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Kieran Sait

Devising A Social Media Strategy – What Your Business Must Know

6th May 2014 Social Media | 2 Comments


Social Media21st Century life, as we know it, is pretty much dominated by the use and consumption of digital technology and media. With the emergence of mobile and social networking the landscape of marketing has changed radically. So, how does your business keep up? Find out the core lessons to consider before devising a social media marketing strategy.

It is no longer a safe bet for organisations to consider audiences as merely a mass of passive eyeballs that will just absorb marketing ploys left, right and center – modern day consumer behaviour won’t allow it.

In the digital age, audiences are much savvier and have a significant amount of influence on the marketing process. With online tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, the blogosphere and many others, the everyday audience member can instantly dispel, engage or add their own spin to your business’ communication efforts. This can either have a number of positive implications, or if improperly managed, negative consumer actions can leave your campaign lying in the lurch.

So what should you be doing to accommodate these types of users?

It’s simple really – you’ll need to meet them on the digital battlefield, armed with a strong social strategy that keeps the user positively fulfilled, now and further down the line.

In this post, you’ll learn the core lessons to consider before devising a social media marketing strategy.

Read ahead to find out more!

The Core Components Of A Social Media Strategy

Preparation

It’s something I like to talk about a lot in my articles, but it really is an essential activity to undertake before you contemplate taking any kind of business action.

Goals

Establishing Realistic Goals

First off, what are you looking to achieve by operating on social media? Are you looking to generate more traffic to your site? Drive awareness of your brand, products or services? Address customer service issues?

Whatever it is, understanding the nature of your business’ mission will give you something to constantly strive towards, and off the back of your activity, you’ll be able to set your team a number of objectives build upon, month-on-month, year-on-year.

Remember, any objectives and goals you set will need to be realistic. If you’re starting your social media strategy from the ground up, the goals you set will probably need to be a little more scaled back compared to what you might have had in mind. While we’d all like to have a million followers inside a year, it will take time.

Take a look at the nature of your industry, does it have so much appeal that it is safe to assume you will be able to grow a large base of followers? If not, then perhaps your goals need to change – maybe you only want to attain 50,000 followers and then set subsequent goals to help nurture these users into some kind or profitable action for your business?

There is no one size fits all approach to goal creation. The key is to adapt as opportunities fade or as new ones emerge. Closely monitoring this is vital for success.

Allocating Budget And Resources

The next step is to think about how much budget and resource you will need to allocate to social media marketing.

In doing so, you’ll need to consider the following:

  • Do you have a team in place that is capable of planning, implementing and reviewing a social campaign?
  • Do you have sufficient time, budget and access to regular training to keep ideas and practices fresh?
  • Do you have time yourself to manage a team that is working on social media?
  • Do you have enough budget to cover the costs of salaries, content, tools and prizes that will inevitably emerge while running a campaign?

If you can’t answer yes to all of these questions, then it is advisable that you consult an external agency to carry out the work for you. With up-to-date training and a team of experts, they’re more likely to deliver a well-rounded and fruitful campaign for your business.

SchedulingCalendar

Once you have a team in place. A good place to start is to plan out what your activity will look like every day. The way to do this is to produce a calendar that outlines key themes, ideas, daily posting activity, content types and campaigns over a time-scale that works within the confines of your budget and resource.

Brand

Instilling your brand into everything you do on social media is paramount to optimal performance and results. By using social channels, your business has a great opportunity to communicate with potential and existing customers with an informal and creative approach.

First, you will need to really nail the tone of voice of your brand.

To do so, you’ll want to produce posts, content and respond to comments with unbiased opinions, helpful or quirky updates to keep your audience engaged and informed at all times.

You’ll also want to make sure that you are stressing the core values of your brand at the same time. This might involve: demonstrating authority and dominance within your given industry or embodying the characteristics of key personas that work within your company.

Check back next month where I’ll be discussing the core components to shaping your brand’s voice. In the meantime, for more information about building your brand online, check out these six free videos that will make you better at building your brand.

Strategy Execution

By now, you should be ready and raring to initiate your business’ social media strategy. At this stage you will need to implement all of the content that you planned at the scheduling stage.

Now I won’t go into too much detail about what to include when executing a campaign as this will vary from company to company. But, I will tell you the key takeaways to remember:

Engagement

Chances are you’ve heard this word used a thousand times and then a thousand more, but it really is important. In all aspects of social media marketing, instigating engagement is one heck of an accomplishment – but how?

General indicators of engagement will range from comments, likes and positive mentions. To help drive this, your team will want to actively pave the way for two-way communication between brand and user. This can be achieved by conversing in real time, informing your audience or simply shifting away from a sales-led approach to just entertaining them at a human level.

Inform

To inform your audience, keep them updated on key occurrences within your industry, your business, products and services, making sure to address exactly how these events will affect them.

The merit of this is that existing customers will appreciate the heads up and other users will notice the effort you put in to customer service, which might just earn you more business in the long term.

Entertain

O2 & Tesco Twitter Battle

To entertain your audience, partaking in a little light comedy or sharing interesting content from outside your industry can go a long way. Take a look at Tesco mobile and O2’s epic twitter battle as an example.

The stunt left both brands with a significant uplift in followers and fans, as well as earned media across the web.

Review & Analysis

After some time, your final step is to review and analyse the performance of your social media campaign and the benefits it has brought to your business.

Generally speaking, the core progress indicators to watch out for are as follows:

  • Follower growth – Keep track of how much your followership is expanding. You can then do some simple maths to find out the impact your campaign has had.
  • Mentions – Be sure to track mentions of your brand online too. These will provide you with a good insight into how users perceive your business online. Take a look at this video for some top tools.  
  • Likes – How is the content that you’re posting performing? How well is your content being received? Take a look at the growth of likes, retweets, favourites and shares of your posts for a quick clue.  
  • Earned media – What other sites have shared your activity? Have they mentioned you editorially? Achieving this is great for tapping into new audiences and attracting new users to your brand.

When you have compiled all of the information and data listed above, the final step is to look into how all of this has translated to your site into a profitable action. Do you know what you’re looking for? How can you learn more about these people to better serve them and capitalise on their action in the future?

Google Analytics can provide you with the answers to all of these questions, if you know what to look for.

Do you have internal staff with strong skills in data analysis? If you have, then all the better. But, if you don’t have access to these skills, you could be missing a trick.

If you have anything you would like to share with regards to running a social media marketing strategy, please feel free to leave a message in the comments section below. Or if you’d like to know more about Social Media management please get in touch.

Image Credits

Social media image courtesy of Bigstock

Goals image courtesy of Bigstock

Calendar image courtesy of Bigstock

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About the author

Kieran Sait

Kieran Sait works as a Content Marketing Executive at Koozai. His most recent work before joining us was for the BBC’s Natural History brand: BBC Earth, where he gained valuable skills in content development, website strategy, social media management and branding. He is an avid fan of film and also holds a strong interest in new technology.

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