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10 Steps to a Sustainable Social Media Strategy


									The biggest reason businesses fail in social media is lack of strategy. Businesses have
to remember to stop looking for 鈥渟 hiny new tools 鈥?just because everyone is
using them and thinks they are the 鈥渉 oly grail 鈥?of the online world. It is
paramount to take the time to learn the correct way to use social media, and
implement the strategy that is suitable for your business. And, the truth is social media
should always come last in any planning you do for your business. It is also important
to understand that social media is not the end-all solution to your business problems,
and it should never be used as a replacement strategy or as a stand-alone.
  If you want to succeed with social media, there are some strategy steps you must
take before you dive into the online world. So, let 鈥檚 strip away all the hype and go
through the right steps that must be taken to help you determine if social media is
appropriate for your business.
  If you go through the following 10 steps in the order I list them, you will gain clarity,
save time and reduce social media overwhelm.
  1. Be open-minded and change the traditional way you communicate with customers,
employees, investors, partners, the media, etc. As an entrepreneur, it is important to
create a social mind-set for relationship marketing, networking, engaging and
  2. Educate yourself and become familiar with all the categories of social media and
how they can be integrated together as well as the entire marketing mix in order to
leverage and maximize your efforts.
  3. Pinpoint existing resources that may be needed for social media (employees, time,
budget, tools, etc.).
  4. Determine if you have weaknesses in your business that may potentially hurt you
online (i.e., poorly designed website or no website, bad customer service, weak
content, negative comments from customers, etc.)
  5. Determine if you have strengths in your business that you can leverage online (i.e.,
available content such as videos, e-Books, or brand lovers who are already talking
about you, etc.)
  6. See what your competitors are doing with social media. Just observe and takes
notes; do not be a copy-cat.
  7. Identify your target audience, and determine when and where they hang out
  8. Set clear goals and objectives. Goals are general statements (i.e., 鈥淲 e want to
leverage social media to improve customer service 鈥?. Objectives are more specific
and measurable (i.e., 鈥淏 y December 2010, we want to triple traffic to our website
and increase sales by 20 percent 鈥?.
  9. Decide what you want to use social media for (i.e., prospecting, recruiting,
customer service, etc.) and how you want to engage your online audience. Do you
want to use social media for communication, collaboration, education, entertainment
or all of them?
  10. Based on what you came up with in the last nine steps, select the social media
categories and tools you want to use (social networking, video, podcasting,
photo-sharing, blogging, etc.).
  There are many more factors to consider before putting together a strategy; however,
if done properly, these steps will give you a clear picture of the social media
landscape and help you determine whether social media is right for your business or
  Named as one of the 鈥渟 martest people in social media,鈥?Mirna Bard is a social
media consultant who inspires organizations and entrepreneurs to leverage the
Internet. You can find more information on Mirna and get practical, hype-free social
media tips and business advice on her blog. You can also connect with Mirna on
Facebook at where she gives great
advice and fun giveaways.

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