In my humble opinion a social media strategy is what turns your content into traffic, traffic into leads and leads into sales regardless of your business type.
I'll say again
SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY = CONTENT==>TRAFFIC==>LEADS==>
You can start with either end of this equation. If you know what level of sales you wish to generate as a result of your online presence, you can figure out the level of leads you need based on your conversion rate. Knowing the number of leads you need gives you the amount of traffic you need to generate based on your opt-in or squeeze page success rate. This in turn gives the amount of content required (for a given time period) and the level of social media activity required to achieve that traffic. All levels of this equation are measurable and can be recorded and compared week to week or month to month.
Naturally a strategy needs to be resourced. Someone will have to generate or be responsible for collecting content. Social media is the mechanism that spreads your message (the content) through the various social media platforms. One platform reinforcing the other for maximum reach. You can post to several social media platforms at once using social media aggregators such as HooteSuite. Can you see that this is a strategy not just the use of Facebook or Twitter in isolation.
In the case of this blog, I announce a new post via the activity feed on LinkedIn. The new post is also woven into the conversation on Twitter several times and a link to the post goes up on Facebook. Facebook mentions whats happening on Twitter and vice versa, not always but occasionally. I'm finding that more and more followers onTwitter take that introductory moment to push for a LIKE on Facebook, why not. Posts become guest posts, there is StumbleUpon and things like RebelMouse. Dont forget YouTube.
Its interconnectivity, not just "OhYeah!, Facebook and Twitter".
A word of caution, if you are selling cement mixers and nothing else, its difficult to generate universal appeal and keep the conservation going. Universal appeal and constant conversation are a prerequisite for promoting a product or service online. If your business constantly has the newest must-have product, your job will be easier.
If you are promoting a brand online without the intention of selling online, your sales can naturally occur offline. Online brand promotion still needs a social media strategy. Likewise if you are promoting a social issue such as health and/or safety you still need a strategy to maximise the reach of your message and get an offline result. Fire departments are actively using social media to announce the type of fire hazard that is commonly seen at a particular time of year and seeing a reduction in fires in return, as an example.
If you are a charity, you may not be generating sales but you will be receiving income in the form of donation having found those who are most likely to be interested in your cause.
Have I made it sound too easy? I'll cover the details of leads and sales conversion in later posts. I did plan to monetise my blog after all.