Social media has become an integral component of nearly every business’s marketing strategy. The most effective social media strategies are smart, on-brand and reliable. To develop a strategy that ticks all three boxes, it’s essential to identify your target audience and develop a unique voice for speaking to them.
Whether you opt for in-house employees, third-party contractors or virtual assistants to handle your social media strategy, they must be fully in tune with your brand and community. Below, the members of Business Journals Leadership Trust share 15 expert strategies to help businesses develop and manage an effective social presence.
1. Understand your organization’s needs.
Do you need a big social marketing team that requires a hefty budget, or would a small group of creative and experienced people be enough? Next, determine a strategy. Set goals and objectives and deduce the budget accordingly. A straightforward layout with members knowing their exact roles will reduce friction in developing creative ideas and reduce unnecessary costs. – Alina Clark, CocoDoc
2. Create a clear message.
The most important social media considerations are content and consistency. Firms that “win” the game create a clear message, identify the platforms that best fit their brand image and dedicate a person or team to posting fresh content to keep followers engaged. Start small, focus on quality and grow your platforms organically with consistent, well-considered messaging and execution. – John Palter, Palter Sims Martinez PLLC
3. Blend social media efforts with PR, marketing and sales.
Make social media part of the overall marketing strategy. I often see companies operating social media as a separate campaign, and the results are dismal. However, when social media is blended into PR, marketing and sales, the impact can yield high results. – Donna Michaels, LMGPR
4. Keep it smart and sincere.
Too many companies try to saturate social media channels with daily posts or beautiful graphics, but that doesn’t necessarily tell your story in a smart way. Focus on what makes you better and different from the other guys — is it about comfort, is it about feeling better, is it about confidence? Find that niche and own it. – Mary-Cathryn Kolb, brrrº
5. Go where your target clients are.
Align the target client you are looking for with the right social media platform. Then communicate your social media strategy in the voice of that client. Too often, companies are publishing great social media content, but it’s on the wrong social media channel. For example, if you are looking for retirees on LinkedIn, you’re going to have a hard time seeing results. – Bryan Sarff, True Wealth & Company
6. Work backward from your clients’ and industry influencers’ preferences.
Think about your clients and influencers. What platforms are they most likely to engage with? Start there. Your social media should be an extension of your brand narrative, and you should give more than you ask for. A good rule of thumb: Think of your social media as an NPR channel; tell great stories and share new ideas, but only ask for something once a season. – Kathleen Lucente, Red Fan Communications
7. Hire people who will best relate to your audience.
Find people who will best relate to your company’s target demographic. Put them on your social media content team. Chances are they will communicate more authentically with your company’s primary customer in your social media messaging. – Keith Woods, KB Woods Public Relations
8. Seek alignment with your core values.
It all goes back to core values. You have to have people managing your social media presence who believe in the same core values the rest of your team does. The social media team needs to truly know you and your brand, and they absolutely have to believe in the mission. If they do, it’s easier for them to be effective on social media because, at their core, they have the same motivations you do. – Kris Lindahl, Kris Lindahl Real Estate
9. Monitor and adjust your strategy.
You can post every single day and waste thousands of dollars on advertising, but if it is targeting the wrong demographic, it is not beneficial to you or your business in any way. Constantly check and recheck your target audience for your ads and check the demographics to make sure they are hitting the right market. – Scott Scully, Abstrakt Marketing Group
10. Diversify your team’s skill sets.
Make sure you’re diversifying your skill sets as you build your team, whether by hiring an in-house marketer or adding depth to your bench with an outsourced partner. Successful social media relies on innovative thinking and unique tactics, so build a proactive team comprising multiple marketing disciplines and backgrounds to achieve your business goals. – Melea McRae, Crux KC
11. Prioritize a few channels to maximize ROI.
Identify which channels your audience is using most and focus your efforts on those. Prioritizing can help maximize your social media ROI and will help you craft meaningful messages for those platforms you use. Your goal is not to engage everyone on social media but to be thoughtful in marketing to those who have an interest in your product, service or intellectual property. – Liz Wooten-Reschke, Connect For More
12. Have a goal for your social campaigns.
Why are you running this campaign? For name recognition? To promote a particular product or service? The “why” matters for the message. If it is simply for name recognition, you want to run items of interest that are consistent with your brand and that people find interesting and want to share. Conversely, generalized messages won’t work for a specific product or service. – Christine Durrett, Durrett & Kersting PLLC
13. Treat your social media presence with professionalism.
A social media campaign can create additional visibility beyond a great website, SEO and SEM. It must build on and reinforce existing content, offer an interesting and “bite-sized” topic, have goals and metrics, and be reviewed and measured consistently. Social media can be a relatively low-cost program, but that doesn’t mean it should not be treated with professionalism. – Mark Coronna, Chief Outsiders
14. Encapsulate your ‘solution’ in your posts.
All of your communication — including social media — needs to encapsulate the solution your organization offers for the problem your clients and prospects have. The content the team creates should clarify and reverberate what separates your company from the pack. – Rachel Namoff, Arapaho Asset Management
15. Establish a vision for what you want your brand to represent.
Our vision is to provide legendary IT support for businesses. We brand that message everywhere we can and work to make its presentation consistent across all platforms. It takes multiple outreach efforts to build a consistent image, so be sure each time you reach out to your audience that you are presenting your message in a consistent way. – Jared Knisley, Fizen Technology