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According to Socialnomics, 40% of Canadians were using Facebook or Twitter by 2010. By 2012, almost half of the population had joined social media sites. In 2013, it is established 2/3 of Canadians now use social media. These are facts to be considered when strategizing for a brand launch.

These are numbers that brands just can’t ignore. They realize that they need to be on social media. So, without a lot of thought or planning, they decide to go all in. Next thing you know, they join Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google+.

Then, reality sets in. Social media is not easy. Before jumping in, with both feet, brands need to take a step back and set up a clear brand launch social media plan.

Here are just a few of the steps that companies need to look at before jumping into the social media world in their brand launch!

Research
Who is your audience? What platforms do they use? When do they use them? Why do they use them? The more informed you are, the better the decisions you will make about platforms and content.

Objectives
Just as important as the research, you need objectives. What are your goals, short-term and long-term. Where do you want to go, and how does social media fit into your overall plan.

Create an Editorial Calendar
Plan out the year, then month and eventually the week. Include blogger campaigns, contests and posts. Then layer in all marketing plans since social media give you a chance to amplify promotions, from coupons, to charity campaigns to in-store promotions.

Be Social
Unlike traditional advertising, social media is not simply about putting a message out there. It’s all about the relationships! This means you need to engage, share and respond in a timely fashion. Being present will build the basis for strong relationship. It’s not just about the number of followers, it’s about the level of engagement!

Listen
And if we want to grow those engagement numbers, we can’t just keep talking. It’s important to listen, and really hear what your audience sharing and asking about. What are they concerned about.

Tell a Compelling Story
Social media allows you to tell a story that will create interest, engage your audience and build brand loyalty. Stories are compelling, and will draw in followers and allow consumers to connect with your brand.

Last, but not least, you need Patience! The followers and engagement, will come. But it will take time. And content. Lots of it! What is the one thing that you have found to be most important when launching a brand on social media platforms?