Business owners understand the importance of creating a strategy when considering their business development, sales and promotion, yet few realise the importance of creating a strategy to manage social media efforts too.
Social media is such as new yet burgeoning part of the overall package, it’s easy for businesses to fall into the trap of using a scatter gun approach to social, putting out posts across networks without really considering the ‘what’ and the ‘why’.
This laissez-fair attitude to social media can at the least cause more work for little benefit, and in the worst case scenario could actually damage your business reputation.
Headlines such as ’11 biggest social media blunders’ are all too common, consisting of horror stories where business have got it spectacularly wrong.
Don’t let the scare stories put you off using social media.
Customers expect brands to have an online presence, and with a little bit of planning and a well thought out strategy in place, social media can in fact add massive value to your business – growing your client base and engaging your customers, driving traffic to your website and increasing overall brand awareness.
So how do you go about creating a social media strategy that will actually work?
Below are our top tips to get the best out of social, whatever platform you choose.
Creating your social media strategy
1. Think about your audience
Consider which platforms they are likely to be using, and how best to engage with them. Whether it be Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin, each platform works well with a different tone of voice and users will respond better if you have a clear tone to all of your posts. Twitter, for example, is a lot more conversational and you need to get your point across in very few words. Facebook is great for image driven campaigns, and Linkedin is ideal for business-based discussions, networking and illustrating your expertise in your chosen field.
2. Decide on your aim for social media
Is it to drive traffic to your website, increase more sales or perhaps to keep up to date with your stakeholders? Again this can vary across your platforms, and even from campaign to campaign. It will also dictate what type of content you share.
3. Write guidelines
Create a clear set of guidelines for each platform, which includes tone of voice as well as the kind of things you like to post, comment on and share. It’s also important to be clear about the type of content you don’t want to include.
This is especially important if you have multiple employees managing your social media.
4. Think in campaigns
In the same way that you would plan your PR or business development campaigns, you should do the same with social media. Create clear objectives for each campaign with a timeline and desired outcomes. This is where you should concentrate on the ‘why’, the ‘what’ and the ‘where’.
Why do you want to do this campaign?
What do you want to get out of it?
Where should you be posting to fulfil these objectives?
5. Create a content plan
This can really help when planning your social media campaigns, and ensures that rogue posts don’t sneak through because you are pushed for time and don’t know what to write about. Start by looking at upcoming events and key dates in your business diary.
Devise a weekly or monthly timeline and use a platform such as Kurasie to schedule your content in advance. This saves time, and means you only need think about replying to comments and joining online conversations on a day-to-day basis.
6. Remember your budget
Paid campaigns on platforms such as Facebook can really add value if done in the right way. Factor this into your budget so that you can make the most of each of your platforms.
7. Remember to monitor and produce a final report
Monitor what works and what doesn’t throughout the process, and produce a report at the end of each week or month.
This will help you when planning future campaigns see what really adds value to your business. Facebook, Twitter and Kurasie all have built-in analytics platforms to help with this process.
And if you’re interested in finding out more about how social media can work for you, then have a look at this advanced Twitter course which will give you all the tools you need to start implementing your social media strategy.