If you’ve arrived here expecting to find insights into how to grow your Twitter following, get more likes on your Facebook page or create an amazing post on Instagram, then you might be disappointed.
Don't misunderstand me. Growing your social media presence and increasing brand visibility is an important activity, but social media strategy doesn’t have much real business value when implemented on its own. It's actually a tactic, a component of a social strategy that's too often confused with being strategic.
So, how can I alleviate your disappointment? Well, rather than look at the same old engagement tips and tricks you’ve undoubtedly seen before, I’d like to take the opportunity to explore beyond the tactical day-to-day.
Instead, let's look at the most important (and often overlooked) factor you need to include in your social media strategy. The one element you need to focus on to create value that will really impress your boss.
To frame it in another way, think about it like this...
In your upcoming annual performance review, your boss will be most impressed by which of the following statements?
In a bid to fuel awareness of the brand, I increased our engagement levels on LinkedIn.
We created a content and engagement strategy that delivered a 10% increase in our LinkedIn audience. This delivered a 25% increase of referral traffic and contributed to a global increase of online sales by 5%.
In an effort to drive sales, I worked closely with the sales team to understand their business development strategy. Together, we created a targeted social media selling process to increase sales from social activity by 3%.
To achieve this we used LinkedIn to identify key people of interest and the content that engages them. This informed a content strategy and a targeted in-mail campaign, which increased the LinkedIn connections of the sales team by 25%.
We also saw the LinkedIn audience of the company grow by a further 10%, dramatically increasing the reach of our brand. Meanwhile, referral traffic increased by 25% and the sales attributed to this process accounted for 5% of this years sales revenue.
Clearly, they both use LinkedIn to deliver impressive numbers, but the focus of the two is different.
Option A treads a very familiar path. It is focused on building awareness of the brand, and so creates a plan to build an audience and reach more people.
The engagement metrics go up and this increases traffic from LinkedIn, but do these metrics offer any real business value? In isolation, no, not really. It is suggested that Option A contributed to an increase in online sales – something that will always be welcomed in any business – but was that actually a result of more visibility on LinkedIn? Were there any other factors involved? It's difficult to say and because the focus was improving engagement metrics, clearly demonstrating the connection is a little tricky.
Alternatively Option B focuses on sales from the outset. It demonstrates a broader understanding of the on and offline factors involved in developing sales. It uses social media to gather business intelligence and then used the insights to enable the sales team to use LinkedIn to sell more.
So here it is, the most important factor you need to focus on to develop an effective social media strategy:
Think more broadly than engagement metrics. They are not the objective. Instead, align your social media goals with businesses goals and make those the objective.
Try to avoid thinking about social media success in terms of how many people you have managed to get to see your content. Instead, frame it in terms of how you can add value to key business functions and then you will begin to develop strategies that deliver real value. Consider how social media can support the following areas and develop strategies accordingly:
- Marketing and Public Relations
- Human Resources and Recruiting
- Customer Support
- Business Intelligence
Don't fall into the trap that that so many social media managers unconsciously find themselves in. Option A can achieve results, but they are more often than not accidental, they are not as a result of a strategic focus.
Social media in business has many applications. When you take time to work out the broader business objectives that you need to support and when you look beyond 'presence', you can create a strategy that delivers tangible results.
Developing digital strategies is something that we do a lot here at Nomensa. If you would like to learn more, take a look at our strategic social media services, give us a call on +44 (0) 117 929 7333 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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