Harp Interactive

17 Critical Elements of a Solid Social Media Strategy

92% of companies are currently using social media*. But a much smaller percentage actually understand how to leverage their platforms and make them work toward their goals. (Tweet This)

To effectively do this, we recommend creating and implementing a social media strategy. Below is a list of 17 of the more critical elements we employ when devising any social media strategy.

1.   Listen First
Know where the conversation about your brand/company or service is taking place and who your social media audience is.

2.   Listen Again
When you listen to the conversations about your brand or industry, are there any recurring themes, conversations or misperceptions? What is the sentiment around your brand/industry? You can address these as part of your content plan.

3.   Continue to Listen
Monitoring is an on-going effort. Set up a monitoring system with either subscription-based tools (we use Radian6) or free monitoring tools such as Google Alerts or Mention.com to find influencers, relevant conversations, content, to stay relevant, learn, etc.

4.   Conduct a Reconnaissance Mission
Know who your competitors are and what they are doing in the social space. Look for opportunities where you can set your brand apart in social (vs. emulating your competition).

5.   Outline your Social Media Goals
What do you want to accomplish with social media? Know what your goals are before developing your plan and tactics. These goals usually align with your business goals but should be more socially oriented.

6.   Define Success
If you can’t define what success looks like, you’ll never know when you get there. Clearly state what you want out of your social media efforts. For example, if it’s lead generation to your website, you should define success as X amount of visits in X amount of time.

7.   Decide what to Measure
There are hundreds of social media indicators that you could potentially measure, but what do they all mean?   My advice here is to keep it simple. Define your top Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and make sure they relate back to your social media goals.

8.   Identify your Social Voice
Define/Create your brand/Company ‘voice’.   While this is easier said than done, it’s worth the effort. Stay true to your voice. Use these guidelines to get you started.

9.   Open Accounts
Open up the appropriate tools and know how to use them. These can include Google Analytics for measuring socially driven traffic to your website, tools for measuring clicks, social media dashboards, content-curating tools, analytical tools and of course, listening/monitoring tools.

10.   Know your Platforms
Understand the nuances of each social platform, what follower expectations are and how to best uniquely leverage each platform your brand utilizes.

11.   Plan your Content
Create a content plan per platform you are using. This should be a guideline that is fluid. We like to use Google Docs  to post our Content Plans and share with every Community Manager. Content plans are always linked back to social media goals.

12.   Advertise STELO Style
Social media advertising works! Set a budget. Identify your target(s). Then execute STELO style. Strategize. Test. Execute. Learn. Optimize.

13.   Grow your platforms with Promotions
Plan your promotions, contests or sweepstakes. Know the rules per platform and how to promote your contests cross platforms.

14.   Be Realistic
Know that social media is a process…it takes time to develop your social networks.

15.   Be Nimble
Social media is in constant flux with new opportunities/technologies and platform features ever changing.

16.   Be Persistent
Social media is a form of marketing and should be given the respect, effort and attention and budget that is expended for other marketing efforts (if not more)! Put in the effort on a daily basis to grow, engage & post on your social media platforms (or find an Agency who can do this for you). Social media growth and success requires strategy, daily attention and continual optimization.

17.   Be Smart
Know when it’s time to get professional assistance from a social media consultant or social media agency to evolve your efforts, make them meaningful, refine or redefine them.

Share your thoughts…what elements of a social strategy would you add to this list?

*Source: Sprout Social