To some, social media is an endless playground of topical discussion, news and insight. To others, it’s a necessary evil. No one can dispute, however, that it’s a very effective tool when used correctly. Too many organisations create social media accounts out of a sense of obligation. They don’t really know what it’s for, what it does or how it can be used. Creating impact through social media isn’t as simple as making an account and letting it stew. It requires planning, goal setting, maintenance & measurement.
This blog will delve into employing a meaningful strategy to maximise your social media impact.
1. Plan Ahead
The first thing to decide is what you want to get out of your online presence. Would you like to be a powerhouse with countless followers and a large footprint or would you rather be seen as an insightful authority in the community you’re targeting? What would your ideal Twitter account look like? Social media goes deeper than “raising brand awareness”. It’s a platform to engage the community as a whole.
- Decide what you want to achieve
- Create a strategy towards that
- Keep an end-goal in mind
2. Be Present
A strong online presence does not happen accidentally. It takes time, commitment and vigilance. Set yourself KPI’s. Decide what level of engagement would suit your business and define your metrics. How many new followers do you want per week? How many Likes per post? This can be a challenge when going in blind and may take some experimentation. See what makes traction, see what falls flat. Collect this data and use it going forward.
A great way to encourage engagement is by staying current and hopping on bandwagons. Go to events and tweet about it. See what hashtags are making the rounds and join in the conversation. Research what LinkedIn discussions are gaining interest. Be seen as active and involved. Not only will this get your brand out there, it will also give you a voice.
For more info on the type of content to publish and how often, read up on Six Evergreen Content Marketing Rules.
- Define metrics
- Stay current
3. Be Prepared
No, not all publicity is good publicity. The social media platform is not without risk. Reducing total control over content is a fresh challenge that social media presents. There’s that old principle – any given person will tell one friend about a good experience and ten friends about a bad one. Not only does this apply to social media – it increases it one thousand-fold.
Have a strong social media policy that ensures its moderators stay on-message and identifies inappropriate use. Constant vigilance is a must and damage control preparation isn’t a bad thing to have on your tool belt. This doesn’t mean ignoring or deleting negative feedback – which can lead to the infamous Streisand Effect – a simple, timely acknowledgment of a problem can prevent a PR nightmare.
- Create a social media policy
- Monitor and stay vigilant
- Tackle negative press head on
4. Get Hard Data
Ultimately, you need to let the data speak for itself. Collecting solid data from social media accounts is a challenge that every business faces. The systems have not been designed for data collation. Luckily there are several tools available that can crunch the numbers for you. It’s worth doing the research and deciding what tools best compliment your social media approach.
This article provides a comprehensive breakdown of several popular social media management tools. Highlighting the pros, cons, pricing and what they can be best used for.
Keep the strategy open and adaptable. The social climate can change overnight and staying on top of it is no small feat. Use the gathered data to inform future endeavours and actions.
Social media isn’t going any where any time soon. That’s a given.
Harnessing it well can have a hugely positive impact on your business.