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The five elements of basic social media strategy

Many businesses jump into social media without a strategy for how to use it. Learn the five elements of social media strategy
Written Nov 23, 2009, read 3612 times since then.


As more and more businesses start to get involved in social media and integrate it into their marketing, it becomes increasingly crucial to develop a strategy that informs how they use social media. Just jumping in and using the technology isn't enough. In fact, just jumping in can sometimes putting you in a place where you're doing everything wrong with social media and hurting your presence, because you don't know the etiquette and you don't have a strategy for what you are doing.


There are five elements to basic social media strategy and taking time to look at those elements and create a comprehensive strategy around them can help you situate social media into your business, and take a targeted approach to using it. Below are the five elements:


1. Define Your audience. Your audience is your current clients, prospects, and power partners. It's not everyone on social media sites. In fact defining your audience is crucial for determining what social media sites you should be on. You'll want to define age range and other demographic information that can help you determine what sites your clients use.


2. Define your business model. Your business model will also define what social media sites you should be on. Biznik, for example, is a site that's very useful for anyone who primarily does business with other businesses.


3. Pick out your key words and phrases that define what you do. You'll want to then compare them to the key words and phrases your clients use to describe your business and what you do for them. That comparison will help you find people on social media sites who have similar needs you can help them with.


4. Define your goals for using social media, but keep them realistic. A lot of businesses go into social media with the vague of "getting business", but don't take time to define their goals or how they will know if they've achieved those goals. It's important to define realistic goals for using social media. A realistic goal is publishing an article to be more visible to your social network. An unrealistic goal is expecting that the article will automatically help you convert readers into clients. It's unrealistic because it's not something you have much control over, and you will get frustrated if it doesn't happen. Recognize the technology for what it is and what it can do and plan accordingly with your goals.


5. Assess how much time and effort you will need to spend learning how to use social media sites, as well as what social media sites you need to be on. Also be mindful of using blogs, e-newsletters, internet radio, video, and other forms of social media and factor those into your assessment.


Addressing these five elements will provide you a good and basic social media strategy that you can use when you start learning the technology. You'll inevitably refine it as you continue to learn how to use social media, and develop tactics that allow you to use social media in a more sophisticated manner, but if you're just starting into social media addressing these five concerns will help you save time, get focused, and feel less overwhelmed by social media and where it fits into your business.


Learn more about the author, Taylor Ellwood.

Comment on this article

  • Partner 
Kansas City, Missouri 
josh davis
    Posted by josh davis, Kansas City, Missouri | Nov 23, 2009

    Great introduction to Social Media strategy.

  • Holistic Business Coach 
Portland, Oregon 
Taylor Ellwood
    Posted by Taylor Ellwood, Portland, Oregon | Nov 23, 2009

    Thank you Josh,

    I'm glad you like it.

  • Marketing and Sales Coach 
New York, New York 
Jane Lee
    Posted by Jane Lee, New York, New York | Nov 24, 2009


    Great article for anyone interested in getting their feet wet in social media which can be very scary for a newbie. However, by following the Five Basic Elements that you have mapped out above this which will steer them closer to reaching their prospective clients/customers.

    Regards, Coach Jane Lee

  • Holistic Business Coach 
Portland, Oregon 
Taylor Ellwood
    Posted by Taylor Ellwood, Portland, Oregon | Nov 24, 2009

    Hi Jane,

    Thank you very much. It's strategy that's useful for any level of experience with social media.

  • Consultant for new business startups 
Toronto, Ontario Canada 
Len Rosen
    Posted by Len Rosen, Toronto, Ontario Canada | Nov 24, 2009

    Hi Taylor,

    I would like to publish excerpts of this article on my Blog if you don't mind. You can check out the blog before giving me permission. It is

    This very much fits with the themes I have been covering in my last few articles.


  • Holistic Business Coach 
Portland, Oregon 
Taylor Ellwood
    Posted by Taylor Ellwood, Portland, Oregon | Nov 24, 2009

    Hi Len,

    Please feel free to. I just ask that you link back to this article.

  • Entrepreneur, Writer, Publisher, Public Speaker 
Burleson, Texas 
Dave Hayden
    Posted by Dave Hayden, Burleson, Texas | Nov 24, 2009

    Taylor, once again your talent for distilling salient points and presenting them to your readers is shining.

    Thanks, it was a good reminder for me.

    Interestingly, I have started working a "real" job. Our meetings would be much served if the people presenting the meetings observed the points you outlined. . . with some modification of course.

  • Author, Artist and Activist 
Encinitas, California 
Leah Oviedo
    Posted by Leah Oviedo, Encinitas, California | Nov 24, 2009

    Great article again Taylor. I just added to Twitter and Facebook!

  • Holistic Business Coach 
Portland, Oregon 
Taylor Ellwood
    Posted by Taylor Ellwood, Portland, Oregon | Nov 24, 2009

    Hi Dave,

    Thank you very much! How would you help those people come to that awareness?

    Hi Leah,

    Thank you.

    Taylor Ellwood

  • Author/Speaker 
Ted Magnuson
    Posted by Ted Magnuson, Portland | Nov 24, 2009

    Taylor, very strategic. I see where you are going with this, or rather the wave we are all riding. Posted to my twitter account @tedmagnuson

  • Time Liberation Agent 
Clackamas, Oregon 
Susan Lannis
    Posted by Susan Lannis, Clackamas, Oregon | Nov 24, 2009

    Thanks Taylor - helpful, insightful, useful. What more could we ask?

  • Author, Artist and Activist 
Encinitas, California 
Leah Oviedo
    Posted by Leah Oviedo, Encinitas, California | Nov 24, 2009

    You're Welcome Taylor. Thanks for keeping me updated on your articles!

  • interior design/Seasonal and Special Event decorations 
Portland, Oregon 
Judy Cusack
    Posted by Judy Cusack, Portland, Oregon | Nov 24, 2009

    Thank you Taylor for your poignant insights. # 5 is what hits home most for me. How much, how many and how they serve everyone it all worth the time. All good strategies.

  • Online Presence and Social Media Strategiest 
Butler, New Jersey 
Michael Cohn
    Posted by Michael Cohn, Butler, New Jersey | Nov 24, 2009

    Taylor, Great article. I would add the following steps:

    1. Analyze the impact of your efforts
    2. Translate social media conversations to sales



  • Holistic Business Coach 
Portland, Oregon 
Taylor Ellwood
    Posted by Taylor Ellwood, Portland, Oregon | Nov 24, 2009

    Hi Michael,

    Those are good strategies to implement after you've been involved in social media for a little while. The ones I wrote are very much for people who've just started out and need to set some basic goals. I would look at those as intermediate to advanced strategies that you'd implement after you've got the awareness of how to use social media down.



  • calligrapher 
Portland, Oregon 
Alesia Zorn
    Posted by Alesia Zorn, Portland, Oregon | Nov 24, 2009

    As always, excellent advice and it's given me some things to think about and implement. Thanks!

  • LMT 
Portland, Oregon 
Phoenix Greenman
    Posted by Phoenix Greenman, Portland, Oregon | Apr 05, 2010

    Thank Taylor. This is helpful for getting me started and to help keep me focused.

  • Wellness Educator 
Vancouver, Washington 
Mary Mesenburg
    Posted by Mary Mesenburg, Vancouver, Washington | Jan 12, 2011

    This article is very helpful Taylor!

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Article tags

  • business development
  • social media marketing
  • social media strategy
  • social networking

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