Malaika NicholasWednesday, April 17, 2019
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A strategy, by definition, is a high-level plan for bringing about a desired result, like achieving a goal or developing a solution to a problem.
However, we often confuse strategy with tactics, which I define as specific actions that will achieve a specific end.
Therefore, a successful social media strategy shouldn’t be focused on tactics alone. Here are four common flaws in an ineffective social media strategy, and tips on how to fix them.
You Don’t Know Your Audience
It’s virtually impossible to write a successful social post without knowing who your audience is and what they’re passionate about.
A successful social media strategy starts with defining audience personas. An audience persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer or core audience, based on market research and data you collect about your existing customers.
When building an audience persona, gather key information about your current customers or visitors, including demographics, career, behavior patterns, interests, etc.
Keep in mind that a brand can have several audience personas. For instance, let’s say a brand sells marketing software. They can have one audience persona of a digital marketer who would use my product, and another persona of the C-suite executive who would be responsible for purchasing the software.
Aside from personas, understanding who your customers are can help determine which marketing platforms your brand should focus on, and which ones you should ignore.
For example, an e-Commerce brand making eco-friend jewelry would target young women, in high school or college, between the ages of 18-25. Understanding the behaviors and interests of their target leads to focusing on social channels such as Instagram and Snapchat.
However, don’t lean too heavy on what is working today. Keep your eyes open for emerging social channels, as they provide an excellent opportunity for organic growth.
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You’re Not Speaking With Your Audience
Using social media to promote a sale or encourage people to read your blog shouldn’t be the crux of a social strategy. Community management and social listening are a crucial part of any successful social media strategy.
Community management focuses on user retention and building brand loyalty with your existing customers, and social listening involves keeping track of mentions or discussions about your organization or brand on various platforms.
Therefore, there should be a brand representative frequently answers questions and concerns about your brand or products in real-time, responding to both positive and negative comments and reviews, and building a community of engaged followers who will become your loyal brand advocates.
Here are a few quick tips to help get started:
- Use Hootsuite, Google Alerts, and/or another social media or brand monitoring tool to set up alerts for mentions of your brand name, product names, branded hashtags, names of executives or spokespeople, etc.
- Don’t limit your social listening to the major social media platforms. For instance, if MarKit Co. has an official page on Facebook and Twitter, people may be talking about them on Reddit, Quora, Yelp, on blogs, and on online forums. Watch those discussions and getting involved, when appropriate.
- Your brand’s community manager should be in constant contact with your public relations agency, product marketing teams, and customer support teams to be fully prepared to respond to technical questions, press inquiries, negative reviews, etc.
Your Strategy and Tactics Don’t Support Your Business Objectives
Another huge mistake organizations crafting social media strategy and executing tactics that aren’t supporting a specific business objective.
For instance, let’s say a business objective for a brand that sells marketing software–we’ll call it MarKit Co.–is to sell subscriptions for its new email automation tool.
As a result, MarKit Co.’s social media strategy is to create social media content–both paid and organic–to direct customers to their website to purchase their email automation tool.
With a social media strategy in place to support its business objectives, MarKit Co. can now implement several specific tactics, such as increasing the number of product demo requests, or increasing web traffic to blog posts that demonstrate how the email automation tool works.
Finally, now that the tactics have been defined, MarKit Co. can create social posts can help them achieve their business objectives.
For example, to increase product demo requests, MarKit Co. launched Facebook ads with a video demonstrating their email automation tool, with a specific call-to-action (CTA) to sign up for a product demo.
So before you write a tweet or launch a Facebook ad, make sure that social post is a tactic within your social media strategy that supports a specific business objective.
Not Tracking Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) Weekly, Monthly, and Quarterly
The only way to measure the success of your social media strategy is to regularly measure your KPIs to determine which tactics are working, and which ones aren’t.
Track performance on a weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis. Weekly reports can help identify the content types your customers engage with the most, and content or topics they are more likely to respond to. These are some of these key metrics you should track on a weekly basis:
- Follower growth: How many new followers you get every day, week or month.
- Engagement: How many users interact with your account.
- Reach or Impressions: How many users saw your social posts.
- Clicks: How many users click on your post–can include links, media expands, hashtag clicks, etc.
- Conversions: How many users complete a specified action–like sign up for a newsletter, read your blog post, made a purchase, etc.
Monthly performance reports will help identify signals of growth, such as new followers, higher conversions or sales, more engagement, etc. Monthly performance reports can also help identify trends that can help shape your overall social strategy, like identifying the best times and days to post for maximum engagement.
Finally, quarterly reports will help determine if your overall social strategy is working and how their impacting your business objectives. For instance, quarterly reports can help you identify specific campaigns that generated the most or least business leads, specific CTAs that prompted more newsletter signups, or hashtags that boosted your impressions and reach.
Up Next: Writing High-Converting Social Posts
Now that we’ve covered how to create a social media strategy, our next blog post in this series will tackle how to write social posts to improve conversions! Stay tuned!
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