Six Elements of a Complete Social Media Strategy
We’ve talked about the importance of storytelling. Now, here’s what you need to make that story sing.
Once your story is set, there are six key elements to give it the best chance of success on social media.
Before you release your story to the world, you should know why you’re telling it! What do you hope you accomplish with this? Possible goals include:
- Building brand awareness
- Driving more or higher quality leads
- Increasing engagement
- Improving customer loyalty and retention
No matter what your goal is, the key is know what it is before you start amplifying your story online.
This is one of the most important elements of your strategy, To whom are you telling this story, and where will you find them? What do you want them to do once they hear your story?
The answers to these questions will help develop the platform strategy for your story. You should know where your audience spends their time and what actions they typically take in each platform. This will also help you determine which platforms won’t be worth your resources.
At a high level, there are a few things to keep in mind for each platform that may help you formulate your strategy:
- Facebook skews heavily toward women, and users tend to share content that reflects personal opinions or life milestones.
- Instagram is more evenly split between men and women, and has a younger user base that shares more aspirational content.
- Twitter has become somewhat of a niche platform, focusing on users who value news, information, and social causes over aspirational or lifestyle content.
- Snapchat features a younger user base who are moving toward one-to-one communication, making interaction with brands easier for them to avoid.
- Pinterest isn’t always top of mind but continues to feature a solid mostly female user base who are making purchases directly from the app and signaling purchasing intent through saved boards. The platform is highly visual and aspirational.
- Timing of posts is another factor that depends largely on your target audience. Think of your buyer personas. What is their day like? Now consider how social media likely fits into that day. If you’re looking to reach young professionals, post early in the morning, around noon, and in the evening. This aligns to when they check their profiles — in the morning before work, during lunch, and after work. If you want to reach stay-at-home moms, post during the hours when moms are likely to have the most free time to be surfing social media — while the kids are away at school
If you want even more granular data on when to post, Sprout Social did an extremely in depth analysis, broken down by platform and industry.
Once you embark on your social media storytelling journey you must know what success looks like. How will you know you’ve been successful?
It is important not to become overly wooed by the sexiness of vanity metrics. Especially in a time when followers and likes can be bought and paid for, you must look deeper to the metrics that truly speak to the effectiveness of your marketing. There have been many times in my work for brands when I’ve been pitched by an influencer who claims to have 50,000 followers but somehow can barely scratch 100 likes per post. This is why these types of metrics are meaningless. Thinking back on the goals I mentioned at the top, here are some potential corresponding measurements that better capture the effectiveness of your content and your strategy:
- Building brand awareness: website traffic, page views, video views, referral links
- Driving more or higher quality leads: form completions, downloads, email subscriptions, blog subscriptions
- Increasing engagement: time spent, forwards, inbound links, click-through rate
- Improving customer loyalty and retention: net promoter score, conversions, comment sentiment
Does the quality of your content enhance or detract from your story? The production quality should align with what you’re trying to say. Your content should also be consistent in every way — from the look and feel, to the voice and tone, to the timing of posts. For more on what makes great content, see this great article by Neil Patel.
Your strategy should include a hefty piece on how you’ll monitor the response to the story you’re sharing. How will you respond, if at all, when someone disagrees or is offended? I say when not if because any good story will have something that rubs someone the wrong way! No doubt there were folks who were offended by these stories, but potential conflict should be welcome, not shunned.
Listening is not only about crisis. What’s your plan for interacting with the community of users who will love and relate to your story? How will you keep them engaged? HootSuite does a great job of discussing the importance of social listening and how to do it well.
Last but certainly not least is optimization. Once all systems are go, how will you tweak and adjust along the way to ensure you’re reaching your goals? It is important to monitor what’s working well and adjust what isn’t working so well along the way. That’s the great thing about digital marketing — nothing it set in stone! You can test and tweak until you reach the ideal mix.
Start with a strong story first, then be sure to develop a solid social strategy. With these six elements, your story will standout among the rest on social media!
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