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Why You Absolutely Need a Social Media Strategy

It doesn’t matter what business you are in: in almost all cases, strategizing is a good thing.  Setting goals, putting in long term plans to reach them, and constantly reviewing and customizing your approach to the task at hand is the best proven way to grow and succeed in almost any industry.  So why do individuals and businesses forget to strategize  when approaching social media?

Probably because, for most of us, our first interactions with social media are in an informal and personal setting.  If you use Facebook to keep up with old classmates or twitter to follow your favorite celebrities, you probably don’t need a social media strategy.  But if you run a business with a social media component, stragezing is key.  If you utilize social media to promote your personal brand, you will be more successful with a bit of planning.  Read on for the top reasons why you absolutely need a social media strategy.

1.  Posting Frequency and the Spam Conundrum

If you use social media at all, you can probably think of a few people on your friend lists’ that post WAY too much.  And if your business or branding page is seen as one of these spammers, the material you post won’t be taken seriously, and you will struggle to get your fanbase to engage with even the most exciting content.  But on the other side of the spectrum, if you don’t post at all or frequently enough, what are you really getting out of your social media accounts?  A smart social media strategy helps guarantee that people will see your page as valuable, rather than a spam bot.  Confused about how much is too much?  Research is your best friend, as there is a lot of info out there on the topic.

2.  Building (and Keeping) a Devoted Follower Base

Whether you are dealing with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or any other social network, you constantly have two struggles in your quest to gain exposure: building a fanbase of followers that believe in you, and keeping them around.  Smart interactions and high quality shares may gain you followers quickly, but you won’t keep them around without consistency and continued relevance.  And there is no better way to assure that your accounts will remain interesting and your fanbase will remain engaged than approaching your social media game with a larger strategy in mind.

3.  Selling your Brand or Product

Building a follower base and gaining social media attention is surely fun, but if you are a business owner, you want to get more out of social media’s potential.  Some of the biggest corporations that use social media successfully, from  Taco Bell to Tesla, are great at interacting with other users and sharing good content.  But they also are smart about selling their own product, developing their own brand, and using social media as a marketing platform.  You won’t reach these goals by accident: you need a well developed social media strategy to at once build a fanbase, convey your personality, and sell yourself in a more direct sense as well.

4.  Your Competition is Making Plans and Using Strategies

Some business stumble their way through social media, throwing up shares and making connections willy nilly.  But successful businesses approach the medium with a goal, plan, and execution strategy in mind.  If you don’t, your competition still will.  Thinking strategically and methodically about social media takes an investment of time, a big investment of energy, and a willingness to get serious.  And you can bet that your biggest competitors will be making this investment, even if you choose to skip the strategizing phase.

5.  Strategy Wins In the End, One Step at a Time

Social media marketing involves a lot of luck.  Maybe a tweet you share catches the eye of a bigger account, gets retweeted, and picks up steam.  But luck and chance can only take you so far, and there are obviously no guarantees that any one post you share will pick up viral steam.  A smart strategy takes chance out of the equation a whole lot.  Instead of posting things and hoping they catch on, an incremental social media strategy based on building real networks and utilizing connections puts the power in your hand.  And even if your posts never go viral or “blow up,” a “one step at a time” approach to social media wins out in the end by building more useful and reliable networks.  There are a lot more rich investors than rich lottery winners in the world, because strategy beats luck in the long run.  And your social media presence is no exception.

The Bottom Line:

Social media is fun.  And when you are using personal social media accounts for personal purposes, there is no reason not to treat Facebook or Twitter as a fun diversion.  But if you are running a business, or using social media to develop personal branding, start thinking of social media as a tool.  And start utilizing a strategy.