Building Your Social Media Strategy

For those who missed out on our Social Media Master Class two weeks ago, here’s a quick synopsis of what we went over:

Ryan O’Donoghue and Lorcan Lambe, two of our amazing digital account managers and social media experts here at Leading Social, used a perfect analogy for building out your businesses’ social media strategy. Imagine you are stuck on the top of a mountain that is surrounded by a lake, and there happens to be a river running down from the top of the mountain, all the way down to the lake. How do you get from the top of the mountain, down to the lake? Easy - build a boat and float down the river (sorry, failed to mention that there were resources on the mountain to build this boat). Here's a better representation:

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This is similar to building out your businesses’ social media strategy. You need a boat (your tactics) and a river (your strategy). Now, this leads me to another question: what's the difference between tactics and a strategy? Here’s a simple little chart I like to use to show our clients the difference between tactics and a strategy:

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Oftentimes, businesses get caught up in the tactics (you know what I'm talking about, the purposeless posts, the annoying ads, the list goes on and on). The problem is, tactics are a short-term game. Sure, you might get some likes here and there, but after a while, your posts won't be as effective. This is why it's important to create a strategy alongside your tactics, so your tactics are strong and purposeful.

Without the river, the boat is useless.

  1. Choose Your Objective
    Ask yourself these questions: What are you trying to achieve? Are you looking to increase exposure, increase website traffic, develop fans, improve sales? It wouldn’t make sense if you’re an e-commerce wanting to increase thought-leadership. Instead, you might want to develop loyal fans, increase website traffic and leads. Think carefully about what your objectives are, as they are the foundations upon which your strategy is built from. Along with that, what social platforms are most suitable for your businesses? Each channel has their own community, individual nuances, acts and reacts a different way. Think about who your audience is and where they live online, this will ensure success as you continue building out your strategy.

  2. Design Your Ideal Audience
    Once upon a time, when we needed a product or a service, we picked up the yellow pages and called someone or went out to the store and spoke to a salesperson. In the digital age and as social media marketers, we have so much data at our fingertips that we can intercept this process and offer products and services that people didn't even know they needed or wanted. How do I know who wants my product or service? The answer lies in the analytics. Don’t assume you know who your audience is, let the data tell you. There are a number of different tools you can use such as Facebook Analytics, Google Analytics, and Twitter analytics to name a few. These tools can help you design your ideal audience, which will become extremely useful when you start making content and ads. The worst mistake you can do is assume you know your audience, again, the answers lie in the data.

  3. Create a Narrative
    Once you've designed your ideal audience and have gathered as much information about them as you possibly can i.e their interests, what they usually search for after they search for your product/service, where they're located, etc, it's time to create a narrative for your brand that'll resonate with your audience. Much like any good book, there’s a beginning, middle (this is where it should climax if it’s a good storyline that is), and an end. Humans are subconsciously wired to see this pattern in movies, plays, and even music. When a movie doesn't have a proper story-line with this sequence, you might feel confused and left wondering why you paid €12 for this movie ticket. Similarly, if your social strategy doesn't have a beginning, middle, or end, your audience might feel confused and annoyed that you're taking up their newsfeed. Think of trying to make your social media strategy like a good story. This will keep you on track and keep your audience wanting more.

  4. Capture Your Audience’s Attention
    So you have your ideal audience and your storyline, now what? Before we get into it, I want to tell you a joke. Which country's capital has the fastest-growing population? Ireland. Every day it's Dublin. Kind of funny, but it won't stick with you. Whereas, you'll remember Kevin Hart's joke for ages after. Nowadays our ability to hold our attention on one thing without getting distracted is a whoppin’ 8 seconds. This is a second shorter than a goldfish! What does this mean? The joke I made earlier was useless to you, and you probably skimmed through it anyway. It didn't leave an impression. This means that whatever you put out on your social media shouldn't be equivalent to a pun, it should be a well-thought-out Kevin Hart skit. In order to capture your audience's attention, you must have meaningful and creative content that will add value to your customer's news feed, or else, your post will just get lost amongst everything else taking up their newsfeed.

  5. Hold Your Audience’s Attention
    By now, you should have a basic understanding of how to create a social media strategy. My final point is to give, give, give, before you take. Don’t be that business that is overtly trying to sell on every post. Everyone hates spammy ads because we never get anything out of it. The best and final advice I’ll give you is to always add value. Sounds cheesy, but without the value-adding aspect to your strategy, nobody will be interested or stay interested. Remember, don’t just serve as an impression, make an impression!