One of the most frequently asked questions I get as a freelance social media manager is “what’s the secret to an effective social media strategy?” The first time I was asked this question I was unsure how to respond. The answer is; there is no secret, there are however a number of factors to consider.
No One Size Fits All
Firstly, there is no off the shelf, one size fits all social media strategy, not even for two identical businesses within the same industry. Every business is individual, the best way I can explain this is to think of your business as a person with its own personality (brand voice), group of friends (target audience) and role models (influencers).
Be Clear On Your Objectives
Secondly, identify the reasons (i.e. increase brand awareness, drive traffic to website etc) for investing (time and money) in social media marketing.
There has to be clear objectives from the onset, without goals how can you measure your success? Too often I come across businesses that have a social media presence for the sake of it, because “everyone else is doing it.”
Whilst I will agree in todays modern society it is expected that a business will at the very least be on Facebook or Twitter, social media can be a very effective marketing method if used to it’s full potential.
Content is King
It has been said time and time before and that’s because its true; content is king. The content published via your social platforms needs to well written, mistake free and engaging.
Your content needs to capture the interest of your target audience and make them want to interact with your social profiles. Identifying your key target audience is imperative to devising content, enabling you to tailor content to the exact people you want to reach.
The Social Formula
There is one basic formula I follow to execute a successful social media C + E + R or connect, engage and respond.
First things first, you need to establish connections and start the relationship; build your online audience by following your identified influencers, following pages relevant or complementary to your business and joining groups that are relevant to your target audience.
With an initial audience established it is now time to Initiate conversations and progress them to their full potential by commenting, liking and sharing influencers content, posting to timelines and posing questions to your audience.
Lastly, but just as importantly ensure a response to every mention, comment, direct message and public message; yes all of them, especially the negative ones! The best advice I can give when it comes to dealing with complaints about your products/services on social media, is to take it offline as soon as possible, by this I mean acknowledge the post and then offer resolution through contact by email or telephone.
Taking all these factors into account and including them as part of your strategy will put you in good stead. However, It is imperative to review your analytics monthly and make reactive changes to your strategy based on your findings.