Social Media Strategy Holes: How Many Do You Have?

Social Media Strategy HolesIs your social media strategy like a doughnut?

To celebrate National Doughnut Day, let’s see why:

Both fill you up, one with information and one with food.

And,
Both often have holes!

Why should you care about National Doughnut Day?
Celebrated on the first Friday in June this holiday honors the women of the Salvation Army who served US troops from behind the front lines of World War I.

What did these heroic women provide?
You guessed it–Fried circles of dough with a hole in the middle! As a result, the soldiers became known as “doughboys”

National Doughnut Day

What Does National Doughnut Day Mean For Your Social Media Strategy? They both often have holes!

How does this relate to you?
Instead of doughnuts, you offer filling information to your community of prospects, customers and the public.

The question for your marketing is:
Do you have social media strategy holes?

Like the World War I dollies, we’ve got your back!
Here are 10 tactics to fill your marketing’s social media strategy holes.

 

Social Media Strategy Holes: 10 Tactics To Fix Yours

To fill your social media strategy holes, use these 10 actionable social media tactics and related tips!

 

 

1. Social Media Strategy Hole: No social media marketing strategy

 

Without a documented social media strategy and related mission statement, your social media content, communications and engagement just create marketing noise.Click To Tweet

 

Why?
Because without a social media strategy, your social media activity doesn’t contribute to developing an engaged community to support your business.

Further, your social media mission statement must be aligned with your business’s mission statement. Where appropriate, focus on helping your audience make their lives and the world a better place.

Actionable Social Media Tactic:

  • Create a social media mission statement aligned with your business objectives. To increase audience trust, think beyond improved profitability.
  • Set specific and measurable objectives. The more concrete the better. For example, “Generate 10 new leads in 3 months” is better than “Improve sales.
  • Document and distribute your social media strategy. Make sure everyone in your organization understands what the business is trying to do.

 

2. Social Media Strategy Hole: Don’t know your social media audience

Since social media consumes about 2¼ hours per day, include it in your marketing to reach and engage with prospects and customers.

BUT,
Unlike other media, participants focus on their family, friends and colleagues not your marketing!

To succeed, determine which  platforms they prefer to engage with you.

Further, find out:

  • When they want to receive your content and engage with you. Include daypart and day of the week or time of the month.
  • How they want you to deliver your information. Include content format and device.
  • Where they are physically located when they contact you? This helps you gage where they are in their purchase process.

This is a sample of marketing persona. For social media, adapt this approach to your social media followers.

While you may want their contact information (either phone or email), respect their privacy and their information.

Also, don’t forget to post your physical address, phone number and email contact!

Actionable Social Media Tactic:

  • Create a social media persona to understand your audience on social media including their wants and needs, why they use social media, where they are when they use social media, and the type of devices they use to consume and engage on social media.

 

3. Social Media Strategy Hole: Lack understanding of social media context

Regardless of whether your organization participates on social media or not:
You must understand how these media entities work and why participants continue to return and share information and comments.

Given the amount of time spent on these platforms and how they’re used, they provide key marketing insights into your target audience and their motivations. 

Make sure that you have a way to apply this knowledge to your marketing and business plans on a regular basis!

Further:

  • Monitor what’s being said about your business,
  • Watch what your competitors are doing on social media and elsewhere, and
  • Examine the macro-environment for political and economic changes.

Remember: Even an innocent comment taken out of context can yield a PR firestorm!

Actionable Social Media Tactics:

  • Set up social media monitoring and assign an employee to check it on a regular basis. 

 

4. Social Media Strategy Hole: Lacks consistent branding across channels and devices.

Define and document your business’s brand. 

Contrary to what most small business owners think, branding offers you the best ROI for your marketing dollar.

Why?
Because it helps you to cast a bigger shadow with consistent presentation.

This includes:

  • How your employees look, talk or act. This extends to how services are delivered.
  • How you present your business across media platforms online and offline. Don’t overlook business cards and other sales collateral.
  • How your products, buildings and other physical versions of your brand appear.

On social media people recognize your brand based on:

  • Visuals including your logo and color choice,
  • Words including your voice, choice of words and language,
  • Business representatives including executives, employees, distributors, and influencers.
  • Business location in terms of types of people and local community.
  • Device and platform choice.

For example, Henneke brands her Enchanted Marketing Blog with the use of hand drawn cartoons.

Blogging Blarney

Actionable Social Media Tactic:

  • Extend your  360° brand to support your social media marketing. Place the necessary brand assets on your intranet. Include your brand guidelines.

 

5. Social Media Strategy Hole: Lack c-level support for your social media strategy

The reality:
Nothing gets approved in a business without c-level support. 

Lip service doesn’t change your business!

To get money and headcount:
Put on your big girl pants and make the business case for social media!

To persuade these executives to open their corporate wallets, you must show them that social media is NO longer kid stuff! 

As part of your overall marketing strategy, social media:

  • Humanizes your business and shows how it contributes to society more broadly.
  • Builds an inclusive community that extends beyond revenue-generation.
  • Responds to questions and comments about your business in real time.
  • Attracts influencers to support your mutually beneficial goals.
  • Supports marketing message and content distribution.

BUT the problem remains:
Most corporate executives aren’t trusted by the public. 

Don’t take my word for it:
Year after year, Edelman’s Trust Barometer reveals this business reality.

Active Employee Voices

As a result, your business winds up outside of your audience’s circle of trust!

Marketing Circle of Trust

So–how do you build audience trust?
Help your c-suite to be more human (or, at least, to appear more accessible and understanding.)

Actionable Social Media Tactics:

  • Train c-suite to use social media to support your business. Even better provide this training across your organization!
  • Take advantage of targeted executive opportunities. Extend executive presentations across your organization and/or share them selectively on social media. While at SAP, Michael Brenner transformed an executive presentation into a social media friendly piece of content.
  • Have a Social Media PR Crisis Plan ready. 

 

6. Social Media Strategy Hole: No dedicated budget or staff

In case you missed the memo:
Social media is no longer “FREE” marketing! 

Like any other form of marketing, social media requires both staff and financial resources.

Further to be effective:
Social media must be part of at least one employee, freelance resource or agency personnel’s job AND documented in their job description.

BUT:
Don’t expect employees to share or amplify your social media messages!

Provide budget to support effective social media marketing. This includes:

  • Creating  new content distribution presentations and transform content into other formats (Also, this should be part of an on-going editorial calendar with regular content audits to keep content up-to-date.),
  • Answering sales and customer service questions in a timely manner, and
  • Allocating paid social media advertising to test and support your business’s social media presence.

Actionable Social Media Tactics:

  • Document social media responsibilities in job descriptions for employees and/or agency resources. Work with human resources. BUT, and this is key: 
  • Train employees who want to support your business on social media. Include customer service and sales. Also get legal input.
  • Define and distribute your organization’s social media guidelines.
  • Establish working relationships across your business to maximize results across channels, content formats and devices.

 

7. Social Media Strategy Hole: Lack of tailored social media content and communications

Unlike other owned and third party media platforms, social media allows:

  • One-to-many communications.
  • One-to-one communications and
  • Many-to-many communications.

Since your business neither owns nor controls the conversation:
Pay-it-forward with a positive outlook and being ready to help others in your community. 

To reach the maximum audience, create content and communications tailored to each specific platform and audience. Also since content wears out quickly on social media use a variety of content distribution presentations and formats (like text, audio and video).

Also don’t piss off potential followers by continually blasting promotional messages.

Actionable Social Media Tactics:

  • Curate a mix of content targeted at your social media community.
  • Keep your information about your organization to about one piece in ten.

 

8. Social Media Strategy Hole: Not integrated with the rest of your marketing or business

Social media isn’t a stand-alone marketing or business tactic.Click To Tweet

 

Social media supports these areas of your business:

  • Branding
  • Content Marketing and Advertising
  • Communications including PR, Investor Relations and Human Resources,
  • Customer Service and Sales including the customer experience more broadly, and
  • Influencer Marketing

Therefore work with your social media colleagues to maximize your results.

Further:
Build your social media community and participate in related communities.

Often this requires the support of a professional social media community manager like Content Marketing Institute’s Monina Wagner and BuzzSumo’s Susan Moeller.

Without deepening these relationships, your business may not benefit from these followers. Further, to support mega-content efforts, develop relationships with bloggers and journalists.

Actionable Social Media Tactic:

  • Reach out to each area of your business to provide social media support. Yes you should do this even if it’s not in your job description! Since others in your business may not know what you’re doing or how you can help them.

 

9. Social Media Strategy Hole: Not optimized for your 5 key audiences

 

To get the maximum benefit from your social media strategy, optimize your content, communications and engagement for each of your 5 key audiences:

  • Customers
  • Social media
  • Search
  • Influencers
  • Business

Optimize Content for 5 Audiences

Actionable Social Media Tactics:

  • Focus social media content on your top keywords. Also, add text to your non-text content.
  • Tailor social media content based on platform. And where appropriate support it with paid advertising.
  • Provide visitors with off-ramps to your owned media. Use connected content.
  • Engage with influencers and support their efforts related to other businesses.

 

10. Social Media Strategy Hole: No measurable social media results

For your social media strategy to be effective you need measurable results aligned with your goals, not easy-to-track vanity metrics! 

Include actionable metrics in your social media content, communications and profiles. Plan ahead.

Without a plan to capture useful social media metrics, you're left with the analytical equivalent of data dregs. Click To Tweet

 

Even worse:
Neither your visitor nor you knows what to do next!

Instead:
Integrate useful social media metrics into your digital tracking as well as your other business systems.

Why?
Because most social media doesn’t  directly qualify a lead or close a sale.

Therefore,
Track the prospect’s activity from first touch through purchase to understand your buying process.

To build an addressable business audience, use:

Actionable Social Media Tactic:

  • Serve consistent content to create Share of Audience Attention. This helps build audience expectation for and anticipation of your quality information.
  • Encourage your social media audience to follow you to owned media. Otherwise, like Mike Allton, you may lose contact with a quarter of a million followers when a social media platform goes poof!

 

Where Are The Holes In Your Social Media Strategy Conclusion

Learn from the World War I doughnut  dollies:
Feed your community on social media with the information, communications and support they need and actively seek. 

Face reality:
If you don’t know where your social media holes are, you face major marketing problems and you can’t improve your business’s bottom line.

Instead use these actionable social media tactics as a marketing checklist to discover where your marketing is leaking.

In the process, you’ll fill the holes in your social media strategy.

More importantly, you’ll transform your social media noise into meaningful marketing that contributes to your overall measurable results.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on FacebookTwitter and Google+.

 

Editor’s note: We significantly updated and improve this article from original published on


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Image Credits:
https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-wearing-sweater-covering-her-eyes-with-doughnuts-2234709/ cc zero via Mahima
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Doughnut_Dollies_1918_France.jpg

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