Social campaigns are best served with a powerful social media strategy

The times of thoughtless posting are over

Posting a video on YouTube willy-nilly for the whole world to see? That’s so 2008. If you want your social media efforts to yield results, publishing high-quality content in a structured and consistent manner through the most suitable channels is indispensable. In other words: what you need is a well-thought-out social media strategy.

The key to any successful social media strategy

A good social media strategy describes the how and what of your social media efforts as well as your concrete objectives, enabling you to effortlessly measure your return on investment (ROI) later on. Your strategic plan must also fit into the overall marketing and communication strategy of your company. A tall order, you say? We’re happy to treat you to some tried-and-tested tips for an easier start.

Check out these 11 tips for a bullet-proof social strategy!

1. Pin down the core of your brand

Briefly describe what your brand, product or service entails – try to get it all in one sentence. Keep it simple and check with both your coworkers and outsiders if the description is clear enough.

2. Social listening: listen and collect

Once you’ve properly defined the core of your brand, it’s time to find out what people are saying about you.

Some handy social listening tools:

  • Google Alerts: a popular tool that – after you’ve entered a number of keywords – sends you an email each time Google picks up on something during indexing.
  • You can also set up an RSS feed (using Feedly, for example) to automatically receive updates.
  • Social Mention: this tool enables you to search more than 100 social media channels including Facebook, Google and YouTube, offering the insights you need to score in terms of strength, sentiment, passion and reach.
  • Twitter Search: enter some relevant keywords and you immediately get to see how they score on Twitter.

Set clear objectives

What is it that you want to achieve on social media exactly? Define specific objectives (in % or exact figures) by defining and periodically recording key performance indicators or KPIs. Always describe your objectives according to the SMART principle: specific, measurable, acceptable, realistic and time-bound.

A social strategy can have various objectives, such as:

  • Increased brand awareness
  • Improved customer communication
  • Increased number of website visitors
  • Better ranking in Google

Based on the return on investment you measure, you can easily adjust your strategy as you go along to produce the results you desire.

4. Analyze

Analyze all the information and data you now have. Who’s talking about your brand or product and what are they saying? Are review sites, informative blogs and other channels discussing products or themes similar to yours? Create an overview of relevant channels to find a match with what your brand stands for and use it to your advantage.

5. Define your target group

Time to finally define your target group based on your analysis. Who are the people that make up your target audience and are they open to your message? What do they have in common? Where can you reach them online and what are they looking for in those places?

Ultimately, clearly defining your target group will save you from wasting efforts (not to mention budgets).

6. Do the scan: screen your target group

Is your brand or service not that well known yet? That’s OK – and all the more reason to adopt a strategic approach to social media marketing. As the quality of the conversations with and among your target group is crucial, your content must take center stage. The stronger your content, the more likely your target audience will become your biggest set of fans. Answering the following questions is a great place to start:

  • Have you communicated with your target audience (via social media) before?
  • Does everyone within your target audience know what you do or what your product or service stands for?
  • How have people been responding to your brand, product or service so far: positive or negative?

7. Decide on content

Keeping the core of your brand in mind – remember our first tip? – you can now start to create concrete messages. Again, it’s best not to go about this randomly. You may want to lean on the Hero Hub Help model, for example. It ticks all the boxes of a great social media strategy.

  • Help content is content that’s ‘always on’.
  • Hub content is frequently published content that speaks to your target audience, and that shows what you do and how you do it. It’s the kind of content you use to increase engagement, generate interaction and create an online dialogue.
  • Hero content raises awareness for your company or brand and consists of broader (storytelling) campaigns, aimed at a wider target group. The ultimate goal? Going viral, of course!

Look for themes you can use to establish a connection and which are (indirectly) linked to what you have to offer. Oh, and don’t hesitate to look to your competitors for inspiration.

8. Organize and structure

Prepare a feasible schedule for creating and distributing your content: what do you want to publish on which channels and when? Also, decide on who will do all the posting and responding to people’s questions and reactions.

9. Choose your channels – and media mix – wisely

Chances are your corporate website will serve as the basis for your media mix. Keep in mind, though, to always start from your target group: what is the best place to reach them? Publishing on all social media channels at once may be tempting, but in most cases it’s not the smartest move you can make. Be critical. Which channel fits your brand the best and how can you get the most out of it? Don’t worry if it turns out only one channel makes the cut. It means you get to focus your attention and efforts all the better.

10. Start and monitor conversations

At the end of the day, the ultimate purpose of the dialogues you start with your target audience is interaction. That doesn’t mean, however, that you must initiate every conversation. Your target group is what matters the most: let them speak and respond to each other. Did you receive some negative reactions? Don’t delete them, but respond to them openly, positively and constructively. Also, don’t wait too long to post your answer.

11. ROI: evaluate and adjust

Finally, check your ROI. In addition to generating more conversions, building and maintaining a loyal fan base is not to be underestimated. They’re the ones who do most of the converting, after all!

Did you fail to meet all your targets? No worries: you can – and must – continually adjust your social media plan anyways. Don’t forget that there will always be external factors, too, which you can’t completely control (but which you can always blame ?).