Most organisations use social media in some form, but are you really taking full advantage of the benefits that it offers? Taking the time to think through what you are trying to achieve and developing a well-thought-out social media plan and strategy will help you get more from your activity.
To give you a head start, we share some things that you might want to consider when developing your social media strategy.
What are you trying to achieve using social media?
It’s vital to take the time to think through why you use social media and what you are trying to achieve. Typical aims might include:
- Increasing awareness of products and services
- Supporting positioning
- Supporting recruitment and retention
- Developing new relationships (with potential clients or contacts)
- Developing existing relationships with clients and contacts
- For research
Who is your target audience?
Who is your target audience and who are you trying to reach through social media? This could include:
- Existing clients
- Potential clients
- Industry media/press
- Potential employees
What platforms are you going to use?
Once you’ve identified what you want to achieve and who you want to target , it will be much easier to identify the best platforms to help you to reach your goals and audiences. There are multiple social media platforms available (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, SnapChat and TikTok), however it’s likely that your target audience won’t use them all. Pick two or three based on where your target audience is most active.
You also need to keep in mind the time and resource that you’re able to dedicate to social media management. It’s much better to choose a couple of platforms and manage them well, than trying to do them all but not having enough time to consistently post content.
It’s also likely that you’ll use different platforms to help achieve different objectives or to reach different audiences. For example, you may choose to use Facebook to help with recruitment and developing your employer brand, whilst LinkedIn may be better to engage and develop relationships with potential clients. By doing a bit of research, you can identify who is using which platforms, allowing you to choose the best-placed platforms and better tailor your content. Sprout Social shares social media platform demographics information that is particularly useful.
What are your goals for each platform and how are you going to measure success?
Alongside your over-arching social media goal, it’s also worth setting specific goals for each platform, which you can easily track to help measure success. These goals can consist of both short and long-term goals and might include:
- Grow email subscriber list
- Increase engagement with potential employees
- Raising awareness of a new service amongst existing clients
- Increasing engagement with potential clients
- Developing new relationships with potential referrers
Once you have a clear idea of exactly what you want to achieve with each platform, you can decide the best way to measure success. For example, if you were planning to use Facebook to engage with potential employees, you might want to consider measuring the number of new followers along with engagement (interaction with your content), which can be measured using metrics such as likes, comments and shares. If you’re currently recruiting, you might also want to monitor the number applications or enquiries you receive.
It’s worth monitoring results on a regular basis – either weekly or monthly, so that you can tweak things if needed.
What content are you going to share?
The content you plan to share is likely to be different for each platform. It’s worth having a good split of content types – something along the lines of 1/3 promotional (service pages, offers), 1/3 original branded content (case studies, articles, infographics), 1/3 shared content from thought leaders and trusted sources.
How often are you going to post and what other tactics do you need to consider?
Once you have a clear idea of objectives, audiences, platforms and content, you need to consider your specific tactics, which should include:
- When, what time, how often, how (Hootsuite?)
- Hashtags – which ones are relevant to your organisation and audience
- Lists- lists on Twitter can help you monitor conservations around relevant topics
- Following and engaging – don’t just push content out, take the time to engage with your audiences