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Social media for your business - plan first, act later

19 October 2011

Increasing numbers of businesses are jumping into social media, and in some cases, they’re not sure what they want or why they want it - they just want ‘it’

Companies are spending time, effort and money experimenting with social media and, rightly or wrongly, these efforts are often not clearly defined or delivering success.

As with any business activity, clearly defined business objectives are key to knowing whether social media activity is appropriate for your business. 

Time spent analysing why you want to get involved in social media will return more value than jumping in the deep end and implementing social media activity without a clearly thought out strategy.

Understanding where your target audience spends their social media time is critical in understanding the right areas to focus on. There are plenty of statistics that explain where different types of people are most active, but asking your existing customers where they spend time in social media is also an easy way to get a better understanding of this. 

Another suggestion is to spend time looking at what your peers and competitors are doing on social media and how engaged their audiences are. As an example, you could look at whether there are lots of discussions and interactions taking place on your competitors’ social media presence or whether they are simply broadcasting messages about their products and services without achieving dialogue with their fans or followers. The value a business gains out of social media will be determined by how engaged their audience is. 

With clear business objectives in mind, social media can be assessed as a means to deliver on business goals. But unless your business objective is to ‘do some social media stuff’, tying activities back to the delivery of the business objectives is imperative.