Develop a social media strategy before rushing to go social.
Define the target audience, match online tactics to tangible objectives and select measurements for success. Crucial questions that can guide your social media strategy include: knowing how far you are from your desired destination, when and how to change course as well as when you have arrived.
Integrated approaches to social media begin with a multi-step strategy prior to analysis. The multi-step strategy can be summarized as: listen, learn, engage, act and measure.
“Listening is the most important part of a conversation.
Conversations are how communities begin.”
~ Social media strategist Liz Strauss
Track and listen to what people are saying about your organization online.
Listening is a way of monitoring your target audience and your actual impact. Take the opportunity to learn and understand before you react, inform and engage. The goal of listening is to generate actionable insights.
Some reasons to listen to social media conversations include:
- Assess overall sentiment
- Target new stakeholders
- Identify your champions
- Identify your critics and fend of crises
- Audit your efforts
- Study the success stories
- Identify new program or product opportunities
- Keep tabs on competitors
- Improve your campaigns and programs.
Many tools are available to listen so that you can take steps to influence the social conversation. Adding a few alerts with Google Alerts and tracking a few feeds can be integrated into your existing work processes with a monitoring or a social media dashboard like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck.
Inspire, engage and enchant your target audience.
Create, curate and consistently share content that inspires your community. Share tranformative, personalized stories from the organization, team-members, students or customer. Carefully selected and crafted content of value to your community will attract and engage clients, customers and candidates.
Initiate discussions based on the shared content to nurture relationships and generate leads. Entertain, educate and support with social media.
Generating a steady stream of high quality content and engaging people in dialogue are the two most important factors for social media success. Encourage collaboration amongst peers by connecting the talent community and customers to one another.
Social media is a customer service tool.
Providing timely support to candidates and customers is key. You can’t recruit or promote and run with social media. You need to be there for your candidates and customers. Social media is a way to meet people´s rapidly changing expectations in the context of fast technology.
Be an enthusiast!
Love the community that you serve and think like a content marketer. The ideal person for using social media needs a sales mindedness, a media creation element and a community service peer-mindedness. Be unique, but model yourself after successful accounts.
The Social Strategy in summary should:
- Define your target community and tangible objectives
- Select measurements to analyze to reiteratively adjust your social strategy for maximum engagement
- Build an online community by curating and consistently* providing content of value
- Initiate conversations with the target community
Shoose appropriate social media goals and connect them to organizational goals. Define and understand your target community: use surveys, interviews, or focus groups to find how your target community would like to interact with you. Ask,
- What does your community want?
- What are their social media habits?
- What might it get out of your social media campaign?
- What social media tools do they use?
- What would they like to hear from you?
Allocate resources and staff time to maintain your strategy. Create a chart of weekly time requirements with the activity and the approximate time required. Some categories for a weekly chart may include:
- Content: creating or reimagining content (2-6 hours per week), screening relevant third party content (1-5), screening audience content (1-5)
- Web: posting, responding to comments and questions, surfing relevant web and social media sites
- Measurement: measuring results of social media tools, evaluating progress towards goals, conducting quarterly strategic review.
Social campaigns must be interactive, inspirational and imitable.
Get candidates and customers involved, inspire action with valuable content and ground your strategy in research and audience analysis.