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How to create a successful Social Media Strategy<br />The digital revolution is the big chance for small businesses and organizations who want to challenge the giants. With the help of social media you can make an opinion and do marketing without spending a dime.<br />Social Media Strategy<br />Key points for creating a successful social media strategy are to determine the goals and objectives of social media and doing proper research on various social media sites; how do other companies work with their sites and how do they engage their audience? You should also subscribe to blogs to start conversation in the forums relevant for your business so that your target audience will recognize you and later on feel that they know you. The relationship can be further strengthened by participation in offline events like fairs.<br />Content strategyRich Brooks is president of Flyte New Media, a web design and Internet marketing company helping small businesses succeed with blogging, email marketing, social media and websites that sell. According to Mr. Brooks there are three important elements to developing an effective content strategy. <br />First of all you need to know what your customers and audience want to talk about and be willing to participate in those conversations. You also need to know where your audience “hangs out” online. Once participating in the conversations, they should be measured to see which ones engage the largest audience. It seems obvious that you can’t have a social media strategy without making a content strategy.<br />What does your audience want to talk about?<br />In Rich Brooks’ opinion, developing a content strategy often starts with a keyword analysis because it can help you uncover the language that your audience is using. Quote: “If you’re a plastic surgeon and you’re putting out some great content about “rhinoplasty” but everyone’s talking about “nose jobs” you’re not reaching anyone”.<br />A keyword analysis begins with a list of words or phrases that you believe your audience is using to find products or services like yours. Google AdWord is a free tool that uses data to determine what phrases are popular. . Google Alerts is a free “listening” tool that will send you daily emails of news, blog posts, tweets and more around any keyword you’re following.<br />Where does your audience hang out?<br />Once you have a general sense of what’s important to your audience, you need to determine where to have these conversations. Small businesses need to go deep rather than wide, i.e. they should use max two platforms to be able to control it all.<br />The demographic factor (age and gender) together with what you have to offer determines where your audience is. For example, YouTube can work for any audience, LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for B2B companies and Facebook works better for B2C<br />How to implement a content strategy<br />There are different social media tools by which you can easily start implementing your own content strategy. Blogging around your content strategy keywords is an easy way to engage your audience. WordTracker Labs has a Keyword Questions tool, you just enter a key word or phrase and it will return related questions people have asked at various search engines. If you have a Facebook business page, you should ask questions related to your content strategy.<br />Measuring the Results <br />A keyword analysis and some social media demographics are fine to begin with. Later on you also need to measure the impact of your conversations to see if anybody is interested in what you have to say. For small businesses it is crucial to keep this as simple as possible. An easy way is to keep track of the “like” and “comment” posts on Facebook, count how much traffic there is on your blog spot and how many comments it gets. It is also easy to keep track of how many followers and mentions you get. Small local businesses should pay most attention to their local influence and to the depth of engagement with their audience.<br />A few pointersRich Brooks has a few pointers when implementing a content strategy.<br />Listen. Having a content strategy isn’t always about talking. Since social media is a place for interaction, the strategy is also about listening and understanding.<br />Have patience. Putting up one tweet with a keyword in is not a content strategy. A content strategy takes time; it is about building trust with your audience and your customers. <br />Be flexible. A keyword analysis and social media demographics will only take you so far. Based on your experience, you’ll need to evolve your content strategy over time.<br />Social Media Marketing Strategy<br />Social media marketing strategy has formed an integral part of every company’s marketing plan. When using multimedia, you should customize your message for different websites. The online and offline, more traditional, marketing/advertising should also be integrated. Joining local social networks is also smart, because the audience and the customers can find you much easier.<br />You need to keep track of your competitors in the same field. Have they revolutionized their own social media campaign strategies? Can you adopt it in your marketing strategy plan?<br />You should focus your campaign on a specific audience. Identifying the areas where the target audience are very active and their interactions is essential for planning an effective strategy. Not to forget the keywords. It is also important to pay attention to analyzing the target market.<br />In social media you must be prepared to adapt your strategies to changing trends and adjust your marketing plan if necessary. Strategizing the content, channel and the social media marketing campaign flexibly helps scoring over the competition.<br />A very important principle is that everything should be related to everything. Cross marketing your own material should be massive: the blog markets the newsletter and contents links to you web site. The web site gives tips about your latest tweets and on Twitter you market every newsletter.<br />ReferencesSocial Media Examiner 2011. URL:<br />http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-develop-a-social-media-content-strategy/Read 13.10.2011.<br />Ström, Pär. 2010. Sociala Medier. Gratis marknadsföring och opinionsbildning. Liber. Malmö.<br />Virtual Social Media 2011. URL:<br />http://www.virtualsocialmedia.com/how-to-create-a-social-media-marketing-strategy/Read 13.10.2011<br /> <br />.<br />