Integrating a social media strategy for your brand

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As a leading St. Louis web design agency, clients frequently come to us for the essentials: creating compelling content, designing an appropriate user experience and developing an efficient web entity. However, one of the most critical aspects of crafting an effective web presence is the integration of a well-structured social media strategy - and this aspect is often overlooked.

Creating a social media strategy simultaneously with the undertaking of a company website project maximizes synergies by leveraging the work being done for one, and using it to inform the other. Creating a brand personality and establishing why users would want to interact with your brand all apply to both website projects and social media strategy. A social media strategy is essentially about establishing your overall brand goals and seeing how social media can advance them. Goals like increasing brand awareness; providing instant and personal customer service; promoting deals, products and specials; and creating a solid online reputation are all instances where social media proves to be an essential tool.

There are several steps to take before hitting “Create” on that Twitter account, though. Below we’ve compiled the key issues that should be considered prior to launching your brand in to social media.

  • Firmly establish your brand personality and goals: How do you want your brand to be seen in social media? What are you trying to accomplish? Are you just on social media to say you are there? Creating specific goals will help determine the specific direction of your social activity and ultimately determine how successful you are socially.
  • Determine which networks are best for your brand: Based on your determined goals, decide where you’d like to focus your efforts. For example, if you’d like to provide real-time customer service, a Twitter account would be helpful to provide short, quick answers to users. If you want to establish a more catalog feel, a Pinterest account with various boards related to products and lifestyle would be a great fit.
  • Create an editorial calendar: Now that you have goals, a personality and set networks, create an editorial calendar to determine what’s getting posted when (and where). This document is meant to be flexible and can evolve over time depending on how users react to certain types of content. If you plan to post a new Facebook photo album every Tuesday, post it (and make sure you have enough new creative content each time so that your users don’t get bored).
  • Ensure you have the proper staff and time commitment: A properly executed social media strategy requires time and effort to cultivate in to an effective online community. Determine who in your organization is responsible for updating and how much time they will spend each day, week or month working on it. This ensures that content will be current, and creates accountability for your networks.
  • Set up a system for tracking results: Be mindful of your efforts and how they are progressing. You can determine success on a quantitative basis by counting a fan and follower increase from month to month, or seeing which types of posts receive the most likes, comments and retweets. You can also see qualitative results, such as meaningful comments or examples of community strength. Your original goals will determine how you track results.
  • Promote your efforts: Having social media accounts are great, but make sure your users know how to find them. Adding social buttons to your website and putting links on printed materials are great ways to spread the word.

Social media is not something to be afraid of. Brands ranging from drug stores to airlines are actively interacting with their users each day and making themselves more relatable and memorable. Ultimately, you are your brand’s expert, and can determine how social media can work for you.

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