Creating a social media strategy that really works

Creating a social media strategy is no easy task, and many organisations struggle to understand exactly what it is, let alone how to build and develop one from scratch. One of the major theories when constructing a social media strategy is that companies should focus more on how to BE social, and less on how to DO social media.

The best social media strategic plans are tools-agnostic, and set objectives and metrics that supersede any particular social venue. In simple terms, every action you take on social networks should be part of a larger social media and integrated marketing strategy. That means every post, reply, like, and comment should all be guided by a plan that’s driving toward business goals.

It might sound complicated, but if you take the time to create a comprehensive social media strategy, the rest of your social efforts should follow naturally, and everyone can do this if they take the correct approach.

We think any great social media marketing plan should include these great tips:

From top to bottom, or is it bottom to top?

A social media strategy should not be “owned” by a single person within your organisation, as social impacts all corners of the company, and the first step in the process is to create a cross-functional team to help conceive and operate the rest of the strategy.

Are you listening and comparing?

Listening to all your core stakeholders via social media is as important today as it’s ever been. Your customers – and also your competitors – will give you a good guide to where and how you should be active in social media, allowing you to adopt and adapt, broadening your social listening beyond your brand name.

What are you trying to achieve?

Yes, you can use social media to help accomplish several business objectives, but what is it exactly you are trying to achieve. Too many companies fall into the trap of trying to be everything to everybody, but the best social media strategies are those that focus on a narrower rationale for social. So, you need to determine what do you primarily want to use social for? Is it for creating awareness, generating sales, or increasing your loyalty and retention?

It’s all in the numbers…

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you know and understand what good looks like?
  • How are you going to determine whether your social media strategy is actually making a difference to your business?
  • What key measures will you use to evaluate social media strategy effectiveness, and how you will transcend likes and engagement?
  • Will you measure ROI?

All of these questions will help to provide the focus you need to add real clarity to your social media strategy.

Do you know your audience?

How well do you know your audience (it’s a difficult one to determine at times), as these are the people you’ll be interacting with on social media. I guess it comes back to how well you are listening to your audience and creating a customer first approach. Do you really know what the demographic and psychographic characteristics of your current or prospective customers are? More importantly, how does that impact what you can and should attempt in social media?

What’s your ‘thang’?

It doesn’t matter who you are or what you sell, as your product features and benefits aren’t enough to create a passion-worthy stir. You will need to decide how will your organisation appeal to the “heart” of your audience, rather than the “head?” For example, Disney isn’t about movies, it’s about magic, and of course Apple isn’t about technology, it’s about innovation. So, what are you about? What’s your thang?

Showing your human side

The mechanics of social media force companies to compete for attention constantly against competitors, customers, friends and family members, and your company has to act like a person, not an entity. People like to speak to people, right? So, how will you do that?

Create a Channel Plan

Once you’ve answered the above questions, and you know why you’re active on social, and how you can measure its effectiveness, it’s time to turn your attention to the “how” of LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook et al. Your channel plan should be distinct, in that you have a specific, defensible reason for participating in each, and know how to execute it.

We hope this information goes someway to helping you create your own social media strategy. Clearly when we work with our clients, there is much wider scope to such planning and deliverables, but this should provide you with the right scaffolding and initial thought process. We hope you’ll find it useful. Let us know if you need any more help though…