7 Keys to Creating Social Media Strategy for Your Brand

by Eric Tsai

In the past few weeks I’ve experienced a decent amount of spam from social networking sites ranging from people marketing their books, selling “make money online” information, to promoting their personal brand.

It’s indicative of the fact that individuals and businesses are viewing the space seriously as it takes on the mainstream spotlight.

There are many ways to utilize social media to boost your brand.  The key is to have a strategy around building your social proof.

Let The Truth Be Told

People naturally look for social proof in any given situation.

Social proof is a weapon of influence by which we replicate what we see others do.  We tend to make assumptions in our head when we’re unable to determine the appropriate action to take.
So we turn to surrounding authorities that we assume possess more knowledge about the situation than us.

For example, if you see a bunch of people lining up outside of a restaurant you tend to think the food is good or better yet, it MUSTbe good.

Social proof is especially powerful in social media because of the available information from Twitter followers to LinkedIn connections.  People get influenced real-time on their PCs or their mobile devices.

This creates little barrier to entry for people to be perceived as preeminent experts.  Combine that with the limitless reach of social network; people will often evaluate others based on how “connected” they are.

The truth is – social media is a platform for engagement and building communities.

It has evolved to be part of a marketer’s arsenal and it’s on the path to be the next coming of email spam.

If you don’t want to be perceived as a spammer or someone just looking to gain free social proof, you need a solid strategy for your brand.

Aligning Your Brand And Business Strategy

There are lots of high profile people and companies using social media today but not all of them are getting the result they want.

Many brands are doing a fairly good job utilizing the right social media strategy while others clearly have no clue.

Here are 7 keys to create your social media strategy:

1. Define your outcome

This is perhaps the most important aspect of your social media strategy.

What are you trying to achieve?

What is your ideal outcome? Sales?

Lead generation? Promotions? Branding? Buzz?

Corporate brands generally use social media as part of their larger strategic initiatives for reputation management, product launches, and customer engagement tools.

Those methods apply to personal branding as well because social media is a cost-effective marketing and PR vehicle in comparison to the traditional media marketing.

2. Focus on your audience’s needs

If you want to sell a product such as a book across social media, you must focus on your audience’s pain point, solve their problems, and add value to them little by little.

Provide free advice that’s of high value, NOT something anyone can just copy and paste from a source like a blog.

For example, instead of relaying mainstream news, focus on syndicating news gear towards a specific niche area so you become the go-to source for it.

Better yet, compile the content and provide your own insight so you act as a filter for your audience.

3. Implement measurable ROI

This is actually difficult to do because social media is still a relatively new medium and remains largely unproven.

The best solution is to gauge the time spent versus the result you are able to measure such as inbound traffic, clickthroughs, impressions, comments, fans, followers, subscribers, and ask how prospects find you.

Track your data and chart them over time to find relevant cause and effects.

You may be surprise to find what people are saying about your brand or how effective your marketing triggers are after reviewing your statistics.

4. Actively participate in discussion groups

If you have something valuable to offer, people should know.

Join discussions and participate in forums will bring you opportunities to brand yourself and create awareness in the form of constructive promotion.

Further more by providing your audience with insights, educational content, or value support systems will help you gain social proof.

Knowledge transfer in social media is very powerful especially given as freebies.  As a result it creates reciprocation from the recipient who will want to return the favor in the form of purchasing your product or endorsing your brand.

5. Get in front of the right people

High profile people are great leverage to give you that boost of traffic especially key opinion leaders in your niche area.

Get in touch with them and do something for them first.

Contribute to their cause and the reciprocation factor will work on them as well.  Instead of asking for endorsements, participate in their discussion groups, leave comments on their blog, send them useful information, and interact with their channel are all ways to gain visibility.

Build the right relationship will also drive The Long-Tail affect in which your brand impression will be distributed amongst high profile people’s fans in significant numbers.

6. Blend online and offline social networking

This is one of the overlooked areas for social networking.

Offline networking can add more fuel to the fire especially when people aren’t able to hide behind their user name, emails or avatars.

There is nothing quite like a face-to-face conversation to get a nice dialogue started.

Not only can you hear the voice of the other person but the body language, eye contact, and physical interaction in the same space makes you more “real” and believable.

Although it can be time consuming, offline networking is more powerful than 140 words in a tweet or a two liner comment in Facebook.

It also encourages word-of-mouth marketing which is by far the most effective marketing tool today.

I highly recommend you to attend conferences, go to tradeshows, take a training course, or get with other social networkers locally.  Start a MeetUp group or a monthly seminar.

7. Nurture relationships, build momentum

When implanting social media strategies, you may wan to run tests to get feedback from your network.

You should stay true to yourself but also know what worked and what doesn’t.

Ideally you want to keep doing what works and find new ways to strengthen your relationship with your audience.

Start your own discussion group, do an online survey, create joint ventures, exchange opportunities, and continue to provide free information are all ways to foster your social media relationships.

Nothing will happen when nothing is provided and you must be patient before you get results.

Whether you’re already on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or is blogging on a regular basis, my best advice is to just let go and keep on giving!

Has social media already helped your business?

Further Reading

Comments Closed


  1. Evan   •  

    Hi Eric, an excellent post, practical and clear.

    I guess my problem is about the ROI – how much time before you can no if something is worthwhile. I contributed for a few months to a couple of forums and saw zero impact on my stats. So I stopped. I quite enjoyed the forums but I really need to focus on stuff that is making an impact (for now anyway). So I guess my question is: how long to try something before I know if it is working? Would like to know your thoughts on this.

  2. Eric Tsai   •     Author

    I would give at least 3 months of hard work and you really need to put a lot of efforts into the quality of your contribution. I mentioned in #2 that you need to focus on your audience’s needs. In order to get people to engage to your conversation, you have to grab their attention. And when you do have their attention, you need to follow up with relevant content to fill their expectations.

    You can do some tests by focusing on different sub-topics in your area to see if something happens. Sometimes it could just be your style of delivery, or lack of social proof yet to trigger the curiosity to click on your links. If you think you’re doing all the right thing you should see results.

    Hope this helps.

  3. mikesmoney9984   •  

    Hey, nice post, very well written. You should post more about this.

  4. Eric D   •  

    This is one of the best articles I have read on combining social networks with branding. Unfortunately I was a little late getting into the social networking game but now I am seriously exploring the best combination of social sites to use for individual products. I think maybe an 8th point on your list could be selecting the right combination of social networks to achieve your desired outcome.

  5. Eric Tsai   •     Author

    @Eric D, it’s never too late to get going plus the social media landscape is constantly changing due to technology, I cover a little about leveraging the right combination of tools in my last post HERE

    I will have more related content to come plus interviews, so stay tuned.

  6. John Chatman   •  

    Excellent post my friend. You obviously have a wealth of knowledge and experience to bring to the table. I am new to Social Media Marketing and will be paying close attention to your blog from this point out.

    Thanks again,


  7. KattyBlackyard   •  

    The article is usefull for me. I’ll be coming back to your blog.

  8. Rogers Company   •  

    As social media sites and technologies grow in popularity, you’re going to see how they mesh with more traditional social venues such as tradeshows, conferences, symposiums, etc. We may be experiencing a kind of social media bubble much like the dot.com bubble in the nineties. Remember pets.com? There may be a few social media versions of that around now. However, the companies that will succeed in leveraging social media for marketing success, will be the ones that figure out how to mesh it with live events in a truly helpful meaningful way. Otherwise, it’s just fluff.

  9. Ed Alexander   •  

    Well done article. Thanks for walking the talk! In reply, may I suggest people investigate marketingprofs.com . Although I just recently joined, I find the content to be of high quality and the networking contacts are superb. All the best, Edhttp://www.LinkedIn.com/in/EdAlexander Twitter: @eda2day

  10. cahanck   •  

    Hi Eric, Regarding #6. I am very big on extending the social network to a phone conversation if it makes sense for better networking. I have had 2 such interactions this week. Actually, a couple of linked in members have contacted me and we have started a dialogue. It’s a good way to get faster connections and deeper connections with fellow net workers. I had one connection that may result in business for my company. We are still in the initial stages at this point.

    Thank you for your useful information.

    Cathy Hanck,
    C. A. Hanck Graphics & Website Design

  11. Sue Leonard   •  

    This is very useful information, thanks for sharing! I do feel that social media networking does take time to develop, to find your own appropriate voice, see what is working, what is not in terms of ROI.

  12. designdamage   •  

    Yes, one must learn to “leverage” all the web2.0 tools to get the best interaction possible, I only name a few but using tools like Skype is a great way to get in touch as well. However, tools will simply enhance the experience and could be use as a tactic, the quality of engagement is still the top priority – fulfilling the expectations. My next post on Brand Authenticity discussed that.

    Even if it doesn’t turn into a business opportunity, world-of-mouth could still bring in other new opportunities.

  13. AP   •  

    Eric, how can you answer Evan’s question without first knowing what type of stats he is talking about: Web traffic stats, purchasing stats? Forums are great to develop networking and referral relationships; backlinks to your site; to capture new leads/prospects/clients when the opportunity arises. I agree with the 3 month rule though, even though it would seem that I was giving Eric a hard time initially.

    Where you asking for contact information? Were you Following-Up Smart

    Here are some stats to keep me mind when you are prospecting for new business:

    48% of sales people never follow-up with a contact.

    25% of sales people make a season contact and stop.

    12% of sales people only make three contacts and stop.

    Only 10% of sales people make more than three contacts.

    Now, here are the stats regarding sales:
    2% of sales are made on the first contact
    3% of sales are made on the second contact
    5% of sales are made on the third contact
    10% of sales are made of the fourth contact
    80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact

    You can follow me on twitter

  14. AP   •  

    You’re never too late. Social media is still in it’s infancy. I was browsing the business book section of my book store in the mall last week and I didn’t fine one book that screamed TAKE SOCIAL MEDIA SERIOUSLY.

    We still have a lot to lear. Excellent Article. It got my mental juices going.
    You can follow me on twitter

  15. Neil_Drori   •  

    Eric, this is fascinating stuff and very useful but it seems to me that most people suffer from a need for instant gratification that is unrealistic.

    Social networking has the potential to be a very powerful tool for creating and enhancing brand awareness but it takes time and commitment. The expectation that significantly measurable results can be achieved in a fixed and relatively short period will only lead to disappointment and an abandoned effort.

  16. Esther Zhao   •  

    Hi Eric, this is literally a great post with quality perspective. I learn it a lot from it and will come back to your blog to learn more from you. Thank you!

  17. Venu   •  

    Thanks Eric for the valuable insights. I realize ‘content’ is the key and plays a huge role in attracting eyeballs. Look forward to your future posts!


  18. designdamage   •  

    ROI is important but the focus should measuring the “success” factor that contributes to your overall objective otherwise click through means nothing when you don’t know what and why something is working.

    Instant gratification is human nature, it’s like wanting to learn everything when you take a course in learning. Time and commitment is simply how you will demonstrate your authenticity and it goes back to social proof.

    Content is the sole foundation (online especially) that people have to base their judgment on without truly knowing or interact with you, your product or your services. If you just met someone, your engagement with them is the content basically, try make it worthwhile for them and you.

  19. Ed Bisquera   •  

    Great post! I’ll have to bookmark this for sharing and reading later again.

  20. Olley D.   •  

    Thanks for writing this great blog I really enjoyed.

  21. Eric Tsai   •     Author

    Thanks Ed and Olley, I’m surprise that I still get emails about this post.

  22. @Flirtyfy   •  

    Excellent: 7 Keys to Creating #Social Media Strategy for Your Brand | @designdamage http://t.co/OxPHEJsw /via @marketingwizdom

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