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Want to Market on Social Media? Do This First!

A question I am asked again and again is how does the team at The Go! Agency come up with a social media marketing strategy for our clients.  It’s one of those questions that I wish there was a direct answer to – as I know so many of you out there are eager to get started with social media marketing and are eager for some easy “quick start” advice.

When it comes to creating a social media marketing strategy, the one thing to remember is there are no cookie cutter solutions or master step-by-step process to follow.  Social media marketing is a series of many step-by-step processes that need to be fine tuned to fit the direction and niche of your business.

There is a trick to hitting the ground running while building up solid momentum. The trick?

Getting all of the pieces together before you begin formulating your strategy.  

Here are some topics that you need to consider BEFORE putting together your social media marketing strategy.  I suggest gathering all of this information and having it easily accessible at your social media strategy planning meeting:

*How Much Do You Know About Social Media?  This is a biggie, as if you have to learn more about how Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and the rest work…then you have to allot  time to get comfortable with each site.  Also, your knowledge of these sites and their capabilities will come into play when you begin to formulate your plan of attack.

*Can You Name at Least 5 Target Markets? This is another major point.  As there are so many opportunities on social media, it is good to have a list of no less than 5 target markets to start out with.  You can begin your marketing focus by choosing one at a time, but it is good to have more to choose from so that if you need to change gears at anytime during the planning process, you already know where to go next.

*Company Overview. It is important to have a solid company overview, with products and services, as well as company history (when it was founded, key honors, etc).  Also include your marketing materials and marketing message, logos and taglines into the mix.  This will help to no end when you are trying to come up with your messaging strategy and content strategy at the social media strategy creation stage.

*Time is Valuable. Time is important to consider as consistency is key on social media.  How much will you be able to put aside each day to execute your social media marketing strategy?  If you figure this out AFTER you come up with your social media strategy, you will find you may have overshot the mark.

*Budgets and Costs.  See how much money you have available for your social media marketing strategy.  While you may think it is free, there are many paid options that you may want to explore such as Facebook Advertising and upgrading your LinkedIn account.  It is also nice to know how much budget you have available social media as if your strategy looks like it will be overwhelming, you may have to outsource the work to an agency like The Go! Agency.

*Do You Have a Marketing Schedule?  A marketing schedule is absolutely paramount to the success of any organization.  But….do you have one?  This should include ANY marketing activities (from advertising and billboards, to events and email blasts) and when they are going to be executed or “live.”  I know that many of you out there do not have a marketing schedule written down and understand how it can be pushed aside.  What I will say is that having a marketing plan written down will help act as a guideline when you have your social media strategy planning session.  It can naturally lead the course so that everything works in a synergistic fashion.

SOCIAL MEDIA is a function of MARKETING.  How can you create a social media strategy without a marketing strategy first?  Your overall marketing strategy MUST lead your social media strategy to guarantee success.

*Who is Going to Do the Work?  If you have more than one person executing your social media strategy, in the planning stage you need to coordinate the communication path and chop up and distribute the work.  Having this work perfectly is an absolute must as it can add time, cost and sometimes embarrassing mistakes to your results.

*Content Collection.  You should collect all of the past press articles, press releases, blog article, magazine articles, awards, pictures, videos…you get the picture.  Anything that you have that could boost your profile is good to have on hand.  As you go through the set up process you will see ample space to plug this info in, so it is nice to have it at hand.

*Keyword Lists.  I’ve said it before and I will say it again – these are SO important in social media marketing, so pull one together.  It will also do your website a world of good!

*Client/Prospect/Past Client/Peer Databases.  It is nice to know what your numbers are in these categories when you go into your social media strategy planning stage.  Why?  Because you can use this information to build your network, recommendations and much more!

*Competition!  Compile a list of your competitors, direct and indirect.  At this point do not worry if they are active on social media, it is just useful to have a competitor list handy when you get to the social media strategy planning stage.  When you are formulating your strategy, you will need to do a SWOT analysis of your competitors’ social media use and pulling out a “ready-to-go” list is a time saver.

These are just some of the top items that I would suggest you organize before you get to planning your social media strategy.  I know there are a lot of items and you probably feel that you already know these things off by heart, but here is the rub.  There are a lot of unknowns that you will come across in the social media world, some that can delay your progress.  Having everything in one central place will help you fly quicker and stall out much less.

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