An annoying tourist returns having “done” China and explains the proper way to “do” Italy. There’s no such thing as “doing” social media, either. We can’t compress social into a single idea and count on mere youth, mere experience, or mere expertise to “do it” for us. Social needs a plan, or you can find yourself thumbing a ride back to civilization as you’re heckled by villagers in some Hellish border town.
Just as a vacation is personal – you don’t want to sleep in every identical hostel as someone else, right down to the room number – so, a marketing strategy is custom. A canned, template, one-size fits all plan puts a fishing guide in the same boat as a beauty spa and on the same program as a law firm. That said, it’s not like there are different highway numbers when you go on a trip. There are certain broad strokes you probably want to consider for your social media strategy. Here are ten of them:
- 1 Slice and Dice: Use What You Have
- 2 Audience Growth: Network Online
- 3 Custom Content: Speak to Us Directly
- 4 Content Curation: Bring Context to the Best
- 5 Content Reposting: Share the Love
- 6 PR and In-house Reporting: Part the Curtains
- 7 Self-Promotion: Show Us Your Believe
- 8 Digital Events: Get the Audience Involved
- 9 Social Ads: Pay for the Clicks
- 10 Promoted Posts: Go For the Eyes
Slice and Dice: Use What You Have
You’re going to all that trouble to create regular, routine fresh content for your website in the form of blog posts (aren’t you?), so why only post them once? If it’s pithy, fascinating or informative content that truly reaches people (if not, why not?), then it’s full of quotable snippets that would make great social posts. Focusing on your blog, at first, will give you enough fresh content to matter, and enough social material to get your feet wet without agonizing 24/7.
Audience Growth: Network Online
You’re putting out content on a continual basis, but who is listening? You don’t necessarily need a large audience, but you do need a diverse one. Ideally, you have a mix of hungry content gobblers, curators spreading it to their audiences (so your reach is exponential), and brand cheerleaders who share most of your stuff out of love. Don’t just work on output; strategically follow, invite, and court a thriving audience. Originally social media was called “social networking”, because it isn’t just output, it was connection.
Custom Content: Speak to Us Directly
Some of your content stream should be created just for an individual social channel, and on a schedule that makes sense for that channel. An idea might become a couple of funny images for Facebook, a number of salient comments for Twitter, and a substantive post for LinkedIn. Creating content tailored for each social venue, ensures you’re not out of place – whistling in church or singing on an elevator.
Content Curation: Bring Context to the Best
It has become common place to search the news for content, just to have content, in order to post to social, just to post to social. If that’s most of your strategy, don’t expect it to pay off. We have no trouble “finding” things these days; we don’t need anyone else to be Google for us. Curation is a step up from that. It’s putting together content in a unique way. Great curation is combing through the glut that vies for our attention and giving context to the best, not merely finding the available. Let content curation be about 20% of your strategy, and it lends context to your other campaigns.
You can’t expect other people to routinely share your stuff, if you don’t routinely share theirs. Reward the best output in your social streams by sharing it with your audience. Repost others’ posts when your audience would truly benefit, and add comments on why the content is useful. Content reposting rewards the audience as both followers and contributors.
PR and In-house Reporting: Part the Curtains
Keep internal reporting down around 20% or less of your output, but certainly do it. People respond to an inside look, and they want to know someone human is home in your company. Show us the funny moments, the promotions and awards, and what happens behind the scenes. We all want to see the great and powerful Oz. Your brand has an internal story you should be telling throughout the life of your company, in every social channel.
Self-Promotion: Show Us Your Believe
Promotion of self should be the smallest part of your social output. Keep the focus on others, not yourself – and then when you intentionally and strategically violate this rule, do it outright, not cheesy. Say why your stuff is great, otherwise we might think you don’t think so. You’re allowed to sell a little, just not often. Self-promotion is more respected if you can add some value, without adding pretense – tell a story, give a gift to the audience, etc.
Digital Events: Get the Audience Involved
A coupon or promo code, a contest or giveaway, or a webinar or virtual event can create more digital engagement. Done poorly, or with an audience that hasn’t been nurtured or isn’t ready yet, events fizzle. When you’re seeing a consistent pattern of shares and reactions, discussions, likes, and follows, create something fun and valuable to take those relationships farther.
Social Ads: Pay for the Clicks
For ads, you need a good offer and a good landing page, someone to optimize the ad, budget, and page continually, and a commitment to the expense of testing and experimentation. If you’re ready to pony up the prerequisites, social pay per click (PPC) ads can make sense. Ads can’t replace your other social campaigns; by themselves, they’re likely to fail. But ads can augment an existing healthy social media strategy.
Promoted Posts: Go For the Eyes
If you’re putting out high quality content, and you’ve really found your audience and your voice, putting a few more eyeballs on your content could pay off. Some social venues allow you to pay to feature and suggest your social posts to a wider audience, as well as get more attention from your existing audience. Just make sure you have a clear call to action when they follow a link back to your site, or a clear action in mind, such as become a follower. Your goals will help you focus on which content is suitable for promotion.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of all that’s possible, and no strategy should be generic. You might utilize social media for customer support, or to build a movement. Your goals, audience, and resources will never be identical to anyone else’s – they’re the fingerprint of your business that determines optimal strategy. That said, these ten campaigns are the broad strokes of a social media strategy that’s comprehensive, and should certainly be part of the discussion for your marketing team.
MadPipe will develop and direct your marketing strategy. Reach out to MadPipe via the contact page, and stop being random in your social media marketing.