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It’s inevitable that your business will end up on social media. The future is digital after all. Your audience is there. Social media is the fastest and easiest way to make long-lasting customer connections.
Ok, this isn’t new news, is it? The proliferation of social activity means that, as a business owner or marketing manager, you NEED to get your brand in front of your audience. They need to see it to believe in it. By creating strong, long lasting connections with your fans (and future customers), the lifetime value of a client increases, whilst the cost of acquiring and keeping them decreases. After all, weak relationships account for 16 percent of the average customer churn.
Does social matter?
Many businesses are just ‘playing the game,’ on social media. They know they ‘have’ to do it, but they don’t have the time, skills, knowledge or even passion for social media marketing. But, the opportunity is huge. Take Instagram alone: 60 percent of users say they discover new products on the platform.
So, take stock before you start. Figure out if you can really make a go of your social media strategy and, if you can’t – what you can do about it.
‘You don’t have to be great to start but you have to start to be great.’ – Zig Ziglar
It can be intimidating to post daily on social media. But, keep up the momentum and get the conversation flowing – it’s rewarding, and the results will come.
So, how do you start?
At Articulate, we start by asking six questions to help us devise a social media strategy for our clients. They’re not particularly deep, but they do require total honesty to help us understand where those ‘gaps’ are.
Question 1: Only we…
This is the toughest business question to answer. It forces you to figure out why you’re distinctive in your marketplace. Why do your customers love you? And, how does your offering fit into your marketplace? What is something that only your business can offer?
Identifying what makes you really unique is the most important piece of work you’ll do in devising your social media strategy.
Question 2: Can our culture nurture and sustain a social media transformation?
To have authenticity on your social media channels you need to be:
Ask yourself these additional questions:
- Do we as a company have the bandwidth to do this for ourselves?
- Is my company prepared to publish?
- Can I take the heat of negative comments?
- Do I know how to entertain and inform my audience?
Commit to your ‘voice’ and be consistent with your content. This will help you build visibility and get your message out there.
Question 3: Are we a conversational brand…or could we be?
To succeed with social media, you have to be ON social media: engaging and communicating. It is a transition for most brands who aren’t typically used to conversing like this on a regular basis. We work with clients who, at one time or another, have questioned whether or not to post that provocative tweet or share an article with a controversial topic. It’s a fine line to walk.
To be authentic, you must learn to jump in with both feet and deal with any issues along the way. Encountering disagreements or trolls and meeting that challenge in a way that aligns with your business values is as powerful as posting that original content in the first place.
Question 4: Where are our customers and competitors?
An obvious one, but a goody! If you understand where your competition hangs out, you can save time and also realign what works and doesn’t for you. Social media isn’t about reinventing the wheel (there are hundreds of tech giants and entrepreneurs doing that every day).
At Articulate, we do this research before we work on ANY kind of content. Learn about what makes your audience happy, what they react to and what your current competitors are doing, then build your strategy from there. Immediately, this puts you a step ahead.
Question 5: How can we stand out?
Are you standing out from the crowd or is your business having a ‘Where’s Wally’ moment? The key is providing value to your audience. So, it’s AAAALLLL about your assets. Your content, imagery, videos, emails, white papers, guides… you name it – it’s an asset.
To create your social media strategy, you need to take stock of what you have available and what you have the capacity to create.
This is how you stand out from the three billion users on social media today. Having a voice is one thing but being heard – that’s a whole other bag of potatoes. No matter how you slice it, people will flock towards valuable content over vacuous bluster.
Question 6: What does success look like?
You’ll have heard all about SMART goals (if you haven’t then read this article from HubSpot on the subject). However you create your targets, at least give yourself something to shoot for. Goal creation is a vital step so you can understand and commit to what ‘great’ looks like for your social media efforts.
Here’s an example of a social media SMART goal:
We all want to send a bit more traffic to our website, and what better place to land on that the blog!
Specific: I want to boost traffic to our blog by increasing the number of blogs we publish each week from two to four times a week. Our in-house bloggers will increase their workload from writing two posts a week to four posts a week.
Measurable: An eight percent increase in traffic per month is our goal.
Attainable: Our blog traffic grew by five percent last month when we increased our weekly publishing frequency to three times a week, so let’s build up to four times a week on that basis.
Relevant: By increasing blog traffic, we'll boost brand awareness and generate more leads, giving sales more opportunities to close.
Timely: End of this month.
SMART Goal: At the end of this month, our blog will see an eight percent lift in traffic by increasing our weekly publishing frequency from two posts per week to four post per week.
When it comes to your social strategy, have patience. The world of social is always evolving and your industry is forever changing. You’ll never ‘know it all.’ There’s no point in setting unachievable targets or putting undue pressure on yourself. Just find a way that works for you, set some goals and celebrate when your efforts produce results. Oh, and have fun!