Social media can help some businesses achieve their objectives, eg marketing their services, driving sales and interacting with customers. Planning ahead can help you make the most of this opportunity. Before you start using social media, you should think strategically about what you hope to achieve and if you have the resources to manage it properly.
Social media goals
If you can devote the time to managing a social media channel, you need to define your goals. Examples of goals include:
- driving sales
- product promotion
- brand awareness
- customer service
- building your industry reputation
- forming relationships and networks
- managing enquiries
Ensure your social media goals are related to the overall aims of the business and wider marketing strategy.
Once you have decided what your main goals are, you should set measurable objectives. Your objectives should be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed. For example, if your main goal is to drive new sales, you might set an objective to generate 20 new sales leads per month.
Plan your social media activity
Once your objectives have been set, it is time to plan the activities that will help you achieve them. Your plan should include:
- Social media channels: You don’t need to be on every platform - decide which are best suited to your business and goals. For example, if you run a local consumer business like a shop or restaurant, Facebook may help you reach your audience. A larger company interested in using social media for recruitment could consider LinkedIn. See social media platforms.
- Content: Build a plan for the content you will post. This could include a mix images, links to blog articles, videos or infographics. Think about what will interest, entertain or be useful to your audience. Use a mix of this engaging content alongside more sale-focused content about products or deals.
- Resources: Decide who will manage your social media channels – including creating content and reacting to comments. Ensure the team or individual has the right skills and enough time. Consider if training is needed. If you decide to use paid promotion, allocate a realistic budget.
Measure your impact
Once you are up and running, it’s important to monitor how effective your time on social media is. There are lots of free and paid tools available to track your social media activity and measure its impact.
If your goal is driving sales then monitoring referrals from social media channels is important. Brand awareness and promotion might be measured through the level of interactions, or traffic driven to your website.
Monitoring the engagement and reactions on your social media posts will help you plan future content based on what is successful.