Feel your social media strategy is hanging by a thread? Or do not know where to start with one, then this article is for you
Not having a social media strategy in 2019, is equal to not having a marketing plan. No longer can brands just play me too game, if my competitor use’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube then we should too.
In fact, the above approach of following your competitor may be compounding one error on top of another. How do you know they chose correctly and the social media strategy is right?
Social media has become the medium for brands to market their business, whether B2B or B2C. Consumers now expect to find information on your brand, industry, and services, and they expect you to use social media. Not having a presence on the right platforms leaves many gaps in your social media strategy, and ability to attract leads.
Or put another way it leaves the door open for your competition.
So how do you build the right social media strategy, with so much change occurring in the social media world?
Like any strategy, you start with foundational questions.
✓ Who is our ideal client and where do they reside on social platforms?
✓ What are our goals and how will we define success?
✓ What content format, frequency and strategy are we willing to adopt?
Social Media Platforms
Starting with these question as part of our social media strategy is an ideal place to begin. And understanding the social media landscape as it is today will enable you to make the right strategic decisions.
So dissecting this further let's take three social media platforms and analyse their possibilities. Let us also assume that the brand in question is trying to engage millennials.
Starting with the obvious social media platform, Facebook now with 2.27 billion users, and 1.5 billion daily active users. LinkedIn has 500 million monthly active users and Instagram with 1 billion million users every month.
Breaking this down a little further Instagram has 53% of the 18 to 29 year age bracket who are online using Instagram. With 45% of Snapchat users are between 18 to 24 years of age, and 87% of online adults between 18 to 29 years of age use Facebook.
So I think it is fair to say that if we want to target millennials? Each and perhaps all of these platforms are viable options to include in a social media strategy focussed on attracting millennials.
However, before we go running to each of these platforms to begin, we need to ask a different question.
What are our goals and how do define success?
For me, business success has always come down to one simple measurement, return on investment (ROI). What am I prepared to invest, and how quickly will I expect a payback on this investment. Unlike all other forms of media that have preceded social media, it is, in fact, measurable when tracked and managed correctly.
A social media strategy must include measurement.
It is measurable in terms of the audience you build, engagement, leads, and the revenue you generate. It is important to measure every aspect. This enables you to know how each component is performing, and how the collective is working together.
It also helps brands identify if there is a weakness in any part of your execution.
If though you are just getting started your first-year goals should be to understand each of the platforms, what works, and what does not.
For 99% of brands, sales will not be immediate because you are building a community, trust and a reputation. And on the back of the reputation and trust, comes sales. Of course, if your brand is very well known, then the path to sales can and is far more likely to occur quickly.
So depending on your starting point, every brand is going to have different short, and medium goals. However, the long terms goals will all be the same, what is the return on your investment.
What content format, frequency and strategy are we willing to adopt?
Now if you are familiar with the each of these platforms, you will know that Facebook organic reach is now nearing zero. What this means is the days are gone where you can distribute high-quality content and build an audience organically. Facebook is now a media platform just like television, radio, and any other form of paid media. While its cost is significantly cheaper, and we would contest its audience far more engaged. If you want to play, you need to pay!
A social media strategy must include paid advertising to be effective.
As an example all forms of content work on the Facebook platform, videos, articles and images. However, the frequency of content is very high for the average Facebook user. Up to 1,500 stories could appear in someone's newsfeed a day. Or put another way the average user would need to consume two pieces of content every minute over a 12 hour period.
Understanding the above allows you to know that posting once per day will not be an effective strategy. Nor will posting without paid amplification. The good news for brands though is a variety of content strategies can be adopted.
Then we have Instagram, where the organic reach of content is still good.
In our opinion and many others, Facebook leads the social media industry in advertising capability.
Having their advertising capability sit on top of Instagram provides an amazing opportunity to reach millennials. An effective millennial social media strategy would make this obvious.
Instagram content equals video and images, and with the ability to save boards, shop items, create wish lists Instagram is becoming a very attractive sales tool for B2C.
As you may now appreciate setting a social media strategy for brands has a lot more to do with what platform, what content, and how often.
This is media, in a social world. This is the beginning of a social media strategy.