Your channel strategy should answer the following questions:
What social media channels do you need to be active on?
- For what purpose?
Think this through - and back it up with data where possible.
For example, maybe you know your younger audience is mainly active on TikTok and Twitter whereas the older segment is mainly on Facebook - but both will expect access to customer support via Facebook. You might then want to dedicate LinkedIn for recruitment, IR, and cultivating partnerships while Instagram is only for showcasing your company to potential recruits doing their research.
You know you have a good channel strategy if: everyone is aware of the purpose and KPI per each social media platform, and what activities you plan on maintaining per channel.
A content plan is usually a multi-faceted and ever changing mix of seasonal, campaign-focused, spontaneous and ongoing content for your team to publish and learn from. Let’s be honest: our world simply moves too fast to set anything in stone, and gone are the days of yearly planning.
A strategy, on the other hand, is very different. Your content strategy should have a clear and informed answer to the following questions:
- What type of content do we want to publish in each channel over a longer timeframe?
- What overarching story do we want to tell?
For example, maybe a product launch campaign will have content touchpoints on all major channels - whereas you will work with Stories and influencer campaigns on Instagram, test longform content and moderated discussion groups on LinkedIn, and try out some movable ads and giveaways on Facebook.
And most importantly, you know what story you want to tell about your brand regardless of content form and channel - you are the most innovative gadget company in minor Mongolia, and everything you create for social media will reflect this fact.
You know you have a good content strategy if: you have a clear plan for the type of content you will publish in each channel, and how it will help paint a bigger picture of your brand regardless of where and how your audience comes in contact with it.
What is a SMCC strategy? SMCC is a useful acronym for Social Media Customer Care. Why does customer support need a strategy? Because without it, your team won’t know how to best approach customer complaints (or praise), what metrics to stay focussed on, and how to stay true to your brand voice in this context.
Look at companies you think have a great social media presence in terms of support, and notice they have one thing in common: a cohesive approach. This can mean a dedicated support handle on Twitter, a unison way of responding publicly, and a script for how to transition public queries into private support while making sure other customers note that the complaint or feedback is being handled.
You know you have a good SMCC strategy if: everyone on your team know how to publicly respond to complaints, feedback, and praise in an on-brand voice: what metrics their activity is measured on: and of course, are all on the same page with actual errand handling (see the section on customer support above for more details).
Protip: most social media users complain or praise brands frequently, but few will actually tag the brand. Use social listening tools (we offer a great one) to find and respond to every mention - it is extremely appreciated by customers.
Customer journey strategy
This one is a bit more complex, especially if your organisation is not in the traditional B2C/ B2B space. But without a clear picture of what the lifetime journey for your audience looks like, you hamstring your communication efforts and might fail to make the most out of your social media channels. For a consumer oriented or B2B company, this strategy takes some time to put in place, but it is vital.
Why and where does someone find out about your brand initially? It can be from a recommendation, an organic search, an ad or through valuable content. Which of these touchpoints go through, or can be routed through and amplified with, social media? How does social media play into your sales funnel? Your upsell, customer retention, and loyalty? The answer is: where it makes sense - and you won’t know where it makes sense unless you map out the common paths. (Ideally, this is where you also do proper user group research.)
Non-profit organisations, local governments and departments, political parties and other types of organisations may not sell a physical product or have a “sales funnel” in the same way. But that doesn’t mean your audience doesn’t have very specific touchpoints with you over their lifetime. The better strategy you have in place for being there when needed, the better outcomes you will see across the board.
You know you have a good customer journey strategy if: you understand all typical and most possible paths your target group takes when engaging with you or a similar service, and can pinpoint the touchpoints where social media can be used to intersect with their needs.
What is your strategy for optimising everything as you go? Do you have measurable KPI:s? A way to follow up and take action on them? How will you optimise in practice - will you perform A/B testing of content, ask for feedback or set NPS scoring in play?
It’s not enough to have a vague intention to improve. You need to have an actionable plan and get your team on board to follow through. What data will you look at, when, how, and what is the process for taking action on the insights continuously? Having a written plan in place will move you further along into truly data-driven social media management.
You know you have a good optimisation strategy if: you have someone responsible for optimisation, you know what to measure, and you have a process in place for taking action on what you see.
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