Global March 6, 2012 Last updated September 18th, 2018 275 Reads share

How To Build A Social Media Business Strategy That Delivers Traditional Business Returns

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I am firm believer that the only social media strategies worth considering – are those that will yield a measurable business return. While fans, followers and other social analytics can be part of this process – they should never be the end game.

But how do you get started, here’s how:

The foundation to any effective online/social engagement strategy will be based on traditional business metrics:

  • inquires,
  • customers,
  • research,
  • customer service improvements,
  • new products development,
  • new services etc.

# 1. Define your social targets in traditional business terms

This is a very critical first step!

First, Identify (if you don’t know, already) the goals or targets for your business – your social channels and engagement plan should be treated as an extension of these .

Decide what social can contribute in real business terms –  the further you go to define this in black and white business terms, the better.

Example targets:

  • 500 new customers,
  • 10 new clients in China,
  • increasing customer service efficiency by 20% etc.

It’s perfectly reasonable to be ambitious here! but this ambition must also come with the realisation that big results – require more creative strategies and more significant investment (time and money)

# 2. Develop an engagement strategy based on research

Research your competitors, your industry and beyond – to investigate for ideas, campaigns and social innovations that are proven. When tailored, these will also work for your business.

This is not to say that you can’t or shouldn’t come up with your own ideas – but new ideas need to be grounded in existing social logic. The best social campaigns are improvements on what’s gone before.

# 3. Prepare your business and people for social

Before you run any social engagement strategy, you will need to ensure that your business and its people are ready for social.

This will require you to develop:

You will also need to ensure that people have the necessary knowledge and skills to execute your strategy.

# 4. Identify the most suitable social channels

You will need to investigate and identify the most suitable social channels for your brand, your business goals and your engagement strategy.

Ask yourself:

  • Where do the people I want to engage with hang out?
  • Are some channels more suitable than others for particular tasks?

# 5. Build company specific social solutions

  • Facebook is not going to tell you how many fans also become customers.
  • Twitter is not to going to let you know how many followers decided to e-mail you requesting a quote.

While these are some of the metrics that will ultimately decide the success of your engagement strategy – it remains up to you to build campaigns and solutions that allow you to measure them. This requires investment and building applications.

Remember, without doing so – your strategy remains entirely limited in that you may never know whether it’s delivering a return.

# 6. Create a social listening station

You will need to create a listening station in to monitor for mentions of your brand and deliver social insights to the relevant people within your organisation. Your listening station will also alert you:

  • if your brand has been attacked/criticized
  • and will allow your team to monitor your engagement strategy and its reach as you go.

Of course, these are just the starting blocks towards building a great social business engagement strategy, because every business is different – your engagement approach will be unique to your business, it’s ambitions, goals and challenges.

None the less, these are critical first steps and unfortunately, steps – that many businesses continue to pass by.

Thanks for reading,

Niall

Niall Devitt

Niall Devitt

Digital expert, top 10% influencer with over 10 years’ senior management experience - including managing projects and teams, and growing companies in the Irish, international and online marketplaces. Co-founded one of the largest B2B blogs in the world, helped grow a B2B social media to over 1,000,000 members, created the strategy for one of the most effective SME Facebook pages in the world and have grown 3 business websites (TweakYourBiz.com, BizSugar.com & MyKidsTime.ie) to in excess of a 100,000 unique visitors per month. Have consulted and worked with both corporate and SME clients on leveraging digital to drive business KPIs. Speaker at industry events, have authored several industry reports on the Digital Economy and appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Business Insider and other leading online and offline business publications. Specialities include: Entrepreneurship Business Development, Start-ups, Business Planning, Management, Training, Leadership, Sales Management, Sales, Sales Process, Coaching, Online Advertising, Blogging, Online Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Digital Marketing, Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media Strategist, Digital Strategy, Social Media ROI, User Generated Content, Social Customer Care.

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