Implementing a social media strategy is a lot like building a house. If you want the house to look the way you envision it, you have to build it to specifications. But first you must actually have specifications in mind! You wouldn’t build a house without knowing what design or materials were going into it ahead of time. Social media – successful social media, that is – should be no different.  

 A Social Media Blueprint for Success

If you have built “homes” for your business on Facebook, Twitter or a blog, but have not carefully drafted a blueprint for how it should look, how long it will last, or why you built it in the first place, you are not alone.

 A recent study, “2011 Impact of Social Business in Small and Medium Business,” indicates that many small businesses go social without a trace of a blueprint as to a defined strategy. With budgets trending toward social, and less and less print, it’s pretty alarming to think of the bulk of your marketing plan existing without a solid foundation. Don’t fall in with the shoddy social media builders of the world. Draft a blueprint for success using quality materials, and when construction is through, perform routine inspections to make the strategy is working, and continues to work. Once you feel comfortable with the structural integrity of your social media strategy, then you can focus on the fun stuff, like your social media curb appeal!

 Your business might be smaller in numbers, but when it comes to social media strategy, even the big boys don’t always conduct social media activities in an organized manner. In fact, only 31{a1e4dbad5b5db674abcd08880e44cddfd507140ecbeb8646296ad08a1acb49a4} of mid-sized businesses reported using social media in a structured, strategic way, and just as small businesses, one in five reported their social media activities as undefined.

 Don’t just follow the trend to follow it. Follow the trend, but follow it smarter. Take these crucial steps that the other 69{a1e4dbad5b5db674abcd08880e44cddfd507140ecbeb8646296ad08a1acb49a4} of businesses aren’t:

 Put Together a Blueprint

    Your blueprint should address the following questions:Who will be responsible for generating content?Who will maintain content? How often will you engage your client base?

    Who will respond to client and prospect inquiries through these outlets?

    How will you measure success?

    What is the mark of success through these channels?

    Who will measure your success?

    What is your target or goal? Is this tied to revenue?

    What is the objective?

    Do you have client engagement issues? Retention issues?

    Are you sure you’re using the right approach for the right business problem?

Plan Every Phase of the Build

Having a solid foundation doesn’t mean you have a roof to put over anyone’s head yet. You’ll need to take a few steps yet to make your home liveable. Make sure you consistently create a strategic calendar of campaigns or content that aligns with your current product offerings and upcoming launches, so there’s never a disconnect between your sales objectives and the selling of your brand to an engaged audience through social media. This is where the foundation and frame meet.

Preview the Plan

Take a step back for a moment and make sure your blueprint was followed, and that all of the questions that come with it have been answered. Once you’re confident these materials are in place, it’s time to put up the dry wall and get ready to paint and pretty up!

Put the Blueprint in Action

From the basement to the baseboards and beyond, watch the house become a home, as more and more rooms are added and your social media family expands.

Perform Routine Inspections

Houses need maintenance throughout the years, and so does social media. Businesses that don’t stay on top of their content and conversations become like abandoned or foreclosed homes – the house becomes a building that once had potential, but now has too many problems to quickly turn around. If, however, you’ve followed the blueprint for success, you are now ready for a housewarming, you proud homeowner! Enjoy!