Social media day is coming soon (June 30!) and to celebrate I’d like to offer eight key elements of an effective social media strategy. Using social media to market your business can be tricky, especially if you’re working in-house and wearing lots of marketing hats. That’s why we’ve created this outline as a reference guide to make sure your social media strategy is on point.
1 . Setting Goals from the Start
The first step of any strategy is actually having one. Have a plan! The adage, “failure to plan is planning to fail” holds true with social media marketing. That includes having goals for your efforts. Without knowing what success means (increased web traffic, leads, audience growth) how will you ever know if you’ve made it?
Relationship therapists have long touted listening as a key element in successful relationships. As a business with customers, you have many relationships to maintain. Listening is a key component. It involves monitoring conversations about your brand, business, locations, etc. and protecting it.
3. Consistent, Fresh Content
Don’t let your channels get stale… Is the last video on your YouTube channel from 6 months ago? When was the last time you tweeted? To keep your audience interested and ideally engage them (likes, comments, shares) it’s important to post consistently and provide new, interesting, value-adding content.
BONUS TIP: Keep in mind the etiquette of each channel as a guide for your posting frequency. On Twitter posting up to 10 times a day isn’t uncommon, but on LinkedIn that would be overload.
4. Research your Audience
It’s hard to communicate with someone you don’t know. Other than basic demographic information, what do you know about your customers or prospects? Research them to determine the social media channels they use, their online and buying habits, their preferences and peak activity times, then connect with them there. If you already have an audience and contact information consider distributing a survey (Survey Monkey is free to use for up to 10 questions!) to ask for their feedback and interests.
5. Genuine Approach
Don’t be that cheesy car salesman with your content. Be real! People connect with people, trust people and buy from people. Make sure your content, responses and general presence on social media is genuine. If your content sounds canned or scripted your audience won’t respond to it and will be turned off.
BONUS TIP: When replying to reviews try to include the reviewer’s name and specifically mention at least one element of their comment. It proves you read it and care about their opinion.
6. Empower Your People
Every business or organization has ambassadors. Unfortunately most don’t realize it, let alone fully leverage them. Each staff person, board member, customer, etc. has the ability to be your ambassador. Are you empowering them to tell your story? Get your staff involved by sharing the links to your social media channels with them and asking them to follow/like them. Use your board members’ sphere of influence and encourage them to engage with your channels and share them with colleagues and friends.
BONUS TIP: Don’t just ask your ambassadors to post. Give them suggested content and/or memes to share. Give them the tools to complete the task. They’re more likely to do it!
7. Engage the Eye
The average attention span is 2.5 seconds! That’s it…. At a time when everyone and every thing is vying for your attention, it’s important to communicate quickly. Graphics offer an easy way to communicate your message. Plus, engaging and/or funny graphics are more likely to be shared than plain text posts. Get creative, take photos, share the experience of your brand/product/service.
8. Budget to Promote
Social media for business isn’t entirely “pay to play,” but if you want to ensure your posts reach your target audience members you need to budget accordingly. Even channels with thousands of audience members are struggling to have their content seen. Advertising expands reach and helps you control the audience (so the right people are seeing your brand). We recommend starting with just a couple dollars a day, measuring as you go and then refining as needed.
These eight key elements are sure to help increase the effectiveness of your social media efforts. Try employing them and see where it goes. If you can’t do it all at once, start small and add on. As with anything else, just be sure to set your goals and stick with it!