With an estimated 2.65 billion users worldwide, social media is constantly growing. It’s an incredibly agile tool that must also adapt to the ever-changing environment that is the world we live in. Whether it be through relatable, valuable content, customer service or paid promotions, there are many ways the expansive world of social can help companies become more visible, attractive and accessible.
1. Have a social media strategy.
Would you throw a party without a plan?
Well, you could, but it might not be as fun as if you were to take the time to hire a caterer, DJ and bouncy castle. And the same principle goes for your social media strategy. The more you think about what you post, the better the outcome.
Creating a well thought out plan is the key to a social media presence that is consistent and effective across all platforms.
A helpful way to structure your plan is by using PR Smith’s SOSTAC® framework:
Broken into six steps, it provides a helpful guide to ensuring your social media has a clear direction – based on where you’re at and where you want to be.
Situation Analysis: where are we?
Objectives: where do we want to be? (e.g. gain followers, improve engagement, customer service, post frequency/quality) – make sure these are SMART objectives
Strategy: how can we get there? (Consider insights on your current audiences and content formats)
Tactics: which tactics do we need to use? (e.g. which social networks to use, post frequency, content themes)
Actions: how will tactics be carried out and who will be involved? (Consider things like staff abilities/time, outsourcing, internal systems and processes, etc).
Control: how will we know we’ve got there? (KPIs, analytics, customer feedback/surveys, reports, who monitors results?)
2. Know your audience.
You can’t post relevant content if you don’t know who you’re posting it for. Make sure you learn about your audiences – whether it be through market research, social insights, creating personas, or social media listening/monitoring.
Social media monitoring is basically stalking in the shadows waiting for those all-important whispers and gossip about your company. Listening to what’s being said about your business, industry or competitors across social media and the web helps you get to know your customers better and gives valuable insights into how your brand is perceived.
These authentic, unbiased insights can finetune your targeting strategy.
3. Ensure your brand image is consistent.
Your brand should always be reflected in the right way across every social media platform, and it’s important that these themes link with your overall branding strategy – including your website. In addition to visual aspects, it also includes things like tone, messaging and values.
There are some great online tools to quickly and easily brand your social posts, such as Canva and Adobe Spark.
4. Post helpful and valuable content that fits with your business objectives.
There is nothing worse than content for the sake of content.
When you’re creating social media posts or thinking up campaigns, ask yourself – ‘how will it help the business?’ and ‘how will it help the viewer?’ If you can’t answer either of these questions, maybe you need to rethink your social media strategy!
Examples of objectives that could be achieved with social media are:
- Increase in engagement – shares/likes/clicks/replies
- Increased customer satisfaction/service
- More purchases of your product or service
- More visits to your website
- Increased followers
- Brand awareness – how far is your message spreading?
5. Monitor your results
When you monitor your campaigns, it’s important to focus on more than ‘vanity metrics’, such as likes (unless that is one of your business objectives).
There are many other useful things to gain from social networks, such as community engagement, customer service and sharing valuable tips and information about your service or product.
When you know what types of metrics you need to measure to track your objectives, it’s time to find a tool that will track those metrics. Many scheduling tools and social media channels provide their own form of tracking, or it’s possible to explore using third party avenues or building your own APIs.
It’s important to keep up to date with the changing trends, features and algorithms that social networks are always throwing at us. This will be key to an effective and (hopefully) rewarding experience with social media marketing.