A Practical Guide to Developing a Social Strategy across Multiple Social Media Platforms
May 25, 2017
Guest post by: James Cummings
For a social strategy to be maximally effective, it needs to focus on content distribution across multiple social media platforms, utilizing the unique features of each platform in order to get the desired message across in a way that audiences can understand and connect with.
This guide to developing a social media strategy across multiple social media platform is directed at brands that are interested in building awareness among their natural audience.
Why do you need to develop a Social Strategy across Multiple Platforms?
Your brand needs to develop a social strategy across multiple social media platforms for one or more of the following reasons:
- Potential customers and more generally your target audience are in all likelihood very active on various social networks
- Every social media platform has key influencers you could use on your team
- The social web has not showed sign of slowing growth rates
- Social media has a powerful influence on people’s purchasing choices
Getting Your Campaigns Focused
A social media strategy is developed to serve specific purposes, such as generating leads, growing sales, extending customer service ability or developing business brand awareness. With many companies the goals are – all of the above and more; and the target audience are prospective customers, existing customers, business partners, the press and referral sources.
It is therefore important to first of all understand your goals, and focus on different goals through different campaigns. Sure, there may be some goals that are aligned, which can be tackled within the same campaign, but often you will need to split your campaigns to deliver the right messages in the right places at the times to achieve your goals.
Which Social Media Platforms should you focus on?
Using multiple social media platforms offers a solid take-off point for a brand and there are quite a few that could be an important asset in your marketing plan. In order to truly engage with your audience, having a strong social presence is essential. The social media platforms you choose to work with will depend on your type of business, your target audience and where they tend to hang out online. Here are the some of the biggies for business:
Facebook – one of the biggest social media platforms out there, and highly favoured by companies in need of an increase in their sales through word-of-mouth type marketing.
Google Plus – this platform simply cannot be ignored. Certain interest groups in industries use Google+ to share remarkable content, making use of its efficient features like video conferencing, segmenting messages and sharing photos.
Twitter – Twitter considerably extends the scope and capacity to associate with diverse groups of people forming your audience, such as prospects, experts in the industry, and members of the media.
Pinterest – great for sharing pictures related to your brand and linking them out to your company website. Instagram is another that falls in this category and is a must if you have a certain audience.
LinkedIn – one can hardly talk about connecting with business partners online without mentioning LinkedIn. It is an ideal place to build company awareness, announce new innovations and position yourself in the eyes of the market buyers.
Blogs – great for helping visibility for your company. They are useful for publishing industry related information on personal company website.
Brendan Wilde, Online Marketing Manager at Umbrellar.com, says “we host over 85000 websites, and we are seeing more and more of our customers turning to social media as a way to build their brands. We are seeing several trends. One is that businesses are engaging new social channels and not just the most established ones. We have also seen a vat number of social campaigns driven by consumer focused social media, such as Facebook and Instagram, which shows that social media really is a people business, not just a channel for corporate sponsored advertising.”
Be relatable and engage in real human terms.
It is worthwhile taking time to really consider which social media platforms will work best for your purposes. It would be pointless to dedicate a load of time, effort and resources into building a following and creating attractive content for them, only to find out you are not achieving results.
Also worthwhile considering is the handle (name) you decide on for your social media account. The most effective are simple, short, represent your brand perfectly and are memorable. Ideally, your business name should be used if it is available.
Customise your Interactions to suit Multiple Social Media Platforms
It takes attention and skill to know what to post and where it should be posted. For instance, a long winded blog on “tips for choosing the perfect domain name” may be lost on a social media platform like LinkedIn where members expect something more succinct.
Real interactions are highly effective on social media, especially when they are targeted at audiences more naturally inclined to search for the sort of information you present. Understanding your audience and engaging with them through real interactions that add value to their lives and business will provide results for you.
How SEO and PPC Can Help You
SEO and PPC help drive your social media strategy by providing you with the visibility you need to be found by your target audience in the first place. When you have no reach you need to find a way to get it, and SEO and PPC may be the answer.
The most potent effect SEO and PPC professionals can have on your social strategy is added exposure on search engine result pages (SERPs). This creates the impression that you are a secure and authoritative presence in a particular industry, and offers speedy growth to your multiple social media accounts. By becoming an authority with a good reputation online (online presence) your following will grow. Build your reputation and they will come.
Social media sites like Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn can provide ads targeted to specific groups. This can be a really powerful and cost effective way to gain fans. These platforms are normally cheaper and less competitive to advertise on than Google Adwords.
SEO and PPC can help you by providing data intelligence through campaigns to uncover unique, important details about your target audience. In addition to refining your overall strategy, such details can be refined into content for branding on social media.
Since your goal is to get social media power across multiple social media platforms the chances are you need help. As we are being practical right now, that means you probably need professional help, skilled in social strategies that pack a punch, not an Indian freelancer you need to train up; blind leading the blind comes to mind. Think about hiring an agency if you have budget.
How Do You Know if Your Social Strategy is Successful?
Good marketers know that you won’t know for certain where and what you are doing well or need to improve on without measuring and data gathering. Focus on finding tools that will provide insights. The obvious useful tools to measure with are Google Analytics and Webmaster tools. The easiest way to know how you are doing is through the comments section of your blog posts, and through the number of likes or shares you get. These metrics are rather vague though.
Indeed, one challenge with measuring social media success is that the goal of social media is to build a relationship, not to push people into a speedy sales funnel. Therefore, unlike PPC advertising pointed at landing page, it isn’t easy to measure return on investment.
You need to create the metrics that reflect your individual campaign goals.
To measure the rise in awareness about your brand that you are creating then look at metrics like reach, exposure, volume, and amplification. You could look at how many times your brand name is searched in Google if social is your main avenue to exposure.
- If your primary aim is to increase targeted traffic on your site then measure URL shares conversions and clicks. These metrics will tell you if people are actually moving from your social channels to your site. You can obviously look at traffic stats in Google Analytics too.
- If you are looking to build brand ambassadors then you need to start looking at who is engaging with and sharing your content. Are they the right people?
- If your goal is engagement then you should be measuring metrics around comments, retweets, replies, Webinar participants and so forth.
- If you want to look at market share compared to the competition then you should look at volume of conversation in the market, and what proportion is about your company relative to the competition.
- In a multi channel social media strategy you will be tracking lots of different metrics, but make sure they are anchored to a purpose, so that your date informs you, rather than just confusing you.
Continually Adapt but Stay on Target
Social media platforms are fluid. They are a reflection of the people that engage, and so are driven by emotions, fads, and group dynamics. If a particular approach to your social strategy isn’t working, be flexible enough to embrace change. Similarly, if something works test it elsewhere. An approach that generates a flurry of comments and shares on Facebook could so the same through another social media platform with a little repackaging.
A well-developed social media strategy across multiple social platforms is crucial in many sectors. The social web is highly influential in people’s decisions about your brand.
We’d love to hear about how you have developed your social strategy using social media platforms. What worked well? What is a waste of time? In keeping with the article why not engage through Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Reddit.