Having a social media strategy means knowing what to post, when to post and what to do with that post once it (and your brand) is on social media.
In a nutshell - its having a plan for the management of your brand on social media, at all times.
What should your social media strategy be based on?
Good communication and good use of social media. If the internet is the information highway, social media is the Tesla.
A good social media strategy should aim to focus on firstly, the long and then the short term goals and objectives of your organisation e.g. brand awareness, employee advocacy, contribution to new and maintained business revenue, basically all the important stuff.
Do you need one?
Long story, short - yes. Yes, just yes!
1. To get, and stay ahead of competitors
These days it’s pretty unusual to find a business that doesn’t have a presence online, in fact most consumers demand it. In fact some consumers won’t do business with you, if you’re not on social media because it’s adds such a high value customer service offering. Fair call, really.
With that in mind it’s pretty likely your competitors are using social media aligned to their business goals too.
If you have a strategy, you have a framework through which to plan, prioritise, execute, measure and optimise. This typically leads to better results as your activity on social has direction and is measurable.
Without a strategy, you’ll struggle to know whether or not your campaigns are successful, and you therefore risk wasting resources on undirected activity, allowing your competitors the space they need to get ahead.
2. Reputation is everything
Social media has the ability to amplify the voices of those not previously heard, which can be great, however, it also amplifies the voice of discontent. This is why a lot of businesses (pre 2010) tend to stay away from social media.
Once in a while there’s a savvy business owner who understands the value of good communication and where social media is headed in terms of the customer (and brand) journey long-term.
There are many examples of organisations that face a social media backlash and struggle. Most of these organisations don’t have a social media strategy.
Knowing how to represent your brand, and how to respond to what your online community is saying about you online is where most brands fall short - we see it all the time.
3. To increase income
FACT: 74% of shoppers make purchasing decisions based on social media (Sprout Social).
Your customers are looking at reviews, recommendations, and finding out about products on social media, so make sure yours are displayed front and centre.
Without a strategy in place to test what works for your audience, be it content type or platform, how do you know you’re not losing out on potential sales, or trying to sell to people who aren’t looking to be sold to?
4. To stay on top of your game
On average, social media users spend 2 hours and 22 minutes online each day globally (GlobalWebIndex). As people spend more time on social media, consuming more content than ever before, competition for space is fierce.
Creating a targeted social media strategy will help you focus on using relevant platforms to connect with existing and new customers, and create content that appeals specifically to them.
Having a strategy will also enable you to understand what inputs are required (as well as roles / responsibilities etc) for social - the things needed for your social media strategy to take shape.
5. To leave a good brand legacy
Think about your brand as if it were a person in real life. On social media, that’s what you’re creating. What character traits would you possess, who would your friends be, what kind of interactions would you have?
Having a social media strategy in place is where you should START on social media, if you’re already in there swinging it on Facebook, the Gram, LinkedIn etc, without a strategy now’s a good time to get that sorted!
So, where to start?
PRO TIP: Keep it ridiculously simple to start with.
If you’re a big business and can afford in an investment on social media, before you do anything you should have a professional develop your social media strategy. If you’re an SME - delegate social media to 1x key person in the business, they can call in the support of others from there.
Go into the strategy process knowing that content is hugely important to the growth of your business. But, without a clearly defined purpose, the effort you put in may be wasted.
1: Find a target
Starting with the basics, consider who you’re looking to target on social media. There may be a few different audiences, as your content plan can cater to more than one type of person, in any place world-wide.
2: Add value
In many cases, your product or service can solve a problem your audience is having (whether they know it yet or not).
Therefore, if you your content is able to educate, inspire or entertain your audience you’re on to a winning formula.
3: What makes you unique
There’s a good chance that your business has competitors with similar products, which means your consumer base has a choice to make. Make it clear what makes your product better (or different) using your content.
At The Social Shop we develop authentic brand personalities on social media. Part of that means knowing understanding your brand sounds like, as well as what it looks like. If you need some expert help on this then get in touch, already!
4: Where to publish
Different types of content work best on different platforms, so consider where your target audience spends most of their time, and where you'd best be able to make an impact on social.
Targeting every social network without focus will often lead to wasted budgets and confusion.
5. THEN, get to business with content & scheduling.
As part of your strategy you’re creating an editorial roadmap for the year (e.g. only).
Now that you’ve done your research, you need to get producing & be active on social, regularly.
Consistency when posting is key to ensure you keep your followers (customers) engaged, but be realistic with how often you post.
- You're doing your brand a dis-service.
- Your social activity dies a slow & horrible death. Sorry, we mean eventually it slips (or even stops) which is never a good look.
Finally, when you’re actively publishing your content for social media, you’re ready to track your strategy and make changes.
A social media strategy can give you the guidance you need to not only find your ideal audience, but engage with them on a deeper level, building the trust that leads to loyalty, conversions and bigger profits.
Part of this means knowing the numbers, enter the accountants among us. If you’re not regularly checking the effect that your social media is having online, how it’s impacting your brand perception in general and your strength in the market then what’s the point of it at all?
Set a monthly reminder to track your numbers, and adjust your strategy from there. A social media strategy should be fluid, enabling you to make changes where you find things aren’t working, and where things are working especially well.
Here at The Social Shop, we create 12-month content plans for small & large brands alike.
Our full service agency clients are made up from brands in the commercial, local government & non-profit sectors, and before we work with any full-service client our #1 rule is that we must produce a social strategy for their brand.
None of our clients have ever said that was a bad idea.
We know it lays the best foundation possible.
Also, a good social media strategy usually serves as a pretty fine organisation-wide marketing curriculum for any brand in general. If you’re nailing social, you’re also likely to be nailing it in other areas of marketing, too.
Don’t be surprised if the social media strategy you develop ends up becoming the backbone of your organisation-wide marketing plan. We see that happen, a lot!