Do you have a social media strategy?
If you don’t yet have a social media strategy, don’t worry. You’re not alone.
Most of us have jumped straight into sharing content that we find useful. As well as adding our own thoughts or points of view to the burning issues of the day.
Moreover, at a time of lockdown, we’re spending increasing amounts of time on social media. For personal and business reasons.
Doing social media well can have major benefits. For example:
- Connecting or reconnecting with friends and business contacts
- Giving and receiving advice and support
- Increasing your visibility and interactions with like-minded individuals and groups
On the other hand, it’s all too easy to break the unwritten rules of social media etiquette. As a result, your posts could get ignored and your comments might go unliked.
So, it makes sense to have a social media strategy. Particularly, if you run your own business. Or have a leadership role in an organisation.
What does a social media strategy involve?
If you’re serious about social media – and you should be, your social media strategy needs to include the following:
1. Your objectives
For example: networking, thought leadership, content promotion or recruiting.
2. Your audience or community
This could be colleagues, industry peers, potential collaborators, or customers.
3. Your chosen platforms
Each social media platform works in a slightly different way and targets its users differently. You won’t want to engage with all platforms. So choose the ones that resonate with your audience and will enable you to meet your objectives.
4. Your consistent authentic self
What do you and/or your company stand for? What’s your unequivocal point of view on the topics you/or your company cares about? What’s your unique tone of voice? Remember:
“Always be a first-rate version of yourself and not a second-rate version of someone else.”Judy Garland
5. Your social media plan
Firstly, define the content that you will create. Secondly, document the topics that you will engage with (and those that you won’t). Finally, set up a calendar for posting on your chosen social media platform.
What content do I include in my social media plan?
The content that you share should be interesting and relevant to your audience or community.
In addition, it must echo your own interests and expertise. Plus, it should reflect your company’s brand and its values.
In other words, create and curate the type of content that your chosen audience wants, within a small group of topics, and then commit to publishing it regularly.
Most importantly, ask yourself these questions:
“Do I understand my audience and am I empathetic to their needs?”
“Will this content help my audience?”
According to LinkedIn, you’ll build a following if you and your company are perceived to be heartfelt, helpful, and human.
Above all, avoid being overly self-promotional.
Your objectives may of course include building awareness or even generating leads. However, social media is no place for the hard sell!
When you share content created by others and help wherever you can your actions will be reciprocated.
How will I know if my social media plan is working?
As part of your objective setting (see 1 above), it’s a good idea to set up metrics or benchmarks.
For example, if you’ re looking to grow your network, you might track the number of new connections/friends/followers gained.
Alternatively, if are looking for deeper engagement with your existing network, you might measure likes, comments, or shares of your posts. Or click-through rate to your website.
The great thing about the main social media platforms used for business such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter is that they all offer sophisticated measurement. What’s more, they also integrate with Google Analytics.
However, do bear in mind that it takes time to gain traction with your social media strategy. This is because:
- You have to experiment to find that ‘sweet spot’ where you’re sharing helpful advice and an insightful perspective on interesting topics
- You need to post interesting content constantly and consistently in a variety of formats. For example, plain text, images, infographics, and videos
- You should engage with likeminded people who will share your content and increase its reach
- You must adapt to the evolving nature of the social media platforms themselves
Whatever you do, to see results from your social media strategy, you have to put in the hours and stick with your content program.
As a bonus, you’ll earn trust with your audience and with the social media platforms themselves.
At LinkedIn, for example, one of their definitions of trust is ‘consistency over time’.
What help can I get with my social media strategy?
There are many sources of help for your social media strategy.
You could download any of the free guides that helpful organisations and individuals are sharing right now.
We’ve written our own guides to help people in a similar position to ourselves. They are based on what we’ve found to work for our business.
If you work in coaching, consulting, or accountancy the Social Media Guide for Professional Services Firms from Hinge could be a useful resource.
In addition, you’ll find free social media calendars such as this one from Hootsuite. Or, if you prefer, you can get an instant download of our own calendar with full instructions for use here.
If you share content daily on multiple different platforms you can save time and optimise timing by using social media automation tools from businesses such as Hootsuite and Buffer.
These enable you to schedule posts and updates instead of manually posting each one individually.
Finally, there are a great many social media agencies available to whom you can outsource the implementation of your social media strategy.
Working this way, frees up your time and potentially boosts your output.
In summary, everyone needs a social media strategy
Social media usage continues to grow right across the world. COVID-19 and the resulting stay-at-home orders are driving activity levels ever higher.
Posting with a purpose and speaking with an authentic voice can help individuals and brands rise above the cacophony of noise to connect with an audience and build a following.
To do this, you need to get serious about your social media strategy.
Now is your opportunity to stand out and truly engage. There’s never been a better time to up your game.
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For more free guides, please see the resources section of this website.