Developing A Social Media Strategy In 3 Simple Steps

I speak to thousands of business owners every year about online marketing and social media strategy. My goal is to make it easy for business owners and their staff to develop a marketing strategy that makes the phone ring. Through these discussions and experience with my clients, I developed a simple 3-step process to determine how to focus your online efforts.

Before we walk through the process though, we need to be very clear about the goal for our efforts. What is the measurable action that you want your audience to take? Some may say sales. And while that is true in the end, it is also very possible that you have a multi-step sales cycle. For my business, the first call to action with a prospect, especially one I find online, is to get them to subscribe to my email list. So, step one is determine your goal and write it down. Once we have that, we can move through my 3 Cs of Social Media Marketing: customer, content, and capabilities.

#1) Customer. Who is your customer? What does your ideal customer profile  look like? Where do they hang out online? Where are they physically and what are they doing when you want them to take action? If you are a retail business targeting young professionals who are out and about when you want them to take action, then mobile and online review sites are going to play a big part in your strategy. Likewise, if you are targeting Baby Boomers, Twitter is not going to be the first platform on our list. There is no right answer here as long as the platform matches your customer.

#2) Content. What do you have to say and share? What formats will work best for this content? Can you make your information visual in the form of product images, infographics, or video content? Can you make your calls to action simple to complete? Be sure to offer value to your audience as a rule and sprinkle in your marketing messages. No more than 1 in 10 messages should be self-promotional. An easy and powerful type of content is the Customer Testimonial.

#3) Capabilities. This one is really important. Your social media and online marketing activities have to fit in with your daily workflow and personality. If you don’t like to write, I’m not going to ask you to blog. If you take pictures of your projects, let’s find a way to fit that into your strategy. If you have funny tidbits of information or daily thoughts, maybe Twitter will work for you. It is important that capabilities comes last in this list because the first two pieces are so important to reaching the right customer. Capabilities should simply guide the execution of the strategy not help to mold the strategy. Once you decide on your capabilities, develop an editorial calendar using these templates.

This is why each business needs a unique online strategy that fits this 3 Cs test of Customer, Content, and Capabilities. Keep it simple. Stay focused on the one measurable action you want your audience to complete. Measure your success and adjust accordingly.