Last updated on September 30th, 2020
Social media is amongst the most crucial business promotional tools that no company can afford to ignore. But, merely a presence on different social channels will not drive the traffic and yield the desired results. For that, you need to put in place an effective social media strategy right from the beginning. In this webinar transcript, social media planning expert Dorien Morin shares her experience on how to kickstart your social media strategy today.
Today, almost everyone is available on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. No business, big or small, can do well today without reaching out to a target audience on social media. Therefore, companies have to compete hard to grab the attention of people on different social channels. They need to make a unique social media strategy to enhance their reach amongst people and engage them with their brands. However, building a community on social channels is not an easy task. You have to keep some basics and then be innovative also to get the results.
To address such issues that businesses, especially small entrepreneurs, confront using their social media strategies, Designhill conducted a session to discuss with industry experts. The leading creative marketplace recently organized a webinar with Social media expert Dorien Morin-Van Dam where she discussed the topic- Kickstart Your Social Media Strategy Today.
During the webinar, Dorien covered all the crucial aspects of making the social media strategy. She discussed how to create engaging content, build community, ensure a brand voice and brand goal with transparency.
In the following excerpts from the webinar, Dorien will teach you the following social media strategy aspects:
- What a social media strategic plan is?
- What should be the structure of a social media strategic plan?
- Why you need a social media strategic plan?
- When you need a social media strategic plan?
- How to put it all together (goals, tactics, tools, and time)
Here Is The Video Of the Workshop With Dorien Morin-Van Dam
Here Is What Dorien Has To Say On How To Make Your Social Media Strategy For Significant Results
Dorien Morin-van Dam – In our agenda for this workshop is first to know about what is a social media strategy plan.
It may be that you see somebody is doing well on Pinterest, or a competitor is doing something amazing with video. You get pulled in all these different places, and you don’t know where to focus. That is where the social media strategic plan comes in the picture.
A plan helps you to focus
Once you have that plan, it helps you focus on what you need to do. It is like a roadmap, and it provides a starting point. The way a strategic media plan provides a starting point is that a social media strategic plan is to do a social media audit.
A social media audit is when you take a snapshot of what’s happening in your business. What are you doing on Facebook? What kind of content are you sharing? How many people are you reaching? What is the most popular content? That’s an audit.
When we use Google Analytics, we find that our traffic is coming from your blog, but maybe it’s Pinterest that’s driving it or Instagram. So, doing a social media audit provides you with a starting point of where you are now. Also, a social media plan will summarize your plans. After all, we all have some wonderful and great creative ideas about what we think we want to do with our business and what we might want to do on social media.
We might see that somebody has an incredibly successful campaign. But if we don’t have a place to put that plan or idea, then it gets lost. So, it summarizes plans.
The plan helps you outline goals
The other thing is that it will outline your social media goals. And this is especially important. Suppose you are not the business owner, and you are the social media marketer or the CMO. In that case, if you’ve never asked the business decision-maker why they are on social media, you are missing a huge opportunity to focus.
A social media strategic plan will allow you to find out what the ultimate goals are. You are on social media to help you define your marketing objectives. So, you should know what you want to accomplish with social media marketing. It gives you some strategies and tactics, and then, identifies your target audience. That’s where the sweet spot is in a lot of these plans.
This is because a lot of people don’t know who their target audience is. So they’re kind of talking to everybody. And if you talk to everybody, you talk to nobody. You have to know who you are talking to. You have to create an avatar and know who it is that you talk to on social media. Then, you can hone in on to the right message. You can create better Facebook ads, content, and know about the better platforms for your business.
Have a plan of action
A social media strategic plan also provides you a written plan of action. It is a roadmap right when you drive from place A to place B. You do not say that you are going from place A to place B. You have all these markers along the way. I’m going to have to take a left up here and I right up here and in about two miles, I’ve got to do this and go over a bridge.
40% of small businesses have no social media marketing strategy. That’s quite a big number. It’s not bad. If you are one of those 40 percent and you are here, you might have recognized that your social media marketing needs something that your business needs. You might have heard this expression that by failing to prepare and plan, you prepare to fail. Your social media isn’t working because you don’t have a plan. And you can work a plan if you don’t have a plan. So it would help if you put a written plan together.
Structure of a social media strategic plan, and what does that look like?
I have given one piece of the puzzle away already, which is a social media audit. But there are other pieces that you will need to put together for that social media strategic plan.
Analyze your competition
The structure of a social media strategic plan has some of these goals and objectives. It has that social media audit. It also has a competitor analysis. This is an important piece that a lot of people skip. But, there are so many great things you can learn from your competitors.
One of the things you can learn from your competitor is giveaways. That might be something if you are targeting the same audience that you might want to try. So, by doing a competitive analysis, you are going to get this quick takeaway.
Know what not to do
The other thing you are learning is what not to do. I recently was working with a client on a competitor’s analysis. We were moving but from one competitor from LinkedIn to Facebook, to Instagram. Then, we realized that they were posting the same content precisely with that same message by looking at that competitor. And the takeaway from that was, don’t be like that. So one of the things that we learned is that it turns us off. I said to her that now you have something that you can implement.
When you are putting content together, you make sure that you schedule it at different times, hone in on the message for each platform, and say something different on LinkedIn than on Facebook and Instagram. And, you will post it at different times because you are targeting a different audience.
Do Keyword Research
Now the big part of social media strategy is keyword research. This includes keyword research for your website. You have to know who your target audience is and what your competitors are doing. What kind of research you want. Keywords you want to be found for. So that is kind of a deep dive into keywords. It’s not something that you can not do on your own. There are some tools available to talk about that in a minute.
Have your hashtag strategy
Another thing that is part of the structure of a social media strategic plan is the hashtag strategy. We know that hashtags are important on Instagram, but they also play a huge role in Pinterest and LinkedIn. These hashtags are starting to be more active and more valuable on Facebook. Therefore, knowing what hashtags are important to your industry, what people are clicking on how people are searching for hashtags, and what hashtags are being used locally, in your industry, for your services, is super important.
Get an Avatar
One of the things that I want to add to this is the avatar identification – a target audience. Who are you trying to reach? Honing in on Avatar, that one person you want to talk to, helps you identify the language you use when creating content.
For example, one of my clients is a soccer club. I’ve been with them for a long time, and I use them as an example. When I started the strategic plan with them, the Board of this club was all-male, and it was soccer. And still, in the USA, more boys play soccer than girls. They had done some social media. Everything was geared to words, dads. I find out that talking to them and doing a deep dive is that their Avatar was the soccer mom.
This was because their customers’ journey started when a soccer mom had a child of about three or four. They were looking for an activity for their child, and the ideal Avatar was a mom with two or three children. She drove a minivan and might have played sports in high school. We put together all these interests and hobbies that she had. Once we had that Avatar, we started using her as an example of who to talk to, and then the conversation changed. People started to follow us on social media and started to interact and react.
Avatar gives depth to the structure
Having an avatar comes with this deep dive in this structure, and a social media strategic plan is crucial. It is important to have that so you can hone into your marketing message. The other part of this social media strategic plan that needs to come in here is how your offline marketing and social media marketing merge.
For example, a couple of years ago, I worked with somebody who wanted to have a quick start to social media. They did not have time for the social media strategic plan. This takes about a three to four-week system that I have in place to create. But they wanted me to start right away on their social media marketing. I do not want a social media strategic plan. I started them. This is a photographer. I started them in the spring. By the fall, he and I had a meeting, and we realized I walked into the office, and I saw something on the wall, and I’m reading it while I’m waiting for him.
He was an exclusive photographer for a local private beach. I have been doing social media marketing for him since the spring. The summer was over, and it was now autumn time. I never was on social media channels, mentioned that he was the exclusive photographer for that private beach where he could do family portraits, family gatherings. And he said he didn’t get any bookings. But, we didn’t have this social media deep dive. We did skip the social media strategic plan. We skipped something important that was needed for social media. But an offline activity would have helped our social media strategy.
When you are skipping this part, or maybe you are already active on social media, but you’ve never written down this strategic plan, you still put all these pieces together. You are probably leaving some important details on the table, some important things that you could be sharing on social media. This is because social media works best when all these pieces are together.
Social Media Voice
The last part that will come out of creating this plan is a social media voice. It kind of goes along with that avatar. And, some of you might use a sarcastic voice or a funny voice or serious voice, depending on who your client is or who you are representing. So it’s important to find out what works for the audience. By finding out the Avatar and what’s working and what contents work best with that social media audit, you can start honing in on a social media voice that might take a while.
But, from this social media plan, you should be able to start identifying pieces that together make up that social media voice.
So, let’s go to the next data. 64% of successful companies build their budget based on their strategy, rather than on their past behaviors. If you are a CMO, if you are a social media manager or in charge of marketing for your company, then you probably struggle with budgets. I know that because I get questions about that all the time. And the reason you struggle with budgets is that you haven’t laid out your plan. If you haven’t laid out your plan. If you don’t know if you want to work with influencers if you want to work with a brand ambassador.
Make a budget based on strategy
Or, if you want to do a whole video series, you don’t know what you are going to payout. But by laying out this plan, you can then also layout your budget. So, if you want to be successful, you need to base your budget on your strategy. And if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it, you have to be at the starting line. I’m also a marathon runner. I also love putting that in my presentations. If I go for a run, and I cannot tell you how frustrating it is, if I’m a minute in or miles or three miles in, or I forget to start my watch, I cannot compare what I’m doing that day to what I did another day.
This is because I’m missing data. I can’t measure it. I can’t measure my effort. If I forget, start my watch. So if you do not have an audit, if you do not have a snapshot of what’s happening now, you cannot compare and know where your growth is going to be. If you can’t measure, you can’t improve it. It’s kind of important.
Designhill: Why do you need this social media strategic plan?
Dorien Morin-van Dam – Let’s see how a social media strategic plan will help my business and how it will kickstart my business.
Get measurable data
The first thing is you get measurable data. It identifies opportunities. You have this plan, and then all of a sudden, you realize, you can share on social media that we also are this exclusive photographer for this private beat. Now your opportunities that are out there create focus. It lets you focus on your goals. It improves your efforts and saves money in the end, and it also gives you a competitive edge. If your competitors don’t know what you are doing, but what they’re doing, that’s power.
So, a social media strategic plan gives you a competitive edge and helps you analyze results. This is because if you have that snapshot of where you start, you can compare this month to next month. You should be able to compare quarter to quarter and compare year to year results. But if you don’t have that data and are not recording it, then you do not know how you are growing.
It also eliminates the shiny object syndrome. And it happens to the best of us who have a social media strategic plan. You see somebody do something, a successful campaign, launch something, and think you want to do that. And you go off on this into this rabbit hole, and you start going, oh, I want to do that too.
Lack of plan will leave you directionless
But, if you don’t have that plan, you are getting turned around and you might end up at home and not know where you’ve been. The last part that will come out of creating this plan is a social media voice. It goes along with that Avatar.
Some of you might use a sarcastic voice or a funny voice or a serious voice, depending on who your client is or who you are representing. So, it’s important to find out what works for the audience. By finding out the Avatar and what’s working and what contents work best with that social media audit, you can start honing in on a social media voice that might take a while.
But from this social media plan, you should be able to start identifying pieces that together make up that social media voice. But if you have the social media strategic plan, it should help you refocus on your goals. This is because if you open your plan every month, know that your main goal was to drive traffic.
You can find that your goal was not to have this XYZ thing that I’m working on. It does not let you go on the wrong side of that roadmap. Surely, we sometimes make little detours on our route to go somewhere, but it still lets you get from point A to point B. But if you don’t have that plan, you are getting turned around, and you might end up at home and not know where you’ve been.
So, let’s go to the next data. 64% of successful companies build their budget based on their strategy, rather than on their past behaviors. If you are a CMO, if you are a social media manager or in charge of marketing for your company, then you probably struggle with budgets. I know that because I get questions about that all the time. And the reason you struggle with budgets is that you haven’t laid out your plan. If you haven’t laid out your plan. If you don’t know if you want to work with influencers if you want to work with the brand ambassador.
Designhill: What strategies and steps do a digital marketer needs to turn leads into paying customers when using social media?
Dorien Morin-van Dam –That is digital marketing and a paid strategy. But I’m going to talk. I’ll talk to you real quick about that. And you have to make sure that you do both. It is important to have a paid strategy, as well as an organic strategy. But the most important part of that is that your teams are working together.
Often bigger companies might have a sales team, a marketing team, and a revenue team. They are not talking to each other. So, the most important part is that you create and have this strategic plan and share it with the other departments. You have the same goals. You have led into sales, and you have to talk as a social media marketer.
Teams should work together
I am an organic specialist, and I don’t do a lot of paid promotion. But as a social media marketer, I’m responsible for leads, the sales team, whoever’s writing the sales copy, or whoever is creating the website and the landing page. They’re responsible for the conversion part of it. So if they have one idea, and I have another, I can drive traffic. But if I drive the wrong traffic, there’s no conversion. And if we’re not talking, somebody is going to tell me, and your social media isn’t working. Then you are not making any sales.
But, if we’re not working together, then those great leads might be the wrong leads. So, to create leads into conversion, your different teams should be talking to each other and have a shared strategy with the same goals and the same objectives. That’s the most important part.
Designhill: What is the way to motivate user-generated content for a small e-commerce business, without a contest?
Dorien Morin-van Dam – When you want user-generated content and fun content, there are some different incentives that you can give related to your e-commerce. So put a fun sticker in the box that says, I love your company. You can create little videos, and if you want people to do it, you can get some friends, family, and fans to create sample videos like unboxing videos. The more you share, the more they want other people might want to do it too.
Offer some gifts
But I would say many out of the box ideas would be to put something in the box, right to surprise people. People want to feel special, and if you want to have a customer for life, they’re willing to pay for it. We will talk about retention marketing in the next couple of slides, but they’re willing to pay for good quality and incredible customer service.
So suppose I have four dogs, and I order my dog food online. I also order my pet medications online, and every box that I get there’s a dog bone in it. My dogs are more excited than I am to get it because they can smell the dog bone. And, there’s a little surprise in the box. If you put a little sticker in there or a little key chain or something that has your branding on it, they can use a little gift. The gift can be a little handwritten note. Even it might take some effort and a little bit of a budget or money.
Think out of the box
But I would say think outside the box of what you can do when somebody opens your product to surprise them. This is because when you surprise people, you make them feel good. They’re going to talk about you online. It could be that you randomly put in a $2 or $5 Starbucks gift card and say, hey, we just want to make your day today. When you do something unexpected, I guarantee they’re going to be super excited and share and tag you. The more you do that, the other people will do it too. So for that, I would recommend thinking about outside the box to put something in the box.
Do not ignore organic social media
If you are doing any sort of paid advertising or one digital marketing campaign, and you are the company’s decision-maker, make sure you do not ignore organic social media.
Paid social media promotion enhances organic efforts, and organic social enhances paid campaigns. It’s that social proof that you need if you are running ads to a Facebook page, or even to a website, but you are not having conversations online. I see this when people sell products as you go there to their Facebook page after you’ve clicked on an ad. There’s nothing on the pages, no conversations, I don’t trust them to be somebody there that will provide customer service. So you are paid.
That organic effort enhances your paid social campaigns, and that organic effort enhances your paid campaign. So, I just want to kind of make that point that to merge that when you are creating that strategy, you keep that in mind that we don’t forget that there are those different parts. As an organic social media specialist, I often talk about content creation, which I’m all about.
And I know that’s what Designhill is all about. It’s about the content that’s being seen. But if you are doing paid campaigns that both of these together make you strong. So I just wanted to kind of make that point. Ninety-five of employees do not understand the organization’s social media strategy. I would assume that 95% of the employees are the ones who aren’t going to be doing marketing for you as a business owner. So that’s not a very good number.
Adjust and analyze the plan
I think it’s super important that everybody on the team gets input in the strategy and that everybody on the team understands the goals. Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, and then tactics about strategies and noise before defeat. So, you need to make sure you have a strategy and have tactics to get there. But it doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. I just want you to know, guys, I’ve made strategic plans, and we adjust them. We look after a month, two-three months. We might be implementing a tactic that’s not working. So don’t go on for another two months or three months just because it said so in the strategic plan.
The idea is that it’s a fluid plan, and you need to adjust it and analyze it. So it would help if you had this in place to refer back to, but it’s not a static plan.
Designhill: When do you need a social media strategic plan?
I want to give you that when is a good time to create a social media strategic plan. Therefore, when you are starting a business. That’s great. I’m sure that you create a business plan. But do you have a marketing plan? And do you have a social media strategic plan? If the answer is no, that is a good time to have one.
Put a plan when launching a product
When you have a new product, a service, or a new offering, it is a great time to put together a social media strategic plan or update it. If nothing else, you should do one every year, and I usually do mine at the end of October or November. It’s a good time for my own business to look back on what’s worked and look ahead to the holiday season.
Many people are thinking ahead to next year, so I’m usually creating strategic plans for people. October through December is a busy time for me. When you are rebranding, it is important to put all your ducks in a row when things aren’t working.
So, you are here because your social media isn’t quite working, and you want to kick start creating a social media strategic plan that is going to work for you. You find pieces that you’ve left on the table to get inspiration to new ideas on what to do and where to spend your money.
And this is kind of like that 2020 vision when your headlights aren’t on. The best rearview mirror available isn’t going to improve your driving. You’ve got to look ahead, and you’ve got to go with what you have. So how are we going to put this all together? I know this is the meat of the presentation. I know you want to know how to put it all together and what all the pieces are.
Designhill: How to put social media plans together?
Dorien Morin-van Dam – The first part that you need to understand is that it needs to be a shareable and workable document. It needs to be flexible. You have visual or written content, but the best plans usually are the ones that have both. You could start with a written plan. You can then create an infographic if you need or data graphs, or put it in a PowerPoint. You can also make like a Canva presentation. But put it all together and use a shareable workable document that you share with your teams, that’s the first thing.
I think it is important to understand who needs to be part of this plan. When you do a social media strategic plan, the sales team needs to see it. The business owner should see it and be part of putting it together and creating it, and that’s going to be the next slide. So I start every social media strategy with a discovery deep dive.
Pick the decision-maker
Who is going to be with the decision-maker of the company? It could be the CEO, the owner, or it could be anybody. If you are a solopreneur, a coach, or an entrepreneur, it’s you. And it starts with that deep dive discovery. The best way to do this is to do it with somebody else asking you the questions. It would help if you had somebody to bounce these questions off.
But here are some of the things that you need to discover deep dive. The questions you are going to ask are who your target audience is, who your best customer is, and your most profitable customer? Who is your most long-lasting customer? What’s the customer journey? All these things you need to understand to create that Avatar is in this deep dive. I usually take a 90-minute session to get all the answers.
Find out what else to do for marketing
This is also where you ask the decision-maker what other marketing efforts they have? I cannot tell you how many people I’ve worked with that as an afterthought said, Oh, yeah, we’ve got TV ads running, or Oh, yeah, we’re on the local radio, oh, I just bought 1200 dollars worth of ad space in a local magazine. Those things need to be put in your social media strategy plan because you can enhance what you are doing offline. Online.
So the deep-discovery dive has all that information in it. Once you have that deep dive gone, you will create the structure of this document with those goals and objectives that we talked about that social media audit that you did that snapshot of what you have, you are going to add the competitors’ analysis to it. I usually say three to five competitors.
Five is probably ideal. When I work with a business owner or decision-maker, I ask them to give me their competitors. I’m not going to choose competitors for you. Who your coming Redditors are? Who has a business setup like yours? It could be a local competitor. That vies for the same target audience. It could be a competitor and a completely different city that offers the same products or services to a local audience.
You will add the keyword research that you did the hashtag strategy, put all of that together in one document. Do the deep discovery dive to get all the answers about your target audience, Avatar, business, offline marketing, etc.
You put it all together. The next thing you are going to do is you are going to draw up a conclusion. you are going to create three-month goals and objectives six months, 12 months, and then, of course, you need to make sure you do this review. But what do you want to put in that conclusion? Do you want to put it in there? What is possible if you could dream big, put your dreams in there.
If you had an unlimited budget, what could you do? What could you reach? What is Some easy low hanging fruit? What are some strategies that you can implement right away that you saw one of your competitors do that you are leaving on the table, that is something quick that you can do? Put that in there that might be a three-month goal. Maybe your branding needs to be updated. That’s going to be in the first three months. Maybe you want to start a podcast, but you are unsure how to work it or what the podcasts are going to be about.
You put that in your six-month goals. Maybe you want to work with influencers or start a YouTube channel, or maybe in six months or 12 months, and want to have a virtual conference. But all those dreams, those ideas in there in that conclusion, and then you are going to put them in the three months, six months, 12 months. And so you give them space, so you don’t feel like oh, I’ve got to do everything now, right? you are going to organize them.
That’s how you put it all together. And then first, it’s a written document. It could be Google Drive that you can share with everybody on your team. And then you are also if you are visual, if you have a visual team, you can make that into a PowerPoint slide and share that with everybody. Remember that pin at the beginning that I said; we will put a pin in it.
Now you can see when you have all these three months, six months, and 12 months goals and objectives, and what your competitors are doing, and your dreams and, you might want to start the podcast, or you might want to start that YouTube channel or work with influence or ambassadors.
Put an editorial calendar in place
Then, you can create the editorial calendar, because you are going to put on an editorial calendar, we will hire a photographer for a day, and we’re going to do a photoshoot in October to get ready for the holidays. You put that on the editorial calendar, and you can put a budget on there. So now, you can create your budget. You can also create that content calendar and set your budget because what you want to do if you want to do a virtual event next year, right in 12 months, now what you need to put in your budget for 2021.
You can choose your tools, because you again, what you are going to need to accomplish. If you want to do a giveaway, you might need to put in the budget that you need a tool to do that giveaway. So you want to put that in the budget. If you need to outsource video editing, say you want to start that YouTube channel.
Still, you are new, you have nobody on your team that can do video editing, you are going to put that on there, and that strategic plan in six months, we need to adjust the budget because we need to have a video editor. We’re going to outsource that to a freelancer, right, you will review what you do in three months, six months, and 12 months you are going to test them analyze weekly. I’m going to give you something if you are a social media marketer.
The plan helps you relax
Most of you probably here are marketers and business owners. A social media strategic plan does the number one thing it does; it gets out of your head. The plan lets you empty your head and lets you relax, and let you have a proven way to move forward. That’s the number one reason you should do this. You can’t be creative if you have all these things in your head swirling around. But, when you put it on paper, it will give you that space to dream even bigger. And that’s like the number one thing,
I have a little sticky note to remind myself to tell you, the number one thing you want to do this, it’s going to create that space for you to do the things that you love, and it’s going to create this opportunity. I’m not good at video editing, so I will outsource that, put it in the budget. Henry can do that. And, I’m not good at taking photographs, and we’re going to hire a photographer, we’re going to put it in the budget. So we’re going to have this awesome holiday campaign that we’re planning for.
This allows you not to have to do it all yourself and not feel like it’s all on you. It helps you take advantage of the team, and I think that that will be worth so much to you 85% of business owners aren’t sure what social media tools to use. We have something to give away to you. We’re going to have a tool checklist I’ll give you in just a second to find that on my website.
But suppose you plan your work, and then you work your plan, write, plan. In that case, you work with the strategy and then, work that plan, work that strategy, one month, one week at a time you review it every month, you’ve reviewed quarterly, you review it yearly, and you build upon that because you can’t measure you can’t grow what you can’t measure, right.
So this is what you do with your plan. Once you have it, you will distribute it to everybody on your team, your sales team, your, your CMO, and everybody who needs to be that part of your team. You will refer to your plan often. You keep it nearby to review your goals. I cannot tell you how often that happens. You may say that your goal changed. Wait, why is this not working? Oh, wait. Alright, the goal was to do XYZ, and we’re doing ABC. Okay, let’s refocus, update at least once per year and use this plan as your social media playbook.
Designhill: What do you suggest to get that organic boost in the initial few hours of posting something?
Dorien Morin-van Dam – There are lots of different ways you can boost your organic reach, and again, it depends on your goals. Why do you want that reach, and what are you going to do with it? So you can, if you have any employees, if you are working with a team, you can certainly ask your team to keep an eye on it and say, hey, I just posted something cool. Do you want to engage with it? So that’s one way to do it. Get employees to help out now and again, don’t do that every day. But that’s one way to do that. And post something at a time that you normally don’t post and rely on your insights.
If you are talking about Facebook, see that when most people are online, I cannot tell you how many people I talked to that post between nine and five because they’re online. If your target audience, you should know when they’re online.
For example, if your avatar includes that soccer mom that I was talking about earlier, the soccer moms I know their habits because I’m one I have three boys that played soccer and nine o’clock at night. My kids are done with homework. They’re in bed. I’m watching TV, and I have a second screen. Right, I have my phone with me. That’s when you should if your avatar includes a soccer mom, you should be posting at nine o’clock at night between nine and 11 because that’s when moms have their feet up, finally, sit and relax, and they’ll be on their phone scrolling Facebook, another good time is six o’clock in the morning. Most moms are up before their kids.
Evoke an emotion
The first thing they do is if that’s part of your avatar, they will pick up their phone, and they might be in the car in the kitchen, drinking a coffee at 6 am scrolling their Facebook. All we want to do with social media with a post, you are trying to evoke an emotion. If your post is not going to evoke any emotion, it’s not going to have traction.
So before you post, ask yourself, what emotion will this evoke? Will it evoke anger, happiness, or sadness, or will people belly laugh? Is it a funny meme? So, create, make sure that it has if you are posting something, but you don’t have a call to action and people you are not asking them to like or share? Or what do you think you are not asking a question?
Engage people with your comments
To boost an algorithm, you have to do a post that invites engagement. I guess that is about giving a long answer to a quick question and evoking emotion. You should ask questions and be present. Even if you scheduled a post at nine o’clock at night, if people start commenting, you need to have a community manager who answers questions and asks follow up questions. To boost the algorithm, if somebody comments, you comment below them, and they comment again, which boosts the algorithm. So you want to have conversations with people. Those are just a few ways that you can boost that organic reach in those first few hours.
Designhill: What are some relevant metrics to calculate it, especially in case of a bootstrapped startup?
Dorien Morin-van Dam – The ROI of social media is hard to measure. It comes down to creating that plan and figuring out the digital and the paid, and the non paid part. Also, it involves the sales team and what their goals and objectives are. If you don’t set KPIs, goals, and what you want to reach, you can’t measure. But bigger companies are usually better at it.
They have a bigger team, but if you are a bootstrap startup, create an online community. The best ROI that I’ve seen is from not trying all these things and paying for stuff. Instead, it is in being a genuine company that is different, customer-centered, has an active community, and your brand ambassadors. Then, super fans will start talking about you.
Start with customer-centric ideas
So if you are looking to bootstrap and get that bang for your buck, then start with customer-centered ideas. You should have that Facebook group, do special things, and be present. It needs to be focused on the customer, and then other things will happen. From social media, what you can measure is traffic from your social media sites to Google Analytics. As a social media manager, you need to have access to that. It would be best if you looked at that on Instagram. If you have more than 10,000 people following you, you have that metric. And if you have a smart bio, in, on your Instagram, you can see how many people visit.
There are all kinds of different metric metrics that you can look at, and these are part of that organic. Of course, if you are running Facebook ads or Pinterest ads, you will get lots of data and analytics for that. But you have to decide what your goals are before you can measure anything.
So your goal might not be traffic or foot traffic into your local bakery. So how are you going to measure that you are going to have to have a coupon code and ask people at the register to sign-up, or you have a loyalty program? That could be a social media goal to have foot traffic into your local bakery.
Therefore, you have to be creative in finding out how to measure that success. I have one client that I work with. Their measure is how often their phone rings and people say I’m calling you because I found you on Google. Everything we’re doing is Google center, Google, my business, and their blog. And everything else we’re doing is the icing on the cake.
But, that SEO for Google and Google My Business is what we’re focused on, and their phone rings. If we stop blogging, creating that content, feeding the Google machine, their phone stops ringing. Understanding your goals is the first step, and then comes the measuring and having that ROI.
Designhill: What should be the strategy to handle negative reviews?
Write down a crisis plan
First, you can’t always delete a negative review off of Facebook or Google. Therefore, you should create a plan. Just like you create a social media strategic plan, you create a plan for a crisis. Write down all the steps that you want to take if somebody leaves a one-star review. Do you want to get the CEO involved? How do you want to handle it? Do you want to write out all the steps? I think that when somebody has a one-star review, don’t ignore it.
Do not apologize
You should not apologize for something you did online. If you apologize, they could take a screenshot, and then you admit guilt. You don’t say I’m sorry. We made a mistake. And don’t ever offer something for free online in a public forum after somebody says, hey, this broke, and you say, oh, just let us know, and we’ll send you a new one. You don’t do that online. This is because you get 500 other people doing the same thing. Therefore, take the conversation offline.
Take the conversation offline
Instead, you go and say, I hear you, I’m sorry, and dealing with this issue. Here is the number. Can we have your contact number, or here is our customer service email address. We’d love to discuss this with you in private or in person, whichever way you want to say it. And, then when everybody is satisfied, you ask them to fix a one-star review into a four or five or three, whatever they want to do, but you want to take the conversation offline if you say something, so they have a one-star review.
You say hey, let’s take a conversation online, and they blast you again. You can do one more, I always say two strikes in there out, you do one more and say I, we hear what you are saying, We are here and willing to discuss this with you. Let’s take it offline, and you try one more time, say this kind of the same thing. If people then blast you a third time, stop responding.
When people read the review and see that you calmly direct them offline, you want to have a conversation with them, and they’re just blasting, people will see it for face value, right.
But have that crisis plan in writing before it happens. That’s part of social media strategy as a marketer, always knowing what the answers are going to be and what customer service issues might come up. It would help if you had frequently asked questions and standard replies, and then also have somebody in charge. And if it escalates, write down who it is going to escalate to, if the CEOs to get in charge of the business owner are involved, have that written crisis plan.
Designhill: Which platform such as FB, LinkedIn, or Instagram, etc., should a new business first pick up?
Know your competitors
If you are a brand new business and don’t have any social media, I would look to your competitors. I would do those competitors’ analysis ASAP. It would be best if you looked at what others in your industry are doing. Maybe they’re on Pinterest, on LinkedIn, or Facebook. Find out where they are and what they are doing and what they are sharing. Are they on YouTube? What does their website look like? Are they offering product services on their website? Do that competitor analysis because that will give you all the information you need to know where you should start.
Suppose they’re successful on YouTube. Three of your competitors or five that you are looking at will tell you right then that you should be on YouTube. That’s where your competitors are, and they will have success. So you most likely also will have success if they’re on LinkedIn. Even one of them is kicking it out of the ballpark on LinkedIn. Then there’s an opportunity. So three of them are not doing LinkedIn one is doing it well, then, there is a lot of room for you to move in and do it.
If one of them is successful on Pinterest, then find out what that company is doing. Take that as inspiration and go to Pinterest, even though the others are not doing well. Go to the data, get the data from your competitors, see where they are and what they’re leaving on the table. Find what they’re not doing, what they’re doing well, and doing badly. Then from that, formulate your plan on where you should be.
Designhill: What do you have to say about people who buy followers?
Dorien Morin-van Dam – There are different ways to look at that. You may be a business owner who is only looking at vanity metrics without having a social media strategy. You may be opening up Facebook once a month and have 800 followers, but your competitor has 20,000 followers. What’s my team doing? That is where you may think that you need to buy followers because the CEO is upset with us. But when you buy followers, you dilute the message.
Therefore, it is much better to talk to 800 interested people who are exactly your target audience on Facebook. You can retarget that audience with ads. Those people become your brand ambassadors, whom you can put into a Facebook community. You can invite their friends who love your product and test your next product and then have 8000 followers. But none of them engages with you, and your reach is zero as they’re in a different country. They will never buy your product.
Avoid buying followers
It’s just vanity metrics when you buy followers, now that’s on Facebook, say it’s on Instagram. If you buy a bunch of followers, most of the time, you are going to have bots. And so maybe you’ll pay for it. So you have the 10,000 k swipe up feature, but then they’re going to drop because all of the time, Instagram is trying to find them, and they’re going to deactivate those boxes.
One of the metrics that we look at is how many followers your health have versus how engaged they are. So if you have 800 followers, and per post, you get 100 likes, that’s good. If you have 8000 followers and suppose you get ten likes, those metrics will deep dive, that’s not very good at all. So, it depends on what you are measuring and how you measure it. I don’t think it’s ever a good idea to buy followers. And I know that’s so tempting when you startup.
I would say when you are a startup, get your employees and friends involved. It is okay to ask them to like that page. But get some great content out there, put some engagement ads on that content, and invite people to like the page. Grow it that way organically because you are going to have the right target audience from the start. It’s better to talk to five people who want to buy your product than to have 500 who will never buy from you.
These are the prominent tips you should pay attention to when doing your social media strategy. Make sure that you focus on each point and step that you take. But do not lose your patience as the results will take time to come as per your efforts finally.
Besides social media strategy, you must also ensure that your brand’s visual identities such as logos, brochures, business cards, websites, etc. are unique and impressive.
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A social media strategy for your brand is essential in these times when your target audience is active on Facebook, Twitter, and other channels. But you must not ignore organic social media practice and think out of the box to come out with unique new ideas. Start with customer-centric ideas and engage people with your content.