Are you ready to start writing a social media strategy that enhances relationships and expands your brand?
Not sure where to start or what to include? Follow along as we outline the elements of a winning strategy designed around four fundamental pillars of social media success: listening, engaging, building, and learning.
1. Your Value Proposition
Your unique value proposition should explain why people would want to interact with you and share your brand’s content.
When it comes to social media, too many businesses forget about their unique value proposition. We’re not talking about the exclusive benefits consumers gain as a result of purchasing and using your product or service offerings. We’re talking about the unique benefits they gain from participating in your social feeds and sharing your content. It’s the single reason they want to engage with you rather than your competitors.
How do you begin to articulate a unique value proposition as part of your social media strategy? Get rid of the business-centric mindset and start thinking about your customers. In other words, stop asking how you can leverage social media to sell your products. Start asking why prospects would want to interact with you and share your brand’s content with their online communities. What value can you offer? Which problems can you solve?
2. Your Brand’s Social Media Environment
Mapping out the online environment in which your brand operates is a crucial part of writing a social media strategy that minimizes input and maximizes output. Besides defining who your ideal community members are, you need to understand where they interact online and who their connections are. After all, you can’t cover every social space, so you need to identify where your business will have the greatest impact.
People you may want to target in the social realm include clients, prospects, employees, competitors, industry bloggers, media entities, influencers, and brand advocates. Clearly explain who your audience is because your team’s understanding of them is going to shape the targeted social media messages they create.
3. Your Approach to Listening
Listening to conversations allows you to gain insight into your stakeholders, remain on top of industry trends, find out which topics you need to address, determine which networks you should focus on, and appropriately allocate resources for maximum ROI. In this part of your strategy, you’ll need to indicate potential social media monitoring tools your business will use in order to achieve these goals, as well as explain what you’ll be looking for as you listen to relevant conversations.
For example, a business will typically tap into conversations to determine: who is generating conversation about the brand, industry, competitors, or topic areas; what people are saying; which subjects or topics are of interest; whether conversation is positive or negative; where these conversations are happening; where engagement levels are highest; who the biggest influencers are in each online community; which networks hold the most potential for the business; where the most opportunities lie; where the greatest threats lie; what competitors are doing in each social sphere; and what type of content will resonate with the brand’s audience. This is the critical information a business can use to focus on areas that make the most sense for the brand.
4. Your Analysis of the Findings
Analyze social media conversations to identify opportunities.
Once you gather data, you should analyze it to identify things like share of voice, trends, gaps, sentiment, opportunities, and more. Here, you need to understand whether your core messages are forming part of the conversation, whether you’re reaching the right people, whether mentions of your brand are in your favor, which trends you can capitalize on, and how your brand performs compared to its competitors.
5. Your Goals and Objectives
In this section, you should think about your higher-level business goals and then determine what your social media goals and objectives should look like. For example, if your business goal is to increase sales, then your social media goal might be to generate leads. If your social media goal is to generate leads, then your SMART objective would be to generate X leads (result) within X months (timeframe).
Whatever you do, make certain you develop social media goals that build up to ultimate business goals, and that you’re realistic about both your timeframe and expected results.
6. Your Metrics and Benchmarks
After you’ve established your goals, you’ll need to determine how you’ll measure your success. You’ll also need to provide a baseline for what that currently looks like in order to track your progress.
Be sure to identify metrics that tie in with your social media goals. For example, if your goal is to generate leads, you’ll need to track the number of leads you’re receiving through your social media campaign.
7. Your Approach to Finding and Engaging Influencers
Influencers are powerful people within your social environment—they can change perception and cause others to take action. Therefore, it’s important to explain how you’ll identify influential voices, which tools you’ll potentially use to pull relevant data from different networks, and your approach to building relationships with these individuals.
8. Your Content Development Strategy
Based on your research, you should provide details of your social media content development strategy. This includes the types of content you’ll create and distribute. Naturally, you should aim to develop high quality, engaging content that matches your social media value proposition and supports the social media goals you’ve set.
9. Your Social Media Platform and Tool Selection
Here, you’ll need to discuss the specifics of the networks you’ll leverage, how you’ll brand your profiles, and any social media buttons or content syndication tools you’ll use.
10. Your Methods for Monitoring, Measuring, and Reviewing Results
Understanding what you’ll measure (your metrics as defined in step 6), how often you’ll check results, as well as how you’ll monitor, record, and evaluate the data is crucial for effective implementation of your strategy. Make certain you choose tools based on their relevancy for the type of data you’ll need to pull from results. Also, make sure the individual using these tools has the necessary expertise.
11. The Roles and Responsibilities of Individuals Involved In Strategy Implementation
Who will create content? Who will curate content? Who will establish your social profiles? Who will update your social profiles? Who will publish to your blog and social feeds? Who will facilitate and engage in conversations? Who will monitor conversations? Who will analyze those conversations? Who will keep track of your success and make recommendations? Who will manage your strategy and communicate or coordinate between various departments within your organization?
Simply list the social media activities that form part of your strategy and then identify the individual’s responsible for them.
12. Your Budget
Every strategy has a price. Even when you don’t see a monetary value attached to something, there’s always time involved. As you know, time is money, which means you need budget wisely.
Be sure to outline the portion of your marketing budget that’s dedicated to your social media strategy so you can make sensible spending decisions when you develop your tactical plan.
Whether you like it or not, social media users are shaping your brand with or without you. If you don’t start controlling perceptions by participating in online conversations, building a community of supporters, and developing relationships with key influencers, there’s a risk that feelings toward your business will be neutral or negative. Writing a social media strategy that blows your competition out of the water is the first step in this process.
Are you writing a social media strategy? Did this post help? Perhaps you have something to add. Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.