It’s well known that social media has proven to be a valuable channel for many brands. Observing the success of others can tempt marketers into giving social media a whirl themselves. However, many dive into social media without having a real strategy and therefore aren’t leveraging social media to its fullest potential.
Social media can make you or break your business these days. Get it right and your adoring fans keep telling all their friends to buy your stuff. Get it wrong and you face a tsunami of irate tweets and sarcastic memes—imposing real damage on your bottom line.
With that in mind, consider these five reasons why you need a social media strategy.
1. Social media is where your customers are
Facebook has around 2 billion accounts. Twitter has 320 million active users. LinkedIn has 467 million registered users. Millions are also using Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, Pinterest, and dozens more every day.
When you see millennials staring at their phones while eating their lunch, guess what: they’re probably on social media too (as are their parents, truth be told, and increasingly their grandparents).
All those options create massive opportunities to hit people where they live or miss them completely (or muddle through). Social media strategy is what helps you figure out where they are and where they aren’t.
For instance, there’s no point tweeting 15 times a week if your customers aren’t on Twitter. Instagram is a great platform if your products or services are photogenic. YouTube is perfect for creating how-to videos explaining how to optimize your SaaS platform.
Thoughtful planning can help you identify the most promising platforms and figure out how people use them. That helps you create priorities that form the backbone of your social media strategy.
2. Your options are endless
You can choose from at least 10 popular social media sites. And once you choose those, you have options for posting text, videos, graphics, slide decks, product information, and much more.
And you can do all that seven times a day, seven days a week, every week of the year.
Trying to coordinate all that without a strategy is like trying to build a house without a blueprint. You’ll get a shanty with a leaky roof, waterlogged basement, and 14 species of biting bugs.
3. You’ll go crazy if you don’t create priorities
Social media strategy can help you define your social media goals and work towards them. Is your goal to create brand awareness? Is your goal to connect with and educate your customers? Whatever it is, you need to define it and then figure out the metrics that would show that you're accomplishing that goal.
You also need to know the metrics that show that you’ve reached your goals. For instance, follower growth would likely show an increase in brand awareness, while increased engagement/shares might show that you're creating content that connects with your audience. An uptick in traffic to your site from social could help connect your social efforts to sales. When you establish your goals, make sure you’re monitoring the accompanying metrics so you can measure success and make strategic adjustments.
4. Great content is too expensive to waste
At the bare minimum, you need to hire somebody to manage your social accounts. But if you have more budget, you can create blog posts, videos, infographics, memes, and so forth. Somebody has to be paid to create all that stuff, and managers have to set time aside to monitor, amend, and approve everything.
That’s all money that has to come from somewhere. And once it’s spent, you don’t want to find out you’ve wasted it.
The surest way to squander your content dollars is to just create content, throw it out there and have nobody see it. By contrast, the best way to get the maximum ROI on your content investment is to integrate it into a well-thought-out social media strategy.
5. Social media’s impact reaches far beyond marketing
Social media isn’t just about engaging with customers. It can play key roles in:
- Recruiting top talent. You can create social media posts that explain why your company is a great place to work, and prospects can follow your social media accounts to see if they agree.
- Improving service and support. Lots of companies engage directly with customers on sites like Twitter and Facebook to address complaints and offer deals. And social media provides a great way to post links to tutorials and how-to videos.
- Building a crisis-communications plan. If your company gets caught up in a hurricane or embroiled in a public controversy, social media can play a huge role in communicating your side of the story.
Hence, you need a social media strategy that aligns with your company’s wider business strategies.
You wouldn’t drive cross-country without a roadmap
A sound social media strategy looks at all the expressways, interchanges and scenic byways that stand between where you are now and where social media can take you. Then it identifies the best route to get you there.
Sure, you’ll suffer the occasional wrong turn or flat tire. But you won’t find out too late that your trip to the beach has taken you to the local landfill.