Surprisingly, many social media campaigns are undertaken without a robust strategy set in stone. Sometimes it is neglected due to a lack of knowledge and understanding. Other times it is due to time constraints with campaigns rushed to launch.
Either way, I wanted to provide this 8 part series into how you can use social media strategy to execute successful social marketing campaigns.
What You Will Learn Throughout This Series
- Why social media strategy is fundamental to all social marketing campaigns
- Exactly what you should be researching and planning prior to launch
- How to set up and optimise your various social media profiles
- How to overcome the difficulties in managing social media campaigns
- What you should be doing to engage and strengthen your social audiences
- How you can convert your followers into long-term paying customers
- What adjustments you will need to make to continually improve your social media campaigns
- How to build on your progress and constantly grow your social marketing scope
An Introduction To Social Media Strategy
I consider social media strategy like a chair with four legs.
If all four legs are solid and properly positioned, the chair stands up and can hold enough weight to support whoever wants to sit down. If any of the four chair legs are missing, then the chair isn’t balanced and is likely to topple over. If multiple legs are missing, then it’s almost impossible for anyone to sit down and be comfortable on the chair.
Similarly, a social media strategy must have its foundations crafted with enough skill and understanding to support both the campaign and the audience.
I like to think of each of the four chair legs as the main pillars of any social media strategy:
Understanding the purpose of any social media campaign is essential in order to realise why you’re investing in social marketing. Is social media really the best channel for your marketing campaigns?
Purpose enables you to start planning campaigns based around who you’re trying to target, how you’re planning to reach them and how you will position your messages so that your audience takes the right actions to your goals.
Having a clear business result before taking any actions will provide you with a distinct target and goal that you’ll be trying to reach. If you don’t understand your business result, it’s unlikely you will reach it.
Research and planning should be primarily based on developing campaigns that drive towards fulfilling your business result. All actions that don’t focus on fulfilling this, are usually irrelevant.
Without knowing how you will measure performance, it is difficult to understand how you can adjust to improve your actions. Your business result is at stake and you should have a path of performance milestones that trigger certain adjustments or adaptations.
Matching the right metrics to your campaign and account specific objectives will enable you to understand the effectiveness of your strategy execution. Your social media strategy metrics will provide a base for analysis and reporting on your social marketing efforts.
Knowing how you will facilitate your social marketing is key in order to organise and prepare for implementation. Everyone affected by the campaign should be involved as early as possible to understand how their roles should be adjusted. The timing of the launch is also important.
Being clear on your social management activities and how they will be undertaken sets a solid base for creating robust and effective campaigns. It also organises future work into manageable loads and defines what is needed within certain roles to implement a successful campaign.
Social Media Strategy Fails
If you neglect your social media strategy process, then it’s kind of like jumping into the unknown. You will have no idea what is needed to provide a return on investment and no clue as to what the effectiveness is of what you are doing.
Think about it this way – would you give a presentation to important stakeholders without knowing what you’re talking about, or doing any research into the validity of your arguments? I don’t think the stakeholders would be impressed if you did. Similarly, your social audiences and customers wouldn’t be impressed with your campaigns if you don’t know why or how you’re undertaking them.
I’ve seen many examples of social marketing that came across like a distinct lack of social media strategy had been formulated. Take this prime example of a social media strategy failure..
By failing to plan a robust social media strategy, this brand had no idea of the negative impact they would receive from various social channels and no idea of how to handle it. Subsequently, there responses didn’t go down too well…
Social Media Strategy Excellence
If you spend time to design your four chair legs properly, then everyone will want to take a seat! Your campaigns will have direction and your audiences will be easily directed to take actions towards your campaign objectives.
Social media strategy is only half of the puzzle – you still need to do the hard work in executing your strategies, but it no doubt puts you in good steed to achieve what it is you’re trying to accomplish.
This is a great example of a creative and well positioned social campaign that obviously has been formulated through extensive social media strategy planning.
The Breaking Bad social media strategy resulted in 5,147,271 Facebook likes and 477,045 Twitter followers, exposing the series to a global audience and attracting huge amounts of attention and viewership.
The Importance Of Social Media Strategy
As you may have summarised yourself, social media strategy isn’t a luxury for larger companies with a lot of money to spend, it’s fundamental to any social marketing campaign. Strategy to marketing is like training to athletes. Without it, your almost preparing to fail before you have started the race.
If you have launched a social media marketing campaign before and skipped over this crucial stage, then don’t worry – you’re not alone! It’s common for businesses to not realise or understand the importance of the phase. The best advice I could give is to go back and rethink the four chair legs of your campaign, then revisit and adjust your strategies in accordance with your newly found knowledge. I would be surprised if it didn’t help you to reach your business results or highlight areas that need to be revised.
Remember, it’s never too late to improve on what you’re doing.
Stay tuned in to read the other 7 parts of the Social Media Strategy Series by subscribing to the blog below.