What’s Your Social Strategy?

As a digital marketer, I’m often asked about which social platforms brands should leverage. The answer is simple, follow your audience. But what you do within each platform is not so simple, it requires a well-thought-out approach. Without one, your efforts will fall flat, and you’ll lose out on the opportunity to connect in real time with your audiences. Here’s a list of questions to ask when building your social strategy.

1. Purpose (WHY?): What is our mission for social? What are we trying to do? (Answer should be aspirational, not metric based and should support your overall business goals.)

There are many reasons to build a social presence. For starters, it’s the best way to get closer to customers. You may want to have a presence to streamline customer service/support, monitor customer trends, build advocacy with customers or position your brand as a thought leader.

2. Positioning (HOW?): How do we need to position ourselves to accomplish our mission?

Once you’ve determined your social purpose, develop a succinct positioning statement to use as a guidepost to support all your efforts. Everything you do from this point—the content you post, the response time, interactions with followers, social ads, etc.—will be driven by your purpose.

3. Audience (WHO?): With whom do we want to talk? Define whom we are ultimately trying to reach.

You may have multiple audiences you want to connect with and they might be scattered across different platforms. That’s okay. Determine whom you want to connect with and be specific, then go to the channels where they are most active.

4. Content (WHAT?): List of high-level content categories we need to support our position. What is the proper weight/level of importance for each content pillar?

Determine a list of content categories or themes you want to push across your channels and think high level. Too often brands jump straight into actual post copy and don’t think about how their content is supporting their social purpose. Remember to use your positioning as a guide during this step and make sure the content you’re pushing is relevant and of interest to your audience. Not all categories are equal, so don’t assume they’ll have the same weight.

5. Channel Strategy (WHERE?): Where do we need to have a presence, and what is the action plan for each channel?

Now that you’ve clearly defined your target audience you can select the channels where they are most active. Don’t fall for the shiny new platform trick. If your audience isn’t on Snapchat, then don’t build a presence there. For each channel you select, determine the following:

  1. Channel Objective: This will support your purpose and stem from your positioning.
  2. Audience: Which audience segments will you connect with within each channel?
  3. Content: What content themes are appropriate for each channel?
  4. Outcome: What is the desired outcome for each channel?

6. Success Metrics*: What KPIs can we set to measure success and how do they align back to your business goal?

It’s not just about follower count anymore. Social gives brands the opportunity to connect directly with customers. Done correctly, brands can increase awareness, build loyalty, promote consideration and drive purchase.

Curious to see how this all comes together? Here’s an example from a fictional client:

*Your customers will follow you on social before they give you their phone number or email, so make sure you have a set strategy and use your opportunity to connect with them wisely!