Social MediaWith the advent of social media, the way customers and businesses interact has changed. Customers are just as likely to go straight to your Facebook page as they are to look you up online, and as such your business needs to have a strategy in place to take advantage of this. While it seems like social media is changing every day, it is important that you stay on top of the changes to ensure that your business remains relevant in the eyes of your consumer. Now there is no set formula for social media success, but there are a few things that you should keep in mind to help you get started.

Creating a successful social media plan for your business

1 – Know you goals. While it is tempting to just jump right in and start using social media, you need to have a clear understanding of what your goals are in terms of what you hope to accomplish using social media. Through the establishment of these goals you will begin to get an idea of how you can unify your efforts to achieve the best results. Are you trying to increase the number of customers you have? If so, you will need to tailor your efforts towards getting customers. Are you simply trying to increase brand or business awareness? If that is the case you will need to take a slightly different approach. It is important you understand what you are trying to accomplish before you begin your social media plans.

2 – Do not neglect your efforts. One of the most challenging things about social media is that it is open 24/7. Make sure that if you set up a Twitter account and ask your customers to follow you that you actually tweet and get involved. The same holds true with a blog or Facebook. If someone leaves you a comment, remember to reply quickly. Nothing is more disappointing to a potential customer than feeling neglected. By taking the time to respond to your inquiries you are taking important steps in getting a new customer.

3- In keeping with this, it is important to designate who at your company will be in charge of keeping up with your social media outlets. Decide in advance what tone you wish to take when updating your status or tweeting, and keep that tone as consistent as possible. Choose how you are going to incorporate your sales or brand awareness message, and do your best to stay on point. It is a bad idea to post too often, so part of your social media strategy should include the number of updates you plan to release per week or month.

4- Lastly, make sure you have a way to keep track of the results of your campaign. There are several ways to do this, and many of the web analytics programs are free to use. In this way you can modify your plan as you go depending on what actions are working, and which ones are duds. One of my favorite is Google Analytics. It can show you your conversion rate as well as the number of visitors to your site, where they came from and more. Using this information is invaluable, particularity seeing the number of visitors your website has depending on what promotion you just emailed about or what update you just released.

Using the above mentioned tips, you can build a successful social marketing campaign from the ground up. It requires some work, and does not happen overnight, but given enough time and effort your business too can reap the benefits of social media or social networking.

Joel Mayer  is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about web marketing for small business for This article Creating a successful social media plan for your business written by Joel Mayer.