How prolific are you when it comes to knowing the best route to take for social media? Sadly, many people flounder or completely miss the mark because they’ve not begun at the beginning. Their lack of social media strategy hands the advantage to competitors.
According the latest Duke University study, 43% of small businesses haven’t yet been able show that social media has made an impact on their business. 38% see an impact but aren’t able to prove it.
What you’re about to read will help you determine if you have what it takes to flourish on social media and, if you’re lacking something, what you can do about it.
What is social media strategy?
Social media strategy defines how an individual or company will use social media to achieve its business goals, including the supporting platforms and tools it will use to achieve this.
At a basic level, it’s a statement of intent, outlining the goals and measurable objectives for using social media, and the target outcomes you want to achieve.
When defining what it takes to achieve social media success, we need to talk about strategy first. I was inspired to write this post because I receive questions like these from good people, many of whom are struggling to find answers:
- “Do I have to be on every social network?”
- “What type of things do I say on social media?
- “How often should I post?”
- “How do I get more followers?”
- “My boss asked me to take over the Facebook page and I don’t know where to start.”
- “Should I pay for social advertising?”
- “I’m in a boring industry. Do I still need social media?”
- “Do I need social media management tools?”
- “Should I outsource my social media?”
I’ve had a run of these emails lately and frankly, my heart aches for these good people because they’re lost. It’s easy to get lost these days because the social media landscape is no longer a field of flowers sparsely populated.
In 2017, social media is a dense, crowded, noisy, smoggy urban jungle.
I’ve been going through some of my older blog posts and refreshing them for today’s social media landscape. What I’ve realized is that even more today, social media is a tough go for many people (and their companies). I’m seeing the same challenges and mistakes I was 5 years ago, but because social media has matured, these mistakes are costing even more.
5 years later, the core issues haven’t changed and that’s because only a small percentage invest in social media strategy.
A well-formulated social media strategy will stop you from leaving your digital reputation up to chance. Your marketing message and subsequent campaigns will have focus and measured outcomes. No more guessing. Just clear, specific strategies that help your business grow.
Three things I know for sure that cause damage to your digital reputation:
1. The things you don’t know about social media can kill you.
2. Handing off social media to third parties that post irrelevant content on your profiles can kill you.
3. Appointing an untrained novice to “do social media” can kill you.
The social web is growing fast.
Facebook has 1.86 billion users. Instagram has 600 million users, up from 400 million users at this time last year (2015). These platforms are growing faster than any other and without a social media strategy to set your course, failure is absolutely certain.
Customers are active on social media. It’s where they go to talk about their experiences before, during and after the sale. Future customers listen. They trust those remarks far more than they trust your advertising. Today, your brand is no longer what you tell consumers it is. It’s what consumers tell each other it is.
Social media strategy gives you what it takes to engage more customers.
Just this week a gal reached out to me who’s managing four Facebook pages for her company while still taking care of her “normal” job responsibilities. She said, “I just can’t dedicate the time it takes to do all the research and post everyday.”
This is a very real concern for her and I suspect for many others. Examining resources and determining goals are key to alleviating concerns. Managing time gets easier and that makes you more productive. With a proper social media strategy, you soon realize there is actually enough time to do what it takes.
Here’s a quick snapshot of what it takes to succeed on social media today. How many of these social media strategy components do you have in place?
- Brand identity (a distinct, written description of the unique value you bring to the table)
- Marketing design, integration and automation plan to seamlessly convey your value.
- Investment strategy. Social media is pay-to-play and it must be determined what resources you have and what more you’ll need to make it work.
- Solid content strategy (what you’re going to post and WHY).
- Promotion strategy (how you’re going to continually increase your fan base).
- Engagement strategy (how you’ll respond to fans and build community).
- Conversion strategy (how you’ll turn your fans into customers).
- Analytics strategy (how you’ll track, measure and report in order to establish ROI).
When considering expense, social media should be seen as a marketing platform but also as a way to build stronger relationships, customer loyalty and your digital reputation.
So tell me, do you have what it takes?