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Having a good social media strategy can be the difference between success and failure. Even a small change in the way you manage your social profiles can make a difference to your bottom line. But how do you determine what makes a good social media strategy?

First, you need to ask yourself, “What are social media?” This does not mean it has to be viewed through the lens of your workplace computer.

In today’s world, you do not have to send emails to work to get the news out. You are probably talking to co-workers on mobile devices instead of calling them to tell them what’s happening. Your staff may be working from home, but everyone should still know what’s going on in your business, if only for marketing purposes.

A good strategy for a small business or one that is upstart is to use all your social media platforms to add value to your brand. Build trust and credibility with the social sites you use, and continue to grow and improve that relationship. Identify shared interests and common interests among your customers and prospects, and keep them informed of your latest offerings.

You also need to share information with all the social networks you can. If they have a Facebook page, post content on it regularly. Use your “Feed” posts to share interesting new content, and ensure that your web visitors are informed of your blog’s updates.

Use videos or “Slideshows” to deliver a powerful message, and then encourage others to share and comment on the video. Some social networks offer social sharing features, including Facebook, that allow users to embed videos in their blogs, so you can link directly to them.

Also make sure you are reaching out to your customers in other ways, such as on blogs, sales pages, events, contests, and more. Share useful information with your customers, and try to remain in touch and responsive to feedback. Don’t just think about it, make it happen.

Social bookmarking can help you gain exposure, allowing your name and content to spread out to thousands of people’s walls, inboxes, and feeds. Find your niche, and add content that is valuable and useful to your customers and prospects. There are now hundreds of social bookmarking networks available for your use, so you won’t be limited to the old-fashioned bookmarking directories.

As part of your overall strategy, encourage your staff to contribute to social bookmarking websites, such as StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, and so on. Share your thoughts, answers to questions, opinions, and anything else you think might be of interest to your customers. Let the public know about your products and services, while also helping them stay informed about your company and your operations.

Your subscribers and customers will appreciate the gesture, and will likely to re-tweet or comment on your stuff, expanding your reach and fan base exponentially. It’s an important part of your overall strategy.

You may even consider adding social media marketing to your SEO link building efforts. Your campaign needs to be successful, however, or you’ll risk losing your readers and traffic. Consider creating new, engaging content, and add links to social media websites, such as Twitter, to your social media profile.

With all the buzz and buzzwords out there, you don’t have to rely on buzzwords to define your social media strategy. It’s still the same thing: build your customer base and reputation by communicating your message in the most effective way possible.

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