Social media marketing has come a long way from simply posting a few updates on Facebook and sending out a few tweets. Social media is now an essential marketing channel for organisations, regardless of their size.
In 2016, companies should be asking themselves how they can utilise social media to grow their business, and this means creating some kind of strategy. To get this right, research and planning is required.
The first step in developing any new strategy is to audit any existing social media. Networks need to be optimised for the future, including the best bios, cover image and photos. Strategists should also identify which networks are currently bringing them the most value.
The second step is to develop a customer profile, and this needs to be as specific as possible. Finding a simple demographic is a good start, but narrowing this down further by income levels, location and social platform use is even better. Once the targeted audience is decided upon, it is essential to draw up a social media mission statement. Mission statements help to drive future actions and provide consistency. It is far easier to ascertain which content should be created and shared if a mission statement is there to guide strategists.
Finally, before starting to market on social media, it is essential to identify success metrics as these will help to recognise if a strategy is working. Gaining followers shouldn’t be used as a metric as this is not the purpose of the plan. Instead, revenue-based metrics, such as brand mentions, conversion rate, total shares and sentiment, should be used. It’s only after all these steps have been taken that the first content should be created. Engaging content is essential at this stage, helping to build interactions with a company’s identified audience and grow potential leads.
Good social media strategies are never set in stone. In fact, they require constant tweaking if they are to remain successful in an ever-changing environment. However, without a plan at all, any social media engagement will be haphazard. As a result, 2016 should be the year when companies create a strategy and start to optimise their social media presence for increased business.