Social media has gotten harder. Let’s just get that out there. Companies must plan for success. There are no quick ways to double revenue from 2 – 3 tweets per day. Gangnam style, The Evolution of Dance and Charlie Bit My Finger were flukes. Businesses, brands and politicians must have a social media strategy if they want to attract the right people and convert them to customers. Do you have a social media strategy? Most businesses don’t.

Should you hire a social media consultant?

A robust and successful social strategy is more than opening a Facebook account and expecting customers to flock to your page and buy your products. Professional athletes plan for success. No one wakes up in the morning and decides they are going to win the Super Bowl. Pepsi, Starbucks and Ford plan for social media success. Let’s look at what the pros do and how you can do the same thing…cheaper.

  • Audience – Don’t do anything until you have figured out who your audience is. Urban Outfitters appeals to millennials and Generation Z. They are not trying to market to black males over 65. Audience selection directs everything: content, social media channels and consistency. Donald Trump chose his audience carefully. His audience was the press. His tweets to the press brought in $3 billion dollars in free coverage. Tip 1: Define your audience
  • History – Businesses must know where they’ve been if they expect to grow. Look at your existing social media strategy and standings. How many Twitter followers do you have? How many Facebook “Likes” do you have? Don’t be embarrassed! Use these data as a starting point for growth. Review what has and has not worked for previous campaigns and tactics. Review topics that increased engagement and impressions. Tip 2: Establish a starting point

Social Media Strategy Template

  • Goals – Work toward a specific goal. A social media strategy clearly lays out quantifiable objectives. Do not base your goals on money or assign a dollar value to social media actions. This is a recipe for failure and frustration. Map out a strategy that leads to a 30% increase in followers or 50%increase in engagement over the next 6 months. Be realistic in your objectives. If you have 30 Twitter followers, you are probably not going to be at 30,000 in 6 months. Tip 3: Have a goal
  • Channels – Pepsi occupies space on all of the major social media channels. They can afford it. A focused social media policy will define which 2 – 3 platforms to use. Twitter is good to have a conversation with customers. Everyone uses Facebook. Snapchat appeals to millennials. Instagram has filters, pictures, videos and 500 million users. There is something for everyone, but choose wisely. Tip 4: Pick 2 – 3 social media channels (even Donald Trump only chose 1)
  • Analytics – Decide how you will know if you efforts worked. Pierre DeBois of Zimana Analytics recommends using Twitter analytics and Facebook Insights as an easy way to review top tweets and most engaged posts. Sprout Social and Hootsuite also offer reports on how well you are doing in your industry. When you invest a lot of time into your social media strategy, you want to know if it worked. Review your data at least once per month. If there is something that did not work well, change course and try again. Tip 5: Define your success

Social media is not free. Businesses that build lasting relationships with their clients invest time and effort into their success. Part of those relationships come from having a defined social media strategy. Like running a marathon, figure out where you want to go and how you are going to get there. Then start running.

Scientifically Speaking, of course…