Everyone is diving head first into social media, but do they have a plan? There’s nothing more important than knowing what you want to accomplish and how you plan on getting there before blindly taking a stab at building your brand. Here are few steps that will help you create a dynamite social media strategy for your company.

1. Create clear long and short term goals. Know what you want to achieve. Do you want to get 5,000 followers by the end of the year or grow you traffic by 20%? Write it out and make sure you know what your target is and then created smaller goals for each month.

Action: Create a social media plan for the year with specific goals. Write a more detailed one for the month.

2. Get your name out there. Create a company page on LinkedIn, claim your Twitter handle and Facebook page before someone else does. Sign up for directories that you can list your blog or you website on.

Action: Register for social media channels you want to be on or think you may want to be on. It’s better to claim you name now. Enter your website or blog in directories such as AllTop, Technorati, and OnTopList. Look online for more that are tailored to your audience.

3. Choose your social media channels. You don’t have to be on every social network, you just have to be on the right one for your company or business. And sometimes spreading yourself too thin to be on several networks isn’t effective as interacting with your core audience on just a few. Find out what your competitors are doing, what channels are they on? Are they not taking full advantage of one? What can you do that will set yourself apart? Where is your current audience already hanging out?

Action: Study Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube and Google+. Learn what networks would be the most beneficial for you or your company.

4. Nail down your voice. How do you want to be seen or heard? Do you want to be funny, inspiring, or seen as a solid source of information? Think of the message you want to send before you decide the voice in which you say it and make sure it’s consistent.

Action: Try writing out the same message in three different voices and see which one you like the best and which one you think your fans would like the best. Ask a few coworkers or friends for their input as well. Choose the best one.

5. Focus on engagement. Always put yourself in your fans and customers’ shoes. What would they want from your company? What would be helpful for them to know? How can you interact with them in an ongoing conversation? What do they like and dislike? How can you be a resource? Answering these questions will help you understand how you can give them what they want.

Action: Research your audience so you can provide the best content and conversations that are relevant to them. Check out conversations already happening on social media channels.

6. Measure your results. Taking advantage of the ROI in social media is absolutely key. Knowing what strikes a cord with your followers and where they’re coming from is one of the most important things to know. You can then provide the type of content they love and steer clear from what they don’t like while learning how to repeatedly attract and engage with them.

Action: Sign up for a few of social media measurement tools such as Google Analytics, Facebook InsightsHootSuite, TweetStats, Social Mention, and Radian6. 

What social media strategy steps have you taken that worked? Share them here! 

As they say content is king. And to be successful in social media you must know where to find it, how to harness it and spread it. What websites do you visit every day? Why do you visit them? Because you know there will be a great story, new article or video posted that’s right up your alley.

It’s just as important to share your own content as it is to find topics from other websites relevant to your readers. Staying on top of trends and conversations demonstrates that you are an expert in your field. So stay alert and keep searching for fun and interesting articles, blogs, quotes, videos and infographics to share. Here are a few tips to help find some the best content for your website.

Know your industry. Find the top 10 companies in your field and see what they’re talking about and what trends they’re not talking about—write about things that no one else is in your field. They’ll flock to your site if you have something the others don’t.

Get inspired. Go to websites in completely different fields, like The Cool Hunter, or TechCrunch, to see what you could use from their content in a unique way on your site. How would your readers be impacted by an out-of-the-box marketing campaign or a new iPhone app? Put yourself in their shoes to see what would be most intriguing.

What questions do you get asked all the time? Being seen as a resource is huge! If you’re not answering your customers questions on your website or your blog they’ll go somewhere else. Make a list of all the questions you get asked that go beyond the typical FAQ and blog about them each separately. Your readers will be thankful and will continue to return to look for more answers.