More and more people are jumping into social media. As a practitioner and social media advocate, I think its great. The more people in social media,the better it becomes. Sort of. I mean, we’re now to the point where social media users are being inundated by the mundane.

The challenge for most businesses though is what to Tweet, Facebook, LinkedIn? Depending on your business it could be advice, business news or promotions. It might even be all three. Regardless of who your audience is, you must always remember to create value for your audience.

The important thing to remember is to take the time to identify who you are speaking to and develop your brand “voice”. Your social media strategy can include things like YouTube and Blogs which will invite interaction with your clients, but they should still be relevant and worth watching. More than one company has created a commercial and tossed it up on YouTube then wondered why it didn’t go viral.  Remember, its not social if no one’s reading or watching. To get readers and viewers, you have to capture their attention and make it useful. And if you want it to go viral, well, you’ll need to do more than make it relevant, you need edgy, funny, insightful..you get the picture.

When your getting ready to develop a social media campaign or begin a blog, ask yourself: “would I read this?” If the answer is no, its time to reconsider or retool. This includes your Facebook, Twitter, Blog, LinkedIn, any tool your using as part of your social campaign.

Here’s what I recommend you do before you get started with your campaign:

1) Before starting a social media campaign, create an editorial calendar for at least 3 months. Not only will doing this help you define your topics, audience and frequency of writing, tweeting, etc. It will save you time and allow you to “work ahead” so you aren’t writing blog posts at the last minute, trying to come up with a topic. It also forces you to be strategic about your conversations.

2) Use Google Alerts to find topics to write about, tweet about, begin discussions about that are relevant to your audience. As far as I am concerned, Google Alerts is one of the most undervalued free tools out there. You can search the internet and blogs for whatever you’d like (my guess is that social will be there soon too) for keywords or phrases. By the way, you should also set this up for your company to see what people are saying about it.

3) Find a “voice” that suits your brand. Then find someone who can implement the voice. Give it some personality and interest. Your voice doesn’t have to be one person, it just has to be consistent. Will your position be one of a resource? An industry leader?  Will you be doing customer service on your social media tools? Regardless of your voice, remember to “always be human” that means letting your social media be transparent and giving it some personality.

4) Make it engaging: Whenever you write, be sure to include your audience. Ask them for their opinions, their ideas, their thoughts. When they DO comment, be sure to respond. Incorporate “social media” karma, when someone refers to your page, your tweet or anything else, be sure to engage them and thank them.

Please share, what do YOU do to keep your content engaging and relevant to your readers, viewers, followers or fans?