Social media is bigger than it has ever been, and this trend of expansion does not seem to be slowing down at any time in the near future. Brands are getting more involved in the social space, but it is important to do it right, simply joining Facebook is not enough. To do social media “right” the essential elements of a social media strategy must be considered.
What are the essential elements of a social media strategy? That’s a loaded question, especially because a specific answer to that question varies greatly from brand to brand.
There are common essential elements to social media strategy. To discover what your brand should do, your brand first needs to discover what it wants to accomplish through social media. Do you simply want to raise awareness? Do you want to increase sales in general? Or increase the sales of a particular product? Are you trying to better understand your consumers? Whatever your particular goals are, just make sure that they are clearly known by those on your social media team. And be sure that any goals you set are realistic!
After you have considered your overall goal, FIND YOUR VOICE. That may sound like an inspirational poster a teenage girl might have hanging in her bedroom, but it’s great advice for a brand. Does your brand want to be like Mercedes, a brand that exudes excellence and sophistication, and sells beliefs in addition to cars?
Or like Infiniti, whose commercials essentially mock Mercedes and their owners for being conformists? Whatever you want to be, own it! Make your voice your own in every sense. If your brand wants to be funny or use popular slang, it can do that, the brand voice just needs to remain consistent over all social media platforms. But if you grow to dislike your brand voice, or it is not helping you achieve your goals, it is important to remember that you can gradually change it over time.
The next essential element of social media is content. CONTENT IS KEY. Is what you’re telling your consumers innovative? Or is it just taking up space on their newsfeed? Your content should be unique to your brand and voice. It should be innovative and spark conversation. And above all, your content should NOT always be about your products!
An important essential element of social media strategy is to remember that all social spaces should not be treated equally. Ginny Long Director of Digital and Direct Marketing for Moen gave a presentation on Moen’s Social Media Journey. In her presentation, she said it was an important lesson for them to learn that not all social media platforms are the same, and should not be used in the same ways. The graphic Ms. Long showed in her presentation is cute and funny, but there is some truth behind it that brands must remember.
Next, brands must remember to let conversations develop in their social space! Let your consumers talk. If your company is food based, let consumers share recipes. If you can jump in, feel free to do so, but not everything is about the brand and product sales at all times. Brands also need to remember to respond to all questions and comments directed specifically at them, regardless of whether they are positive or negative. Your consumers will appreciate your feedback, and that will hopefully keep them coming back.
Lastly, keep your goal or goals in mind. Find ways to monitor your goals and discover whether or not your brand is reaching them. Tools like Sysomos are great for this. Do not be afraid to change your strategy, and take your time getting adjusted in each social space.
Essential elements of social media strategy do differ for every brand, and the elements themselves may change over time since social media is constantly evolving. But at this time, these elements are the most essential, so remember:
1. Set a Realistic Social Media Goal
2. Find Your Voice & Be Consistent
3. Content is Key
4. Not All Social Spaces are Equal
5. Conversations & Response
6. Monitor the Progress of Your Goals