If your business is struggling to achieve success via its social media platforms, then perhaps this latest blog is for you. In order to understand what social media should be achieving for your business, it requires that you take a step back to audit your social media use and goals to establish if your approach is working or not. When it comes to achieving any form of success, a social media marketing strategy that forms part of your overall marketing strategy is essential. In this blog, we discuss 7 elements of a social media strategy.
Let’s use a simple example. You’re planning a holiday away to a destination that you’ve never been to before. This requires that you plan and prepare for the journey. You’d need to book your accommodation, tickets and identify the route that you are going to take to get to your destination. If you are anything like me, getting lost (even if you have a GPS) is possible, and so I’ll plan the journey down to the finest detail; identifying landmarks to look out for, so that I am comforted to know that I’m heading in the right direction.
Planning your social media marketing strategy is in principle very much the same as planning that holiday away. It starts off with knowing what your point A is and where your point B will be; it follows identifying the route that you’ll take to get to point B. What landmarks will you look out for to know that you are well on your way (or not) to point B. This is the very first step of your social media marketing strategy, identifying and setting your goal(s).
In order to achieve your set goals, ensure that your objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound (SMART), a few examples:
a) Increase my fans by 10% by end July 2016.
b) I would like to generate traffic to website by 15% by end of August 2016.
c) Increase leads by 12% by end August 2016.
d) Increase sales through Facebook by 10% by end August 2016.
The examples above indicate that you would need to know the data or value of point A. The first example, to increase your fans by 10%, means that you know how many fans you have at the starting point in order to know if you’ve increased your fans by X amount by the end of July. Further notice how the above goals and objectives are SMART.
Who is your target audience and which social media platforms are they spending most of their time on? If you don’t know the answer to this, spend some time interviewing your target audience through face-to-face or telephone engagements, social media polls or use survey monkey to obtain the answer to this question. You may find that your audience spends 60% of their time on Facebook and 40% of their time on LinkedIn. This information will help you identify which platforms would receive your primary and secondary focus.
Your competitors’ social media platforms provide tons of information. Firstly not only do you know what they are doing, but you have the insight to see what is working for them. Pay attention to the things like the type of content that they are posting; how frequently are they posting; what time are they posting. Pay special attention to the types of content that receive a lot of engagement. Use this information to inform and guide your strategy.
Without a content plan in place, it can be extremely difficult to constantly come up with fresh new content for social media all the time. There are 3 important factors to consider when it comes to content:
People are not necessarily interested in content that does not resonate with them. Understand your audience and what interests them; what is important to them and post quality content that they will find helpful, insightful and shareable. Remember the 80/20 rule – 80% of your content must be for engagement purposes with 20% of your content being promotional.
Understand that each social media platform is unique and should be approached differently. Flooding platforms with too much content may earn you unlikes and unfollows; finding the right frequency could earn you likes, engagements, and shares.
Timing is everything. Posting your updates when your audience is offline and least engaged is like throwing a ball to your dog who is more interested in the bone that he is chewing. As you may know, Twitter and Facebook news feed move incredibly quickly so utilize your analytics and insights to identify the optimal time for when your audience is online so that they can engage with your content.
Social media requires resources in the form of people, time and money. Whoever said that marketing your business via social media is a good idea….because its free, was terribly mistaken! It’s going to cost you your time, your employees time or it is going to cost you if you outsource your social media marketing to a social media agency.
If you have a large staff compliment, assign certain roles and functions to various staff. Give one person the responsibility of creating the visual content; another person could be responsible for posting and promoting. If you have a small business with limited time and people resources, invest in social media scheduling tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer which would assist you to schedule and post your content to your various social media platforms.
As we alluded to at the beginning of this blog, you would need to have set landmarks to identify if you on track to reach point B on time. Take the time to review your progress by regularly reviewing your analytics and insights. What type of content is receiving the most engagement; has your audience online time changed; have you received any unlikes or unfollows and if so, can you identify why? Look at your progress against the goals that you have set. Let the data inform your strategy so that you can constantly adjust and take actions towards meeting your marketing goals.
It’s always great to receive feedback from others on what strategies have worked for you. Do share which components are the easiest or most challenging for you to manage.