How to build a social strategy that works.
As a design agency, our clients often ask us about social media marketing. ‘Should we do it?’ ‘What is it?’ ‘We’ve tried it before but it doesn’t work.’ ‘We post stuff but don’t really know why!’
Social media is an incredibly effective form of marketing, and almost all companies and brands utilise some form of social media in their marketing strategy. However, like any other form of marketing or promotion, for social media to have any impact there are certain rules that must be followed, otherwise, it can become a pointless time-wasting exercise.
We have summarised some of the considerations that absolutely need to be addressed before promoting a company, brand or product through social media.
IDENTIFY GOALS Like any traditional marketing strategy, social media is no different in that you must identify what your end goal is. What do you want to achieve through promoting your company on social media? How do you want your followers to think, feel and behave as a result of seeing your social media posts or ads? It could be to increase brand awareness on a local or national level, drive traffic to your website, position you as the expert in your field, build a local community, have people attend an event. Whatever the goal is, your strategy must always start here, otherwise, there will be no clear vision, vague messaging and no measurable outcomes.
SET MEASURABLE OBJECTIVES Once a goal has been established, measurable objectives need to be set to ensure that the success of a social media campaign can be measured. How do you know if your social media campaign is successful if you haven’t set goals? The answer is…. you don’t. Just as you would set KPI’s for any other form of marketing, the same needs to be done for a social media campaign. These might be to increase social communities by 100 people a month, to get 300 click-throughs to your website, to get 5 enquiries, to have 400 RSVP’s to an event. The objectives will be specific to your company and goals but they are an essential part of the planning phase.
CREATE CUSTOMER PERSONAS In order to ensure you’re talking in the right tone of voice, using the correct messaging and really appealing to the people you want to be speaking to, a great exercise is to create customer or buyer personas. Identify who makes up your target audience. Give them a name, a job, a salary, hobbies, relationship status. Make them as real as possible. Then when you’re writing content, talk in a way that would appeal to them…. a way that will get them interested and listening. If you’re selling a new low budget fake tan, your persona might be ‘Tammy aged 18 from Leeds who’s going to uni in September, loves to go out drinking with her friends and can’t wait for freshers week! She loves her puppy and works part-time in Topshop.’
COMP REVIEW A really simple and obvious one but surprisingly missed by a lot of people we talk to! Look at what your competition is doing. What works and doesn’t work for them? Which of their campaigns achieved high engagement? What do you like/not like about what they’re doing? Some might call it cheating…. we call it essential research. In all seriousness though, a competitor review is really important and something that everybody should be doing. Whether you want to follow the crowd or do something completely different to what your competition is doing, you must know what’s going on out there in order to decide on a direction for your campaign.
DEFINE MESSAGES AND CHANNELS Decide on what your key messages are going to be and ensure that all content and posts are talking about at least one of them. Sticking with the fake tan example, the key messages might be; 1. Great value product (price point) 2. Amazing product that won’t rub off on clothes 3. It lasts two weeks 4. It’s available in all high street retailers.
If you have clear key messages, it makes writing content easy as you have a focus and an understanding of what you need to be telling your followers. Then decide which messages are going to be pushed on which channels. Many companies make the mistake of pushing out all content on all channels. For our clients, we always ensure we post slightly different content which will be relevant for the different audiences, and slightly alter the tone of voice depending on the channel. We like to use this analogy…. Speak to LinkedIn as though you are talking to people in your office; to Facebook as though you are chatting to your family in your lounge, and Twitter as though you’re talking to a random guy in a bar! It may not sound like a scientific formula to follow but it really does help when establishing a tone of voice for the different channels.
BUILD A CONTENT PLAN Once all of the above has been put in place, it’s now time to get writing! A great way to plan a content calendar is to break it down from year to quarter to month to week to day.
Start by creating a year to view calendar with any key company, national or seasonal dates added. This will help you identify any key dates that you can utilise or piggyback off when pushing out your messaging.
From this, you can start creating monthly content plans, one month at a time. Whether you use a Google doc or an Excel spreadsheet, create a month to view plan where you can add in every post you will post for the following month. Always bear in mind your goals, key messaging and audience.