Social Media Strategy for 2016. Do you have it?
When social media sites like Facebook and Twitter launched and businesses realized that they might attract customers on those pages, lots of people jumped right in and started creating content. At some point in the evolution of those sites, everyone felt pressure to build some kind of presence there. Wasn’t everyone else?
No, not everyone was. Smart businesses put a lot of thought into their potential involvement in social media. At first, no one knew for certain which sites were going to be perceived as effective business vehicles (some people feel the jury is still out on that question).
But once forward-thinking companies decided to join the throng, they started by developing social media strategies before they even started thinking about profile pictures and handles and editorial calendars.
Putting the Cart First
It’s difficult to imagine how businesses can make any social media content decisions before they know what they’re trying to accomplish. Setting goals and objectives is important, but it’s not the first step. What the decision-makers need to determine is why they’re going to invest time and resources in posting photos and videos, 140-character messages, blogs, and status updates. Do they want to, for example:
- Drive traffic to the sales pages of their websites?
- Help customers and prospects solve problems?
- Increase their visibility and build on brand awareness?
- Show the human side of the company?
- Break news and introduce new products, and/or,
- Provide customer service?
Once you’re clear on why you’re there, you can start working on your action plan, on the:
Where. What social media sites are the best venues for your company’s purposes? How many? Do you want the old, established players or are you willing to take a chance on the upstarts?
What. What kinds of content do you want to put on display? The answer(s) to this question will grow out of your strategy (in part, at least). What kind of tone do you want to strike in your text and visuals? This may be different for different social media sites, but it should be consistent.
When. How frequently will you post content, roughly? Think about how you feel when a business or individual you’re following posts either multiple times daily or rarely. What seems like a good pace for you?
Who. How is the work going to get done? Who’s in charge? What if you don’t have staff who can provide some of what you need?
Finally, think hard about how you’re going to measure your success at using social media for whatever purposes you have in mind. Businesses still struggle with this issue because social media doesn’t lend itself to clear quantification (unless you’re counting followers, sales, Retweets, etc.). Keep that in mind when you’re developing your overall strategy, and you’ll have a much better sense of when something is working – and when it’s time to rethink and retool.