Many organisations go headlong at social media strategy like a bull at a gate. Sometimes it’s because a CEO has seen sales flagging and has decided that the solution to better growth is a social presence. Sometimes they’re spurred on by competitors. Sometimes it’s something that’s been in the pipeline for a while and it’s finally had some budget put against it.
Either way, before you take the plunge into your content and social media strategy, there are six core questions you should ask yourself.
Complete that sentence. A good social presence comes from a company or a person having a unique perspective on something related to their field of skills, or a product or service that only they deliver. Think hard.
What is it about your business that makes you stand out? What is it that makes your current customers buy from you and make them keep coming back to you? Is it because they love you? Or is it because they have no other choice?
And how do you fit into the general marketplace? Are you a big, trusted legacy business, or are you a new, fast-moving start-up?
Are you prepared to publish?
All the budget, all the meetings and all the long term vision in the world can’t sustain a strong social presence; it needs a company that has this engrained in their culture.
For example, how does your company deal with a very public negative comment? Panic? Restrained reply? Delete it? Do you have the processes in place to take those negative comments and use them to your benefit, growing and developing your business at the same time?
Content through social channels needs to be entertain or informative or both. Do you have the capacity to do that? Many brands can TRY to entertain but it turns out like a constant stream of Dad jokes. That’s not going to convince and convert.
Can you be a conversational brand?
A social media strategy is a two-way street and many brands forget this. People want to ask you questions – whether it’s about where their delivery is, or something more esoteric. People are on social media to waste time and you want them to waste that time on your brand. And to waste time, you have to engage and be conversational.
Where are our competitors?
This is a basic question but one that many, many people forget to answer. And whilst you want to do the best you can in content and social media, to a degree, you also only have to do better than your nearest competitor.
A little bit of market research in this space goes a long way. Studying your competition and working out how you can stand out at the beginning is going to make for a much easier path.
What is the source of our content?
This is the biggie. Content is more than just the odd tweet now and again. It needs to be rich and engaging. Where are you going to get that from?
There are lots of sources of content – as you can see below from one of my favourite graphics I’ve been using for years – and you don’t have to do all of these. But you do have to do some of them and you have to do some of them well. Pick three or four and smash them. Don’t try and do ten of them and end up doing a half-assed job. That’s almost worse than not doing anything at all.
When you do create content try and focus on making it searchable, in-depth, evergreen (it will still be relevant in a year’s time) and quotable. If you do that, you’ll find people sharing it. And that’s the sort of thing that goes viral.
What does a success social media strategy look like?
There’s no point in any of this unless you have some sort of metric with which to measure your success. How would your company define success in this space? Claiming ‘engagement’ as a metric is a pointless. Engagement doesn’t sell things, no matter what other social media gurus might claim.
Don’t be afraid to tie your activity to REAL sales metrics. How many new business enquiries do you get? How many times are currently clients referring new clients to you? How many widgets have you sold? Don’t be afraid to use social media to deliver a call to action. For god’s sake don’t do it ALL the time. But don’t be scared off.