How to manage your Social Media Strategy… more of a marathon than a sprint!
Managing social media… So, you’ve got your Facebook page and you’re desperately trying to be ‘Liked’. You’re tweeting for England while you’re LinkedIn profile is receiving invitations from people you’ve never met. But not to worry because you’ve got some great office ‘selfies’ in your Instagram account, not to mention your Google+ page and YouTube channel.
Sound familiar? Then you’re not alone.
I recently visited a new client to talk about managing social media marketing requirements. Within ten minutes of our introduction, they informed me that social media wasn’t for them. It didn’t ‘work’ and therefore there was no need pursuing that avenue any further. When I asked why, they proceeded to tell me about the numerous social networks they had subscribed to in order to ‘stay ahead of the game’ and the types of ‘content’ they had inflicted on their increasingly limited and depleting audience.
They then continued to say that after three weeks, they had not received any sales!
Social media is an invaluable communication tool for any business but it needs careful planning and time to achieve the most effective results…. managing social media is more of a marathon than a sprint!
Social media can play an integral role for any business across two communication channels – as a digital marketing tool for distributing rich content to engage, inform, generate new leads as well as promote products and services to interested listeners; and as a valuable PR tool for sharing relevant news and information about the business.
Here are my five tips for those who have been tasked with planning their company’s social media activity:
Define your strategy
It’s a common mistake by many to think that social media platforms and tools are communication strategies. In the same way a business development or marketing strategy is executed, any social media activity relies on clear objectives, target audience, specific tactics, a timeline for delivery and the appropriate metrics for measurement.
Choose your networks
From Facebook to Twitter, LinkedIn to Instagram, there are currently over 220 social media networks globally, making it virtually impossible to subscribe to all. Each network has its own merit and values therefore choose your networks carefully based on your strategy. For example if you sell industrial widgets to large engineering firms is Facebook the most appropriate network to engage and communicate with the chief buyer or Managing Director?
Content, content and content
For any successful social media campaign, there is one core mantra – CONTENT IS KING! Why? Because great content is like a boomerang – it keeps people coming back. Which in turn, encourages loyalty and trust in your brand.
Consider the most appropriate and engaging content to use and how it will be distributed effectively and coherently your various target audiences.
Ideas for great content include: free tips and advice; infographics; research reports and downloadable documents – such as eBooks and whitepapers; discount offers and promotions; video demonstrations.
Like anything in life, you will only reap what you sow. The most effective way to gain results from your social media activity is to stay focused and dedicated to the cause. Don’t expect great results overnight as it will take time to develop and hone your strategy. It’s also a great opportunity to test your content against your target audience: see what sticks leading to further engagement.
Measure, test and measure again
Finally, measuring your social media activities is the only way to understand if it’s working correctly and effectively. You’ve invested the time and energy, so you’ll want to know what the outcomes are and whether you need to tweak your approach or go for plan B. Such metrics may include how you’ve achieved:
- Increased awareness though engagement i.e. the number of new Followers, Likes and Connections
- Increased your number of visitors to specific landing pages on your website
- Encouraged your target audience to take action such as subscribe to your company newsletter or blog, take part in a competition, or download a free report
- Increased the number of direct sales and increased revenue to your website.