The Social Media Strategy Checklist – The Questions You Should Be Asking
Social media as a marketing tool is pretty powerful, but too often do smaller businesses set up accounts because it’s what expected of them. No matter what the size of the company is, everyone should have a strategy in place before they begin otherwise their new venture will lose steam before it even begins. If you’re starting to develop a presence online, or you just want a checklist, here are a number of questions you should answer when you’re putting your plan together.
What Do I Hope To Achieve?
It’s pointless to be using social media if you only have it because everybody else does. For any strategy to work, there must be an overall goal in place. Is it to drive sales, improve customer service, create new connections and business leads, or just a way to reach out to customers? If you don’t have an aim, then you won’t be able to formulate a strategy. And if you don’t have a strategy or commit to one, the enthusiasm you have at the beginning will wane off and you’ll have nothing to keep you going.
Who Do I Want To Communicate With?
Linking back to the first point, what your aims are relate to the type of company you run. Whether your company focuses on B2B or B2C will help you determine what type of demographic you’re aiming for. Do you want your audience to be mainly business people, shoppers, marketers, or smartphone users to name a few? While there’s nothing to say that you can’t reach out to everyone, it’s better to have a core audience that you can build upon.
Which Platform(s) Should I Use?
Many businesses will set up an account on Facebook since it’s the most popular, but there are a number of different ways to connect with your audience and each site or app has its own strengths you should take into consideration.
Facebook might be the most popular place and is the easiest to run app competitions, but Twitter offers a quick and snappy method of communicating, LinkedIn lets you connect directly with professionals, Foursquare lets you reward people for visiting your outlet and Instagram is great if you want to show off products and services. How you’re going to interact with your audience will
One thing you should avoid is adding too many accounts as you’ll end up being overwhelmed by it. Preferably, you shouldn’t have more than three accounts if there’s only one person handing things as adding any more will make the workload unmanageable.
How Much Time Can You Commit To This?
The big question for a lot of companies investing in social media. Work schedules are busier than ever and in the case of smaller companies, social media may be added on top of existing duties and increasing the workload. Essentially, if you can’t find the time to properly engage and do it consistently, you probably shouldn’t be using social media.
If it’s possible, reduce the workload by assigning different channels to each of your staff, or assign days to your staff for when they’re responsible for social media duties. Different companies require different approaches so find out what works best for you.
How Will This Fit Into Our Schedule?
The last thing any business wants is for staff to be distracted from their main duties, which is where time management comes into play. For the most part, you should be able to take an hour out of your schedule each day to focus on social media duties, but that doesn’t mean it should be taken in the one go. Maybe work it so that you dedicate 15 minute segments to social media during working hours, monitoring and updating when things are less hectic. If you’re not keeping updating regularly and consistently, you’re not giving people a reason to follow you.
What Kind Of Tone Should I Adopt?
How you present yourself is important and what you say and post will show how you come across. If you’re using social media as customer service, you will need to adapt a formal tone when communicating, but if you’re promoting yourself, there’s no harm in trying to inject some humour into your posts.
How Will I Measure Progress?
The main benefit of social media is that you can measure just how well your accounts are doing. Most sites have their own analytics tools, but it can be worth investing in a third-party analytics program for better insights. Also, choosing which metrics to value is important as some can be seen as vanity metrics which don’t provide a lot of insight. Looking at specific metrics in isolation won’t tell you much, but taking a few together will give you a clearer picture of what works.
How Does This Tie Into My Overall Marketing Strategy?
While social media is very useful as a marketing tool, it should be viewed as part of an overall marketing strategy. Will you be treating it as a separate entity or will you be tying it in with other campaigns and marketing opportunities. As mentioned earlier, different social media channels offer different opportunities so when you’re planning a large-scale campaign, plan with these features as part of the experience instead of just tacking an obligatory Facebook link to it.
Do I Have Guidelines That Staff Can Follow?
If you’re allowing staff to run your social media accounts, it’s a good idea to put together a social media policy so that it’s clear what acceptable and what isn’t. These guidelines don’t have to be complicated, just provide a few ground rules that are easy to follow so there’s no confusion.