Many professionals get jazzed up after reading a social media article, but the excitement and strategy escape as soon as the page is minimized and they move on to the next enticing link in their Twitter feed. I see it all too often: a quick high followed by complete memory loss on what they have just read. How can you put these tidbits of social media advice to work in the real world?

Yes, your brand is interesting. Now keep them interested. Content marketing isn’t just for the Fortune 500. Effective social media isn’t reserved for the companies with 20-plus staffers in their communications department. But your social strategy isn’t going to be served to you on a silver platter. Social media is fun to talk about, tough to implement and an even bigger challenge for companies to be creative and stay consistent. If you don’t change your actions, you are destined to get the same results.

Getting started is often the hardest part of any task, and social media is no different. Having a better understanding of your brand will help you navigate and create a social media presence that truly makes an impact. Get in touch with your brand. Only then can you begin to create fresh content and a strategy that you can rely on.

Rethink your role. First, we must look at ourselves. If you are a business owner or a professional eager to make big changes to your company’s online strategy, own it. You are now a social media ambassador. You don’t have to be a PR professional or in your 20s to understand the social media game. Thinking different is almost always a catalyst to act different. Don’t be afraid to jump in with both feet and explore ways to discover and redefine your brand and communication. Mental blocks are your fabricated obstructions, drop them.

Rethink with your brand. (Even if you don’t think you have a “brand,” you do.)

  • Find your voice: What kind of content you create centers around a common tone. For some it’s professional, casual, witty, conversational or sarcastic if that’s your shtick. You can be a few things, but not everything. Decide now.
  • Identify your goals: Like a dear friend of mine says, “You have to know what you want to get what you want.” Increase exposure, gain fans/followers, increase engagement/comments, get more newsletter subscribers, get new leads, position your brand as a resource, educate on a certain topic, find partners, etc. Decide what you want to gain out of social media and make sure that all content addresses one of these goals.
  • Choose your channels: Not all channels are for every company. Not everyone needs every social outlet under the sun. Brainstorm how each platform could be leveraged and decide what makes sense for you. And you don’t have to launch all platforms at once. Set yourself up for success. Start with Facebook, Twitter and a blog. Then branch out when you have mastered those tools and see how to effectively integrate others.
  • Identify your fans/followers: Know your audience and always keep them in mind. Outline in brief, categories of your fans and then things that interest them. Clients, partners, prospects, local businesses, etc. You can plan content around them and what is important to them. This will help keep you on track when deciding what to post or blog about.
  • Have a baseline: To know where you are going you have to know where you have been. Note your number of fans and followers so you can track your growth as you move forward. Also use tools on Facebook to see current demographics, which posts were seen by the most people and what was the most viral.

This guest post was written by Amy Kauffman of HMG Creative. Follow her on Twitter at @amykauffman.

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