Essential steps in developing a social media strategy

Essential steps in developing a social media strategy

Why would a social media strategy be needed?

Social media has been growing in popularity for years, and it still is. Its fast growth rates can be attributed to the higher use of mobile devices, children getting devices at younger ages and even older users becoming used to the technology. This higher usage and the ability to connect to the internet wherever we are has promoted online social activity, as it allows people to connect and catch up without having to physically see each other, becoming more convenient in working lives. This leads to customers from most ecommerce shops to be on social media, whether for the purpose of shopping or catching up with friends, they are available to reach.

The ease at which company social media posts can be shared and reviews created has resulted in many online purchasing decisions being influenced by social media. As most people are more than likely on a social media platform whilst debating a purchase, they are more likely to look to peers for advice than advertising. So having a strong following will no doubt build their trust in a company.

Lack of strategy gives competitors a huge advantage. This is because having no marketing strategy can lead to pointless posts that are irrelevant or even damaging to the company. Getting mentions and noticed is good, but only if they are for the right reasons and in the right places. Meanwhile other companies will have a strategy set out and be posting content due to customer preference and actually engaging with their clients while monitoring their response to tailor their approach further, taking advantage of opportunities others have missed due to their strategy.

Being unprepared can ruin your business, not thinking through marketing campaigns or even a strategy to deal with negative publicity can lead to a company reputation failure. Having a strategy in place can avoid brand identity damage and build up a level of trust between a company and customer.

 

How to I build one suitable for my business?

Have someone for every role

Select a set of people that will have control over the platforms involving things such as,

  • Content creation
  • Content checking
  • Customer service
  • Researching interests of customers
  • Checking statistics

This is kind of plan important to help keep track and keep on top of posting. It ensures no one’s workload is too high so no content becomes rushed.

Whether you have one or even multiple people in charge of content creation they all will need a plan. The amount of people needed as content creators for social media pages depends on the scale of the social campaigns and the size of the company itself, the bigger the project the more people needed. More people tends to ensure better content when the right people are selected and give the correct guidance.

Having someone to check content before it goes out is highly beneficial for getting rid of any embarrassing mistakes. It can also be used as a way of improving and tailoring messages further to suit audiences. Making a company seem as if they are going the extra mile for their followers.

Customer service is crucial to show customers the kind of engagement they are looking for from a social media profile. It is also a huge help in keeping brand reputation up as any negative comments can be dealt with quickly and easily, offering a happy solution for both business and customer.

Use these employees roles to create a plan based around your goals for how often each platform will post. Take a look into what kind of content it will post, what audience it will be targeting and what image you intend to represent on social media as a business.

 

Make suitable profiles

Create or improve social media accounts, make them as personalised as possible and communicate your brand well. Having a page that does not match its content can damage brand image, for example having a formal company description page and informal posts will not match, nor make sense to followers. Make everything on the page flow well and build up a personality wherever possible.

You can even optimize the accounts for SEO and Cross-promote your platforms from one the the other, expanding their reach and giving your audience even more to look at and engage with. This is as long as the content on each platform is different, for best practice and engagement mixed content between platforms is the best route to take as each platform will have new information.

 

Listen to your audience for a guide to content

Listen to your audience when it comes to content creation or choosing a platform, see where your customers are most active for competitor websites social media and use the most successful platforms. Similarly look at what content they react well to and focus on posting in this kind of style or about this topic, avoid topics that have had bad reactions in the past.

Use whatever your competitors are doing to benefit you, take on successful ideas in your own way, and if applicable pick up on things you think they may be missing and offer something no one else does.Talk to them how they would be likely to talk amongst themselves, or have a stand alone identity or way of speaking for your brand. Put guidelines in place to ensure if multiple content creators are on board that they sound like one united voice, not like multiple people on one account.

 

Be realistic and know what you want

Know what you’re expecting to get out of it. Decide as a company if you are looking to use the platforms to build personal relationships with customers as a form of retaining them, if you’re looking to build awareness about your brand, or even just want to boost sales. Whichever you pick be sure it is the right goal for your business, as this choice will shape most of what ends up in your content.

Having these goals allows you to react in good time when results are not up to standard or meeting your business objectives. For example, if you had a goal of gaining 20 followers per week but were only gaining less than ten, it would be an indicator that content being produced may not be engaging enough, or your profiles are not being promoted enough for people to find them. Noticing this would then give you the push to adapt your strategy before the followers stop increasing completely.

 

Keep track of progress

Choose how you are going to measure the success of your campaigns. Simply posting without keeping an eye on customer reaction is pointless, unless your profiles are adding some value to your company they’re not worth having. There are plenty of ways to monitor a campaign such as keeping an eye on likes and follows, engagement with the brand, web referrals, conversion rate or even ROI. All of these will offer useful statistics on how your profiles are doing, but choosing the right one can be essential.

Once chosen, be sure the people in charge of analytics are sure how you want them to monitor the platforms. Knowing what you want to monitor but not letting employees know how to do so can result in lost data or even the collection of irrelevant data, in the hope that it would provide some form of information. Company communication is key when running social media.

 

Adapt as much as possible

When things don’t work, change them. If something isn’t having the desired effect there’s no harm in changing it, a perfect social media plan on paper doesn’t always translate when put into place and is faced with real data. Real people will not always react they way they will in your head, humans are not robotic and will not always provide the steady stream of data you were planning for so be prepared for this and change with it. Notice when your most successful times of day and year are and put more effort in there.

Test your initial plan and evaluate the data, making adjustments as you go, by approaching it this way you will build your plan around your customers further, making it an even more personal experience for them. Plans will change as long as a business is active and audiences are evolving, don’t be concerned if your campaigns need regular changes.

About the Author
Laura
Content Manager