A Social Media Strategy Is About More Than Just Posting
Most communications departments can attest to the reality that they are stretched for resources and team members wear multiple hats — the result being that social media is often placed at the bottom of the priority list.
While simply getting your voice out there is a good first step — especially if you’re short on time and resources — you want to make sure that everything you are posting on social media is worth the effort you are putting into it. As you consider how to approach what precious time you do have to dedicate to your social media activities, take the following strategic building blocks into account. If you can touch upon each item in some small way, then you’re already well on your way to implementing an effective social media approach.
Align your goals.
Understanding the reasoning behind what you post will quickly prove that a social media strategy is about more than posting. You may push out a message or two, but are those messages actually contributing to your overall digital strategy? And do they align with your overall end game?
Map your overall goals to your social media goals. For example, if your aim is to have more people know about your product or solution, then set brand awareness goals. Doing so will allow you to apply direct tactics to get your message across in the most effective way.
Focus on the networks that matter.
There is real fear among communicators that they need to be active on every single social media network. But what if your target audience isn’t active on LinkedIn or Snapchat? Your time is precious, so don’t spend it unnecessarily. The impact of your social media strategy will be far greater if you focus on where your audience is most active — and that's likely not every single network.
Research where your biggest influencers hang out. Are they primarily on Twitter? Which social groups are they a part of? Where are you seeing the most engagement? Based on where your audience is, you’ll be able to decide where to invest your time.
Define how to measure success.
As is the case with any digital strategy, make sure that the efforts you are investing in social media are giving you the results that you need. This is where key performance metrics come into play. KPIs will keep you on track and focused on what you want to achieve.
Go back to your social media goals and map a KPI to each of them. If your goal is product brand awareness, your KPI might be reaching 100 likes per month on Facebook, or 25 favorites per month on Twitter. Having an end goal will help you craft the right message to get there.
Learn from the competition.
Whether it’s a direct competitor or a group with a similar mission, having a strong sense of what similar organizations are doing and saying on social media will go a long way toward helping you develop effective content.
Survey the landscape. What is working well for others? Learn as much as you can about how your common audience is responding to social content. While it's important in keeping you abreast of the latest trends, it will also save you time in having to test everything yourself.
Build strong content.
With a good sense of the above goals, metrics, network preferences and competitive landscape, you are well positioned to start crafting valuable social content that speaks to your audience and moves your strategic needle forward.
As much as you can, vary both the format (text, images, video) and type (interviews, reports, blogs) of content you post. Too much of the same can get old quickly. Also, include relevant hashtags whenever possible.
Set a schedule.
When time is of the essence, a schedule will make things much easier. Sticking to a social media schedule may feel hard to commit to, but it will make you more efficient and allow you to publish when your audience is most likely to engage.
Use a social media management tool — there are a lot of good ones out there. Some are platform specific (e.g., TweetDeck), but my favorites are those on which you can schedule all of your posts in one place and have it decide when the best times are to post (e.g., Sprout Social). Some are free, others are not. Decide what makes the most sense for your goals, time and return on investment.
Track and improve.
While it may feel like yet another investment of time, sitting down at least once a month to look at the numbers will go a long way toward making you more efficient. You can’t report success or get better if you don’t know what's happening.
For a base look at how your social platforms are performing, the tools themselves provide a good breadth of data for you to analyze. In terms of how much time to spend on reporting, the 25% rule might be a good place to start.
Time is money, so be as strategic as you can to return a profit — whether that’s an increase in sales or more support for your cause. If you can devote a bit of time to each of these items, you’re off to a good start. If, however, that feels like a stretch right now, then take it one step at a time. Above all, be deliberate in your approach. Don’t just post for posting's sake. If you can remain focused on reaching specific goals, your social media activities will be worth the effort you put into them.
- 01 Feb, 2019
- 168Solution Public Class