Having a social media presence these days is seen as a no-brainer for most businesses. The platforms businesses use and the content they produce may vary wildly, but it is true to say that pretty much every successful business you can think of, particularly customer-focussed ones, will have a strong social media presence.

It is easy when using social media to fall in to the trap of setting up many different accounts in an effort to keep up with rivals or exploit the next “big thing.” However, as with any area of business, it is very important to have a plan of how you want to use social-media, rather than just ploughing straight into it. Below are a few things to consider when writing your strategy.

Why are you using social media? Are you trying to find new customers? Talk to existing ones? Researching your competition? Social media can be utilised in many different ways, so first and foremost it is important to establish what the reasons are for you using it.

What accounts do you want to use? Facebook may have the most users, but it could be true that if you are a fashion company something more image based such as Instagram or Pinterest might be more useful. Maybe YouTube makes more sense if you are producing lots of video content. Do some research into each platform and choose wisely.

How much time do you have? This is particularly important for new and/or small businesses, as it is unlikely you will have a dedicated digital marketer. Make sure you do not spread yourself too thin and that you can spend at least half an hour a day checking and posting to your social media accounts. Having 1 or 2 profiles on a social media site that you post to regularly makes more sense than 7-8 that are devoid of content.

How much are you willing to spend? Many platforms now offer some form of paid advertising, and whilst you can grow your profiles organically, this is far and away the quickest method. You can usually set your overall budget and therefore be very strict with how much you spend, but if you plan to spend on marketing, social media paid advertising is something that should fall under that strategy.

The 4 points above are interesting in the sense that you can consider them without having had any social media accounts at all. However, the main thing to focus on is research. Research your strategy and make it happen.