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This article was written for Tranquil Blue by Dino Eliadis, a small business growth expert.

Social media is all the rage these days. Millions use it daily as their way of communicating with the world, making it ripe for the picking as a business tool. But, too frequently I see business owners rush off into social media without a clear picture of how they plan to use it to grow their company.

3 Business Questions for Social Media Success

Social media is just a tool like any other tool, so you use it to leverage what you want accomplish. You need to apply “planning 101” to it just like every other aspect of your business. The questions are:
What business objective am I trying to accomplish by using social media?
How does this objective relate to my business growth strategy?
What is the most effective social media strategy I can use to achieve my business objective?
Let’s take a little deeper look at why each of these questions is so critical to successfully using social media for business growth.

Applying Social Media to Business Objectives

This seems pretty clear, why apply resources (time, money, and people) to something if it doesn’t get me closer to my desired outcome? It’s amazing how often this step gets skipped!
If you are trying to grow your business then you should have clear objectives set for each business function (sales, marketing, production, finance, etc). If you already do, then ask yourself which of these objectives have an externally facing communication component, and by using social media might allow you to do it smarter, faster, or cheaper to? Identify these objectives and you’re on your way.
Social media doesn’t eliminate things it’s just a different way of doing things. So, you just have to find that set of tasks that you are currently doing that can be done more productively using social media.

Applying Social Media to Your Growth Strategy

If your goal is growth, then you don’t have extra resources to be throwing around that don’t contribute to your growth. So, this step is a business check before you take the jump into social media.
If you have identified an objective that you believe is a good reason to use social media, now ask yourself the tough question, “how does this objective contribute to the growth of my business?” If you find it difficult to answer this question then you shouldn’t even be an objective you should are focused on anyway!
Enough resources are scarce in business that is truly growing. It’s the one thing that growing business struggle with every day. Not enough money, not enough people, not enough time, not enough capacity, not enough _____ (you fill in the blank). So don’t waste your resources on things that don’t matter. Make sure your social media strategy is focused on the prop objectives for your growing business.

Applying the Optimum Social Media Strategy

There are hundreds if not thousands of forms of social media from which to launch your campaign, but which one(s) best fit your situation? Answering this question is an obstacle that keeps many businesses from taking a positive step forward. That being said how do you determine what makes sense for your business?
You need an integrated social media strategy. That means selecting social media that fits with what you are trying to achieve with your business overall. This is a very high-level executive and board level conversation. It requires the talents of a real marketing executive who knows the in’s and out’s of traditional as well as new marketing.

What’s the Next Step?

I’ve laid a fairly simple process before you here. Ask yourself these questions and answer them honestly. If you get stuck then get some help, but beware. There are lots of self professed social media gurus. Can they show demonstrable examples of where their expertise has help companies grow?
I will not profess to be an expert. Although, many people I know want to put me in this category. My social media success came from using an expert. And I can say using this approach has been a resounding success having taken this blog from 0 – more than 500 readers a month in only 6 months. I’d happily share my “guru”, just drop me an email.
For those of you that have some success in growing your business with social media, what are some of the positive experience you have had? What did you struggle with most and how did you overcome these obstacles to achieve social media success?

April 8, 2013

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