The 5 “Ws” of an Effective Social Media Strategy

Clients often ask, “Should we be on LinkedIn? What about Twitter and Google Plus? And I’ve been hearing a lot about Pinterest and Instagram — should we try those, too?”

The answer is, “Maybe.”

Social media is exciting and it can be a very powerful marketing tool. There are a lot of social networking sites, with new ones appearing all the time. But while these sites are free, it costs you time and effort to maintain your company’s presence on them. And an ineffective presence will work against you.

The key to deciding where and how you will invest your time online is to start with a well-defined social media strategy. And you can do this by thinking about those “5 Ws” you learned back in school.

WHO: I’ve already written about the most important component of a social media strategy: focus. Before you take any other steps, you need to decide exactly who your target audience is.

WHAT: What information will your audience find valuable and engaging? Only about 20% of the content your business shares through social media should be promotional. The rest should provide information that’s useful to your prospects, whether it’s industry news and insight, how-to information or tips.

WHERE: Where does your audience spend their time online? Pinterest is a fun marketing tool, but it won’t do you much good if your target audience doesn’t use it. Or you may find that your B2B prospects spend a lot of time on Facebook, but only for personal use. Do some research to see how your industry is using social media, and poll your customers to see where they want to engage with you online.

WHEN: Determine how often you will blog and post to your social media outlets, then create an editorial calendar to make the process as easy as possible. Plan out your topics and messaging at least two weeks in advance, and be sure to note key events you can tie into, such as holidays or upcoming trade shows.

WHY: After you’ve answered all the other “W” questions, step back and ask, “Why?” Periodically assessing how your social media fits into your overall marketing plan and why your audience will find this information helpful will go a long way in keeping your strategy efficient and on track.

 

All effective social media starts with a well-crafted strategy. Please contact us if you need help creating or implementing a powerful social media strategy for your business.

Are You Making This Social Media Mistake?

Effective social media strategies require focusThe most important component of any effective social media strategy is actually quite simple. And yet many companies overlook it.

That’s because social media is exciting. It’s always changing, everyone’s trying it, and it’s tempting to just jump in and get started.

But that’s a big mistake.

Before you create a social media plan, set up company accounts and pages or take any other steps, you need one very important thing: focus.

You need to determine:
1. Who you are trying to reach
2. What type of information they will find valuable

That’s it. The answers to those two questions should guide all your social media efforts. While it’s good to share information that shows your company’s personality and fun side, 98% of what you post should be helpful to your target audience.

Your prospects and fans are busy. If you get too far off topic or clog their Facebook or Twitter feed with posts about every song you listen to, workout you complete or sandwich you eat, they’ll simply stop following you. (Unless you’re music critic, personal trainer or chef, of course.)

If your company is already active in social media, you should review your messaging periodically to make sure you’re staying focused. The online world moves fast, and it’s easy to get off topic. In fact, a good rule is to stop before you post anything and ask yourself, “Will our audience find this useful?”

And if you want to share your views on politics or sports, post the latest photos of your dog or cat or kid, or note that you had pizza for lunch, set up personal accounts for yourself on Facebook and Twitter and share away.

Social media holds a great deal of potential for companies who approach it correctly. Stay tuned for more posts to help you maximize your online efforts!