Social media allows business owners to create online communities and engage with their customers, and be competitive with other businesses that may have more funding. With limited resources and time, social media efforts should be strategically efficient and effective, with clear-cut goals. Goals can include driving sales, generating leads, creating long lasting relationships, and being able to measure how effective your campaign is. When a good strategy is not in place, a social media strategy is likely to fail, but it may not be easy to point out why it all went wrong.
There are several tips online on how you can prevent social media strategy failures. The following tips are from an article called Why Most Strategies Fail, as shared by John Rampton, an entrepreneur and columnist for Forbes.
1. The values of your business should reflect in your social media strategies
Your business has a set of values that shape its culture and define its character. Your social media strategies should line up with these values. This can be done by highlighting the true purpose and motivation behind your brand through your social media page posts and descriptions.
When you do this, it helps you narrow down which content you need to put up, and makes the goals of your social media page clearer. In addition, this also helps your page become more relevant to your audience and potential customers.
2. Regularly post high quality content
When using social media to campaign for your business, your audience expects you to be regularly posting highly relevant and important content, and quick to respond to their queries.
How often you post depends on your business and target audience. To know your audience, there are several tools online that can help you identify trending topics, etc. Rampton recommends hashtags.org and SocialBro.
You want to post content at the time that your audience is most likely to be using their social media accounts. That depends on a lot of factors, including their time zone. But if you have an audience across various countries in the world, you can spread your posts during the course of the day. However, you should be careful not to spam your audience with lots of messages.
Rampton also recommends using apps that help you schedule your posts and be more organized. These tools include SproutSocial, Buffer, HootSuite and the trusty office program Excel.
3. Know your audience and use the right social media platform
Some managers treat every social networking site the same way, failing to recognize the individual assets and specialties of each of them. By default, businesses tend to go to Facebook to put up a business page because it is the largest social networking site. However, it is possible that that site is not the best for your business.
Before deciding what social media to use, it is important to have a strategy to know who your target audience is, what kind of message fits your brand and is appealing to them, and then identifying what social networking site is best for your content and audience.
Some businesses, like restaurants, might be better off focusing on social media platforms that are based more on sharing images. These sites include Pinterest or Instagram. It is important to know your audience, and it is equally important to know which social networking sites they spend most of their time.
4. Create unique content
Creating high quality content is very important when coming up with a social media strategy. But first and foremost, the content must be unique. At the same time it must be relevant to your social media audience, so that they can relate to the post on a more personal level, as compared to a generic-sounding and looking message.
5. Listen to your customers
Social media is not about putting up posts that endorse your products or services, rather it is a place where people can have a dialog with the company and interact with the people behind the brand. Pay attention to what your audience has to say about your content. Gather their feedback and respond accordingly.
Listening to your audience helps you know what they want in terms of your products and the content they want to see in your social media page. Having audience-approved content makes them more shareable, spreading the word about your business even further.
6. Observe and assess the effectiveness of your content
Once you know your target audience, identify where they spend most of their social media time, and create great quality content, the next step is to observe and assess how well your content is doing.
Your content is doing great if it is being shared a lot or is being liked a lot, you’re getting more and more people subscribing to your social media page, people are commenting on your posts, new people are coming to support your page, and others.
Identify the posts that work and don’t work, and remove those that aren’t helping to make your business more successful. There are several free tools that can help you measure the success of your social media efforts, including Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, Social Mention and Klout.