I opened the Social Media Bootcamp in the Titanic Hotel Belfast on 31 May 2019 with a talk titled, "Hope is not a strategy", it offered a guide to creating a social media strategy for your business. Here are my thoughts to help you create a Social Media Strategy for 2020.
On his quest to find the Titanic , Director James Cameron is quoted as saying:
“Luck is not a factor. Hope is not a strategy. Fear is not an option.”
Bold statement. And one that resonates with business. Success does not happen because of luck, or hope or out of fear … but success comes from planning, having a shared vision and goals and developing a strategy that drives towards those goals.
Don’t get me wrong, it is wonderful to have hope. To be positive and forward thinking. But it doesn’t make for a good business strategy. So when we think about how we use social media for business are we “on” Facebook because that’s where we’ve been told we need to be? Are we forgetting about Twitter because sure no one uses it anymore, do they? Is LinkedIn just an online CV? And what even is Snapchat?!
So many professionals and businesses are guilty of using social media for business purposes without having a clearly defined strategy. Social Media is a marketing function and so it should have its own strategy. Successful strategies start by asking the right questions. And there are three questions that sit at the core of your marketing strategy:
What do you do? What is the core purpose of your business? This is the one constant that won’t change in your business. If we take a look at some examples: Google: their stated purpose is to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible. Disney’s purpose is to make people happy. Kellogg’s is to make quality products for a healthier world. Three very different companies, but they each have a clear sense of who they are and why they are doing what they do.
Who do you do it for? Who loves you? Who are your customers? Marketer Marty Neumeier, author of “Zag” says: "Customers don’t like to be sold to, but they like to buy and they buy in tribes". When you know who your customers are then you know who you are talking to. And that makes it so much easier to create content and messages for them.
But more specifically, what about your social media strategy?
We start by setting some goals. What do you want from your social media? Let’s set small, achievable and realistic goals that will scale up your social media. Here are some examples:
Know Your Audience. Use social media analytics and insights and online resources to identify what social media platform your audience use. “We are Social and Hootsuite” publish a global report into social media activity and offer a breakdown by region which is a good starting point and you can view the 2019 report for the UK here.
Agree your metrics. Social media marketing should be data driven. Vanity metrics are not useful if you aren’t seeing an increase in sales or meaningful engagements.
If your goal is to create a loyal fan-base, then engagement is a metric you can use to measure effectiveness.
Clicks: This is the number of clicks on your content, company name or logo. Link clicks are critical toward understanding how users move through your marketing funnel. Tracking clicks per campaign is important to understand what drives curiosity or encourages people to buy.
Hashtag performance: What were your most used hashtags? What hashtags created the most engagement?
Sentiment: This is the measurement of how users reacted to your content, brand or hashtag.
The competition. “Today’s real competition - competition that’s so pervasive we can’t even see it - doesn’t come from direct or indirect competitors. It comes from the extreme clutter of the marketplace” - Marty Neumeier, Zag. Marketing Clutter comes in five forms - Product clutter, feature clutter, advertising clutter, message clutter and media clutter. Ironically a company’s first reaction is to fight clutter with even more clutter. It really is a case of planning and implementing your strategy and delivering quality over quantity.
Content. Create content that not only looks good but that is of use to your audience. When your followers see value in your content they are more likely to engage with it. They are more likely to like it, comment on it or even share it with their friends. Build content themes - it will help with consistency. Make the most out of the many content elements social media provides: Stories, Live Videos, Video, GIF, Carousel images. Consider what are the top three messages you want to promote on social media?
Resource. Consider social media customer care. Social media users expect an almost immediate response. But some brands take up to 12 hours to respond. Automated messages are an answer to this and can often answer the question by taking the user to your website landing page. But consider the resources needed to implement your social media strategy and the time involved - social media is not the responsibility of admin ~ it should be managed and tactically delivered by your marketing team.
And finally, monitor and evaluate. Stick with what works and ditch what doesn’t.