We had the pleasure of taking on not one, not two, but three new clients last week, all of which needed help with their social media strategy. Coincidence? Not at all. Most businesses we talk with still don’t understand what social media can mean for them.
This is where branding is so important. If you can’t think of your business in terms of its brand, stay away from social media. Your business has no personality and contributes nothing to the conversation. So invest your time in something else.
If you can make the leap and give your brand a voice, there’s a lot to get your head around when it comes to social media strategy. Here are the steps we take to maximize our effort on every platform.
Understand Strengths and Weaknesses
Your business or brand does something really well (hopefully). You don’t try to do everything for everyone, and you shouldn’t expect to. Your value proposition is what it is and you build on that to build a thriving enterprise. Good.
Similarly, each platform has its own things it does well and doesn’t do very well. So, to get the most benefit from a social media strategy, understand your own strengths and weaknesses then seek out ways to highlight them in the best manner.
For example, if you have merchandise, show it off on more visual media like Instagram, Pinterest or even Flickr. If you don’t, show off your personality and share your brand voice on Twitter (we do). Develop videos of your showroom on YouTube if that’s something that would help you. If your market is small, you can seek out targeted niche audiences on Facebook or Tumblr.
At the same time, don’t waste time with any networks that aren’t going to help you achieve your goals. If you need to reach college kids, would LinkedIn really be the most efficient way of getting to them? Do you need a YouTube account if you have no intentions of ever producing high-quality video?
Depending on what you do and who you need to reach, there’s a solution for you. You just need to know your strengths and limitations as a brand and business to leverage it best. Go where your people are and use the tools that best accentuate what you do best as a brand.
Maintain a Calendar of Events
You almost certainly have sales, deadlines, parties and other events you’ll want to promote. Keep a calendar of all of these things that are important to your brand and business. Then you’ll be able to structure a post schedule around each event.
This can also help you frame your social media strategy in terms of event promotion. Diversifying your message, especially across multiple channels, will keep you fresh and give you tons of topics to talk about. No one likes a person that drones on and on about the same thing. Stay interesting.
Collect All Your Assets in One Place
For maximum efficiency, make sure you have all your accounts and passwords in one place. This way if anyone ever needs to get into an account, you can easily reference how to access it. Of course, to collect your assets in one place you need to own your assets, so make sure you do that before aggregating everything. Then you can be fully in control of your social media strategy.
This also extends to the handles you use. Do your best to stay consistent with your brand. Try not to flip around between different variations of your name if you can help it (we couldn’t, sadly). This way everything is easy for your customers and followers to find. And don’t get me started on creating multiple accounts only to later abandon one of them…
Invest in High Quality Content
Whatever you post on social media is a reflection of your brand. The better it looks, the better you look. So whatever content you may share (articles, photos, videos, etc.) you will want it to fit your brand.
Now, some brands can leverage the user-generated raw look. You’ll know if you can if you understand your business and your audience. However, most businesses will want to promote professional-looking content that projects polish and finish.
Come in with a Budget
Many social media networks have built a “pay to play” system that encourages you to Creating and maintaining accounts is still free everywhere. The problem comes when you want to reach anyone that follows that account.
If you want to see real results from your social media strategy, power it with a little cash. Boost your posts. Reach targeted users who could become followers and customers. Pay for better photos and videos. It doesn’t take much to goose the rails and get engagement and activation moving so keep this in mind if your social media strategy stalls for any reason.
Revisit Your Social Media Strategy Often
Social media does not stay the same. There are constantly new platforms, new features and new strategies that all deserve some level of attention. You will have to judge for yourself (or let us help you) whether or not they deserve all of your attention.
Whatever you decide to do with your social media strategy, take a look at it often and revise it as your goals and objectives change. Stay agile. Don’t settle in to just one thing. Always try and expand your reach. The landscape changes daily.
I could be saying those things about any business. If you want to nail a social media strategy, though, you will need to find your voice and dedicate time and effort to creating content that’s an accurate reflection of your brand. Without that, you’re wasting your time.