Anyone running a business must realize that social media is essential to success. There are currently #1. Your Goals You need a firm goal and a firm purpose in mind if you are going to go in the right direction. You should know what you want to do with each page. Define these goals. Any goal you should come up with should be time specific and be clearly measurable. You should also set objectives so you can continually measure progress as you go along. #2. Your Audience Your target audience will define how you reach your goals. Think about your ideal customer. This should include their gender, the country they live in, their age group, and their interests. Bear in mind that this may take some trial and error to get right. There are tools to help you do this. The tool Web Power Up is one. It can help you reach your target audience and create your strategy directly from your browser. There is no need to download anything. Another option if you are willing to invest is to use things like the Facebook Power Editor. You can use it to test drive ads and see how different audiences respond to you. #3. Define Your Platform Your platform is dependent on what industry you operate in. Pinterest and LinkedIn aren’t much good for certain industries. This is because they exist at opposite ends of the spectrum. Pinterest is for creative and LinkedIn is more for professional networking. Don’t spread your time too thin. In the beginning, concentrating on two or three social media networks is more than enough. You can expand in time as you become more successful. #4. Yourself It’s important to think about yourself as well. Consider what the goals of your brand are. Look at your overall mission and the values you promote to the public. Understanding this will make it easier to communicate with the right audience later on. Take note that you will change over time. Every six months or so, review both whether your current mission is still relevant and whether you are still being consistent when it comes to your brand. #5. What You Do This isn’t as simple as defining what your company sells or what services it offers. It’s about looking at what value you provide every customer. Think about how your business changes the life of someone else. Develop a deeper understanding of the impact you have. You might wonder what this has to do with social media. The truth is it will help you understand what your consumers want and how you can meet their expectations. #6. How You Help Your Client If we look at Social Media Examiner’s report into social media marketing, they revealed that social media marketing has helped 72% of marketers develop a loyal base of fans. This is when marketing is done well. You only develop loyal fans when you aid them in their daily lives on a regular basis. Your social media messages should be simple. Your products and services should be front and center. In addition, remember that many of your audience members will not know they have a need until you show it to them. Always think about how you are helping someone change his or her life for the better. #7. Your Budget Your budget depends entirely on you. It’s perfectly possible to create a successful social media strategy on a low budget. Understand that it may take longer to reach more people and build that base of fans, but if you only have a low budget, you shouldn’t use that as an excuse for not achieving what you want to achieve. How do you form a budget? In the beginning, keep your budget low. You shouldn’t be spending a great deal of money until you know your ads are going to succeed. Also, consider whether you want to go at it alone or take advantage of a third-party service. This will heavily influence your budget. #8. What You Post You can cause a lot of damage to your business by throwing posts into the open impulsively. People will notice when you have thought about a post and when you have stitched something together within minutes. Carefully monitor the content you are producing and how customers are responding to it. Analytics should be at the forefront of your initial forays into social media marketing. Monitor the posts that get a lot of engagement and tailor your strategy according to the type of posts that are proven to succeed. #9. Posting Frequency There is no magic number for how often you should post in order to stay relevant. Old-style SEO meant you would post at least once or twice a week. These days you may need to post more often or less often. It depends on your audience, the industry, and a range of other factors. Try different posting frequencies and see how consumers respond. You should also think about the time of day you post updates. When is your target audience most likely to be checking their computers? Again, analytics come in handy here. You can’t succeed without it. If Facebook is a part of your marketing strategy, you will find that there are tools that can help you monitor your efforts and increase your ROI. #10. Can you do it alone? Any business owner that’s used to taking control will find it difficult to consider the prospect of taking on a partner or outsourcing the work to a dedicated social media company. While this is a serious investment in budget and trust, it can pay dividends in a number of ways. Ask yourself these questions when thinking about outsourcing the work: Do you have enough expertise to manage a solid social media campaign? Do you have the time to dedicate to social media marketing? Do you have the budget to outsource the work? This is a decision you don’t have to make immediately. If you’re unsure, feel free to start off on your own. In the event, it becomes overwhelming, or you don’t have the time necessary to make your social media strategy a winner, you can always bring in someone. Furthermore, it isn’t always necessary to hand over complete control to a third-party. You can always pay someone to help guide your campaign from afar. That way you take care of the operations, but you have an expert you can turn to in times of trouble. Conclusion These are the ten most important factors when it comes to defining a social media strategy. When you finally initiate your strategy, review it as time goes on. Strategies should be fluid. They should react to the changing conditions. If something isn’t working, be willing to change it quickly. Find out why it isn’t working and study how you can avoid the same problems later on. Social media marketing is not something you can run as a spectator. What are the biggest challenges you have experienced with creating a social media strategy? Images: “BELCHATOW, POLAND – AUGUST 31, 2014: A social media logotype collection printed and placed on modern computer keyboard. / Shutterstock.com“ ________________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. Today, it is part of the Small Biz Trends stable of websites and receives over 300,000 unique views per month. Would you like to write for us? An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.