New businesses must include social media as part of their marketing strategy. Regardless of whether you begin a brick and mortar company or do business only online, the social media can build credibility for your brand and a sense of community among your customers. As millions of people daily log into most popular social networking sites, they need to find your company and the goods and services you provide. The following tips will help you formulate and execute a social media strategy that works for you.

Plan for Social Media

When starting your business, you probably have decided to hire a web designer or website design firm to build an online presence. Your company must plan to spend time and money on its social media presence. Studies have shown that as little time as six hours weekly spent engaging your target market can result in increased website traffic that can lead to increased sales. When you include social media campaigns in your business plan and operating budget, you integrate social media with your culture. Of course, every company needs to go beyond time and money to develop a winning social media strategy.

Set Goals

Your business needs to know what it expects to accomplish on social media. Time spent planning will make sure every team member has a sense of purpose that will keep them motivated and focused. Although specific goals might vary among different companies, some objectives almost universally apply. These include introducing your business and its products and services to your target market, but a social media presence should emphasize service over sales. Other than that, the SMART method might help guide your social media strategy. SMART provides a helpful framework for goal setting in many settings, including social media as follows:

  • Specific. Your team needs specific objectives, so every member of your team knows what they need to accomplish.
  • Measurable. You need to have a way to assess progress toward your goals.
  • Attainable. You need social media goals that your team can reasonably expect to accomplish.
  • Relevant. Make sure your social media goals support the success of your business.
  • Timely. Schedule deadlines to create a lively tempo that keeps your business moving forward.

After setting goals, your company should follow some basic guidelines to get the most benefits from social media.

Listen

An active social media presence gives your company a chance to listen to your customers and the community. Satisfied and dissatisfied clients can draw attention to the successes and failures of your business. Encourage your followers to share their opinions and experiences with you. Let the world see that you can listen to what people want and deliver customer service excellence, even when it costs you.

Respond

The majority of brands on social media never respond to comments and complaints left for them. When your company spends the time replying to all received messages, you gain a competitive advantage that can give your business the credibility it needs to earn success.

Now that you’ve decided to start a company make sure you include social media in your plan and budget. By setting good goals, listening, and responding to your customers and prospects, you can lay the foundation for a social media strategy that propels your success. Don’t wait: Get started today.