If you are running or operating an SME, you no doubt understand the importance of strategies. You had to develop one when you were starting the business in the first place, and it is likely that you continue to strategise around building sales on a regular basis. It is a key part of business.
Despite this, many SME’s don’t invest that same effort into strategising their social media campaigns. Lack of time can be a big reason that social media strategies are not used. Today, on the Effector blog, we want to show you how valuable a social media strategy can be so that you may be more inclined to find the time and deliver better results on social media in the future.
- Planning gives you a Road Map
The above statement may seem blindingly obvious. A social media strategy allows you to plan what you want to do, why you want to do it and what you hope to get out of it. The strategic part is how you will implement the plan so that you can be sure that you achieve the desired outcome.
Strategic planning is one of the most important parts of any project, and yet, unfortunately, it is often either neglected or rushed through in favour of off the cuff inspiration. Many of us are eager to get to the implementation stage of the project while we’re still full of enthusiasm. But, while enthusiasm is great, it is reliable consistency that reaps the biggest rewards over time.
Being strategic about your social media efforts means that your plan sets out your objectives and how to go about implementing them regardless of one’s personal level of ‘get up & go’. The strategy does not rely on any one person to complete a project, it gives you a step by step plan of how to get from point A to point B.
- Social Media Strategies Build Momentum
When you set out a social media strategy, regularity should be a key feature. When you post on social media regularly people begin to expect it. You become better acquainted with your audience in this way. By appearing on your audience’s timeline regularly they become more likely to click on a post of interest when they see it.
This momentum affects not only how your audience sees you, but also as the metrics improve on your social media channels on a long-term basis, rather peaking and dropping at intervals, the social media platforms respond to this positively. Your reach will go up and more people will see your posts on a regular basis. This makes the whole process feel a little bit easier.
- They also build Trust & Confidence
Not only does working within the parameters of a predefined social media strategy help to boost momentum, but it also helps people to trust you more. One may argue that one organisation who posts irregularly and haphazardly could be extremely trustworthy while another who simply have more staff to ensure consistency on social media may not be. This, of course, is true. But think about it…
If you need to access a product or service and there are two providers in consideration for your business. One posts consistently on social media about matters of relevance to my query. The posts are logical in content, structure and are posted in such an order that I can learn all I need to by reading them sequentially. The other provider clearly has no social media strategy. They post when the mood takes them, sometimes with offers, sometimes with useful information and other times with cute and funny pictures that don’t relate to their product.
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All other factors being equal, the chances are I – and you would opt to carry out the transaction with the first provider, simply because they seem to know what they’re talking about, and seem to like to talk about their area of expertise on an on-going basis. That fills us with confidence in their abilities.
- Using Social Media Strategies Showcase your Professionalism
Social media platforms are used the world over by ordinary people to connect with family and friends, to share a joke, express opinions and let people know you care about them. It is important that when you’re using social media for business purposes that you know and respect the professional boundaries that exist on social media.
The work involved in devising social media strategies requires forethought about what type of content will be posted, to whom and when. Illustrating that you know, and adhere to, your business objectives on social media, even when the platforms may be a hotbed of impropriety and controversy allows your followers to see that you a true professional.
Without a strategy, it can be easy to get sucked into an ill-advised exchange without even realising it.
- Social Media Strategies Help You Create Cohesive Output
Have you ever struggled with what to post on social media? If so, you need a social media strategy. While as business owners and marketers we want to ensure we’re posting on social media on a regular basis, it’s no good posting bland content just for the sake of it. In fact, this is probably where the issue of posting irrelevant material begins.
Social media strategies identify who you want to reach and what you want to say to them. Ideally, you want to build a lasting relationship with your audience which spans a number of topics, all related back to your key offering or concerning your unique selling point (USP). Having identified these key messages you want to convey it is much easier to compile a list of post topics that will resonate with your audience now and in the future.
You can then shape this content around your one ultimate key message so that all content you post of social media is cohesive, on brand and useful.
- Social Media Strategies Follow Through
Another pitfall many small business owners and marketers face when working with social media is that they complete the implementation stage (perhaps after skimming the planning stage) and move directly onto the next big campaign.
Thankfully, social media strategies have reviews and learning outcomes included as standard! No strategic plan is complete until you have reviewed the entire process and identified what worked well, what didn’t and where you need to grow and improve going forward.
Without carrying out this final, but essential part of a social media strategy you are essentially relinquishing some of the most useful data and lessons you could find. You cannot pay for the valuable information about your business and marketing efforts which come out of a social media strategy review. This information is directly from your audience and relates specifically to your business and product. Talk about gold dust!
- It’s too costly not to use Social Media Strategies
This final point should be clear by now, but it’s so important we thought we’d hammer it home one more time. Without a social media strategy in place, your efforts on social media will be haphazard at best and downright detrimental at worst. No one goes out of their way to damage their business, but by not taking a few simple steps to think about what your social media goals are and how to achieve them, you could be doing just that – an ill-advised post here, advertising that doesn’t work there – the cost of these add up over time. It really is too costly not to use a social media strategy.
A strategy does not cost anything, except in time. It takes dedication to planning and a willingness to be consistent in execution along with an appreciation of the learnings that can be found through review. If you and your business are keen to reap real rewards from your marketing efforts on social media, then building and implementing a strategy is the only way to ensure this result is achieved.
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