“I’ve tried it before and it didn’t work, I didn’t get any results.”
“It’s overwhelming. There’s too much to learn and I’m afraid I’ll do it wrong.”
“It takes too much time and effort. Plus, I don’t even know where to start.”
Reading these quotes, you might think they’re from someone frustrated with going to the gym. If you’re like me, you’ve felt this before — it’s not easy to make yourself exercise, let alone figure out which machines to use, and how.
I’ve heard people express the same frustrations, but related to social media. These quotes came from clients who either didn’t feel comfortable with implementing a social media strategy or who felt overwhelmed by it. And I get it. Putting effort into something that you know you should do, but aren’t quite sure how to do right, is incredibly frustrating. It’s easy to see why many brands don’t prioritize social media as a key component of their overall brand health.
That’s where we come in. I’ve put together a list of some of the top strategies that help brands have a successful social media presence. Think of this checklist as your social bootcamp. You won’t even break a sweat.
As someone who’s been managing social media for many different kinds of brands over the last 12 years, I’ve seen it all. Too many marketing managers have trouble focusing on immediate results or having a reactive approach to social. Companies who do this will struggle to see value in social media and tend to not invest in it. One of the most common things I see that can change — and one of the easiest to fix — is thinking social first. The brands that do social best are the ones who integrate it into their marketing strategies from the beginning, rather than tack it onto a plan as an afterthought.
In order for social to have a real impact, brands must be willing to do these three things:
1. Have dedicated personnel to manage their social channels.
2. Have a tight grasp on their brand guidelines so messages and imagery are consistent.
3. Consistently publish content that is relevant and important to their audiences.
When it comes to brand health, just like physical health, dedication matters. Being on Twitter is great, but sporadically tweeting without an integrated, structured plan is like going to the gym and leaving after five minutes — you likely won’t achieve notable results. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, 97% of Fortune 500 companies depend on social media as part of their overall marketing strategy. The key word here is overall, not after all — begin with social, and work it into each aspect of your company’s marketing strategy.
Here are five ways to do it, and five reasons why social media should be integrated into your strategy upfront:
- It’s affordable – organic social strategies, when executed properly, can reach a lot of people, raise brand awareness and help grow your audiences at a fraction of the cost compared to other areas of marketing.
- There’s a sense of community – when social media followers share something in common with other followers, an immediate bond is formed. This is where word of mouth marketing can play a big role.
- It helps attract top talent – the first place candidates go to learn about a company is their social media channels. If a company’s social channels seem dated or stale, this could reflect poorly on your company and give the candidate a false impression of your company culture.
- Data is readily available – at any given time, you can access analytics that will tell you more about your existing or potential customers. You can see how your social channels are growing over time and you can also see what type of content your followers are most engaged with.
- Targeted messaging – when planning a campaign, you can narrow down the demographics to select the specific groups you want to target with your messaging. You can then use analytics to review how your campaign is performing.
To learn more about why social media is essential to your brand’s health, check out this article from Hootsuite: 22 Benefits of Social Media for Business.