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6 Tips to Creating an Effective and Measurable Social Media Strategy that Drives Results

Social media has rapidly become one of the most widely used communication tools available to businesses today. It has undoubtedly played a part in redefining the meaning of an exceptional customer experience, providing organizations with cost-effective platforms that enable them to efficiently reach members of their target market, promote their products and services, share company and industry news, engage and interact with the market, and provide superior customer service. Accordingly, creating a smart social media strategy that integrates with your marketing plan is critical to ensuring that your company is utilizing the touch points that it has available to reach your intended audience.

From Twitter to Facebook to LinkedIn, here are six tips that will help you and your team implement a social media strategy that drives results.

1. Set Goals. In order to effectively monitor progress and measure results, you must first set goals. Before making a plan and maximizing the use of your social media accounts, it is important to set goals that are SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Additionally, it is important to set goals that are simple and relevant to your intent. For example, if your primary intent is heightening your organization’s exposure within the market, you could set a goal to increase the quantity of followers and/or connections you have by a specific percentage this month.

2. Make a Plan. Once you have established clear goals, you should create a plan. In order to create an actionable plan that will drive results for your business, it is important to use historic data to foster strategic decision-making.

First, gather data and take an inventory of which social media platforms have been the most successful for your business in the past. Next, consider designing a survey to collect information in regard to your customer’s preferred method of communication. After all necessary data has been collected, you can make use of your findings to select which social media channels will best cater to the needs and preferences of your audience, as well as fulfill your purpose. One person within your organization should be chosen to manage all social media accounts to ensure consistent branding and/or messaging and prevent the duplication of content. A simple editorial calendar can help you organize and maximize your marketing efforts.

3. Create Quality Content. Content is king, especially when you are limited to a specific number of characters or are working to stand out in a sea of other tweets and/or posts. Make sure that you are creating and curating quality content by showcasing your expertise. Share industry news, use media such as images, links and videos, and make sure you are up to speed on the latest trending topics.

4. Follow Through. Don’t just create a plan, stick to it. Tell stories by sharing internal business news, share customer achievements and testimonials, respond to your audience’s questions and comments, be authentic and transparent, and most importantly, have fun. Social media is a great way to convey your brand’s personality and create buzz about your organization.

5. Monitor Behavior. In an effort to ensure that you are constantly on track to meet your established goals, you should utilize social media monitor tools such as, Facebook Insights, LinkedIn Analytics, Google Alerts, TweetDeck, Klout, Social Mention and Pinterest Web Analytics. Analyzing the behavior of each of your social platforms will reveal which are working the best and where you need to focus future attention.

6. Measure ROI. Measuring the return on investment (ROI) of your social media efforts will help provide you and your team with the insights needed to justify both current and future strategic decisions. It is important to understand that there is currently not one definitive or common way to measure the ROI of social media platforms for all organizations. Using tools such as social reporting within Google Analytics will help you track and measure social media traffic. Online calculators such as HubSpot’s ROI calculator can help you to quantitatively visualize the value of your social media efforts.

There is no universal format to creating a social media strategy and every organization’s plan will be different in order to fit their unique marketing needs, as well as the needs of their target audience. However, these six tips can provide you and your team with a starting point to ensure that your social media strategy offers value and drive results for your organization.
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About DJ Muller

DJ is President of WebLink International, a position he has held since the company's incorporation in 1996. DJ also served as CEO from 1996 to 2011. DJ conceived and developed the company's first product, Chamber WebLink, which was the first web based product designed specifically for chambers of commerce and associations. Under DJ's direction and…