Considering Social? Consider this –

Rather than asking what is social media (most have a pretty good idea what it looks like, if not a good understanding of why its valuable), ask yourself how you can make it relevant to your business. That single question isn’t easy to answer, particularly when the social networks themselves remain fluid, constantly adapting to meet user demands, or attempting to influence and justify their own place in the social hierarchy. Competition is fierce between the social networks, as they seek to widen their appeal and look to improve their own revenue streams, often by infringing on one another.

Every business, large or small will have a completely unique criteria and approach to social media marketing. It just isn’t possible to sub a one size fits all approach and should always form part of a well planned search marketing strategy. That being said, get your priorities right! In most cases ensure that you only pursue social activities once you’ve got the more critical elements of your digital plan squared away, such as SEO, PPC, and a good level of reporting and analysis on your website analytics.

Social is a long term investment. Don’t bother unless you’re willing and able to give it sufficient investment and resource to gain momentum. A un-moderated and badly utilised social account on any network will leave a poor impression, such that it looks worse than having nothing at all. Most will excuse a creaky website, if it looks like the lights are on with updated blogs and clear signs of activity, so be prepared to define a strategy and keep the faith.

Social rarely sells.

No one; business or individual wants to opt in to being sold to when they aren’t buying. Chances are, your potential customers may share interests which your business may have some authority. Can you talk with authority about some aspect of your market sector that your customers would gain some value from listening too? If you can, then your opportunity to engage them at some level has been identified. When they’re ready to buy, you’ve a good chance that they’ll come knocking. Thats not to say well placed promotions, or new product releases that may trigger a direct buying response can’t be utilised through social.

You’ll need to consider content carefully, as recycling articles will effectively make you little more than a news feed, and limit your engagement. Wether you’re looking to manage in house, or use an agency (or both) you have to identify how to attribute the value of your social activity, and what the ROI is. Its not always easy to identify a precise spend versus return, but planning spend identifying some key relevant indicators will bring confidence, and allow you to measure progress. Twitter followers or Facebook likes are rarely a good indicator of success!