Social Media Strategy: Three Key Questions for Success

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Strategy and measurement are often cited as the two biggest challenges facing social media marketers. They are also considered the two core elements to a successful social media strategy!

To build a successful social media strategy, you need to focus on these three questions:

  1. what are you trying to achieve?
  2. who are your customers?
  3. what is your competition doing?

Understanding your Goals

Social media is a journey of building relationships.  Look first at what you are trying to accomplish.  What is the purpose behind your social media marketing efforts?  Are you trying to create or or raise awareness? Would you like to increase sales or traffic to your website?  Maybe your goal is to build customer loyalty or retain your membership? None of these goals are mutually exclusive.  However, you should only focus on one or two at a time.  Otherwise you dilute your efforts and your success.

Creating measurable objectives

The goals and objectives of your social media strategy are not the same.  Goals answer the question why.  Objectives answer the question how. S.M.A.R.T. objectives are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time based.

A B2B marketer looking to increase sales might establish the objective to generate an additional 100 online leads a month. If your goal is brand awareness, then the objective could be to increase the number of times your brand is mentioned on social media by 50 percent. These objectives should be directly tied to your business goals, and they should be achievable. Otherwise, they’re just wishful thinking. Don’t forget to create milestones for objectives. The 50 percent growth in brand awareness should have a time limit, for example within six months.

As you set the objectives for your social media strategy, don’t forget to think about how you measure them. Find the right tools to track and analyze each objective, in order to quantify progress. Not only will this help you succeed, it will also help to expose problems early and allow for you to adjust what and/or how you are measuring.

Characterizing your customers

Next, characterizing your customers focuses your efforts on WHO. A successful social media strategy is all about targeting the right people with the right messages. To do this, you need to think about your audience. The best way to do this is to create buyer personas. < >

What do you know about your audiences? Sit down and create a detailed profile < > of your ideal customer. Start by giving them a name. How old are they? What is their income? Do they have children? What do they like or dislike? How do they spend their free time? What motivates them? And so on. If you have more than one ideal customer, create a persona for each.

Look at the competition

After you’ve identified your customer personas, take a look at competitors who are targeting those same customers. An audit of your competition can reveal a lot about what works and what doesn’t. By ignoring the competition, you’re missing a fantastic opportunity to learn from their successes and mistakes.

Start by picking three or four top competitors and find out which social networks they’re active on.  First of all, study their content. What is the tone — funny, conversational, educational or serious? Another thing to look at is what kind of cultural references are being used? Finally, is the conversation primarily about their product, or do they focus on other things?

For example, if you sell a product, do your competitors talk about how their product performs, or do they post amazing videos that just happen to include their products? Also take a look at each competitor’s social channels to see how they’re doing (e.g. how much engagement  — comments, retweets or likes — they get on their Twitter posts.) This will demonstrate which strategies and types of content work with similar audiences and which ones don’t.

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