It’s nearly impossible to run a successful business today without a social media strategy.
Unfortunately, social media marketing requires a lot more than just signing up for a Facebook account and posting the occasional meme. Succeeding online requires a comprehensive strategy, dedication and plenty of patience.
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Here’s a quick checklist of what you need:
- Goals. What’s the point of your social marketing outreach? How will you know whether you’re succeeding? You need to have clear objectives to guide your efforts—and that means goals that are specific, measurable and time-bound.
- Audience. Whom are you trying to reach? On which social networks will you find them? What kind of content are they looking for? Use buyer personas to ensure you’re speaking directly to your target audience.
- Automation. Not everything can be automated, but using a program such as Hootsuite to schedule some posts can remove some of the grunt work and streamline your campaign.
- Humanity. The whole point of social media is connection. Humanize your brand: Use humor when appropriate, and include candid photos of your team.
- Consistency. Regular activity is crucial for social media success. Nobody’s going to keep up with a social media presence where the updates are infrequent or sporadic. Use an editorial calendar to stay on schedule.
- Interaction. Monitor your accounts, and respond to questions and comments from customers or fans.
- Curated content. If you’re looking to display your industry authority, try sharing informative content from external sources (not your competitors).
- Original content. Curated content is important, but hopefully you’re developing plenty of branded content to share, too. Aim for a spectrum of content—blog posts, photos, videos, web page shares, etc.
- Data. Are you regularly consulting analytics to see what’s working—and what’s not? Make sure you’re using the right dashboards and tweaking your strategy as you go.
- Optimization. Finally, check that your social media bios and profiles are all well optimized. Include target keywords and convey the value proposition for your brand. Refresh your profiles annually.
A version of this post first appeared on the Grammar Chic blog.