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HOW TO: Plan a social media strategy

When considering using social media for marketing and communications there is one key rule: don't start with the tools. Just because millions of people are using Facebook today, doesn't mean that your customers are amongst them, and the same goes for Twitter, blogs and LinkedIn. Every audience will have a different social media landscape, and the key to planning your communications is to start by plotting it.

Plotting your landscape
Plotting your social media landscape involves asking - and finding the answers to - the following questions:

1. Who are you targeting?
Hopefully, if you know your brand and your market well, this question should not be too hard to answer. It is, however, worth remembering that different types of people use different types of social media, and therefore it is important to split your potential audience into several small groups, rather than sticking with 'everyone who is interested in and talks about my brand'. The more targeted you can be, the more relevant your communications will be. Who are the decision makers, and who are the influencers? Both groups are relevant, but you may not find them in the same places.