and your budget.

And then let me know how you get on!

Chantal Cornelius is the Director of Appletree Consulting. This blog was originally published on the Appletree Consulting blog.

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