Are You Planning Your Social Media Backwards?

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When it comes time to put together a social media strategy for your company, there are a few key steps you need to consider before getting started. Unfortunately, most companies bypass these steps and do everything in exactly the wrong order.

Their conversations usually go a little something like this:
Person 1: We need to get involved in social media.
Person 2: You’re right, how do we get started?
Person 1: We need to build a Facebook page.
Person 2: You’re right, Joe put up a Facebook page for his company last year and he said they have more than 1,000 followers.
Person 1: Ok, I’ll get Maria on it this week.

Time passes….
Six months later:
Person 2: So how’s that social media strategy doing?
Person 1: What?
Person 2: You know, the Facebook page you were going to have Maria build?
Person 1: Oh…yeah…let me check. [keyboard clicking] Looks like we have 127 fans!
Person 2: That’s awesome! So…what’s next?
Person 1: Um…

Yeah….that conversation has happened in office after office around the world in the last few years. Companies jump on board with social media because they hear buzz about it and think they have to get involved or because some C-level type reads an article about how social media is changing the face of marketing and they issue an order to start Twitter accounts and Facebook accounts and to start posting existing video files to YouTube.

The problem is that action without a desired outcome is generally pointless. If you walk out your front door with no destination in mind, you’re likely to find yourself standing in the middle of a strange neighborhood too tired to get home. Worse, you may walk yourself right off a cliff.

If your social media efforts have been driven by “we need to do this” instead of being driven by “we need to accomplish X and social media will help us,” you’re wasting your time. Social media success rarely falls into a company’s lap by accident. Social media success happens when you plan for it and executive a supportive strategy.

Ask yourself why you are involved in social media. Is it because you “have to be?” Is it because you want to be? Or is it because you understand how social media can help you reach specific goals and you are using it to support your company’s growth?

If your answers are the former and not the latter, you need to sit down and think about the goals you have for your business in the next year. List them out and ask yourself how you might be able to use social media to accomplish them.

Jennifer Cario

Jennifer Cario has dedicated her career to creatively helping businesses and consumers connect in a way that positively impacts the bottom line. With over 20 years of industry experience, she has also written several books and developed social media training curriculum in use by hundreds of colleges, universities and enterprise companies around the world. Jen consistently develops fresh ideas and methods for communicating within the world of marketing.

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