6 Steps to Create Your Social Media Strategy

6 Steps to Create Your Social Media Strategy

The projected number of global social network users is expected to climb to 2.13 billion this year. And, Statista reports that the number of Americans with a social network profile grew to 73 percent in 2015. These staggering numbers should prompt you to reflect on whether your business is equipped to take advantage of today’s social marketing boom.

A whopping 94 percent of business buyers complete some type of online research before making a purchase. It's time to ensure that you have an effective social media strategy in place to attract those eyeballs. If you don’t know where to start—or how to re-evaluate your current social media strategy—the following six steps will help you get started.


1. Assemble your team

A social media strategy is only as strong as the team that is built to support it. Its success, or failure, should not be tied to the role of an individual contributor. Having a strong cross-functional team will help you better identify needs and build a comprehensive plan that encompasses the goals of your entire organization.

2. Set goals

Like any successful strategy, first you need to identify and document what you are trying to accomplish. Are you looking to create awareness for your brand, drive new business or create more qualified sales leads? Maybe you are looking to announce a new partnership or build awareness for an upcoming product launch. Whatever the scenario, having your social media goals defined and getting buy-in across your organization will help manage expectations and get everyone on the same page. A critical next step is to ensure your social media strategy is approved by senior management.

3. Determine roles and budgets

Now that you’ve defined what needs to be accomplished, you need to determine how that is going to happen. Chances are you may not even have a dedicated social media specialist on staff. If that’s the case, you will need to determine in advance what resources are available to you. Think back to the very helpful cross-functional team from earlier—is there opportunity to leverage members, as needed, to ensure your plan is successful? Assigning roles early on will prove to be an important step to ensure a smooth start.

Once you’ve established roles, you will need to define your budget needs. If you are just dipping your foot in the social media pool, you may start with the free tools available on LinkedIn, You Tube, Facebook and Twitter. If you are ready for a deeper dive, you should estimate what type of budgets you will need to create successful SEO campaigns, promoted Tweets, inMail campaigns, etc. Be sure to budget for any copywriting and design needs you may require as well. 

4. Know your audience

This is a great time to go through the exercise of defining your target audience. It may be helpful to start by looking through business that was closed during the past six months. Review similarities and differences you see among size, geography and specialty. Look at business closed from referrals and repeat customers. This may prompt you to broaden—or focus in on—specific customer segments.

5. Select your networks, carefully

Now that you’ve defined the what, how and who—it’s time to define the where. You may already be keen on the B2B Big 3 – LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. If you are already comfortable with these three social networks, its time to evaluate how effectively you are using them and how productive they’ve been for you. Review the likes, shares and new followers you’ve received. If your numbers are continuing to climb, fantastic! If not, you may want to re-evaluate how much time and thought you’ve put into a specific platform. Have you used it to its full potential? If the answer is yes, you may want to consider exerting your effort elsewhere.

Social media is extremely transparent. If you don’t have the time or resources to actively support a strong presence on multiple networks, don’t. It’s better to start small and ensure success before expanding to other networks.

6. Define success

Before you put your plan in motion, it’s important to define what success looks like to you—and your senior management. Whether you are looking to gain a specific number of new followers, generate new revenue or boost traffic to your website, having metrics clearly defined in your social media strategy will be critical to evaluating success.

At the end of the day, a social media strategy is a living, breathing thing. It will evolve as your business’ social media marketing prowess does. For now—and in the future—it will prove to be an invaluable tool your organization can depend on to navigate today’s thriving social world.