Get Your Social Media Strategy Right

Many companies are active on social media without a clear understanding of what they want to achieve. Remember your social media strategy is a subset of your company’s overall marketing strategy. It is important to keep the two in sync with each other.

Your strategy should largely cover: a goal, your brand voice, the social media channel mix, budget and measurement.

Set Your Goals, Be Realistic

Don’t expect to get leads on day 1. You need a significant audience and influence before you can expect any returns on social media. For starters, your goals can be:

  • Brand awareness/branding.
  • Traffic to your website.
  • New relationships.

These goals could evolve as you progress in your social media journey into more advanced goals such as:

  • Become a channel for customer support/service.
  • Influence customer buying behavior.
  • Get leads.
Find Your Brand Voice

Suppose your brand stands for agility, ease of use and cutting edge technology, showcase the very same traits through your social media channels. Share an analyst report on your latest innovations or a competitor analysis which highlights your brand’s ease of use.

You can:

  • Promote your content – Plan this based on your blog calendar & content calendar.
  • Curate third-party content related to your industry. Also curate content by people you want to influence.
  • Decide frequency – how often will you tweet/post/blog.
  • Listen and partake in conversations about your brand, competitors, keywords & industry.
  • Use humor in your approach or go for a no-nonsense approach.
  • Run contests with exciting giveaways.

Frame a social media policy so all your social media channel managers are on the same page. It should specify what kind of language is permissible from a company account, whether to engage with competitors/other brands, how to handle customer grievances etc.

Which Channels Should You Pick?

You need to pick your channels based on where your audience is.

In the B2B world, LinkedIn and blogs are indispensable. Twitter, SlideShare, YouTube, Facebook, Google+ and social bookmarking sites like Digg and StumbleUpon can supplement your efforts provided you have the bandwidth.

A 2012 survey by B2B Online found LinkedIn and blogs as the most important social networks among B2B marketers.

Source: 2012 B2BSocial Media Marketing: A Surge in Adoption, B2B Online

You don’t need to be on every new channel just because it is trendy. Before you jump in, evaluate if your audience, keywords and competitors have any resonance there.

Whichever channels you choose, have a uniform strategy and message across all of them. Tweak the message based on each medium’s strengths. For instance, use plenty of attractive images in visually-rich platforms like Facebook and Google+.

Manage the Budget

While your social media budget will be a small part of your overall marketing budget you need to budget for:

  • Experienced professional/s to run the show. Many people commit the mistake of hiring an intern and end up in a mess.
  • Tools to manage your various channels such as HootSuite or Radian6.
  • Other monitoring tools like Google Analytics.
  • Content creation – blogs, webinars, whitepapers, videos.
  • Advertising or paid campaigns on social media.
Measure Away

While it’s hip to be on social media, at the end of the day, measurement is essential to justify the time, effort and resources spent on it. What you need to measure depends on your goals.

However the most measured numbers on social media include:

  • Followers
  • Likes/Retweets/Shares/Comments
  • Clicks/Views/Impressions
  • Engagement
  • Influence vis-à-vis competitors
  • Referral traffic - unique page views & time spent
  • Sentiment towards your brand
  • Leads
  • Conversion
  • Return on Investment