To be successful at social media you need to have a plan.  As the publisher, you control the power to social media confusiondistribute your content through digital media platforms such as blogs, mobile, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.  Most businesspersons are overwhelmed with all the options and how to implement them.  These six steps provide a roadmap to use social media to achieve optimal results for your business.

Step 1 –Determine Social Media Value for Your Business

  • Develop an understanding of social media and online communities – How can you gain traction for ideas and grow your network to benefit your company?
  • Determine goals – What does your company want to accomplish with social media?
  • Evaluate social media – Is it a good fit for your company/institution?

Step 2 – Identify Challenges Facing Your Business When Implementing Digital Marketing

  • Determine organization’s changes – how will your company adopt social media?
  • Demonstrate value added – how will you gain support for this new, often misunderstood initiative within your company?
  • Determine your social media team – who will design and implement your social media strategy?
  • Determine your audience – who do you want to reach?
  • Determine competition’s social media activity

Step 3 – Select the Best Tools

  • Choose social media communities – select the tools that will best support your goals.  Setup the Applications – Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, Twitter, Mobile, blogs
  • Train your team on using the tools – optimizing profiles, frequency of use, portraying professional image
  • Guide the team on Marketing the Tools – gaining followers, building your network and engaging your community
  • Leverage Current Marketing – integrate digital media with your current marketing efforts

Step 4 – Develop Content

  • Develop compelling content – content that your community wants to read, content that will benefit them and content they will share with their communities
  • Remember SEO best practices – use keywords and key phrases
  • Include trackable links – content with links to your hub or online environment, video or photos produce best results
  • Post content frequently – consistency is key, good content with few hard sales
  • Develop Action Responses – ask questions, opinions, advice; direct the user’s response for feedback, to engage in conversations

Step 5: Content Distribution

  • Apply widgets to drive viral action – like buttons, share, and repost
  • Syndicate your content – RSS feeds, NetworkedBlog, email
  • Use applications and tools – simplify efforts, schedule in advance, tracking URL’s
  • Integrated digital media strategy – design, implement and manage your social media and integrate it with traditional advertising, online solutions, business networking and integrate it with other social media networks

Step 6: Feedback

  • Monitor company chatter – your team should use Google alerts, searches, free and paid tools
  • Prepare for feedback – prepare for potential effects on your company, plan how your company will responds to positive and negative feedback
  • Evaluation and reporting – through tracking and monitoring determine the effect of your social media strategies and what changes in the landscape have affected it
  • Determine ROI – what is the return on your investment from your digital marketing strategy, identify the RGV (resources generating value)
  • Adjustment – review your strategy and make the necessary changes and implement the next phase.