- Set Goals. Be specific, and make sure the goals are attainable and tie into your overall company goals. It is important to know what you are attempting to achieve, in order to know how social media can help you.
- Do your homework. Determine which social media sites will work for you, and how they can be best used. Create a list of potential social media platforms, and then assess their relevancy for business by searching keywords and seeing where your competitors are succeeding. Identify your target audience, and meet them where they are in the online world.
- Create a list of relevant contacts and content. Subscribe to blogs in your industry, so that you can determine the thought leaders, and decide which content is successful. Make connections by following conversations, and relationships will begin to form naturally.
- Begin developing relationships. Join conversations, leave comments on blogs, participate in Twitter chats and join pertinent groups. Networking should be a major part of your social media business plan, because a strong network is the key to social media success.
- Strengthen your network in person. As tempting as it may be to hide behind an online presence, face-to-face is still the most effective way to connect. Participate in offline events to learn more about your industry, while strengthening your connections with your online network.
- Measure your success. Frequently review your list of stated objectives and determine whether you are reaching your goals. Note your number of Facebook Likes or Twitter followers, check to see how much of your feedback is positive, and see how much traffic is being driven to your website and blog. One benefit of social media is that your success is measurable and clear. A variety of online tools can help assess your progress; for example, YouTube analytics can give you a very real picture of the audience for your video content, so that you can amend your content if you need to, in order to reach your target market.
- Adapt and improve. Your social media business plan is only as strong as its results. Be prepared to develop new strategies, as you become aware of what is working and what is not.