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How to improve your social media efficiency

abimaster | January 19, 2011
Melissa Mauldin, Senior Marketing Specialist

While many businesses have decided to get their feet wet in the realm of social media (and yes, some are still hesitant), it’s apparent that some businesses do so without proper planning. Lack of planning causes wasted time and often includes inefficient methods. Social media, like any form of marketing for a business, must involve strategy.

As we all learned from the popularization of social media in 2009 and the enhancement of the medium in 2010, social media can be a truly efficient and effective way to communicate to stakeholders on a different level. It’s no longer a “new” medium, rather it is broadly being incorporated into business marketing plans and is a sought after resource in communicating businesses key messages, events, and product news and promotions directly with customers.

I recently came across a blog on socialmediatoday.com indicating the 12 reasons why businesses will fail at social media in 2011. Overall, many of the issues stemmed around businesses not incorporating social media as part of their strategic marketing plan. Rather, businesses attempted to use the medium because they thought they should get on board. Wrong. Below are a few tips to keep in mind to help businesses utilize this popular medium efficiently.

Understand the medium.

Social media is not a tool that’s going to fix a broken business or be the answer to down sales or a poor reputation. Social media will actually enhance these issues, if not conducted properly. Businesses need to have a true understanding of the medium and have a strategy in place before engaging.

Plan, plan, plan.

Businesses without a plan will fail. Otherwise known as Random Acts of Social Medial, or RASMs, no one can afford to waste time. Avoid the randomness and develop a strategy and appropriate messaging for utilizing this tool as part of your overall marketing plan. Think about the big picture as well as the logistics involved in the strategy. (i.e. What is our key message? Is our messaging appropriate for the audience? How much and how often? Will we develop any special events/promotions for this audience only? Who will manage our presence on social media sites? Who will have access? Do we have the manpower to devote one person to manage social media activity? If not, how can the workload be divided?)

Don’t expect too much too early.

Certainly, online resources provide data and feedback immediately upon entering this world. However, it takes time to understand the environment, engage with the audience and build a following that will respond, before determining the success or failure of this resource.

So, have you planned your social media participation strategically? This year, get on board with a strategic goal and action plan that’s in line and in support of your marketing efforts. Social media can help contribute to building your brand, as part of your overall marketing plan. Ensure you’re messaging correctly and devoting the resources needed to be successful in this ever-changing and continuously evolving medium. Don’t waste time.  There never seems to be enough anyway!

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