Social Media: Strategize Before Diving In

The need for social media is evident with a quick look at the numbers. 3.8 billion people use social media, 97% of digital consumers have used social media within the last month, and 43% of internet users use social media when researching things to buy. If a business is not on social media, it loses access to a massive market.

The need for social media strategy is evident with a deeper look at all of the benefits companies miss out on by jumping in without a clear plan. Social media is a powerful tool and works best when it is completely embedded into a company’s marketing objectives rather than added in as an afterthought. Business owners do not dive into business start-ups without a plan, so why do so many dive into social media without one? This article will take a look at the importance of social media strategizing and what happens without it.

Planning Helps to Achieve Results

All companies want to see results from social media, but not all companies are willing to put in the work necessary to achieve it. It’s easy to get lost and overwhelmed adrift the seemingly infinite social media options. When lost, opportunities are missed and time, money, and resources are wasted. That’s why setting clear goals, creating a plan, and tracking progress are so important.

Does a company want increased brand awareness, higher engagement, improved customer service, or sales conversions? The first step towards achievement is defining a purpose and setting S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound) goals. Results cannot be achieved without goals and an understanding of how to reach them.

After setting these goals, companies should consistently track their progress towards their targets with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). KPIs measure progress over time and allow companies to get instantaneous feedback on whether or not their strategies are working. If they are, then companies can push similar content. If not, companies go back to the drawing board to reevaluate. It is a constant back and forth of tracking and adjusting in order to optimize results.

Planning Helps to Maximize Resources

Without a social media strategy, companies waste resources. Conventional marketing methods of phone calls, emails, and mail are no longer efficient in reaching audience members. People are ignoring spam calls, moving emails straight to their junk folders, and throwing out marketing mail before even opening it. Not to mention, these methods are expensive and time-consuming. If done correctly, social media provides an avenue for companies to reach their audiences more quickly and affordably than conventional methods.

Because of this, many social media managers create a social media content calendar months in advance to ensure they are appropriately targeting their audiences. That means no posting just because. It saves time, keeps the company on task, improves posting consistency, and helps in creating higher quality content. Without a content planner, companies are more susceptible to missing out on big moments or making big mistakes — two blunders that could prove costly.

Planning Helps to Build a Voice

One of the coolest features of social media is its ability to give a voice to companies. Social media marketing should mirror exactly how a company would like to interact with its customers in real life. Through content and interactions, brands are able to get to know their customers and build personal relationships.

Social media also allows brands to define the message they are sending out to the world. Whether it’s explaining a current company problem, changing stances on a humanity issue, or altering a single customer’s perspective of the company with a customer service interaction, social media gives companies the opportunity to evolve and flip the script at any time.

But companies have to be careful with the words they choose, and that’s where a defined strategy and planned content are incredibly important. Just as easily as companies can use their voice for good, their content can also get them into trouble.

Planning Helps to Outperform Competitors

Over 90% of businesses use social media, and marketers spent over $89 billion on social media advertising and marketing in 2019. Companies are now investing more than ever before and dedicating full teams to social media management, all in an effort to get a leg up on the competition. With consumers now just one click away from a competitor, social media strategy and competitive analysis can make all the difference.

Companies should focus on building their own independent identities, but they should also analyze their competition and look for the value they can provide that their competitors are missing. What are their competitors doing and on what platform? Where did they succeed and where did they fail? How can they stand apart from the rest? All of these questions can help guide a social media strategy towards outperforming the competition.

Moving Forward with a Strategy

Clearly, social media strategy is important. In a best-case scenario, companies can get lucky without a strategy. In a worst-case scenario, companies not only miss out on tremendous opportunities for company growth, but they could potentially cause irreparable harm to their brands. As social media continues to evolve, more and more companies will realize it’s not enough to just be on social media. Companies need to maximize social media.