Sometimes I hate the term social media because it pins us to the platforms. For those who have read my blog before, this statement probably doesn’t surprise you. In my opinion, at the highest level, social media is a form of communication. The platforms may come and go, but the need to reach people online (in consumable, meaningful ways) will not.
I’ve seen the tunnel vision focus on platforms translate into strategy. And while platforms are obviously an important key to social media success, they are only a piece of the puzzle. I believe a good social media strategy is composed of building blocks. If you can lay the proper groundwork, then the result will be a strong social media strategy.
Below are my five basic, but critical, components to a solid social media plan:
1. Meaningful goals.
The best way “to do” social media is to be strategic. At the end of the day, your social media goals should map back to organizational goals.
Why are meaningful goals so important? I’ve read before that eight of 10 CEO’s don’t trust social media. In my opinion, the only way to change that perception to educate and demonstrate how social media can add value to organizations. This work begins with setting goals. Your goals should cascade down from organizational goals to make them meaningful. Keep that in the forefront of your mind as you embark on your goal-setting journey.
2. Content plan.
Interesting content is a top three reason people follow brands on social media (found here). In this day and age, good content is the key to standing out from all the noise.
At the heart of every social strategy should be a great content strategy. I firmly believe that working on a content plan before you focus on the platforms will help you tell a more meaningful and cohesive brand story. The key is to create a content plan that maps back to your overall goals, positions your product / organization in the right light and tells your story.
3. Defined brand voice.
Having a defined brand voice is a critical component to success. People want to connect with your company on a human level in social media. Your brand voice should reflect your company, be consistent and be one that you own. People will see right through your voice if it’s not authentic.
Make sure you take the time to build a brand voice. Doing the work upfront will help everyone in your organization tell a cohesive brand story in compelling fashion.
4. Platform strategy.
A platform strategy allows you to manage content distribution and messaging that best drives engagement, consumption and reach through each social media outlet. A good platform strategy should take a look at each social media network, the target audiences, content delivery and tactics to leverage engagement and reach.
5. Measurement for success.
Finally, every social media strategy should measure success (circling back to your overall goals). Make sure you are crunching meaningful numbers that can influence your work and / or demonstrate value. Additionally, you and your staff should be empowered to make changes based on the data. Why measure success if you can’t take action?
In my opinion, if you can develop these five key components the result will be a strong and meaningful social media strategy. It’s a lot of work, but it’s important. Additionally, this foundation will help you as your move on to other areas of strategy, such as cross-platform campaigns and influencer outreach.
So now it’s your turn…in your opinion, what components are critical to developing a solid social media strategy?
Photo via Crown Social / Fickr.