What Do You Need for an Effective Social Media Optimization Strategy?

By Ric Shreves, Michelle Krasniak

Effective execution of a social media strategy requires time, effort and energy. Although the right tools can make life easier, there’s no way around the fact that you need to set aside time for social media and that it requires personal commitment. Social media is personal media; it’s about connecting with individuals in a manner that’s genuine and true to your brand values. As such, it can’t be automated. You can’t set it and forget it.

The most important resource you need to create social media success is the human touch.

In the most basic terms, the resources you need can be grouped into three categories: time, creative resources, and software tools.

Time

Time is a valuable commodity and often the most expensive component of a social media initiative. You not only need to invest in planning, but also must remain available to manage the execution. A social media campaign isn’t like an old‐school media campaign, in which the job is largely done as soon as the artwork is off to the printer. Social media is fluid.

It requires constant adjustment and the ability to respond both appropriately and in a timely fashion. It also requires a strong sense of engagement. You need to find the time and the focus to make it work. Start by setting aside an hour a day to find out what you can get done in that amount of time. Adjust your schedule, and be willing to spend additional time when you have a chance to engage with your audience.

Creative resources

Creative resources are next on your shopping list. A great social media campaign is backed up by great content. Your Facebook posts, your tweets, and your other text content should be planned and reviewed before you post them. Although you must be flexible and willing to improvise, the key points of the content need to be planned in advance. If you’re not a great writer, find one.

Visual media is also a highly effective social media asset. If you can tap artists who create great imagery — photos, charts, infographics, videos, and so on — you’ll be one step ahead of the competition. Like creative text, imagery takes planning and time for execution. You should try to set aside budget for imagery if you aren’t able to create it yourself.

Software tools

Software tools can help lighten the load and make your work more effective. Before you get started, you may want to build your tool kit. Here’s a starter list of tools that can handle your basic needs:

  • To help you manage multiple accounts and schedule your posts, try Hootsuite; it’s a good choice with both free and subscription options. Hootsuite provides multiple‐account management for both Twitter and Facebook. The premium version enables you to share account administration duties.

    Hootsuite

    Hootsuite
  • To detect mentions of your brand or product on various social channels, use a tool like Google Alerts or Social Mention.

  • To track the effect of your Facebook efforts, you need access to the Facebook Page Insights included with your Facebook Page.

  • To track your success on Twitter, use the Twitter stats feature provided on Twitter.com.

  • To assess the effect of your work on your website, you need access to your website analytics program. If you don’t have one, try Google Analytics; it’s free and easy to implement.

These suggestions are the minimum tools you need for your social media tool kit. You can add many more, though, assuming that it makes sense to take the time to learn the technologies and you have the budget for them.