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A Recipe for a Sound Social Media Strategy

The results are in, and nearly all marketers agree that some sort of social media is needed for a successful overarching marketing strategy. But what defines a good social media strategy and how is it best used to reach business objectives?
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As marketers, we are often asked to take the latest and greatest trends and tactics and make them work for our clients. While we are always up for the challenge, the truth is, not all tactics will work for all brands. Social media is no exception, seeing as each platform has a designated purpose to differentiate from its competitors. In order to be successful, it’s our job to take a step back and think of the strategy first while considering the following questions:

1. Who is my audience and where do they live?Strategy1

When it comes to social media, each platform has its own purpose, designed to differentiate itself from competitors and to meet the needs of a specific audience. Facebook was initially created for college students but now has a large presence that falls within the 30-49 year old age demographic. As Facebook has attracted an older audience, younger audiences have begun to search for new ways to communicate with each other and express themselves. Snapchat found a way to meet this need with the introduction of ephemeral messaging in an age where anything you put on the internet will live on forever.
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2. What am I trying to communicate to my audience and will they care?

Strategy2Whether it’s with a photo, a video or text, the goal of the content going up on a brand’s chosen channel should aim to be thump stopping – in other words – it should aim to stop the scrolling of the consumer and grab their short-lived attention span in order to make a lasting impression. This means making sure that what you’re posting is something that your audience is going to find interesting. Finding their passion points and using them to create relevant content that you can naturally tie back to your brand is key. The message should be clear, concise and interesting. The messaging allows the brand to properly target the users most likely to engage and therefore drives efficiencies within the campaign.

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3. How do I want my audience to respond to my content?

This question is one of the most important questions to answer as it impacts setting goals and objectives as well as determining targeting for the overall campaign. There should be a clear decision of what the campaign is being optimized for – social actions, click-thrus or impressions. Based on that choice a goal can be set, analytics dashboards can be created, and the campaign can be set up for paid media support. The same holds true for each piece of content. You should decide what action you want the audience to take for each piece and analyze performance based on the corresponding KPI. For example, if you want people to watch a video, then your KPI should be View Rate for that piece of content.

4. When is my audience most active?

While this may seem like a minor detail, an audience’s active time on a social channel can affect the metrics of a campaign. If content is being pushed live during times of little to no activity, users are less likely to see the content and therefore less likely to engage with the content. Find the two times – maybe its 12pm and 8pm – that the audience is online and push the content live so that it shows up in their newsfeed.

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5. Why am I posting my content to a specific channel?

This final question brings us full circle. Each social channel is created to be consumed in a different manner than its competitor. Whereas a piece of video content might perform well on Facebook, a news article might perform better on Twitter. A short behind-the-scenes video might do great on Snapchat while a stylized organic photo will perform better on Instagram. As long as the brand understands the purpose of the channel the content creation will follow accordingly.
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This all boils down to the fact that while there may be common questions used to create a social media strategy, the one that is perfect for your brand is anything but cookie cutter. By ensuring that all questions are answered appropriately and all executions are followed through within the proper school of thought, your brand will be well on its way to meeting the social objectives that align with its overarching business and marketing objectives.

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