Are you troubled by Twitter?

Flummoxed by Facebook?

Lost on Linkedin?

Baffled by blogging?

Guessing about Google+?

It’s not enough to merely get on the latest and greatest service, you need a strategy to select the right tools, for the right reasons, for your business.

Having a social media marketing strategy is the key to using the new tools like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Foursquare effectively for your business.

But what do you need to know about creating a social media strategy for your business?

Define your overall business strategy. Make sure the people you put in charge of executing the social media strategy know your business strategy. Your team needs to know what you are in business to do before they can effectively communicate with your customers in the social space.

Clarify the purpose of your use of social media. Will you do marketing, broad communications, networking, customer service, and/or hiring using social tools? If you do not know why you are using social media, now is the time to figure it out. Just because all your competitors are using it is not the right reason to jump on board.

Discover where your audience is. What social media sites are your customers using? Ask yourself, “Where are the people I want to do business with already spending time?” Once you figure this out, you can take advantage of what people are already using instead of trying to convince them to try a brand new service. You may need to ask your customers which sites they use.

Decide on an approach to using social media. Do you want to draw new customers to your business?   Will you be mostly listening and responding to people who mention you? What content do you hope to share? Will you use social media as a tool to stay connected to your loyal customer base? Select one approach and work on that first, then invest time and resources into others. If you don’t, you may be exhausted by the amount of time and effort it takes to keep both strategies moving forward when you haven’t yet mastered the tools.

Getting a firm grasp on your social media marketing strategy will help you set meaningful goals, uncover the methods needed and understand the best tools your business can use to interact with your customers and potential customers.

Just like it’s important to have a strategic business plan when you start your business, it’s critical to develop a social media marketing strategy before diving into the new world of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more, and to avoid frustrating you, your employees, and, most importantly, your customers and potential customers.

Take 12 minutes, now, to consider a social media strategy for your business.

  • Define your overall business strategy.
  • Clarify your purpose in using social media tools.
  • Discover which sites your customers are using.
  • Decide on an approach to using social tools.

When you have a social media strategy, you will be more effective and efficient in your efforts.