If your company is active on social media, chances are that not a lot of planning went into the decision. Most companies find themselves with a presence in social media for reasons like “Our competitors are there” or “Someone in marketing thought it was a great idea”. In addition, there is an idea floating around that social media should be approached without a strategy, that we should just dive in. I disagree, the key to having a successful presence in sociala media for a long time is to have a plan and then stick to it.
But just because you started without a plan doesn’t mean you can’t get one now. And if your company hasn’t decided whether it should start using social media or not, this is definetely a priority. Here are five things that you must have in your social media strategy:
Why should you have a presence in social media? What is it that you want to accomplish? Is it to sell products or solutions, to increase recognition and build your brand? Is it to showcase your expertise and guide potential customers to your own website? Or is it primarily to attract new talent and build your employer brand? There can be more than one goal, but you need to have at least one. That is your main reason for investing in social media and what you have to measure to see if you’re getting a return on that investment.
2. Target audience
Who do you want to communicate with? Who is your taget audience? And don’t say everybody, because you can’t be relevant to everyone. But defining your target audience is key, because that will help you decide a number of things: Is your target audience active on social media at all? Where – is it on Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram? Do they want to engage with you there? What kind of content are they interested in, solutions, inspiration or a mix.
Another key thing you have to do is listen. If you find your target audience on social media it’s an opportunity to find out what’s on their mind.
So you know what kind of content to use, but you still need to produce it. That means figuring out how much, where you are going to get it, who will produce it and at what cost. How you can use and reuse content in different formats. The key reason why you need this in your strategy is that you don’t want to produce unique content for just one channel, and this means working in synch with other channels and types of media.
Being successful on social media requires having the resources for a healthy presence there. You need people to post content, to interact with fans and followers, answer questions and criticism, Depending on what type of business you do you might even need to get customer service involved. And you need someone that can plan ahead, so that you continue to post and create leads long after the first glow has worn off. Social media is a marathon, not a sprint. Oh, and by the way, you’re going to need a crisis plan as well.
You might be perfectly happy measuring likes, re-tweets, comments etc, but mangement expect you to come up with something a little more solid and business like. This is when you need to revisit your goals and try to come up with KPI’s that are relevant to that goal. If you’re on social media to sell, then you need to figure out how to measure that you are selling. The same goes for brand building, recruitment and so on – you need KPI’s that will tell you if you are reaching your goal.
There are more things that goes into a social media strategy, but these five are a start. If you create a plan that answers all the points I have listed, you are well on your way to having a social media presence that will create true value in the long run.
Did I forget something important? Leave a comment below.
This post was originally posted on LinkedIn in September, 2014.