A social media strategy defines how your organisation will use social media to achieve its communications aims and the supporting platform and tools it will use to achieve this. At a basic level it’s a simple statement of intent, outlining the goals and measurable objectives for using social media, and the target outcomes you want to achieve.

Even if you’re not actively involved in social media, other businesses are, including your competitors and most likely a significant proportion of your customers. Failing to understand that this is where many people hold conversations means you’re not part of the discussion, and you can’t influence what happens. If you don’t know what’s being said, how can you effectively manage your brand reputation online? And how can you ensure that your key messages are being heard by the people you most want to talk to?

The wonderful world of social media is not going away and here are six key reasons
why your business needs a coherent social media strategy and plan.

The social web still is growing

The latest research on social media usage according to a Global Web Index study shows that there are two key factors driving the social web:

  • Mobile – People accessing the internet via mobile increased by 60.3% to 818.4m between 2012 and 2014
  • Older user adoption – on Twitter the 55-64 year age bracket is the fastest growing demographic with 79% growth rate since 2012. The fastest growing demographic on Facebook and Google+ is the 45-54 year age bracket.

Improved mobile connectivity globally has increased ‘on the go’ social activity, from catching up on friends’ updates to sharing content and watching a video. Socialising is one of the key drivers for people and creating a targeted social media strategy will help you focus on using relevant platforms to connect with existing and new customers.

Purchasing decisions are influenced by social media

If the first era of social was audience building and engagement, the current era is focused on commerce and personalisation. All major platforms have heavily invested in their advertising solutions to lure marketers with the promise of improved APIs and smart targeting, including the ability to upload email lists to run personalised remarketing campaigns.

Research from Crowdtap revealed that 64% of 3,000 people surveyed use social to find inspiration for shopping (up 51% vs. prior year). This is driven by retailers targeting consumers with personalised offers and deals on social networks.

Nearly half (46%) of social media users are already using social platforms while thinking about making a purchase. 40% of users are actively deciding what to buy based on what they have seen on social media platforms, including reviews and recommendations, and this is only set to grow.

Without a clear strategy, how do you know what role these networks can and should play in your customers’ buying cycles? How do you know you’re not losing out on potential sales or trying to sell to people who aren’t looking to be sold to?

Lack of strategy hands the advantage to competitors

If you invest in a social presence without a clear strategy, you won’t know whether your campaigns are successful. For example, if you simply post content to appear active, how do you know that content is contributing to the business positively? What if it’s actually putting people off your brand?

A marketer with a strategy has a framework through which to plan, prioritise, execute, measure and optimise. This typically will lead to better results because the activity has direction, even if the direction needs to evolve and change as the marketer learns from real data.

With no structured approach to communication and measurement, you risk wasting resource on undirected activity. Meanwhile, savvier competitors will be working smarter at engaging customers based on clear goals, objectives and targets so performance is being measured, rather than results reported.

Your customers are active on social media

Mobile, social and the underlying technology have combined to provide an environment in which people can access, use and share information on their terms.

Deciding how to connect with a customer is not a tactical decision, it requires strategic thinking. Social needs to align with the other communication channels so its role is defined and understood, and there are processes and tools in place to cope with demand.

There are key influencers in every social network

Social media channels have a range of influencers, from the obvious celebrities to self-made social stars like video bloggers. High street retailers often employ trending influencers to amplify their marketing messages.

If you’re not part of their world, you’re not relevant. You risk losing mindshare to more socially aware competitors who are willing to be bold and innovative in their marketing campaigns. And if none of the key social influencers for your target audience are interested in your company and its products, it’s much harder to get your message across to the end customer.

Reputations can be enhanced or destroyed on social networks

There are good things that we can attribute to social media, primarily in terms of providing a voice to people and groups who previously struggled to be heard and of making information transparent and portable. However, it also amplifies the voice of discontent and jumping on bandwagons is also something that social seems to fuel occasionally.

There are high profile examples of companies facing a social media backlash and struggling to respond effectively. Even those with a social media strategy that includes crisis response find it hard. So how much damage could be done to your organisation if you don’t even have a strategy? It’s a risk you shouldn’t take.

Get in touch to find out more

For more information about how your business may be affected by Brexit and how Voodoo Agency can help you with your marketing, please call Simon on 07966 396 306 or send him an email at simon@voodooagency.com.