Social strategy: Best practice on how to be successful in 2019

In a highly competitive business world, you want to stand out in your industry and be the BEST. With companies doing the most to grab your attention online, how do you ensure your social media strategy edges everyone else’s and at crunch time, allows you to make those all-important sales.

Now, before you go rushing into scrapping your current strategy (which may be working just fine, we aren’t here to judge) we recommend you do a full audit of your social channels; where are you spending too much money, or not enough money. Look at what’s working, what’s not and what could be improved on. There you have your starting point for either a simple zhuzh or a complete social makeover.

First things first, plan. We’re not talking a short-term, lets-throw-all-our-money-in-and-get-nothing-back plan. If you want your social strategy to work, you’ve got to be in it for the long haul and create a long-standing strategy that is going to work. A social media transformation doesn’t just happen overnight, but it will help your short-term gains, if executed well.

Set goals

What do you want to get out of social media? Brand awareness, sales, a wider audience? These are all questions you need to ask yourself before you start curating content, as this will need to correlate with your goals. Secondly, make sure your goals are actually achievable. We aren’t saying don’t dream big, but don’t get in over your head. For example, if you are a start-up company, it would be unrealistic to assume you could gain 500,000 followers on social media within the first month (unless you had an unbelievable PPC budget). Now, not to say you can’t achieve it, but don’t be disheartened if your numbers don’t match your media spend. You may also want to decide where you want to focus your leads on social, either through organic or paid means. For a start-up, paid means are essential to get your brand out there, but if you are an already established company just wanting a social refresh, you may just focus more time on organic content. Ensure your overarching strategy is reasonable and affordable for your business.

What social channels do you want to focus on?

Less is more. No really, it is. Being on less social channels allows a brand to focus time constructively and perfecting your social presence to get the most out of your strategy and audience. The aim is to have profiles on at least 3 of ‘The Big 4’ – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Linkedin depending on your company.

Follow your audience!

A financial services company would want to focus their marketing on B2B platforms such as Linkedin & Twitter, whereas an E-commerce fashion brand would be steering mostly towards Instagram, Facebook & even Twitter. Know where your audience is and curate your content to fit these platforms and your target consumers, which will ultimately lead to a higher conversion rate.

Go one step further and create a marketing persona for your ‘typical’ customer. Ask yourself “Who are they, how old are they, what is their average income?” …you get the gist. This will really help with content creation and targeting it effectively.

Building your audience

To build and grow your audience online you need to ensure your brand has an authoritative presence. To be seen as a trusted expert in your industry, you will reap the benefits and ensure your brand stands out above the rest. Produce content that is engaging and interesting but make it valuable.

What are your competitors doing?

Doing a surface-level analysis of your competitors is a must. It’s not about copying them, but just analysing their platforms, where they focus their content and what they produce (and if they’re doing a good job at it) will help steer your strategy to compete with them and highlight areas where you can fill in the gaps.

We’re sure you’ve probably done your market research and know who your main competitors are, but if not a simple google search will do the trick, especially if you are a start-up and could be unfamiliar with some of the big fish online.

What type of content are you going to produce?

There are two specific types of content, set out by Andrew & Pete in ‘Content Mavericks’. They are: Primary Rich Content and Secondary Conversion Content.

It is important to understand the differences, and how using each type of content online will help your business convert and grow. Primary Rich Content is focused on attracting consumers to your brand/ product. It’s not there to sell your brand, but to basically say “Hey, we’re here, look at what we do” and make it entertaining, and in-turn grow your audience i.e. followers; this will build your brands rapport. Rich content also needs to have some weight to it, so a blog or video content are all great uses of Rich media.

First off, your primary content needs to work in order for your consumers to get to the buying stage – whether that’s through social media, direct traffic or email marketing. You want your audience to be sharing and subscribing to your content online thus leading to the second stage: Secondary Conversion Content. This is designed to sell your product/services and the content needs to revolve around YOU. A good example of secondary content is through a gated channel on your website i.e. a webinar, e-book or online download, where the potential prospect must fill in a form in order to access the content. Here you can then tailor your marketing to an individual and sell in your products.

Define and Establish your most important metrics

Defining your metrics is a core element to your strategy that will need to be defined in order to gain success from it. Ask yourself what you want to get out of your strategy changes, what will be your most important metrics: Clicks, reach or engagement. Will you use hashtags, if so which hashtags? A brand has a niche and usually has industry specific hashtags that are recognised internationally and will connect you with likeminded people online. You can find these on all social media platforms e.g. Linkedin, as you write a post, it pops up with suggested hashtags for you. Don’t be afraid to use popular hashtags too that are relevant to your content, but don’t over use them!

Organic or Paid?

It’s important to establish where your main interaction comes from i.e. Paid or Organic likes. Do you get the most interaction on a sponsored or organic post? Once you have sussed this, you’ll be able to direct your marketing budget and strategy to fit in where you could improve on and also set targets of how many ‘likes’ or ‘shares’ you want to be getting via different means.

Reaction Time

It’s all well and good having great content to put out on social, but what’s not good is if your target audience aren’t seeing it! (we’re still cursing Instagram’s algorithms for their reverse-chronological order, btw) but this just means brands have to work twice as hard to get their content seen. Now, your audience is most likely to see your post if it relates to accounts and content they’re currently/previously interacted with on the specific platform, so you better do some deep-diving into who your audience is likely to follow in order for your sponsored post to appear, then if they follow you, you’ve increased your chances of your content being seen by an end user even more.

Once you have posted your content, make sure you’re around to catch the reaction. In a recent survey by Clutch, it explains that 83% of people expect companies to respond to comments/ queries on social media within 24 hours or less and 44% of millennials expect a response within an hour or less. So, if you’re planning to schedule your posts, ensure it’s at a time where someone on your marketing team is around to interact or respond to customer queries, even simply to direct them to your customer service team will show your brand in a positive light on social – with 72% of people more likely to recommend a company where they’ve had a positive social media interaction with them.

SEO impact

These changes will have a direct impact on your SEO and increase traffic to your site. By creating rich content, this will draw consumers to your site/ product and therefore build your domain authority, which in-turn will mean you rank higher on Google. Two factors that hugely impact a webpage’s credibility is Quality Backlinks and Internal Linking. Ensure the backlinks are high quality and ensure you run a regular backlink audit, and that they aren’t harmful to your site.

Lastly, ensure your main product pages are no more than 2-3 clicks away from the homepage, this is highly recommended. To make this easier if you have a large website, use breadcrumbs and internal search to ensure an efficient navigation around your site. Also ensure that none of your most important pages are ‘orphaned’ as Google can’t find them, and these pages will not rank.

This core functionality to creating a stronger social strategy and online presence will have a major impact on your business. Try not to just focus on just one thing, but try different techniques and changes at appropriate times, and your brand will reap the benefits in due course.