Have you ever had great intentions to clean out an area of your home like your hallway closet or garage but once you got started became so overwhelmed that you just abandoned the job? Developing your social media strategy might feel the same way. While the payoff is definitely worth it, it’s natural that due to the all-encompassing nature of the job you might be initially deterred. When you begin thinking about your social media strategy, it’s guaranteed that you will have countless questions. With such a large undertaking, it’s difficult to know where to start, and how you should focus your energy and efforts.
9 social media questions you need to ask
To help define your strategy and execute a social media plan, we’ve put together the following questions that you should ask yourself so that you can dive in, rather than abandon ship.
1. What are your organization’s goals?
It’s been long-proven that setting goals is a way of improving your chances of success, so before setting out to create and implement your social media strategy, you need to establish solid goals. You must consider not only what your organization is looking to achieve as a whole, but what your primary goal with social media will be. Are you hoping to focus on improving your social media customer service, perfecting your promotion strategies, or increasing your number of followers?
When looking to set your goals, we recommend using the S.M.A.R.T method as a guide. The acronym for this model emphasizes setting goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Our post “Don’t Just Create Social Media Goals—Reach Them” offers a detailed look at how the S.M.A.R.T method applies to setting and achieving your social media goals.
2. Who is your target market, audience or persona?
When setting goals for your social media strategy, it’s obviously important to carefully consider who you are trying to reach. Think about who your ideal customer is, and how you can leverage this information through your social media strategy. Consider what social media channels your target market is on. Are they expert Tweeters or Instagram buffs? Furthermore, think about where they go to seek information. When they need to know something, where do they turn? In all of this, you will gain a greater understanding of what is important to your audience, and therefore know how to tailor your content to best suit their needs.
To help solidify and organize your audience targeting efforts, it’s also good idea to create personas as a way to really focus on the people you are hoping to reach. For help with this, we’ve created a guide on How to create buyer personas with social media data.
3. What are your audience’s pain points?
In knowing who your audience is, and establishing the different personas you’re targeting, it should be easier to recognize what their pain points are. Think about what kinds of problems your customers are facing currently, or could be facing in the future. Anticipating and staying ahead of potential problems your customers could experience is a way to truly show your value as a brand. In this, you should also recognize how your product or service can be of help to your audience and customers. How does it solve certain problems better than others available on the market?
Make it as easy as possible for your customer to recognize that your brand offers the solutions to their problems through showcasing these resolutions on your social media channels. Provide tips and tricks targeting those in your service or product’s specific industry, share short but helpful videos, and pay attention to the things your audience complains about.
4. What is the voice behind your brand?
There has been much written and discussed about building a brand voice, and for good reason. Your brand voice is your most valuable marketing tool, and establishes how your organization is perceived by the public. Your brand voice is the tone you portray behind your social content, and includes everything from the visual design of your brand, to the way you communicate with your social media community. The Muse offers four great ways to develop and establish your brand voice, as the following:
- Build archetypes (know who your voice is targeting)
- Fill in some blanks (i.e. I want my brand to make people feel ______)
- Create a test group (Ask third parties what they think about your brand, how it makes them feel, what words they associate with it, etc.)
- Find your muse (look to other brands you respect to see what they’re doing right)
5. What type of content do you want published on social media?
This seems like an obvious question to be asking when trying to define your social media strategy, but it’s apparent that many post without any premeditation. Think about each post concept and ensure it fits into your overall strategy. With this question, you also want to think about what you want your readers to know and feel after seeing your content. What message are you trying to send, and how is this conveyed through each and every one of your posts? What action, if any, do you want your audience to take after seeing your content?
Furthermore, consider what type of content supports your overall business objectives. Will a video help drive you to gain more followers, or is a Twitter chat the way to go about this? What kind of content will encourage higher engagement, or see successful conversion? These are all areas you want to consider, and where the answer will vary depending on your target audience.
6. Who is accountable?
In any organization, there are structures in place to acknowledge the roles and responsibilities of all team members. When developing your social media strategy, it’s key to clearly define roles and understand who will manage, monitor, and engage on each account. Who will be responsible for certain tasks, and at what stages? Depending on the size of your team, this could be a very simple task. Figure out who will be responsible for things such as the creation of visual and written content, social media advertising/paid social, social management, and social media customer service (if relevant to your business). Once you have secured these roles, the direction of your social media strategy will be much clearer, and you will be able to use tools (such as Hootsuite) to assign tasks to specific team members, stay organized, and ensure follow through takes place.
With social media a key form of business communication, it’s also important to establish responsibilities for the potential risks involved. Our detailed guide on Mapping organizational roles and responsibilities for social media risk offers solid solutions to help you get started and define these boundaries as easily as possible.
7. Should I run social media ads?
While engagement and community building are essential to your social media strategy, you can extend your success even further through taking advantage of social media advertising. As Inc. shares, “eMarketer, a world leader in research in the digital world, reports that between 20 and 25 percent of people who see a social media ad on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest, will then respond by visiting the store or website on the ad. In addition, they reported that between 14 and 17 percent went ahead and bought a product or service.” To help you get started with your social media advertising efforts, our Beginner’s guide to social media advertising offers suggestions for each of the major networks.
Furthermore, Hootsuite’s CEO Ryan Holmes offered the following six ways you can use social media ads to grow your business:
- Use free social media to beta-test your paid social ads
- Take advantage of targeting features
- Rotate ads frequently
- Use small samples to A/B test your social ads
- Understand how ads are sold
- Design your ads with smartphones in mind
8. How frequently should I be posting to social media?
If only there was a surefire, guaranteed answer to this question. While there is no clear set number for the recommended frequency of your posts, this is definitely something you want to think about and be aware of. The frequency of your posts should be considered in relation to the kind of content you are sharing, as well as your audience members and what they respond to. While of course not set in stone, some very general guidelines exist for popular networks, which you can test out to see if they work for your business. These are as follows:
- Facebook: 1-3 times per day
- Instagram: Once a day
- Twitter: 8-24 times per day
- Google+: Once per day
- Pinterest: 4-10 times per day
While these are great starting points, the best way of finding a general answer to this question for your specific brand or organization, is through good old fashioned trial and error. Post certain content at certain times of day, and with varied frequency. Take note of where you see the biggest successes overall, and adjust your strategy accordingly. Each social media network will see different results, for example our guide here describes three ways to find the best times and posting frequency for Twitter.
9. What is our social media strategy’s most important metric?
This question is one that encapsulates all aspects of your social media strategy. Touching upon the need for goals, your audience, advertising, and countless other components of your plan, it’s necessary to know how you are measuring success. With this, you need to think about what you are monitoring for each social media platform, and why. As we explain in our Social media metrics you’re (probably) forgetting post, “According to Altimeter, only 34 percent of businesses feel that their social strategy is connected to business outcomes. To prove ROI, you need to show these connections to business outcomes by setting the right goals and the right key performance indicators (KPIs). These KPIs should always tie your social media efforts to broader marketing goals, and ideally to the money in your business’ bank account.”
While it’s easy enough to measure new follower numbers or the number of likes on your last Instagram post, there are other metrics you should consider, such as:
- Click-through with bounce rate
- Share of traffic driven
- Social share of voice
- Leads and attributed revenue