Social media is now a common tool in corporate communication toolbox. However, if you don’t stay up to date with the most recent algorithm and platform changes, you may be missing out on important functionality and opportunities.
What does it take to define and implement a Social Media Strategy?
There are many elements to consider when planning your strategy, and the most important one that you’ll need to address before implementing it is which platforms are best for your business. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, are the main (but not the only) social networks available. Each platform has its own logic, its own audience, and its own content types, but they share a common denominator: they each make it possible to aggregate, share, and create communities around themes and events.
Why have a social presence?
Every brand needs to communicate with its customers, whether they are direct consumers or other businesses. With the advent of digital, the landscape of communication opportunities has expanded. In addition to the website, a brand’s main showcase, corporate social channels make it possible to break down the classic barriers of “standard” communication. This has allowed us to humanize brands, who can take their messages directly to their audience and create a real dialogue with customers-users.
So, the answer to the initial question is apparently simple: in the digital age (in which selling is no longer the only corporate goal), social presence, for a brand represents a unique opportunity to reach customers.
Before opening any channel, it is necessary to evaluate it based on your objectives, to identify the positioning, define the audience, implement a content strategy, establish KPIs on the basis of which to measure the results, monitor the channels, and above all, remember that your work here is never done. Instead, this is a circular process that must be constantly reviewed, modified (and sometimes completely revamped) based on user feedback and business requirements.
Let’s examine each of the phases in detail.
Define strategic objectives
The objectives of a social strategy, like any other type of strategy, can be short and/or medium to long term. The nature of the strategy depends on what the company requires of social media.
At an early stage, you might think that the goal is to increase brand awareness among users and then move on to lead acquisition, creating a community, communicating new products, or going into e-commerce (for example, using Facebook Marketplace). You can have several coexisting objectives in a given period of time, and you will likely fine-tune or even change certain aspects of strategy along the way.
You’ll want to determine how to position your brand based on the company’s values, mission, and objectives. This will help you choose the platforms, content, and the type of copy and multimedia material you’ll employ.
Define the target
The road to setting up a winning social media strategy requires that you closely define your audience. Are you B2B or B2C? Who will read, interact and share the posted content? Who is the target audience you want to target? The social media manager (and not only him) will have to answer many questions that will determine the proper positioning of a strategy that reaches your target audience.
Structure of a content strategy
The content strategy, i.e. the choices you make about the themes you’ll cover, the tone of voice, the design, and when you will communicate, i.e. publication times are all important. In other words, it’s a matter of building a real social identity that allows users to recognize the brand. Remember that you’re going for two way communication, talking not “to” users but “with” them.
The process of building a Social Media Strategy includes the definition and subsequent measurement of KPIs that show how you’re performing in both qualitative and quantitative terms. So, what to measure? How to do it? The answer depends on all the factors that we have previously analyzed. Constant monitoring of KPIs is essential because it allows you to make changes and adjustments in real-time.
Although we have analyzed the main steps in the construction of a Social Media Strategy, bare in mind that each step has its own nuances that you’ll need to address depending on your business priorities. Another important factor (without which it would be impossible to think about creating and implementing a strategy): the budget.
Having a social media presence will require an investment in the right skills (copywriting, social media managing, graphics, community managing), tools for analysis and monitoring, and last (but not least), it is essential to consider advertising.
Advertising on social networks today means making sure that your content is seen by the audience that we want to see it. This will allow users to see only the content that is suited to their needs, tastes, and preferences. “Italians and Social Media 2019,” the report by Blogmeter, shows that 26% of Facebook users and 33% of Instagram users find advertising on social interesting and a “source of inspiration.” Moreover, the belief that advertising is annoying is dispelled by data that shows that users are happy to view sponsored content.
The considerations made so far have illustrated the process of building a Social Media Strategy, but how important is it for brands to have one?
The data collected by Buffer in its State of Social 2019 report show an awareness of the strategic role of social media in marketing activities. Social media is very important to 58.8% of brands, and 43.4% say that social media marketing has helped their business.
Can a good Social Media Strategy replace traditional marketing?
No. A social media strategy that is not coordinated with your marketing strategy will not survive long.
To get results, marketing and corporate communication must reflect your business plan for both online and offline. An integrated, structured, and managed strategy is necessary to achieve goals both large and small. Many of the advantages that you can achieve through social media are because of the very nature of digital, those spontaneous opportunities to reach users in the right place at the right time.
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