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Social, Social, Social! That's all we hear in today's world. It's actually pretty funny because now and days when you first meet someone at a networking event, especially if they are a millennial, what's the first thing they say after you introduce yourself? Well, if you guessed right, it was something along the lines of "Are you on Instagram?" Who isn't on social media these days? If you are not on social media, then are you really operating and growing a business, or brand? Having a social media presence adds that sense of credibility for some people. So, before we go into the essentials of what you need to think about for crafting any social media presence, let's quickly discuss what social media exactly is. Social media first off is a place to build relationships with people who enjoy what you do, while also promoting engaging content that provides some type of value to the people who follow, or you want to follow you. Honestly too, like Gary Vee says "if you are not on social media then are you really relevant in today's world?" As you will see, most companies have begun to implement these platforms into their marketing strategies. So with that being said, let's hop into what is needed to create a fire social media strategy.

Goals -

Goal setting is the essence of everything we do. It's important to have an understanding of what you want to accomplish and why before you even get started. Social media is very similar. Before even beginning to think about what you want to post, you need to have an understanding of why you want to be on social media in the first place. After you have a clear idea of your purpose for being on social media, and how that relates to your overall business goals, now you can align your goals to that vision. By now you are probably thinking ok... I think that makes sense, I see where you are going, but wait prior to just going and writing out some objectives, you gotta think about it in a S.M.A.R.T way. So, what are S.M.A.R.T goals? It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Your goals need to fulfill each of these points. For instance, a possible target could be, "We want to increase sales by 2% by September 2020". This is great, it checks off all the boxes it's Specific (Increase sales), Measurable (2%), Achievable, Realistic, and Timely (7 months). That's it, your goals have now been set. One final point is that you can have more than one goal (sales, brand awareness, engagement, leads, etc).

Understand your audience -

There is no other way around this one. Your audience is the key to your social media endeavors. You need to basically eat, sleep, and breathe, how they breathe. Your brand needs to walk in their shoes, understanding their daily lives, and how what you do can possibly provide value in their lives. How to do this, is by building out a profile of potential users answering questions such as "Who are they?", "What are they interested in that you can provide?", "What platforms do they use online?", "When are they on social media?", "Why meaning what are they looking for on social media?", lastly, "In what ways are they consuming this content?". It is good to have an understanding of what to post before going out and posting any random content.

Research what's out there (Aka Your Competitors) -

The optimal way to see what's working, or not working, is to look at what's already being done. Use your competition to your advantage by seeing the type of content they mainly produce, how they are messaging themselves, and what they are not doing, and what areas you can make improvements. Also, consider looking across different networks and seeing how their content and goals are different from platform to platform. Remember each network is different, so your business needs to tailor your content so that it is proper to that particular network. We can go into that topic at a different point in time.

Look at what you have done currently -

Something else to consider, that is if you have a social media presence already, is to sit back and look at what you have done before. Determine what was successful and what wasn't and how can it improve. What needs to be different? Ask yourself why hasn't x happened and really finding the underlying reason as to why you haven't advanced one step closer to your destination.

Content Strategy -

Now that you have a general overview of how to create your awesome social media strategy for your business, now you need to determine how you will go about producing content (the theme behind your content), and when will you plan to promote that content.

Staying consistent/Continuous Improvements -

As with any other aspects of your business, you need to make continuous improvements. After every month, take a look at how you have done, see if you have achieved your goals, and if not what needs to improve. Possibly, maybe you need to post more, or maybe you are not utilizing the right hashtags, or what you are posting, and how you are messaging it isn't being relied properly on to your audience.

Now that you have an idea as to what social media is, and how to create strategies that will help you grow. Let's close by discussing what social media is not, it is not a place where you just create an account and it will grow. Also, don't expect to post once or twice a week or month, and expect something drastic to happen or, just posting any type of content (We can talk about this in more detail at a different time), it's called "social" media for a reason, you need to engage with your audience, it's a two-way street. Lastly, it's not just talking about what you do or sell, you need to provide value, and really showcase your personality and who you really are.