5 Tips for Ending Your Social Strategy Struggles

5 Tips for Ending Your Social Strategy Struggles Bridget Quigg Blogger Extraordinaire Simply Measured
Katy Whitney
Katy Whitney

According to the 2015 Social Marketing Trends Report from TrustRadius, most marketers list “developing their social strategy” as a top pain point. Here at Simply Measured, we see this struggle each day. We know it’s real. What are some tips for developing and improving a social strategy?

In search of answers, I interviewed one of our clever, helpful account managers, Katy Whitney. Katy helps social marketers go from floundering to fabulous every day.

Here are Katy’s thoughts on what makes defining a strategy difficult, along with five tips for making it easier.

TrustRadius Challenges by Stage
TrustRadius report results showing that “Developing a social strategy” is a top pain point for social marketers at all levels of social marketing maturity.

1. Decide What You Want to Accomplish

In the beginning stages, many people don’t know what they don’t know. Missing a strategy, or some aspect of a strategy, is the pain they don’t even know they have.

A lot of times, when we first start working with a new client, we’ll ask, “What are your KPIs?” Their response is, “We need help with that. We don’t know what to measure.”

Social Marketing Planning & Strategy Kit

At that point, I ask questions about what they want to get out of their social programs – website traffic, greater brand awareness, more engagement on a particular network, etc. By thinking about ideal outcomes, these teams more quickly get to their  strategy. They know what it is they want to measure and that’s the first step.

2. Embrace the Mess

When you’re developing your social strategy, there’s no easy black and white answer. You can check a box once you develop it, but your strategy can always be improved.

It’s common to be vague at the beginning, then learn as you go and adjust. You just need to make sure you’re measuring a strategy’s impact as you go. There’s a quote I like that says something like, “If you don’t measure it you can’t understand it. If you don’t understand it, you can’t improve it.”

Engagement, audience size, and website traffic are the most common metrics used to measure success by social marketers, according to the TrustRadius study.
Engagement, audience size, and website traffic are the most common metrics used to measure success by social marketers, according to the TrustRadius study.

There’s another problem with getting started developing your strategy: you don’t know the resources you’ll need.

Your strategy is going to have a lot of parts and some of those are inputs from other teams – like graphics or written content – or ad dollars to spend. You’ll learn about all of these needed resources over time and weave them in as you go.

3. Think Small

Social media strategy can be a big task to take on. I recommend breaking the process down into smaller pieces. Once you have these smaller pieces, you can prioritize where you want to focus first. I recommend prioritizing a network’s importance based on either the opportunity you see on it, or its existing performance. For example, are you going to start with your strategy on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram?

From there, you can continue to think small and set realistic expectations around how you are going to structure and attack your strategy. You could say, for example, “In phase one, our focus is on growing our audiences, so engagement numbers won’t be great. In phase two, we’ll focus on maintaining and growing our engagement. Then, in phase three, we’ll work to understand how to turn that engagement into business results.”

4. Repeat What Works and Take Chances

Repeat what works. Stop what doesn’t work. Don’t be afraid to take chances. Taco Bell does a lot of taking chances by tweeting at people. They get more retweets that way.

Brands that are running contests or playing games with people can really get people to engage. For example, TV host Chris Hardwick of @midnight asks his listeners to tweet names of bands with food items in them to #foodbands. The feed is hilarious and edgy, and he isn’t the one doing all the work.

Tweets for FoodBands
Fans of Chris Hardwick offer their #foodbands ideas on Twitter. My favorite is “Bananas Foster the People.” Thinking outside the box!

5. Get Other Teams Thinking Like You

Get as many people on board with your social tactics as you can, especially your design team. See if you can teach them about social’s different environment and audience. For example, maybe social images shouldn’t look like your catalogue or display ads.

And, as you know if you work for a bigger company, there are sometimes hoops to jump through to get content approved. For example, for a retail company, can you share a behind-the-scenes picture of your designers or do your images have to be from the catalog? Try to get everyone interested in being nimble. That will affect the strategy you have by opening doors for more unique, appealing content.

Ready to Rock the Struggle?

With all of this great advice, do you feel inspired to take your social strategizing up a notch? We want to know what you’ve done to develop and modify your social strategy. Share your top tips in the comments below.

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Bridget Quigg

Bridget Quigg

Hello, fellow Marketeers. My job at Simply Measured is to tell Kevin and Lucy how awesome they are at running the blog. Because, they are.