Social Media Strategy: everybody is talking about it, but do you know where to start?
Whether you are a multinational company or a local business, there are many good reasons to start a social media strategy. The first question is: what are your reasons? There is no point in rushing and creating social networking accounts on every possible channel if you don’t know what to do with them.
When talking about social media, many people think of digital marketing. Indeed, social media can serve your marketing strategies, but not only. Here are the main fields that can benefit from social media:
- Public Relations
- Customer Relationship Management
- Technical Support
- Business Development
- Human Resources
The way you use and communicate through social networks will depend on the specific needs of your business.
1) Identify your needs
Your company may have several needs: Marketing & Public Relations, Sales and HR, CRM and Sales… If you look at your business globally, what does your company want to achieve? What are your objectives?
- Prepare the launch of a new product?
- Promote the current services the company offers?
- Get more people engaged with the brand online?
- Assist the customer support department in responding to client queries?
- Generate new leads and sales?
- Recruit young talents?
Your need will be the purpose of the social media strategy.
Tip : There should be as many strategies as there are objectives. Do not try to combine all goals in one single batch. The only thing you would get is confusion, from both your team and your audience.
2) Identify your audience
Identifying your audience according to your business objectives is essential. Assuming that you already know who your customers are, you now need to find out where they spend time online. There is really no need in investing time and resources in a social network if your target audience is not using it.
For instance, if your clients are solely senior professionals in a distinct industry, you may want to create a company page on Linkedin and invest time there. On the other hand, if your products or services are intended for pregnant women, Facebook would be the place to be.
Tip : Your target audience, and therefore the channel you use, will depend on your business objectives. If your goal is to recruit new account managers, you have to understand where they ‘hang out’ online, and this might be Linkedin. However, if you want to communicate your news to stakeholders, Twitter might be a better channel.
3) Determine which channel will serve which purpose
Social media are as numerous as imaginable: Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Youtube, GooglePlus, Pinterest, Instagram, Foursquare, Blogs, etc. There are more than we could count! But as said previously, all social networks are not relevant to your business and your intentions.
Every social network has a clear value proposition (or comparative advantage). Make sure to understand exactly what this value is and how the platform works.
Tip : Do not hesitate to create several accounts within the same platform if necessary.
- For instance, if you want to support both the Marketing and HR departments, you can create two Twitter accounts and name them accordingly, i.e. @BrandName for your marketing strategy and @Name_HR for your recruitment strategy.
- If you use Linkedin, make sure to create different tabs within the company page: Home, Careers, Products and Services, etc.
- Same for Facebook: the platform allows you to create several tabs within your company page.
What is important is to keep your content consistent with your objectives and relevant to your audience. If one account (or tab within one account) is intended for recruitment proposes, then share only HR content on that unique page.
4) Choose the pertinent solutions
Each social network offers a particular set of services and solutions for individuals and businesses.
Free content: most of the social networks are free to use. You can create an account (page or profile) and run it for free.
- Facebook: create a company page, post articles, videos, and pictures, offer coupon, connect with people, etc.
- Twitter: create an @account, follow other users, tweet, retweet and share as much as you want from your business account.
- Linkedin: create a company page, complete your business information and share content on your company page as well as on your own personal account.
- Google Plus: create events, hangouts, etc.
Paid content: it includes advanced business solutions and ads (ads accessible on the social platform as well as on their associate display network). Each network offers its own customized advanced solutions:
- Facebook: sponsored stories and ads,
- Twitter: promoted accounts and promoted tweets,
- Linkedin: targeted advertising, talent solutions, sales navigator,
- Google Plus: ads throughout Google search engine and the Google display network, link your Google+ page with your AdWords campaign,
Follow the blog for in-depth advices on how to use the different social networks: one article will be posted every Monday.
5) Allocate resources
Nominate a specific community manager or community team to handle each strategy (and not channel). You should not allocate one person to Facebook, one to Twitter, etc. You should allocate one person (or one team) to one strategy (and objective).
Tip : Get someone from the HR department to take care of the social recruiting strategy. Get someone else from the technical department to answer technical inquiries coming from the social accounts newly created.
Make sure that your objectives are clearly defined. Target your audience accordingly. And finally, create your social media accounts. The more your team understand about the strategy, the better content they will share, and consequently, the better results you will get from social media.
Each community manager will have to optimize content shared on the different platforms that you decided to use. Make sure to customize the content according to the platform. For instance, for a same strategy, prefer images for Facebook, a short and engaging message for Twitter, and a detailed article on your company blog.
6) Measure your return on investment
When you define your business objectives, clearly determine measurable goals (i.e. increase website visits by 4%). Analyse your results as you go and adjust your actions accordingly.
For instance, if you notice that a specific message gets a higher engagement, make sure to create more content of the same kind. On the other hand, if you see that a piece of content never gets any conversion, stop sharing it.
Social Media analytics are available on pretty much every network and allow you to have a better understating of your audience on that distinct platform, the way your clients interact with you online, and the kind of content they prefer to read and share. By investing time in analytics, you’ll be able to create and share increasingly valuable content, and therefore get greater revenue.
Stay connected as we will get a deeper understanding on how each social network works in the following weeks. One article will be posted every Monday, starting Sept. 9th, answering the following questions:
- What is the audience using that social network?
- What is the value proposition of the network: its unique selling point?
- What are the free services? Which content should be shared? What is Inbound Marketing?
- What are the paid solutions? What is Ads operations? How to create and manage my own ads?
- How can I measure the results?
First article on Monday, September 9th. “How to use Twitter for small businesses”