Digital Strategy Social Media

How to leverage social media effectively?

Social Media
Alain Perrier
Written by Alain Perrier

The social media landscape has grown steadily in the past few years: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, Periscope, Miitomo… Among social networks, we all know that Facebook is the most iconic. But if you are building a social media strategy, Facebook may not be relevant for your business. What I am saying is that you need to pick the right social media. Facebook may have more than a billion users, if your target is not there, it is pointless. Before choosing your social networks, I invite you to read the next section because you first need to define your strategy.

Define your social media strategy

The key is to know which people or business you are targeting and what your objectives are! I am not going to tell you how to define your business strategy but that need to be done upstream. I found an article to help you define your core business strategy, and If your objective is more personal, you should read the 5 keys for personal branding. It is still too early to choose your social networks. Now you need to ask yourself more specific questions related to social media:

  • What do you or your business want to achieve with social media? Don’t think too generic, I recommend you to use the SMART technique. Indeed, your goals need to be Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound. For instance, saying that your business wants to drive sales is not enough specific, you should go further.
  • What topics, interests, events… do they like? Indeed, the more you know your target, the more you can engage with them. Except if you just ignore these data, it will help you deliver the good message at the right time, and that is the key! If you take into account the answer to this question in your strategy, your return on investment will be much higher.

I recommend you to read 25 questions to help define your social media strategy.

Choose the right social network(s)

Social media icons

Now, you know your customers better, but you don’t know which social network to use. Should you create an account on each social network? Definitely not! Trying to leverage every social network is the most common mistake. Furthermore, it will cost you a lot and you certainly won’t have enough time and resources to manage them properly. Most companies outsource social media management for several reasons. Indeed, if you decide to do it yourself, you need to be aware that you will need expertise and time. Because you need to be reactive, you cannot let them die, or your branding will be undesirably affected. Being a social media manager is a real job, and if you want to put yourself in the shoes of a social media manager, I invite you to visit the checklist of a social media manager.

Each social network has its own specificity, its own culture and its own audience… You should learn more about them; it will help you make a decision to choose the right one(s). You can also check the demographics on each social network to help you select the social network(s) where your audience is.

Then you should decide what content you will share on each platform. Trying to broadcast your content on every platform is another common mistake. Social networks are not mass media, your message should be tailored to reach your audience more effectively. As you know, each social network has its own culture, and you should adapt to it to deliver the most relevant content.

What you need to know is that people do not care about features, they care about your benefits. You need to create value through your post, and do not always broadcast promotional messages every time. People want to know your story, that is why I recommend you to use the storytelling technique. They want to learn more about your back office: sharing events in which you were involved, making off of your video campaign, relevant research that you have done… And do not forget to engage with your community, reward them, thank them, ask them to vote, set up a customer service… You need to be human, and I recommend you to read what kinds of content to publish and share to help you come up with ideas. It is a good practice to assess what your competitors are doing as well. You can also make researches to find great sources of social media inspiration: from your customers, industry leaders and your competitors. I am not going to list every type of content that you can share, because it will depend on your personal or business objective. What you need to remember is that you need to diversify the content you share, while remaining consistent.

Create your social media planning

After identifying which content you want to share on which platform, you will need to plan it. It will help you being consistent and reach your objectives. You are now implementing your strategy, but you are not done yet. If you want to use social media effectively, you need to know which are the best times to post on each social network. This advice is useful, but it is not enough, it is too generic. You need to consider real life events and conjuncture as well to plan your posts better. Of course, if a tragic event occurred, you will certainly need to delay your communication to not been seen as a rude person. One more thing, controlling people on social media is impossible. Try just to anticipate the consequences of your publications to avoid the bad buzz.

Trying to do it alone is another common mistake. With social media, you can take advantage of other people’s network. That is why you need to identify influencers in your sector and try to connect with them to expand the reach of your publications. I recommend you to read the definitive guide to influencer targeting. You can also connect with bloggers that may relay your communication through their channel… What you need to know is that you need to be open minded, friendly and reactive. Engage with people and they will be loyal.

Finally, you need to test your social media strategy and assess what is working well. You can use social media analytics tools to assess the efficiency of your communication, and you can also read how to evaluate and optimise social media content. The key is to learn from your experience. If you realise that a post is not really engaging, you will certainly not share it again because your audience is not interested in the topic! However, be careful, do not take hasty decision. Many factors can affect the scope of a publication. It could be the time at which you publish time which was not relevant, the grip which was not persuasive enough, no picture or video was attached… Initially, you will not necessarily take the right decision, but with experience and step back, your strategy will be more and more effective!

Anyway, being a community manager is not an easy job, you almost have to handle many jobs at the same time, but it is really exciting!

About the author

Alain Perrier

Alain Perrier

Alain PERRIER is a student in Digital Business Strategy at Grenoble Business School and is currently working at La Banque Populaire des Alpes in digital transformation