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Our Marketing Director Michelle Leavesley recently hosted a social media strategy presentation to our wider team at CrowdControlHQ. A valuable experience not only to share best practice but also a great opportunity to encourage employee buy-in and support. Social media strategy has traditionally sat firmly within the marketing team’s remit and rarely receives care and attention from other departments.

However, over the last few years the growth of social media as a tool for sales promotion, brand management and customer service has meant that multiple departments are gaining access to the organisation’s social media channels. Although some organisations are beginning to embrace this multi-departmental approach, many are ‘doing’ social media but few are following a plan or better yet a strategy. This blog follows the session our wider team received and shares the fundamentals of social media strategy.

What does the word ‘strategy’ mean to you? Marketeers will often fumble through the many definitions of strategy, however what was interesting to hear was our teams’ response to this simple question. One colleague replied with ‘process’, others said it reminded them of ‘chess’, one reported ‘having a shared goal with smaller objectives’. However my favourite answer was ‘managing armies in a war!’ There were no wrong answers and all of them highlighted the point that strategy involves in-depth thought (planning) and process (application). Planning is a critical element of strategy that all to often gets neglected, this can be true not just from a social media and marketing perspective but also in many other departments and organisations.

Below our Marketing Director Michelle Leavesley shared her insights into the fundamentals of social media strategy, the ABCs…

A is for Aim

“Sound strategy starts with having the correct goal”

Michael Porter

Social media aimOur team weren’t far off with their answers describing what strategy meant to them. In order to establish your goal, organisations need to answer the question ‘What do you want your social media to achieve?’ Whilst many can answer this question with ease (often referring to metrics of reach and followers), when asked to demonstrate the ROI of social media, many social media managers struggle to provide an answer.

In order to accurately measure the impact of your social media it is important to link your social media objectives, back to the marketing objectives and ensure these are linked to the overlying business objectives. 

B is for Backbone

The next step of the ABCs of social media strategy is the backbone of your strategy. It is important to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the existing landscape. This can include previous social media history, taking a look at competitors and how they are utilising social media and also identifying aspirational organisations to show where you want to be once your strategy is off the ground and running. By developing a deep understanding of the current landscape and an audit of previous history this enables you to put your current position into context, ready to begin planning.

Marketeers will often refer to the 80/20 rule. 80% planning and 20% delivery, in reality this is rarely the case and it’s usually 80% delivery and 20% planning. However, once a precedent is set of a structured strategy, followed by a comprehensive plan, you will soon find delivery is much quicker and more effective.

The final part of the backbone of your social media strategy is decision making. Without the prior elements of understanding, context and planning you will be unable to make clear and constructive decisions. This might be from the social media networks your organisation will be using, to the social media models you wish to role out e.g. centralised accounts vs local social.

C is for Control

Social media controlThe final element of creating your social media strategy is to take control. Many organisations have multiple team members, accessing multiple accounts, posting multiple messaging. The importance of having a social media strategy is to provide focus and coordination for your team. A key element of your strategy will be to prioritise. Accept that you cannot be all things to all people and that you need to be strategic and focus your efforts on doing things well, which will deliver the most impact (relate back to your social media objectives). In an enterprise environment this can often be a challenge with many departments having different agendas, however if you have a clear social media strategy supported with comprehensive planning, this process will be a lot easier.

Another important element of taking control of your social media strategy and delivery is to constantly review performance. This can include reviewing content, team members and the processes you have in place, ensuring that the delivery is in line with your strategic objectives. To work alongside your review process it is important to establish a comprehensive but efficient reporting structure so you are able to monitor changes in performance and measure impact.

Social media management software can make this process much simpler with many offering one-click reports tailored to the metrics you require. To find out more about CrowdControlHQ’s analytics please visit here.

The final step in taking control of your social media strategy links to another C… communication. Gaining the buy-in at a senior management level and from across your teams is vital in ensuring your social media strategy is a success. Just like regiments in an army working together to conquer!

This links us nicely back to our presentation with our wider team members here at CrowdControlHQ. Engaging with your colleagues in your social media strategy and working collaboratively will not only develop employee buy in, enhance the feeling of ownership, it can also encourage innovation with even the least likely colleagues coming up with fantastic ideas!

CrowdControlHQ is the UK’s leading social media risk management and compliance platform supporting organisations with delivering award-winning social media.

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