Social media is the largest, most widely used marketing platform available. 79% of Australians use social media –a figure that has increased by 10% year-on-year. Businesses who consolidated their social presence five or so years ago are likely to have built a community of loyal followers and have a very strong, very high impact marketing channel. However, the social media landscape is so saturated with businesses now that it can be hard to stand out if you’re relatively new to a platform.
In the Sensis 2017 Social Media survey, they found that social media users are more likely to trust the brand if they have a large follower number, interact with their customers in a positive way and if they find their content relevant and engaging. This means that to have the best chance of actually standing out on social media, you need to do all three of these things. That, if you haven’t already realised, is actually a reasonably difficult thing to do.
This is where developing and implementing a social media strategy comes in. It stops social media from being random and irregular and allows it to be purposeful and consistent, ensuring your social community are receiving and engaging with content they enjoy – that is what will create a community of loyal followers who will convert into customers. So, what are the fundamentals of a social media strategy?
You need to have goals, otherwise you can’t connect the actions you are doing and their purpose. For a long time, people claimed that clear, concise and measurable goals were difficult when using social media and relied on lofty goals like “gain more brand awareness” to lead their social strategy. Analytics have come so far over the last five years, so you can create very definitive, measurable goals. Instead, choose specific targets like increasing the number of engaged followers from X to Y, or increasing the number of website traffic generated through social media to X. Select your goals so they align with the overall marketing and business goals to ensure they are highly effective.
A clear understanding of your target market and how they use social media
The Sensis survey found that 43% of social media users unfollow brands because they have irrelevant or unappealing content. Under this content fell ‘salesy’ content. Different markets and demographics use social media in very different ways, but across the board relevant content is king. Learn everything you can about your target market; when they use it, what types of content they respond to, what types of content they engage with, how often they use it, what causes create passion and inspire conversation, what topics and types of content do they not connect with. Understanding this will give you a type of Blueprint for your social media strategy, like an overarching set of principles and guides giving you an indication of what to post and how.
An action plan
This is sort of like the ‘what now’ step of social media and in too many businesses this is never executed properly. This is a specific plan outlining what someone actually needs to do with social media. What content goes live when, which platforms are they shared on, what times do they go live, how often are comments responded to and how frequently are the pages moderated? It should be written down, pinned to a wall so it can be followed and checked off. Monthly or quarterly social media plans work most effectively and this gives a business a 90-day test and review structure which is important.
Who is responsible for actually implementing the plan? A social media strategy needs to have someone or a team held accountable for executing, maintaining, monitoring and reviewing otherwise it becomes no more than words on a piece of paper with no meaning nothing to the business! We recommend giving social media planning and preparation to someone who enjoys using it, because if it is something they enjoy doing, they will be inspired and enjoy having that responsibility so you can count on it being done well. It should be able to be managed by one or two people in most businesses – any more and there might be too many cooks in the kitchen for anything to get done property.
Analytics and measurement
Analytics are a marketer’s greatest tool and this is how we measure whether or not those goals are actually being achieved. Each platform has its own set of analytics, but when you pair these with Google Analytics or Mailchimp Reports they become so much more powerful and meaningful. Some key indicators of social media success are; engagement ratios, article clicks, website traffic, customer conversions and relevance scores. Other numbers that you should take note of include the types, volume and timing of content that has the best metrics – these indicate what you should be doing more of!
Each 90 days or so, you should review the analytics and metrics, then re-adjust your strategy accordingly. Social media platforms have their own algorithm that shifts every so often, so regular review and adjustment of your strategy means you can stay on top of this and have the best chance of social media success – whatever that means for your business and your social strategy goals.
If your social strategy addresses all six fundamental concepts, you are sure to succeed.