Raise your hand if you think that a social media strategy and a content strategy are the same thing.
I’ve heard a bunch of people use the terms interchangeably, but a content strategy, is only a piece of your larger social media strategy. When planning your social media strategy you should be thinking about everything from the platforms you’ll use to who will execute your plan. Here’s a list of things to consider:
What are your goals?
If your goal is simply to be on social media, dig a little deeper. Why do you want to be on social media? Is it a matter of keeping up with your competitors? Staying relevant to your customers?
There are a million reasons for your business to be on social media, but unless you know what you want to achieve, your social media strategy is going to fail before it even starts. Put some thought into the “why” so that your “how” will be effective.
What social media platforms are best for you?
Just because your 15-year-old daughter told you that Instagram is cool, doesn’t mean that it’s right for your business. Figure out who you want to reach through social media and how you want to reach them (video, photos, status updates) in order to determine the platforms to focus on.
Content IS the largest piece of your social media strategy and it’s a good idea to outline the types of things you want to talk about with your community.
Plan a content calendar to be on top of holidays and promotions, but don’t forget to leave room to join trending discussions. Bonus points if you can bring your business into current events.
Time & Money
If you are a small business owner, time is your most valuable resource. When planning a social media strategy, you must remember you don’t have infinite amounts of time.
If you currently post three times a week on Facebook, but your new social media strategy calls for activity on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter how much more time it will it take? If you don’t have the time, who does? If you need to bring in outside support, have you planned for this expense and figured out how to measure ROI?
Many brands build a social media strategy that is completely focused on raising awareness of their products and services and then stumble at the first question from a customer. While your main goals may be around marketing, you must anticipate client service inquires. If you’re really smart you’ll have a procedure in place to handle them and a way to take the discussion offline.
You may feel pretty safe thinking that a social media crisis won’t happen to you, but we all know about the little tricks life likes to play us on. To that end I recommend having a plan, just in case.
This may be as simple as a social media monitoring plan to keep abreast of your online mentions. If you have a larger company, you may go into more detail such as designating a spokesperson and determining who needs to be involved in the communication plan.
If you have employees have you made sure everyone is on the same page around social media for your brand? At minimum the people working directly on your social media should all be delivering a consistent message and tone.
The best case scenario is that your whole company is aware of your social media strategy, and knows whether or not they are encouraged to jump in the conversation and share posts.
Audit & Compliance
Is your business operating in a regulatory environment? If so, have you considered how that impacts your social media strategy? You may need to be mindful of disclaimers or have a records retention policy.
How do your social media accounts fit into your larger marketing efforts? Do your website and social accounts work together seamlessly, promoting the same messages and using consistent imagery?
This can be a lot to consider, especially if you’re struggling to make the leap from personal usage to effective business usage. If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it. Social Light can get you up and running in no time! Get it touch and let's chat.
Nicole Krug is a marketing strategy consultant specializing in digital brand management, social media, web development and email marketing. Since founding Social Light in 2009, she has helped clients hone their digital marketing strategies to bring more exposure to their brands and boost their bottom lines.
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