In the full scheme of your business marketing plan, social media mas seem like a small factor. But, social media can actually play a huge role in sales, marketing, branding, and consumer community.
A well-developed social media strategy can contribute a lot to a startup’s success. Curious about how others leveraged the power of social to benefit their business, we asked 18 entrepreneurs and YEC members their tips for putting together a formal social media strategy.
Know What You Want to Achieve
Before you put the time and energy into building a social strategy, ask yourself what you’re trying to achieve via social media. Are you looking to increase sales? Build brand awareness? Solicit more direct conversations with customers? By starting with the end in mind, you’ll be able to build a stronger strategy that directly supports your most important goals.
Hire a Dedicated Content Creator/Director
It is imperative that every social strategy have a dedicated resource to content conception and/or creation. Content is the currency of digital and without it, you cannot fully participate or initiate conversations. Provide value and at first, listen more than you talk.
Bridge the Implementation Gap
Having a strategy is a good start but ensure it’s actionable and that you have a clear path from strategy to implementation. The best kinds of strategy are the ones that can flex and adapt to feedback from the results of implementation. Make sure you review your strategy frequently and hone it based upon the feedback you’re getting from implementing it.
Know Your Target Audience
Social media gives you access to, well, almost every type of person you could possibly want to reach. That means there’s a lot of potential for wasted effort, depending on your objectives. Know the target audience you are trying to engage and go where they are, rather than signing up on the popular, new platforms.
You can try to develop a narrow strategy for your social media, but the truth is it takes time. Start off with some broad plans for your different social media platforms and use A/B testing to determine what’s working for you. It can take months to compose a formal strategy so trial and patience is necessary.
Focus on a Single Metric or Goal
Social media is a very broad marketing channel and typically social media strategy becomes a very broad action plan to “engage” without a clear goal. I would recommend starting with one quantifiable goal. It can be number of mentions on Twitter or number of likes on Facebook pages. But keep it simple.
Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin
One of the most common mistakes I see businesses make with their social strategy is this: They try to be everywhere at once. While it’s good to systematically expand your reach through various channels, don’t get greedy and try to build Rome in a day. Define clear goals, focus on your #1 channel first and make impact. Then take on another channel using the momentum gained from the first one.
Implement Strict Social Media Policies
Since social media is so transparent, there is an increased risk of sending the wrong message to your audience. That’s why it’s crucial to create guidelines that clearly spell out editorial tone, language, use of slang, imagery, and most importantly rules of engagement with the competition. This can potentially save you a lot of time mid-execution and lowers the risk of tarnishing your brand.
Cater to Each Platform
Be Prolific and Purposeful
Finding new users and customers on social requires effort. You’ll need to actively post to Facebook 2-3 times a day and tweet far more. But your content must also be purposeful. Determine who your ideal audience is — think about the characteristics of your best users — and speak their language. Then make sure that at least some of your content includes direct asks, like “Download” or “Sign Up.”
Consult Internal Stakeholders
Content will become too one-dimensional if the social media team operates in a silo. Reach out to every department when sourcing content, and include employees at various levels. Team members from across the organization can provide good ideas. Ask what regular questions they get from customers and prospects. Those questions make great fodder for blog posts and social media updates.
Collaborate With Everyone
Collaborate and get team members involved that have a passion for not just the business, but also social media. The team can, in turn, become advocates for your brand and help spread your message through their networks.
Post Engaging Content Without Over-Selling
Make sure your content is interesting and doesn’t read as blatant advertisements one after another. It’s natural to want to push your products, but if that’s all you do your engagement will never be very high.
Plan, plan, plan. Use a social media management platform (we use Sprout Social) and plan a week or more in advance. Schedule out specific content and then if anything surprising or immediate comes in you can handle it at that time. The planning might take more time upfront, but you’ll be surprised at how much time it frees up each day.
Enhance Your Consumer’s Day-to-Day Social Life
Whether you’re a B2B or B2C business, you need to identify who your target consumer is and how you can enhance their day-to-day interaction and social interests. If you’re in the business of selling cars, then you want to be talking about things that are relevant to cars.Your social media strategy is not too much different.
Keep It Simple and Be Genuine
Be genuine. Customers see right through the fluff. Trying too hard to be funny or cute won’t get you very far. The simplest social strategies often pay off the most. Keep it short, engaging, and truthful.
Offer High-Quality Content
Invest in high-quality content and landing pages to capture what you do with the traffic you generate. Think of social media as a distribution channel. Those who do well in social media have followers who may never become customers. But they follow the content because it entertains them or they learn something from it. These people will share your content with others who might become customers.
Understand Your Audience
The key to success is taking the time to understand your audience. Find out what they like, who they follow and where they spend their time and money. Then carve out a strategy that speaks their language. If what you say and how you say it doesn’t align with your target market, than your message will be lost in the jungle that is the social media landscape.
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