It’s important that businesses realise that they need to do some planning and have a strategy before jumping in and posting random updates on Facebook and Twitter! If brands are going to be successful using social media to boost their businesses, a social media strategy is key. People often get blinded by the excitement of having new social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube that they do not realise they need to plan, set goals and measure results to be successful.
Digital marketing is a constant process. Building a website is just the beginning; keeping it updated with good quality interesting content is the challenge! Sending an email marketing campaign at Christmas is great, but why not send one more regularly and build up that relationship with your readers?
One of the things I do for my clients is creating detailed digital marketing and social media strategy and marketing plans for their business. So, I want to share some tips that I think will help you build your social media strategy:
- Choose the best platforms for your business:
If you are a small business with very little resources then maybe consider using one social media platform and do it well. Remember, it is better to be really good at one social media site than be weak on many! Consistency and quality matter more than being on each and every social media platform. Pick one or two social media channels and do them well first and then you can add in more as you go. If you only have time to manage one social media site, you might consider focusing in on Facebook. It is the largest social media site with 1.1 billion users and that is probably reason enough to pick Facebook if you only have time to manage one site.
- Allocate the resources required:
Setting up a Facebook page, twitter account or Pinterest profile is the easy part. After that you have to create and post great content, grow your community, engage with your audience, support other people’s communities, keep up with site changes, etc. Who is going to be responsible for these platforms?
- Set goals and choose a Timeframe:
When I ask people about their goals for social media, I usually get one of two answers; “More Sales” or “Ehm, well everyone else is using Facebook so I kind of felt I should too”.
You need goals so that your social media marketing is focused and effective. I recommend starting with big, wide reaching goals first and then breaking those bigger goals down into smaller pieces and establishing performance benchmarks and timelines for each piece. So, here is an example. A business I met with recently said ”I want to use Facebook to boost my business”. How do you know if social media is working? Instead, I suggested to the client that they aim to “develop a Facebook strategy to drive 50 new potential customers to my online store in the next 3 months”. Automatically their focus was on marketing activities and a social media strategy to support that goal.
- Carry out real time analysis:
By measuring and analyzing your social media marketing efforts in real-time, you will track overall progress to your larger goals. However, it also highlights what is working and what is not. By knowing what isn’t working, you can make the necessary adjustments and do more of what IS working!
- Create a content calendar as part of your content strategy:
My rule of thumb is the 80:20 rule. 80% of your content should be interesting, useful, relative to your brand but entertaining and so on. The other 20% of your content can be promotional material – although I would also be cautious about how you word promotional posts. If you post promotional updates more than 20% of the time, people will consider you a “spammer” or push marketer and will either unlike your Facebook page, unfollow you on Twitter or worse still stop shopping with you! So, what are you going to post the other 80% – 90% of the time? The answer is things that are interesting, motivational, funny, useful or otherwise have VALUE to your community. How often are you going to post? What times of the day and days of the week are you going to post? A content strategy and plan answers all of these questions!
- Develop your brand’s tone of voice:
Work on figuring out your rand’s persona, tone, purpose and language.
- Carry out regular analysis:
Use tools such as Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, Twitter analytics or other tools like Hootsuite, SocialBro, Raven etc. Monitor social media activity by keeping track of activity, influence and interactions. Other metrics worth monitoring include downloads, installs, views, clicks, sign ups and traffic referrals. Don’t forget to monitor strategic objective metrics such as sales, customer service and brand awareness.
- Be social, be fun, take risks and do more:
While being informative is hugely important for a brand to communicate their message to consumers, it’s also important to remember that people use social media in order to be entertained and informed.
Do you have a social media strategy in place? If so, what works best for you? Do you schedule posts and tweets?