five key elements of a sound social media strategy

Everyone is talking about how social media is a conversation; you have to engage people and build relationships.  Well, that all sounds pretty reasonable since I love talking, but then it begs the question, “how do we do that?”  How do I ensure that people even know who I am, let alone talk about me?  In order for people to talk about me (or my product) I have to listen.  Social media is largely about listening.  Find out what your competitors are doing.  Find out if anything is currently being said about you.  And find out what others are saying about themselves.

Once you have taken in enough of the conversation, and have a good idea of how it works and what’s being said, you are ready to execute a social media strategy!  Here are 5 key elements to include in your plan so you can be a part of the conversation:

1. What are your goals?

  • Are you trying to build awareness about your company?
  • Are you trying to gain new customers?
  • Are you trying to position yourself in the marketplace?
  • Are you trying to retain current clients?

2. Who are you trying to reach?

  • Demographics
  • Are they new customers or repeat customers?
  • Does your audience use social media?  If so, what are they using?

3. What is your message?

  • What do you want to say about your product or service?
  • What point do you want to get across?
  • What makes you unique?
  • What do you want people to remember about you?

4. What tools will you use?

  • Blog
  • Video
  • Bookmarking
  • Social networks
  • Slideshows/Presentations
  • Web press releases

5. How will you measure the results?

  • Number of fans or followers
  • Analytics (site traffic, leads)
  • Comments/Opinions (positive, negative, neutral)

7 Responses to “ five key elements of a sound social media strategy ”

  1. Hi Leslie, these are all great questions. Starting off with goals is definitely a good start to any strategic plan.

    Some other questions to consider:

    Who are our key influencers online, and where do they spend most of their time?

    What content is valuable to our listeners, and how can we provide that content?

    What social media channels are appropriate for our brand, our message, and our audience?

    What social media activities do our competitors engage in, and what is our share of voice?

    How do we measure sentiment/tonality?

    What is our strategy for handling feedback, and how do we determine when to respond and how?

    Who within the organization will manage our social media activities, and how do we determine when to escalate a situation?

  2. Heidi Cool says:

    That’s a nice overview of things one should consider when planning their strategy. Many people start out with tactics “we should be on Twitter.” But it really needs to be goal-driven.

    This Wednesday, Sept 30, 2009, we’ll be discussing social media strategies and tactics on the Twitter real-time chat, #smchat. I wrote a framing entry for the conversation, Goal-driven social media strategies & tactics: how are you interacting with your target audience? which you and your readers may find interesting—especially if you can join us for the chat.

    If you can, stop by, I think you’d have some good ideas to contribute.

  3. leslie says:

    Hi Rachelle,

    Thanks for your feedback. I think you are certainly right with all the questions you mentioned………most of them are included in my 5 key elements as well just worded differently. For example, the key influencers would fit under the question Who are you trying to reach, and share of voice under How will you measure the results, content valuable to listeners under What is your message, key influencers under Who are you trying to reach…..etc. I think we are both on the same page :) Thanks for taking the time to reply. I hope you’ll continue to read my blog!


  4. leslie says:

    Thanks for your comment Heidi. Is there a specific time you will be chatting on Wed?

  5. leslie says:

    I do not have a subscription right now. I have been slacking on the blog posts but hope to start back up! Thanks for reading it and for your interest though. Check back!

  6. I enjoy what you guys are up too. This kind of clever work and exposure! Keep up the excellent works guys I’ve added you guys to my personal blogroll.

  7. leslie says:

    Thanks for your comments Ray! And thanks for reading. I hope to blog again soon since I have been very remiss at keeping up :)

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