Social media is never static; it grows, changes and expands day after day. As such, your social media strategy needs to share these qualities. It needs to be malleable enough to quickly grow and change so your business can capitalize on new trends and opportunities.
Having a good social media strategy means regularly looking back and reassessing your approach. Has your social media strategy become stale? Here are some questions to consider:
Is Your Social Media Strategy Procedural or Strategic?
There are two broad categories that encompass most social media strategies: strategic and procedural. MIT Sloan's Gerald C. Kane distinguishes between the two approaches by looking at undergraduate and graduate students as they learn social media in business school.
Undergraduate students typically have a strong procedural understanding of social media tools which he says means "They use social media frequently, employ a wide range of features, readily experiment with the newest social media platforms and are often savvy at integrating or separating content for separate audiences."
Unfortunately, this procedural understanding of social media ignores one very important part of a social media strategy: how do you use social media to meet your business goals. Just because you know how to use the tools does not mean you know how to employ them for business-specific purposes. As a result, the procedural approach often results in formulaic, stale and boring accounts.
Graduate students, on the other hand, get the strategic side of social media. "While these older students and managers may initially struggle more with using the tools, particularly with learning the non-explicit or normative uses of tools like Twitter hashtags or trends, once they get over this initial learning hurdle they are quicker to envision the organizational opportunities enabled by social media."
Although this model is based on the social media learnings of students, it can also be applied to every employee managing social media for a business. There is no point in being on social media just for the sake of being on social media. Everything your employees do should be driving business goals.
Take the time to examine your own social media strategy and determine which category you fall into.
Do You Use Data to Evolve Your Social Media Strategy?
When you're trying to keep your social media strategy fresh, data is your best friend for multiple reasons.
First, data tells you what's working and what isn't. If your follower numbers haven't grown in days or week, odds are your accounts have gone stale. Using a tool like Hootsuite's analytics, allows you to track and measure all of your social media messages. Break down what is connecting with your audience and then adapt your social media strategy to focus more time and effort on successful posts. Track engagement, click-through, leads and other important metrics to prove your social efforts are meeting strategic business goals. Don't do this once, do it once a day. The things that are popular with your audience will change as new trends, themes or tools emerge.
Data will also help keep your social media strategy fresh by providing you with a steady stream of content ideas. Using apps like NexaMe from Nexologyallows you to turn data into insights on what topics your followers are tweeting and posting about. Using that knowledge, you can create content that meets their interests as they change and increase your likelihood of successful engagement on social media.
Do You Share Content For You, or For Your Followers?
Too many businesses treat social media as a broadcast tool, sharing content that serves a purpose for them but not their user base. If you're constantly sharing content about your own products, your accounts will quickly get stale.
Look at what interests your followers. Look at the links they share and the themes they discuss. Find and curate content that meets their own standards of sharing. Then insert your business content into the mix.
Using social media for business doesn't mean every message you send needs to advertise your product. Become a pole for interesting content and more and more people will naturally gravitate towards you and your account.
With social media the consumer is in control of what they read or don't read. Always remember that when planning your social media strategy.