What is social media? Even though it’s still an undefined concept, but industry experts have their own takes, like the one of Jay Baer.
The fun factor of social media comes in when brands get involved. Almost every business tries their luck at social media, but only a few succeed. The root of all problems lies with the strategy. If you get it right, half the job is done. However, chances are higher that you won’t make it in the first go.
That brings us to our subject line.
Creating a social media strategy is a more technical and scientific process than what it sounds. But don’t worry. We will simplify things for you. There are 3 basic factors to cover and each factor is dependent on each other.
But before that you need to be 100% sure of your business goal, the reason you decided to join the social media bandwagon.
Decide your business goal first. It can be sales, branding, advanced customer service or virality. And then set your metrics accordingly. For example, if your business goal is more sales, metrics like downloads, subscription, signups would matter to you rather than likes, comments, shares or follow. Next, you need to ask 3 questions.
Now let’s get started with these questions and try to find out the answers.
They are your target audience. You need to know everything about them. Their age group and location and in addition to these factors, you must look for answers to questions like what they like, dislike, what excites them, what kind of campaigns they participate, how they spend time on social media. And so on.
You can have a clear idea of your TG’s interests with Facebook Graph search. You can search for anything to know about your audience. When your target customers come online – it’s a vital information for your social media strategy. For Facebook, you have Facebook Insights that show you exactly when your fans login to the network and in what volume.
You can do it for Twitter with Tweriod.
And then there are social advocates for your brand. If your business is new, you can do it with your nearest customers. Follow them closely and try to identify the most engaging audience they have. You can do it on all channels, however, G+ has a unique tool to do it. Ripples.
As you can see, the above post is shared by 473 people, among which 375 are public shares. Each ripple represents one share. The bigger the ripple, the bigger the influencer, which is obvious from Matt Cutts’ ripple. Similarly, if you keep a track on different posts and their broadcasters, you will come up with your own list of brand advocates
Next up is, messages to deliver to your audience. First decide what type of content, you are going to offer to your audience. Decide on the voice and tone. Many experts would say that they are just the same. However, according to Buffer, they are quite different, even though there is a very subtle difference. To quote them, “Voice: Your brand personality described in an adjective. For instance, brands can be lively, positive, cynical, or professional. Tone: A subset of your brand’s voice. Tone adds specific flavor to your voice based on factors like audience, situation, and channel.” So, voice is the brand’s overall personality while tone is part of voice that adds a specific flavor to the content. Voice remains constant, but tone might change with situation and context.
Next, you need to decide what type of media content, you are going to share on social media. It largely depends on your target audience and their taste. Or you also could take help from your competitors. Knowing who your competitors are can give you an edge over them. Facebook Graph search can help you. Let’s assume that you are an Italian restaurant owner in Kolkata. You can easily research your target group on Facebook. Let’s see how. Let’s search with “Italian restaurants in Kolkata”.
And then search with “Images liked by fans of “your competitors”. You will understand what kind of images would work for them.
Not every social network works for everyone. You need to pick and choose according to your target audience’s interests and kind of service or product you are promoting. Besides, remember the rule – less is more, when it comes to social media. Factors to ponder on: What channels to use: Not all social networks would work for you, even though social media is meant for all. You need to be very meticulous to choose your channels, as you will invest your time and money there. Frequency of posts: As far as social media is concerned, determine the post frequency keeping the channel and resources in mind. For example, for Facebook, one post a day is the golden rule while for Twitter it’s one post an hour (Buffer Blog). But no matter what you choose, be sure of its quality, else it will remain unnoticed. Jeff Korhan, The author of Built-In Social and host of This Old New Business podcast advised, “Focus on One Social Media Channel unless your company is a big brand, it’s unlikely your customers are scattered across multiple social media channels. Therefore, to make the most of your limited resources, find the one channel that is densely populated with your ideal customers and inhabit it like no other.” We would advise you to start with optimum quantity of content you think you can deliver with ease. Look at quality, not quantity. Created or curated: Curated content wins when it comes to clicks. Posts that link to third-party websites get 33% more clicks than created content. But the story is entirely reverse when it comes to conversions. Posts linking to your site receive 54% more click-to-conversion rate than curated posts (Convince & Convert). What does it mean? What way should you go? Any social media expert would advice you to choose a balanced way. But the real question is, what’s that? According to Convince and Convert, 50% to 75% curated content forms the perfect balance.
One strategy that worked for other business, might not work for you. So, don’t follow others. Create your own strategy. The last stage is, knowing if the strategy is working for you. If you fear analytics and data, here is our message to you: Analytics is frightening, only if you don’t have clarity about your goal and metrics. But that calls for a separate post altogether. We will discuss about social media analytics to work with your strategy in a future post. Stay tuned!