Creating a social media strategy takes time and effort, but it's worth it to ensure your social media effort works.
Whether you create and implement your strategy yourself, or whether you have help or outsource it to a specialist, a strategy for your social media efforts is a must. Let us explain why...
PROPER PLANNING PREVENTS ....
The 5P's rings just as true with social media strategy planning as it does with all business planning. Planning out your approach to your social media allows you to set a direction and give a priority to your efforts. It's all too easy to let things slip when you get busy but referring back to a strategy and approach will help keep you on track.
Planning ahead also allows you to use automated scheduling systems to post your content out at a time when you may be busy but your audience is active. Scheduling your social media activity with these types of apps is great, but you need to strike a balance. Social media also requires you to be present in the moment, so your social media strategy needs to account for the time when you can just be active and respond in real time on matters that your audience and customers care about.
For example on Twitter, there are business hours, where using a certain hashtag at a certain time you can engage with a group of like-minded individuals - mostly business to business rather than business to consumer. These are good for growing awareness of your brand and seeing who else is out there. Planning these into your strategy is a good idea as they are often out of business hours and easy to forget.
Some businesses clearly schedule posts for these tags at the relevant times, but when the rest of the businesses are engaging and responding instantly, it becomes very clear who is and isn't actually present.
We've created a list of the hours mostly relevant to Devon & Cornwall that we know about on What are Twitter Hours? and we've also created a post that lists the best hashtags for Twitter - if you know any others and would like me to add, please drop me a message.
Having a strategy allows you and those around you to take a consistent approach to your social media. Where there is more than one person working on your social media, referring back to strategy ensures that everyone posting and interacting is doing to in the same consistent style and tone for your business.
Even if it is just you posting, a strategy will help you be consistent and focused; it may prevent you from potentially following personal threads that pique your interest rather than those which may actually grow your business; it makes sure all activity is related to business growth.
A strategy also helps your audience to learn about brand and gives them a general sense of what your business is all about as it shouldn't just be a platform to sell to them.
With 80% of consumers using social media to engage with brands (1), ensuring that you regularly set time aside to engage with your audience really is valuable in building relationships with you prospective and current customers.
A strategy or plan gives you an approach against which you can measure results.
Have your tweets increased your Twitter followers? Has a new customer said they've seen your Facebook posts?
When documenting your approach include how you will measure your success. The best success measurement is increase in interactions, never use followers as a key metric as you will have ghost followers, these are users who like your page but never interact.
A KPI then allows you to determine what is and isn't working and evolve your strategy to focus on the areas that are seeing a return.
WHAT YOUR STRATEGY SHOULD INCLUDE
Whilst the detail of each strategy is going to be different, depending on your business a plan should include the following:
- Customer Understanding
- Competitor Understanding
- Platforms you intend to use
- The types of content you want to post
- The ways you want to engage or interact with your followers
We've created a helpful guide to set you on the right track which you can download here Your Guide to Creating a Successful Social Media Strategy (PDF).
For some general more information on social media marketing check our post 10 Tips for your social media marketing and follow us on social media to keep up to date with all our latest blog posts.