Have you ever wondered why some businesses succeed at social media while others fail? Or why one company seems to make interacting online look effortless? The difference is a solid social media strategy. Given the fact that 3 in 4 consumers make a buying decision based on online content, wouldn't you agree that being consistent is critical? That's where a strategy comes in!
A couple of weeks ago, I had the honor of speaking at the Fall Outreach Marketing Summit where I shared six tactics to create a strategic social media plan. Whether you're looking to reinvent your current strategy or just getting started, the ideas below will help you create massive results. Plus, don't forget to grab the Slideshare! Ready to get started? Let's dive in!
1. Define goals
Your first order of business is defining your goals. Goals are the fuel that propel your online efforts forward. They give a reason and a purpose to what can otherwise be random, sporadic, one-off social media tactics.
However, the key to goal-setting success is knowing what questions to ask and then writing your answers down. Why is this so important? In a study by Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California, she found that you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down. So, grab your pen and paper and get writing!
Ask these key questions:
- Who are you looking to connect with?
- What type of content will you share?
- What are you trying to achieve? Additional exposure, connections with potential clients, more sales?
- How much time can you commit to managing your social media?
- What does success look like?
My motto has always been, "What you don't write down doesn’t get done." Capture your #socialmedia goals and review daily.
2. Stand out online
In a social media world where a cookie-cutter approach is the norm, creating differentiation is a must. In my book, “10 Ways to Use Social Media to Virtually Crush the Competition,” I share the key component that should always be at the top of your strategy it's sharing your “one thing.”
It’s that one thing that sets you apart from your competitors and leaves an indelible mark in the mind of your potential clients. Focus on what your customer wants. Ask yourself every day whether your message is beneficial and valuable or just contributing to the noise.
3. Know your audience
As you go about your day on social media, do you have a defined focus? Have you taken the time to truly understand the needs of your target market? Now is the time to dig in and do some research. Do your homework and get to know who that potential client or consumer is, and be specific. The better you can describe that person, the more likely it is that your message and vision will capture their attention. Here’s a quick way to get inside the head of your target market.
YOUR THREE TARGET MARKETS MIGHT LOOK LIKE THIS:
- Parents of teens
- Parents of newborns
- Parents of college students
As you can imagine, the problems you solve for each one will be considerably different. Know exactly what those needs are and find ways to meet them in a very real and specific way.
4. Create a cross-platform strategy
Companies succeeding at social media today know where their time is best spent. They also know that different demographic groups use social media in distinctive ways. Take the time to research and understand exactly how, when and why your audience is using social media. Where are they spending their time and how can you best use that social network to support your goals?
Dependent on your target market, you might want to focus on Facebook or Twitter. However, you might find that expanding into Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, or LinkedIn is a better conversational tool. The bottom line? It’s vital to identify your customers preferred social media platform so that your strategy is focused and direct.
5. Translate your established brand
Your online presence is an extension of your offline brand. In order to translate that you need to focus on what you’re trying to convey.
Ask yourself a few questions:
- How does your brand make people feel and how will that be seen, heard and felt online?
- What is the purpose and what is the brand you are trying to build?
- How will your content extend the mission and vision of your brand?
When we look at brands like Starbucks, Apple and Harley Davidson, they all got out of the heads and into the hearts of their audience. They transcended the typical brand stereotype by clearly translating the essence of their brand and creating differentiation within the marketplace.
6. Track, measure and adjust
Tracking and measuring your efforts should be the backbone of your social media strategy. But as a business owner or entrepreneur, you’re busy running a company. The idea is to make measurement and tracking as easy as possible. While social media is useful in so many ways, it can also be an enormous time suck if we don’t pay close attention to where our time and efforts are best spent. That’s where analysis comes in.
Leverage information available to you in Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, your Google Plus dashboard and any third-party management tool you’re using to learn as much as possible about which content is making the biggest splash across your social channels. Evaluate how and why some content works and some falls short. Not everything will work. The key is to identify what is and do more of that.
Get clear on how you can tackle social media in a productive and meaningful way.
Your 6-Step Action Plan
- Define Your Goals
- Stand Out Online
- Create an Integrated Strategy
- Translate Your Established Brand
- Track and Measure Your Success
- Get Clear - Define your mission, vision, and goals for your social media strategy.
- Research - Know where your clients spend their time and how they consume content on social media.
- Plan to Succeed – Determine how you will join the conversation and begin forging relationships in a consistent and strategic way.
As Benjamin Franklin said,
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
What step will you take today to better prepare your social media strategy?
About Rebekah Radice
Rebekah Radice, co-founder of BRIL.LA, has traded narcissism for purpose. When not driving growth, you'll find her tricking family into thinking she's Emeril Lagasse - likely covered in marinara. The spotlight was fun, but impact is better. These days she's using 20+ years of brand brilliance for good.