How To Develop A Powerful Social Media Strategy
Updated: Sep 5, 2019
How do you really benefit from the investment in time and money that social media demands? The answer is in a thoughtful and powerful social media strategy. This is why this
article guides you step by step through the development of such a strategy.
Determine your goals
An effective social media strategy starts with determining your main goals with social media. I distinguish three types of goals myself:
1. Publish and promote organization and content
2. Go into conversation
3. Monitor and measure
1. Promotion via social media
Promotion does not sound so charming, but plays a role for almost every organization. After all, you want people to get to know and appreciate your organization. This means that you must be visible on the social media platforms where your target groups are also present.
In addition, your organization also has content that needs to be seen, heard or read. That means almost automatically that you share it via social media and if you do it right it is not a one-way street.
Remarketing is also included in the mix: via social media you can once again approach visitors to your website. Do not do that with sales-like messages, but offer helpful content. This way you stay in someone's experience in a positive way longer.
2. In conversation on social media
Promotion is often one-way traffic. But you really only become effective on social media if there are also discussions. So you see that more and more companies set up a customer service channel on Facebook or Twitter for example. But you can also look for help questions about products, services or information and reach out to helping people by providing them with relevant content or information.
3. Monitoring on social media
Social media are very useful to keep an eye on what is being said about your brand and to respond adequately. In addition, you can of course do the same for your industry and for competitors. This way you monitor your reputation and do market research that you can use to adjust your marketing policy.
From social media goal to objective
You can formulate concrete objectives based on your goals. If all goes well, they are in line with your marketing objectives. Then determine what the contribution of social media should be, for example:
The number of visitors to the site resulting from social media
The number of leads or newsletter subscribers generated via social media
Sales on or via social media
Increase in aided or spontaneous brand awareness
Growth in the number of people who think positively about your brand
Increase in the number of positive reviews on social media
Number of questions / complaints handled via social media
Preventing reputation damage in times of change
An important question here is whether you have sufficient insight into the results of social media. If that is not the case, consider with which interventions or tools you can obtain that insight.
Explore your starting situation
Map where you are now on social media. You need this to quantify your objectives and drill down further:
What are you satisfied with internally: how do processes run, does it cost a lot / little time, does one feel that the ROI of social media is sufficient?
What external factors affect your social media efforts?
What about the number of followers, with the interaction, with response speed to questions and messages?
Ideally, you do not only look at quantitative targets in your baseline for your social media strategy, but also at qualitative targets. These are sometimes more subjective, but the internal sentiment surrounding your social media performance is very decisive for the internal support that you need.
Explore your target group
This often seems like a no-brainer because you already have the target audience in the picture. But check what data there is about the social media use of your target group.
Do they use it to watch or to buy? What questions do they have, what do they already know? On what days or times are they on social media and what is the frequency? Do you have to introduce further segmentation within your target group, because it differs for example by age, which social media platform is preferred?
Do a competition analysis
Make an inventory of what your competitors do on social media, which channels they use intensively, how often they post something, what content is successful and whether their accounts grow.
For some of these questions you can use a tool like BuzzSumo . But also look around for their social media accounts: what do you notice, what are you jealous of, what do they do wrong in your eyes and where do they have opportunities? Test those findings by seeing if the followers of your competitor react to it as you do.
Such a competition analysis is not a one-off action. It is something in which you often have to keep a finger on the pulse. Follow competitors' social media accounts and keep track of how they grow in Excel, for example per quarter.
Formulate key messages
You can formulate key messages based on your objectives, characteristics of your target groups and the actions of your competitors.
What is the most important thing you want to convey? How do you pack that? Is that businesslike, maybe a bit distant or just light-hearted and jovial? Do you focus on objective characteristics and benefits or should it be more emotional? Hint: the latter works much better on social media.
People want to see and read stories here and get positive feelings. Or have the feeling that they
can stop something negative. So look out for an overly rational packaging of your message.
Choose your channels with care
Almost no company can be equally well present everywhere. Often it is advisable to limit yourself to two social media platforms and to do them really well. On other platforms you can then suffice with a basic presence.
Find out about your target group: where are they, what do they think of the platform and how often do they look? The future of every social media platform is to look at coffee: you never know whether a platform is still 'hot' or passé in 1 or 2 years' time. But be alert and explore how a platform has been performing lately.
Look at functionalities. Can you do remarketing, can you advertise and at what cost, is there room for events, reviews, products or vacancies? Or can you perhaps realize direct turnover? In addition to target group preferences, it is an important criteria to determine priorities in platform selection.
Also be careful with assumptions. B2B companies often think that Instagram is nothing for them, but Instagram is the very platform where B2B accounts realize the most interaction. Sometimes there is a beautiful niche on a platform which is not obvious 1,2,3, but whose research shows that a part of your target group is actually there.
Think of a social media tactic
Now you can finally get started with the more creative side of social media:
Which content are you going to place?
How is the mix between own content and third-party content?
Which sources do you use for content?
What is your tone?
What does your visual language look like?
How often do you place something?
At what times and days do you place?
Which forms do you choose (text, photo, video, live video)?
Are you going to segment within a platform?
Who will do it and with which tools?
When can you be reached via social media?
When do you opt for paid promotion?
Your tactics will be fully at the service of the preferences of your target group and your objectives, but it has a clear interaction with the resources that you have at your disposal. Do you make content yourself and how often can you produce content yourself? How often can you hire the help of third parties to bring in that extra professionalism and creativity?
And last but not least
Anyone who uses social media for a business purpose is prone to go into one-way traffic. But your reach and effect on social media will become much greater if you focus on interaction. So do not forget to ask questions, invite people to do something themselves and monitor which actions yield more reward for your business. Use that information to adjust your social media strategy.