Have a Great Social Media Strategy for your Startup
Social media has become the number one activity on the web today. It has become a no-brainer for every business to harness the power of social media. Now, the question is not whether to use it, but how?
Having social media accounts just for the sake of having them can be a waste of a powerful resource. Having an ineffective social media strategy can prove detrimental to a business’s marketing (and other) success.
Since applying a social media campaign has become an in-depth skill and full time job on its own, it may be worth considering hiring a professional social media manager or service. If that’s not possible, you can conduct a great social media campaign yourself with some guidelines.
1. SETTING YOUR OBJECTIVES
Once you know what the exact aims of your social media campaign are, you’re halfway there and it merely becomes a matter of streamlining your activity to achieve these aims.
Some of the most common uses for social media in business include:
- Creating brand awareness
- Creating and sustaining customer loyalty
- Market research
- Lead generation
- Using it as a sales channel
- Specific content marketing
- Conducting marketing campaigns
- Improving SEO (Search Engine Optimization) of business website
- Driving web traffic to a business website
2. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Presumably, you would have researched your market thoroughly at the outset of your business and will have a grasp of who you are dealing with in terms of: demographic, behavior, mindset, level of education and so on. This knowledge will naturally apply to your social media approach.
3. DIFFERENT PLATFORMS MEANS DIFFERENT APPROACHES
With the plethora of social media platforms out there, it is easy to get overwhelmed with which one to use and how. An amateur and sloppy social strategy mistake is to go crazy and use them all, posting the same content on everything. Each social media platform is unique and engages its users in a different way. Some may even be irrelevant to your business and audience.
While you may post the same content, you may not post it in the same way. For example, Twitter gives you 140 characters to engage your followers, primarily on relying on wit. Instagram is purely visual. Facebook incorporates a variety of mediums. Learning how to re-package the content to make it applicable for each social platform will allow you get the most benefit out of your content.
1. Your objectives
2. Your audience
3. Your platform
Then you’ll be able to answer the essential basic question, “What do I post?”
As a general guideline, you will want every post to generate as much interest, activity, interaction and reach as possible.
It helps to think of your post as the starting point for what you really want to achieve.
Posts that initiate a conversation or lead the audience to look a little further into what you are saying are usually the most effective.
5. INTERACTING WITH YOUR AUDIENCE
The single most powerful aspect of social media for businesses, unlike traditional avenues of marketing, is that it allows you to interact directly with your audience — having a two-way conversation instead of just talking at them like advertising usually does. What better way to build a relationship?
In fact, social media is considered the new platform for customer service. Speedy responses to questions and comments are vital to maintaining your business reputation and customer relationships.
This is also a great platform for market research. Using posts to ask questions and gather comments not only helps build a relationship and establish loyalty with your audience, it also helps you understand their needs and concerns which will help you make better decisions overall.
6. LOGISTICS OF POSTING
The most ingenious social media strategy is nothing without solid execution and tight management.
Social media content scheduling software can help to manage daily posts as posts can be scheduled in advanced and can be automatically placed onto your profile on a pre-selected date.
If you are going to do this, remember to balance these pre-programmed posts with posts that involve current events, allowing you to not only harness their media attention, but to also show your company is paying attention and in the loop. Audiences can tell when posts are automated.
Also, remember to respond, respond and respond. Your audience needs to feel acknowledged. Social is a two-way stream.
7. MONITORING SOCIAL MEDIA-HOW TO USE METRICS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
This is one of the most important aspects of social media strategy—Monitoring your results. Most social media sites will have built in social media metrics within their CRM, but knowing how to read and use these metrics are skills of their own.
An amateur method of doing this is known as “vanity metrics.” This means simply looking at the volume of likes, retweets and shares and thinking that is enough.
As a business, you will have to scrutinize further. While there are over 60 different social media metric terms you will have to familiarize yourself with if you want to get serious about it, here is a brief overview of what you need to be looking out for:
• Referring Traffic: Your CMS for your business website should have an analytics tool that helps determine how much traffic is referred to your website from your social media accounts.
• Unique Page Views: This shows new visitors to your page, to give you an indication of audience growth.
• Time On Page: This is one of the best indications as is shows your content is engaging and encouraging visitors to remain on the page.
• Total Pages Viewed: If visitors are looking around to see what else you have to offer—this is a great indication as well.
• Sentiment Analysis: This is not measured by any tool, but will have to be performed manually. It involves actually reading the comments, mentions, and tweets about your company.
• Return on Investment: This is not a straightforward metric that can necessarily be calculated with an app. Keeping in mind your objectives from day 1, you will have to consciously assess whether social media is in fact giving you the results you want.
Of course, you will want to keep an eye out for how your competition is doing in relation to you. There is a specific social media app called Share of Voice which measures the specific amount of conversations about your company in relation to that of your competition.
• Share of Voice = (Your Mentions) divided by (Total Mentions for Competitive Companies/Brands). Again, there is software that can help you calculate this.
As you have figured out by now, a successful social media campaign is going to take in-depth planning, research and will need to be tailor-made to your business. Hopefully, this has served as a starting point as to how to use social media.
One last piece of advice is to let your business “be a person” on social media. Social media has become powerful because it provides the human element of interaction. Once you see social as being able to reach your audience one-on-one, you will fully appreciate the power and value of every post.