While it has become the bane of everyone’s existence to track ROI, there’s an opportunity cost associated with social media. At what point does your organization become irrelevant and your target market becomes disinterested because you’re not up to speed with the times?
Probably everyone you know has a cell phone. Of course, this was not the case twenty years ago. Communication changes – and it changes rapidly. Social media is synonymous to communication. If you never answered your cell phone, would you be relevant?
Too often, a brand will treat social media like they would treat their personal social media profiles – haphazardly and, even worse, as an afterthought.
Before you begin posting on behalf of a brand, it is crucial to pinpoint the voice and purpose behind your content/messaging. What are your objectives in using social media? Do you hope to gain more followers or more engagement? Do you need to promote your events? Do you want website traffic? Membership recruitment? Identify this and clarify this. Hone in on the why, so it helps shape the what.
Review your tone of voice, your personality. Do you want to appear funny, serious, professional, witty, empathetic, friendly, straightforward? If your organization allows humor online, where do you draw the line? What are your organization’s key messages? What do you want a viewer to know about you? Prove or provoke with every post. Prove your key messages or provoke engagement which leads to the same conclusion.
Your organization should have a personality. How is your organization going to jump off the (web)pages and shake hands with anyone that scrolls by? And more importantly, how do you make sure your organization is on its target audience newsfeed to begin with?
What are your competitors doing? What is appealing about what they’re doing? How can you want to be different online?
Remember a key rule of thumb: the 80/20 rule. That is, 80% of posts should encourage engagement and only 20% should be direct sells or “promo posts.” Sell-sell-sell posts are a turn-off, but of course they are necessary aspects so that your audience knows how to be a consumer with you.
From there, develop 4-6 content pillars. These will act as your yellow brick road in content creation. The pillars should all relate back to your objectives in social media. Every post should be curated in a way that helps to position those key messages in front of your viewers. Diffusing content amongst the 4-6 pillars encourages dynamic yet cohesive content.
This strategy should be written and presented to the team. The plan should be well-understood amongst any and all parties involved with the social media communications.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your primary opportunities to interact with your members, customers, donors, event attendees, etc. shouldn’t be either. Social strategy is important because it’s your organization’s roadmap. Yes, ROI in social media is hard. So often, it’s hard because it’s undefined and there’s no blazed trail to get there. By creating a strategy before implementation, you’re defining the path so you can start blazing.
Then, WORK THE PLAN. Now that you have the plan, use it. This may be the hardest part. It’s like going to the gym. You can’t plan your gym schedule for 4 days a week and show up for 1 thinking you’ll get the same results.
What are your challenges with a social media strategy? What has worked for you?