Five Steps to Improve Your Social Media Strategy

Have you ever wondered why some businesses succeed at social media while others fail? The difference is a solid social media strategy.  3 in 4 consumers make a buying decision based on online content wouldn’t you agree that consistency and a strategy is crucial?

Social media was once seen as the wild child of the marketing department but the times have changed and the industry has matured.  It’s a great place for brands to have a little fun but it also has a real and measurable impact of a businesses’ bottom line.

Social media can no longer live in a silo, it must work in tandem with the rest of your business strategy.  Whether you’re looking to reinvent your current strategy or you’re just looking to get started the five steps below will help you create results.

1) Define Business Objectives and Goals

The first order of business with developing a social media strategy is clearly defining your goals.  Goals are the fuel to propel your online efforts and they give context and purpose to what would otherwise be a random one off social media tactic.

Goal setting is a staple of all marketing and business strategies and social media is no exception.   Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California conducted a study and found that you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down.

Surveying key business stakeholders and asking questions is essential. Prove your teams worth by tacking the questions head on and understanding business obstacles and social objectives that can help brands overcome them. Some questions to help you get started:

  • Who are you looking to connect with?
  • What are your goals of using social media?
  • How much time can you commit to managing your social media?
  • Who will be responsible for running your social media?
  • What does success look like?

2) Understand and Know Your Audience and Focus on Networks that Add Value

As you’re posting and sharing on social media have you taken time to determined if you have a defined focus? Do you really understand the needs of your target market?

The better you can describe your audience and potential clients or consumers the more likely that your message  will capture their attention.  As you develop your audience personas you’ll see that the problems you’re solving for each market will be considerably different.  Knowing exactly what your audience needs and ways to find and meet them is important while providing content or engagement in a real and specific ways.

Each social network has its own strengths and weaknesses and each social media marketer should carefully pick and choose which networks they wish to take advantage of.

Each network provides a baseline of analytics to review your follow and fans online.  Simply asking your audience for their social media profiles is helpful as well as you’re capturing data with a registration form of other lead nurturing campaign.  Most CRM databased have places to house this information and as you’re segmenting and building audience specific campaigns this data will be essential for social media success.

3) Stand Out Online

In a busy and crowded social media world where a cookie-cutter approach is the norm, creating a differential as a way  to stand out online is a must.

The average attention span in 2000 was around 12 seconds but with the mobile and digital revolution it’s deteriorated quickly. Now, the average attention span of a human is eight seconds while a goldfish is believed to have an attention span of nine seconds. Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information. 

In order to use social media to its best, start by examining what your company means to your customers. You must determine not only what is unique about your business, but also how that uniqueness compels customer to keep coming back.

It’s important to review your messaging matrix daily to understand whether your message is benefitical and valuable or just contributing to the online noise.  Using social media effectively helps you stand out from the crowd. Understanding what makes your company, your culture and your customers unique will help you make your messages unique, too.

4) Create a Cross-Platform Strategy

It’s important to research and understand exactly how, when and why your audience is using social media.  Successful companies and brands determine where their time is best spent.  Understanding the audience and demographics and understanding how demographic groups use social media in a distinctive ways is crucial.  The bottom line? It’s vital to identify your customers preferred social media platforms so your strategy and focus and direct.

Just because a network has billions of users doesn’t mean it will have a direct contribution to your brand’s objectives. Instead of trying to be everything to everybody, focus your efforts on networks that hold the key to your target audience and objectives.

Social has long lived within the marketing department, but that doesn’t mean it can’t (and shouldn’t) have a hand in nearly every business function, from human resources to research and content marketing. To create a fully integrated social media marketing campaign, you’ll need to involve and integrate multiple departments, especially if your goals have a direct impact on them. Work with all your teams to determine how you can best support their goals and what key performance indicators are important to them.

5) Track, Measure and Adjust Along the Way

Tracking and measuring your social media efforts should be the backbone of your social media strategy. It’s sometimes difficult to measure and track social media success however setting clear KPI’s and updating often and along the way is crucial.  Social media is useful is useful in many ways, however it can turn into a tremendous time suck if you’re not paying close enough attention to where your time and effort is best spent.

That’s where analytics and analysis come into play.  Leveraging information available within your analytics dashboard to learn as much as possible about what content and actions are making the biggest splash across your social channels is key.  Evaluate how and why some content works and why some may fall short .

Takeaways: 

Sprout Social provided their readers the below seven step social media marketing checklist. It’s helpful if you’re reviewing your existing strategy and trying to determine how you check out.

Not everything will work on social media and that’s okay.  You can’t have success stories without failures along the way to provide a solid learning experience. The key to a successful strategy is to track, measure, and adjust along the way to determine what is working and how to do more of that.

Video and visual are must haves within my 2016 social media strategy, I’d love love to hear your thoughts on this piece and what you’re looking to do this year within your social media strategy.  Leave a comment or send me a tweet @marissapick.