Social media is one of the strongest marketing tools available, but very few know how to harness its power. There are a lot of myths and misconceptions circulating about social media (see our blog here: Three Social Media Myths: Busted), and one of the most prominent is that simply being on social media is enough. Some companies feel like they’re on top of social media if they have an account and post when the opportunity arises. In reality, businesses and brands should be developing a strategy which answers all of the who, what, when, where and why questions (with the why being the most important).
If you don’t have a social media strategy, or are looking to revamp yours to better capture your brand, better connect with your audience, or find better success—we’ve already done the legwork for you. Download our Social Media Strategy Tool and fill it in for your company as you develop your strategy.
Start at the beginning
As they say, you don’t put the horse before the cart. The same applies to your strategy. In order to nail down your tactics, you need to begin with your identity. Who are you as a brand? What is your purpose, mission, vision and differentiator? You can boil it down by finishing this simple exercise. Fill in the blanks: “(YOUR BRAND) is the only___________ that _____________.” (Thanks to Scott Hauman at NewFoundry for this invaluable tip.)
Once you’ve established who you are, you can find your competition and your audience. Spend some time figuring out who they both are.
Now, use this newly articulated identity to set three social media goals. What do you hope to accomplish? What are some measurable successes? What ROI do you want to achieve?
Pull it together
Now pull this information together to inform your strategy.
Start with the platforms. Which platforms are good fits, given your identities? Don’t be drawn into using platforms that don’t align with your goals. Identify your primary and secondary targets; these are the people you’ll think of when you’re creating content.
Next, identify your messaging guidelines. What is your brand’s voice and tone? What kind of topics should you be engaging (and which should you avoid)? What design elements should remain consistent to reflect your brand?
After you’ve thought through the higher-level aspects of your strategy, you can focus on the logistics. How oftenshould you be posting? At what times? How often should you create original content, and how often should you share content from others? What are some social media best practices? (We’ve got some tips:The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Image Sizes (for posting), Tips for posting great food pics (and marketing your food business))
Make it happen
The time has arrived to put your strategy into action. Develop a calendar that aligns with your strategy and distribute responsibilities to your team. You can schedule posts weeks out to stick to your calendar. As you start posting, be sure to connect and engage with your audience; follow relevant people and engage in conversations with them. For greater effectiveness, consider putting some marketing spend behind your strategy. Promoting your page or boosting your posts, even with a few dollars, makes a large difference in reach and engagement.
As you roll out your strategy, be sure to track your metrics, analyze and continually reengage to improve your strategy and better reach your audience. Social media is a complex world of #hashtags, targeting, filters and trends. If you need help navigating it, we would love to help you #MOVEahead.