A social media strategy builds on more traditional marketing, communication and operational strategies. It can be a powerful contributor to recruitment, brand awareness, and personalised customer engagement, and can showcase expertise and contribute to business growth
Often misunderstood as an investment that should bring instant results. It is not a standalone activity within a business. The aims and objectives of your social media strategy should be approached no differently from any other strategy in that it should clearly contribute to your company’s aims and objectives. Social media implemented properly is a powerful contributor to brand awareness, and personalised customer engagement. Business growth can occur when you formulate a strategy that not only sells your goods or services but showcases your expertise in the industry and adds value to the reader/viewer.
Many companies fear that incorporating social media into business as usual opens up an avenue to be badmouthed by customers. Customers are already talking about your business – and mostly, if you’re delivering on your brand promises – positively. Social media just enables you to be part of the conversation. Social media can provide you with the information that ‘face to face’ does not encourage. Customers are more comfortable to write a comment or ‘rate’ your business rather than telling you once the goods or service has been finalised.
Marketing approaches are swiftly moving away from B2C and B2B models towards H2H – Human to human. People want to connect with a brand irrespective of whether it provides a product or a service. They are looking to spend their money with companies with which they relate. Social media enables that connection in a very real manner.
So how do you get started on your social media strategy?
- Look at your business. What is your business (as a whole)?
Whether you have a business plan or not your strategy for marketing is simple. Who is your target market, what do they want and how can you make what you are offering?
Once you know who your audience is then social media can assist in defining your market even further. Social platforms such as Facebook provide analytical data which will give you insights into your audience including, age, city they are in and times of use.
Social media represents your business and your brand in its totality and you must be clear about how and where social media will add value before you begin.
2. Get your team involved and understanding
If your team do not understand social media and how it adds value to your business including their contribution and how it impacts the branding direction. Without a team approach social media strategies will not succeed. No matter how solid your social media strategy, no matter how inspired your content and now matter how enthusiastically the staff buy in to the strategy – a lack of staff/team/management engagement will kill it.
3. Stick to the plan
Consistency is the key to any social media strategy. Once you have established your objectives look at the platforms that best suit your business. For example Linkedin is a marketing tool for recruitment and corporate executives. If you are wanting to promote visual content then Instagram is for you and if your looking for customer engagement and detailed analytics Facebook and Twitter are perfect. With your platforms you then can develop your content and imagery to meet your business objectives in the suitable planned manner.
5. Reports bring change
Social media is hard to quantify strictly by ROI.
Your social media strategy will provide your with metrics that should be reviewed fortnightly with your team to ensure that you are sticking to the plan. Metrics will tell you of your consumers behaviour or changes in habits. Social media is a cheap advertising medium to trial before investing in traditional methods such as newspapers or magazines. Online consumer behaviour guides the traditional marketing output.
Establishing your online community is critical to your content strategy. A high engagement community no matter how small your business is better than a large community who is silent. Like any strategy or plan it will evolve and it is important to use the metric reports to continue to define your business.