The days of posting “Happy Labor Day From Our Business to Yours” are over. The minimalist movement has gone from purging your closet to your email to the accounts you’re following on social. But in the spirit of the minimalist movement, here’s how to make sure your business is intentional about adding value to everything you post.
1) It helps you align business goals.
The first question a strategist will ask you is why.
- Why are you wanting to post on social?
- Why do you think your audience wants to connect with you on social in place of / in addition to your website and newsletter?
- Why would someone want to follow your brand?
Just to name a few.
And it’s not just to be annoying or to make you doubt everything about your current business plan (though, sometimes it may feel like being put under an exam light, and we’re really, truly sorry about that) it’s to make sure we can align your social goals to your larger business goals and narrow down a tactical approach.
For example, warming leads with social requires a totally different approach than using social to find out your audience’s product preferences. In addition, a heritage lifestyle brand has different needs than a tech start-up. A social strategist will see what you want to do and then help with ways to get you there.
2) It helps you create measurable, actionable, real-time objectives.
We know something is successful when it reaches its desired outcome, right? Each social campaign should have one goal, but anywhere between 1- 6+ objectives on how you’ll get there. A social strategist will work with you determining measurable social goals and how we’ll achieve them.
For example, if the goal is to increase brand awareness, we could set up an objective to get 100,000 lookalike fans to watch at least 30-seconds of our video. That way we’ll know a new audience was exposed to our brand.
A second brand awareness objective could be to increase positive conversation around our brand by 5% by the end of the month. We would track mentions of the brand across the web with a sentiment tool and be able to deliver the increase percentage.
Whether it’s for social strategy, or any kind of agreement, make sure you set expectations on measurable success.
3) It helps define your (social) audience.
Do you sell enterprise software to accountants? Or are you more of an echo-chic clothing line with a booth at Coachella?
Most likely, these audiences are in different places and resonate with different messaging (but I do hope there’s cross-over — accountants are good for everyone).
Depending on where you are with your marketing, we’ll either dive into your personas deck and give you recommendations for where your potential customers engage on social OR we’ll do some research to help define your audience.
Do your fans love aspirational content on Instagram?
Do they prefer the thought leadership on LinkedIn?
Are they more likely to be tuned into real-time moments on Twitter?
For some brands the answer is all three, and that means engaging on multiple platforms in different, channel-specific ways. And for crying out loud can we please just all agree to stop mass posting the same, exact content on each channel?
That blog post may be great and can totally be shared across channels, but good grief give folks a reason to follow you on Twitter AND Facebook by posting different copy relevant to how audiences are using the platform.
4) It helps define the customer journey. - FUNNEL
Where have your customers been and where do they need to go?
I approach customer journeys how I approach asking someone out on a date. I know it sounds weird, but hear me out. I don’t just walk up to someone and say, “Hey person, it looks like you might like the same things as me based on your outfit, let’s grab dinner!”
Obviously, that’s not really socially acceptable. You haven’t shown them that you’re actually a really nice person just looking for a potential life partner to share pad Thai with and instead come across as kinda scary, because you are TBH. To me, marketing isn’t really that different.
First, you have to introduce yourself (your brand) to see if there’s any interest before asking the other person to do anything. This could be like sharing a video introducing your product or campaign. High-level, not a ton of commitment on either part, you’re just seeing if there’s interest.
To keep the dating analogy going, the next step is maybe texting a little bit and get to know each other on a general level. This could be anything from an editorial post, to an infographic on your site, to an about page.
Slightly more in-depth, but not a direct ask of anything yet.
Finally, if you both feel like you want to know more about each other, you ask about the full date. That’s like a traffic driver that links to your campaign landing page. You both have an idea of what to expect and agree to see if there’s a potential match.
And that’s how a customer journey is like asking someone on a date, but ALSO something that strategists will help you think through with customized mapping for each intended audience.
5) It helps you define where that content should be and how it should look.
Once we’ve defined our goals, objectives, audience and customer journeys we can dig into tactics! Without a strategy, most clients go here first. And that’s not bad. It’s why I have a job, honestly. But because that’s the case I want to help you stop making this mistake.
I’ve been in so many meetings where I hear folks say, “X social platform just made this new feature so let’s post X on X channel.” Or, “we have a new product so let’s link to that everywhere.”
That may be totally fine, but it’s important to take a step back and ask why and define which objective it’s helping us reach. Remember for each of those objectives we need specific actions to be taken and that helps us determine if we need a photo, a video, a landing page or a blog post. It helps us define if we need a graphic designer, some animation, a new photoshoot or if something from our bank of current assets will work.
That’s not to say we can’t be agile and fun and shoot from the hip — dude, that’s why I got into this business! — but is is important to be intentional about where all of your content dollars are going and know how it’s helping (or not) in reaching your larger business goals.
6) It delivers the right messages in the right places.
Before you post ask:
- Is this helpful to my potential customers?
- Is this relevant to their current life cycle / season / stage of life?
- What is the action I’m hoping to see from this?
A social strategist will help anticipate customer needs, know how your product helps solve them and think through how you can drop those knowledge gems into social content that adds value to already stuffed feeds.
One way to do that is by sharing your expertise. Turn your knowledge into sharable quote graphics. Better yet, produce an educational editorial video. In an anxious society be a calming, helpful presence.
Maybe you want to reach a new demographic that you’ve never talked to before. What is the message that they need to hear that your brand’s not sharing yet? How are you relevant to them? When is it most important to share this information? A strategist will look at all of these factors and put a plan in place that helps deliver against this goal.
Bonus: Even if you don’t need or want social for leads, engagement or any other reason, I still recommend at least keeping up your LinkedIn business page. This isn’t so much for your current and potential customers but for your colleagues, and potential coworkers. It’s the social equivalent of shouting from the rooftops how proud they are to be a part of the team and helps them connect with the world in a way that helps them network in their current role and reach their future career goals.
And that’s the gist of social strategy in 6 points. Maybe you can go at it alone but you don’t have to and when you’re ready to take the plunge we’re here to help.