94436065If you don’t have a social media strategy, it will fail as a marketing tool. “Social media isn’t a toolbox of silver bullets given to us by aliens, it’s just a new set of technologies and concepts that we need to integrate into our existing marketing strategy” (Lon Safko). As with any marketing initiative you must have a strategy. What are your goals, objectives, and target audience?

Define your goal: Please don’t say that your goal is to create a Facebook page. Creating a social media page is an action step to achieve a goal. Clearly outline your marketing goals as an organization. Are you trying to encourage new business growth? Develop relationships with site selectors? Are you trying to foster collaboration among existing businesses? These goals or objectives will drive your strategy.

Select your target audience: You can view your audience as internal: local companies, work force, ally organizations, media, and stakeholders. Your audience can also be external: target companies or sectors, company executives, site consultants, developers, regional and state allies, and others in your region.

Define your message: Clearly define what you want to say to the target audience. This will translate to keywords which are important for online marketing. To be found on the internet you must use the keyword for which people search. Align the keywords with your marketing message and make sure they support your goal.

Listen to your target audience: Social media is just that – social. It is not a one-way street. Don’t just broadcast your message, listen to your target audience. It’s easy. Use the keywords you defined in the search box of all of your social media channels. Twitter is great for listening in on the conversation. The search is flexible and very open. You can find a massive amount of information about what people are saying, sharing, and doing.

Set measurable goals: Create targeted goals, such as connect with five local companies each month or engage with ten site selectors this year. The more specific the better. These goals can be updated throughout the year. Consistently and periodically review these goals throughout the year to determine if they still meet the overall objective.

You must dedicate resources and track your results. Most of the social media experience is free, but your time is not. You will need time resources committed to social media every day. It is important to monitor your time and to track your return on investment to know if your social media strategy is achieving your goals.

Creative EDC began offering social media support to EDOs in 2014. Contact Billye Carter, who is Internet Marketing and Social Media certified by Market Motive, for more information.