Social media has changed the face of digital marketing in just a few short years. Today, if you don’t have an integrated social media strategy, you could really be missing out on opportunities to engage with your existing customers, and win new ones.
‘Can’t I just post when I have something special to say?’ you may ask. You can, of course, but savvy businesses are going way beyond that, and if you want to compete with them, you’ll need to devise an effective social media strategy of your own. An integrated strategy creates a common direction, thus ensuring that your whole team is striving towards the same goals.
It’s also a much better use of your time and resources – as with any facet of business, forward planning is always preferable to fire fighting. You can plan out in advance what you want to communicate to your customers and when, rather than trying to come up with ideas at the last minute. You’ll find that you are able to run bigger and more effective campaigns as a result, and achieve better outcomes. And, on a day-to-day level, it makes so much more sense to have a plan in place so that you know what to post on any given day if the person who normally looks after your social media is off sick, and posts can be scheduled in advance before planned holidays.
More importantly, creating a social media strategy will enable you to keep your posting consistent, which is crucial when you’re building a brand. With a strategy in place, you won’t miss out on those vital opportunities to engage with your audience – you’ll see comments to interact with, questions to answer and industry insights to share.
Planning your social media marketing in advance will also afford you the opportunity to prepare for any negative comments you may receive, and there are invariably some! But if you have a process in place that deals with them effectively, and ensure you have time set aside to respond to them promptly, you stand a much better chance of turning those negatives into positives.
Finally and most importantly, each campaign will give you valuable metrics which will allow you to measure its effectiveness. These can be looked at throughout the campaign to tweak your posts and tactics, allowing you to maximise the effectiveness of your social media strategy. Once you’ve wrapped up one campaign, you can carry out a thorough review, and use to inform and refine future projects.
The first thing we’d recommend is carrying out a social media audit. Which social media platforms do you have a presence on? How many followers do you have on each? What are your engagement rates? Which posts have been the most effective? Analysing this data will help you get to know your audience better and give you an insight into their likes and dislikes so that you can tailor your future campaigns for maximum appeal, or target areas where you’re not performing as well as you’d like. Look also at what your competitors are doing. Which platforms are strongest for them and what are they doing well? Is there anything that seems not to be working so well for them which you could improve on with your own unique brand voice and offering?
Once you’ve done carried out your audit you should be in a position to set a clear and concise set of goals and objectives, and identify who your target audience is for each platform. Make sure your goals are SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.
The next step is to define your strategy or campaign – what is your main focus? What tactics will you use? You might, for example want to run one or more competitions; you may have seasonal posts or product launches with specific deadlines; you may be aiming for user generated content where you encourage your followers to promote your brand by sharing their own reviews, pictures, videos and so on, or you may have a wealth of other ideas. Get your creative juices flowing and use the resulting plan to create a content calendar identifying key dates. To maximise the impact of your social media strategy, it is important to plan your activities in line with your other digital marketing channels to create a fully integrated marketing strategy.
Finally, look at key metrics on a regular basis, including engagement, followers, click through rates and more. Be prepared to adjust your future campaigns as you evaluate the success of your last campaign.
If you’re finding all this all a little overwhelming, or simply too time-consuming, we are on hand to help. We often find that companies know their businesses very well but they lack the creative experience to make it stand out on social media, and don’t always see it from the customers’ point of view. We can help you come up with creative ideas and have masses of social media tips to share with you. Plus, we have the tools to carry out extensive competitor research and tools to track progress. Take a look at our social media services and see how we could help you take your social media marketing strategy to the next level.