With a practically non-existent barrier to entry and zero money down, social media marketing efforts often leave out strategy. After all, who wants to spend precious time thinking about what to do when there's so much to be done? Unfortunately, the acute threat of information overload makes developing a strategy absolutely essential in this space. On the bright side? It's easier than you think.

EML Wildfire put together a nifty infographic that highlights 5 basic questions every business should be answering before taking the plunge into social media: 

1. What is your objective?

If your end game is something like, amass a giant Twitter following! Or, get lots of Likes on Facebook! You've got to get out of 2009, my friend. Applied right, social media can build loyalty, establish brand, drive sales, etc. And while it's tempting to wrap all of those results into one mega goal, it's important that they retain some individuality in your thought process. If your goal isn't all over the map, neither will be your approach.

2. How will you build a community?

Social media isn't your fairy godmother. You can't just plug it in and expect magic to come oozing out of its digital walls-- you've got to get your hands dirty! When it comes to the community part, determine where your target audience is, listen to what they are saying and begin reaching out to them. If you push, they'll pull.

3. What are you going to say?

Joe Chernov, VP of Content Marketing for Eloqua, hit the nail on the head when he said, "Good content is like the stock in cooking - a base for everything else." Content is absolutely key, so think about what you want to say and how you'll say it. If the message is meaningful, engagement will happen organically.

4. Who's going to manage it?

Genentech's Principal Systems Architect, Andy Wang, told this year's Enterprise 2.0 Conference audience in Santa Clara that Enterprise 2.0 is not a field of dreams-- just because you build it doesn't mean people will come. I think this is a wise belief to apply to Social Media efforts, too. They must be constantly maintained if you want to keep people constantly engaged, so think about the kind of voice you want to have and invest in the right people to get the job done.

5. How will you measure success?

This is a big one. If you can’t measure impact, you’ll never know whether something is working. Pick the metrics you want to use in advance and check on them regularly to note how things are shifting and changing.

Be Social, Not Loud

Here are the questions in infographic form, along with some statistics on exactly how social the UK's fastest growing tech companies are. A closer look indicates that engagement levels across platforms are still relatively low, despite the growing popularity of these outlets-- another indicator of our lack of strategy. 

Can you think of other questions we should be asking ourselves in this space? Drop them in the comments section below. 

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