How To 'Spring Clean' Your Social Media Strategy
I don't know about you, but today is one of the first days it even remotely feels like spring in Wisconsin! I did not know when I moved here that I was signing up for an endless winter. Thank God for fireplaces and hot cocoa.
This drastic, very welcomed change in weather reminded me that it's time for me to review some social media strategies I have been working on. After all, 'spring cleaning' is not just for our homes.
One mistake most brands make is writing one strategy (if they even do that) and using it for the year and beyond. First off, props to those brands for having a strategy in the first place. That already puts you ahead of the curve. However, a strategy is only as effective as it is relevant, and relevancy for social media fluctuates just about every other second.
Strategies shouldn't only be reviewed once a year, but also once every quarter, if not more. In fact, every time a social media network changes its algorithm and/or privacy terms, that specific channel strategy AT LEAST should be revisited. That means every one of us should be dusting off our channel strategies and rethinking them RIGHT NOW, due to all of the new terms of service being circulated by social networks.
Here are some key parts of the strategy to 'clean up' frequently:
Goals & Metrics
I can tell you right now the data changes about to hit pretty much every social media network will drastically change the way you are able to pull metrics. Not being able to pull as specific of metrics will drastically change your goals. After all, you can't have a SMART goal that you are unable to measure. Get super familiar with the new terms of service from each network, and with the melted down metrics you'll be able to pull. Then readjust your goals based on what you will actually be able to measure.
Once goals change, you can guess most every other part of your strategy will need some fine-tuning as well. Content pillars are the core of your strategy. They guide how you are relating to the consumer, what type of community you are creating and whether or not your content is resonating with your audience. These should be revisited THE MOST throughout the year, based on what topics are trending with your target audience and what they are responding most to online. You might think 'Education' is a sure win with your audience, but find that they actually are not engaging with educational content at all. Then it's time to nix 'Education' and replace it with a new pillar.
Target Audience Per Network
Your target audience overall will come from higher up strategies, such as your marketing or brand strategies. However, it's your job then to tailor it to the specific social media networks. Each social media network your brand is engaging with should have a different target audience. People that are heavily engaged on Facebook most likely are not Snapchatting on a daily basis. Make sure you are always up to date with stats of the most engaged audience of each social media network, and then tailor your own target audience for that network.
I am putting visual and video together because they are basically one in the same these days with the high focus on video content. Trends are constantly changing, and it's imperative that your visuals and videos reflect the changing times. Are your videos the length they need to be per Instagram's new rules? Do your photos have too much text for Facebook? Are people resonating more with your branded logo-heavy content, or with your UGC visual content? These are all things you need to constantly be asking yourself and then adjust the strategy accordingly.
This is something I am going to dedicate an entire blog post too soon because it shocks me how many brands disregard hashtags as a 'thing of the past.' WHAT?! No way. Hashtags might not have the search engine relevance they did at one point in time, but they certainly are still carrying their weight in the social media world. You should have at least one branded hashtag that you can build brand identity around, and then an approved list of popular hashtags that you engage with for brand awareness. The popular hashtags should constantly be revisited as new trends emerge on social media. **Friendly reminder to research, research, research the current use of a hashtag before popping it into your copy.
Hopefully, this post inspires you to dust off your 2018 social media strategy and revisit some key areas as social media networks evolve into this new era of data management. Don't let your brand fall flat and become irrelevant as times change. Do everything in your power to make sure your social media is on point and up to date. Your brand will thank you.
- Marji J. Sherman