Without strategy, social media is like decorating your corporate HQ by throwing different coloured paint against the wall and seeing what sticks. This is not a position that high growth businesses, or any businesses for that matter, can afford to be in. A clear plan and an agile approach is needed.
Recently, our Digital Strategist Nik Hewitt spoke at the East Midlands High Growth Summit in Nottingham, and here’s just of few of the important points he made:
A Firm Foundation
What are your goals and objectives? Do you want to increase sales, support a fan base, find new customers, research the market, increase your reputation, improve foot-fall to an event or venue, or support SEO efforts? Clearly decide on these now. If you can’t work towards these you can’t create strategy, and you certainly can’t measure success.
Where is your Audience?
Without knowing your target demographic you can’t decide where you need to be spreading your message. There are hundreds of social media platforms, it’s important to be where your audience is. The platforms are strategy agnostic.
A Clear Voice
Take your brand traits and craft these into a clear persona that anyone can understand. Create sample messaging in the ‘voice’ of your persona to represent what you are going to say and how you are going to say it.
Assets and Limitations
Do you have great blog content already? Easy give-aways, knowledgeable staff, photo or video content, other PR activity, artwork, a rich corporate history? All of these are assets. Limitations might include time constraints, board by-in, finances, knowledge, equipment. Without knowing this you can’t formulate a plan.
Is your brand right for social, or would a campaign approach be better? No one is going to follow ‘John Smith bacon’ on Facebook, but lot’s of people will follow “I love a Bacon Sandwich, sponsored by John Smiths bacon’. Think a little outside of the box, and see what’s a natural fit.
Who’s Going to do the Work?
Will your staff need training and do they have the experience to manage the public face of your brand? Social media isn’t a quick daily process, it requires brand knowledge and daily monitoring. It needs the knowledge of how to conduct outreach and how to engage with brand evangelists. Where is this knowledge going to come from, and will you need help in set-up? High growth communities can grow quickly. Users expect customer service questions to be answered in under an hour. Who’s going to be monitoring your community?
How can you be of Value?
Why SHOULD your audience be following you? What’s in it for them? People follow brands for a variety of reasons. Coupons & discounts are the number one reason for following a brand, but there are a plethora of other good reasons that marketers should be aware of including the ability to ‘see behind the curtain’, because they have been recommended by friends, for fun and engaging content, etc. How will position your product or service to offer the best possible growth and experience?
Are you Growing Quickly Enough?
If your social presence isn’t growing at the same rate as your business, how will you make this happen? Is outreach the answer, or promotions? Do you have funds allotted to create social media advising if required? Be aware of these things to start with, and be ready to react.
Capture. Engage. Listen. Evolve.
“No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy.” Strategy should be reviewed regularly. Keep an eye on what’s working, and what’s not. Social media is an agile process. Keep a close eye on what stimulate your audience, and modify your approach accordingly. Keep measuring, and keep evolving.
You can review Nik’s presentation from the High Growth Summit below:
Social Media Strategy for High Growth Business from Tank PR Ltd.
Strategy is an important foundation to build on, and it’s a part of the process critical to growth. Get your team involved. Get your PR agency involved. Build great communities that will help you spread your message and be ready to commit to purchase.