So, you’ve decided that the time has come to finally start using social media to help build your business. Or maybe you’ve decided to revisit your social media strategy to incorporate new platforms. But before you jump in, you need to ensure that you have clarity on what you want to accomplish and how you’re going to get there.

High level, here are 4 critical questions to ask yourself before executing your social media strategy:

  • Aspirations: What are your business goals, and their measurements?
  • Impact: Who are your target clients, and segments?
  • Content: What digital content (videos, whitepapers, blogs etc) do you have to establish your authority and help these clients?
  • Outcomes: What action(s) do you want clients to take, as a result of connecting with your content?

In depth, here are the seven key questions you need to ask when putting together your social media marketing strategy:

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What are your goals?

This question is important to answer because figuring out your goals will help you develop an effective social media strategy and will determine and give you guidelines for your social media posts.

Goals to consider might include:

  • Building brand awareness
  • Attracting new customers or leads
  • Engaging or supporting existing customers more effectively
  • Increasing customer loyalty
  • Generating sales or closing deals

[READ MORE: Polarization: How to attract the right customers, while keeping the ‘’wrong’’ ones out]

Remember SMART goals? If not, follow these rules:

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  • Specific – Make your goals clear and specific so there is no confusion on what the end result should be.
  • Measurable – Make your goals measurable, so you know if your efforts are working.
  • Actionable – Set up steps to reach your goals.
  • Realistic – Set goals that make sense for your brand. You’re most likely not going to gain 1 million followers overnight.
  • Time-bound – It’s important to set time boundaries for your goals so you don’t sit on them forever.

Who is your target audience?

Once you have defined your goals, you’ll have a firm idea of the types of people you want to attract on your social media channels. Discovering your audience is the second key component to creating a social media strategy, and all the content that goes along with it.

Figure out their demographics, and psychographics, including which competitors they follow, what publications and websites they’re into etc. The more you know about who your audience is, the easier it will be to create content that bridges the gap between your brand/business and adding value to their lives.

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[READ MORE: Polarization: How to attract the right customers, while keeping the ‘’wrong’’ ones out]

What is the current state of your social media marketing?

Auditing where your current social media marketing strategy and presence stands is another important step in creating your social media strategy. With a clear picture of where you are, you’ll have a better idea of what gaps you need to fill, or where you want to go.

Pay attention to your engagement, what networks you’d like to be on (or drop), the quality of your content (images and videos), how consistent you are, etc.

Which social media platforms should you use?

Once you’ve determined what you are trying to accomplish and who your target audience is, you can decide which social media platforms work best for your business. Not all platforms will serve your particular goals and target audience equally well. The most important factors to consider are the behaviours, preferences, and demographics of your target audience.

[READ ALSO: Steps to developing a growth plan for your business]

If you haven’t done so, spend some time perusing the social media presence of other companies and people in your space (competitors, etc.) to see where they’re investing the most resources and where they have the biggest followings. To get started, select one or two platforms to focus on. Unless you have the resources and momentum for more, it can be difficult to launch on several platforms at the same time.

What style, tone, and voice should you use?

As is true with all customer-facing communications, it’s important to develop and maintain a particular “brand persona” that people will relate to and want to engage with.

This includes deciding what kind of writing style to employ, the tone and voice to use (e.g., informative and serious versus casual and funny) and the types of content you will create. Having an effective and consistent voice is a valuable method for attracting and retaining social media followers.

[READ ALSO: Steps to developing a growth plan for your business]

How will you measure your progress?

Once you launch your social media efforts, it is critical to track your progress and tweak your strategy as necessary. The first step in doing so begins before you even go online: deciding what metrics matter the most and how you will measure them.

Every social media platform provides metrics that help you understand how well you are performing on that platform. Many social media metrics are the same across platforms, while there are also platform-specific metrics you might find valuable.

You’ll also need to weave in metrics from your website (e.g., using Google Analytics) to understand how your social media efforts are making impact on website traffic and activity. While reviewing the ins and outs of all possible metrics is beyond the scope of this article, it’s important to understand what’s available, and metrics will help you measure progress.

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Who will manage and execute your social media strategy?

Once you’ve answered all of the above questions and have a basic strategy in place, it’s time to execute!

Many skills are required to successfully use social media to build a business. These include strategic thinking, product expertise, content creation, visual design, community management, customer service, and analytics. It is important to build a team with a clear structure and a clear division of responsibilities. Like in any team, each member needs to have both responsibility and accountability for his/her particular duties. If you’re executing across multiple social media platforms, you might need to divide responsibilities for certain activities across multiple people.

 

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