The 5 Most Common Misses in Social Strategy Development
My team and I work with a lot of small and mid-size brands here at Simply Measured. A common challenge that comes up in conversations is lack of social strategy. All too often, we hear that customers want to track and measure “vanity metrics,” without any alignment back to business goals.
You’re Doing Social Wrong
As a customer success organization here at Simply Measured, our mission is to help customers prove the value of their social efforts and optimize their strategy to achieve their goals. I’ve outlined five common misses brands all too often experience.
1. Lack of Purpose
Many social marketers — even savvy ones, doing innovative things — suffer from a lack of understanding about social’s role in their company’s overall business model. When asked “What are your social goals?” we often get crickets. Reasoning doesn’t go much deeper than growth and engagement. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about growth and engagement, as long it ties back to the business goals of your company.
We help customers identify their business goals for social by using the customer funnel below.
Step 1: What is the business trying to achieve? What keeps the lights on?
Step 2: How does marketing support those business goals?
Step 3: What is the role of social in achieving those goals?
For example, a brand in the retail space may not have direct goals tied to driving sales of their product, but they might have goals focused on driving awareness of their brand, building relationships with influencers, and driving traffic to their website. Their social strategy should be built with those goals in mind, and KPIs to measure performance of their efforts.
2. Data or It Didn’t Happen
That is a motto we say a lot around here. Whether you are inheriting an existing social program or starting it from scratch, it’s important to use historical data to inform your strategy moving forward.
The Social Marketer’s Guide to Social Media ROI
As your social presence grows and the industry changes, so will your social strategy. Companies doing social right evolve with it by taking what they learned from their historical data and applying a new spin to keep content fresh for their ever-changing audience.
You can learn a lot from your brand’s own historical data. For example, looking at a year’s worth of data within Simply Measured will help you identify peaks and valleys, then drill into what actually drove that performance.
This will help you and your team make smarter, better-informed decisions for the future.
3. The Value of Industry Benchmarking
Once you have a good idea of what’s working for your brand, it’s time to start benchmarking against other brands in your industry. This allows you to truly understand how your efforts and performance are stacking up against your competitors’.
With Simply Measured’s competitive analysis, brands can customize their own industry, adding in competitors and aspirational brands unique to them.
We collect and store all your competitors’ publicly available data to enable your team to assess the industry average for your brand and help you create goals that accurately measure your performance over time.
By analyzing this data in a comparative view, you can quickly see the overall industry average, metrics of the leading account, and where your brand stacks up within the data set. Then you can take key lessons from the leading account and apply them to your strategy.
One metric we always recommend keeping an eye on is Engagement as a Percentage of Audience.
This is good high-level metric that shows you the quality of your content, the relevance of the audience you have cultivated, and the level of influence you have in the industry.
4. Bigger Is Not Necessarily Better
Now that you’ve spent a lot of time and resources creating content and growing your audience on your social channels, it’s important to make sure you’re cultivating the right audience. We frequently talk to customers who are hyper-focused on growing their audience as fast and as large as they can without thinking about who they are. They think bigger is better, which is usually not the case. We care much more about attracting high-quality users than lots of users, because they will be more likely to engage and advocate for your brand. Again, think back to your purpose and why you are on social: how will you achieve your goals?
In more cases than not, a highly-engaged, quality audience will support your efforts in achieving those goals. One of the ways we measure the quality of audience is using our Twitter Audience Analysis to help identify how active your audience is on Twitter, what they are interested in, geography, and level of influence they have within their networks.
It doesn’t make sense to build an audience of people who will do nothing to advance the business goals of your brand.
5. Rinse and Repeat
As I’m sure you’ve experienced, social moves very fast, so it’s essential to consistently review and iterate on your strategy to keep up with the ever-changing landscape. Personally, I am a big fan of A/B testing content to figure out what works best with evergreen recurring content topics and campaign specific. Why reinvent the wheel if you can take key lessons from the past to incorporate your strategy and tactics moving forward?
Simply Measured’s Segmented Analysis allows you to label individual pieces of content to generate reports off just that content segment, and measure true performance against other content segments. If we can prove that, for your brand, evergreen content published 2x/week performs better than evergreen content published 3x/week, don’t you want to know?
There’s a lot to consider when building your social strategy, but as long as you avoid these five things, you’re on the right track towards building a successful social media strategy. If you’re still confused and don’t know where to start, don’t worry — that’s why we’re here! As Account Managers, it’s our job to ensure customer success in achieving business goals. Give us a holler, and download our 2016 Social Marketing Planning Guide, below, to develop your own miss-free social strategy moving forward.