3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Creating a Social Media Strategy

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Social Media Week

Just being on social media isn’t enough to justify your time and effort. You have to figure out what you want people to do in response to your content.

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You have a social media strategy that engages your customers, encourages loyalty and leads to sales. Right? Well….how do you know? Your customers may share some of your content, write comments on your social pages and watch some of your videos, but you must ask yourself: Is that all there is?

In order to focus your strategy and get customers to do what you want, you have to know what you want them to do. That requires answering these questions before you spend lots of time and money to execute a strategy.

Here are the three questions you MUST ask yourself:

  1. What do I want to achieve with my strategy?
  2. Who do I want to attract?
  3. What do I want the target to do?

1. What do I want to achieve with my strategy?

It is important to set goals with metrics to measure them. There are relatively few goals that are worthwhile for a social media strategy, but they can really help you determine where to invest your energy. The major goals are:

  • Increase your search engine rankings
  • Engage with your customers
  • Build brand awareness or specific brand beliefs
  • Reduce your costs for customer service or media
  • Sell more products or services

Once you decide which of these are most important to you – you can start to decide who you want to attract who will be mostly likely to respond to your communications. For example, let’s say you want to increase your search engine rankings. In this case you have to execute strategies that will help the search engines notice your brand. That includes developing excellent content with the appropriate keywords, links and site development.

If you want to engage with your current customers more, you should be producing content that they want. One way to start is to ask them what they want and deliver it. If you choose to build brand awareness, you are looking to reach more people beyond your current customers. Strategies for growing awareness are to seek out bloggers, tweeters and others with large audiences and give them content they want to share.

If you want to reduce costs, you may have to analyze the net results from different social platforms and compare to your current media mix. These days, paid ads in social media will not be cheap, though there may be good opportunities in mobile.

2. Who do I want to attract?

This question will really help you determine which social media sites may give you the most bang for your buck. If your customers are on Facebook, but not visiting your page, they will not see your content unless you run an ad. So, why are you spending so much time and money updating your page, asking questions and producing content specifically for Facebook?

It is only a reasonable strategy if your customers are engaging with you on Facebook or your business is so social that people share your messaging. For example, one of my colleagues has a business that is uniquely social and her business is shared almost exclusively on Facebook. As such, it’s a good place to run content. She does not need to post on Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn or Snapchat. That would be a waste of her time and money.

Do an analysis to determine which social sites your target uses and whether they are likely to engage with you there. If not, it may be better to reach out to bloggers who can connect with your customers or potential customers and help raise your rankings.

3. What do I want the target to do?

As you know social media users are there because they want to engage with their friends. They are much less likely to seek out companies and brands with which to interact. Research from Kentico found that 68% of those surveyed say they hardly ever or never pay attention to what brands they ‘like’ post on Facebook, suggesting that many people are not on social media to connect with companies. Here is a link to Kentico’s Study.

So, just being on social media isn’t enough to justify the effort. You have to figure out what you want people to do. Do you want them to engage with your brand? If so, how do you want them to engage and why do you want them to do so? For example, you may want your customers to share content so that you raise your search engine ranking. You may want people to share to build brand awareness and attract new customers.

Remember that content you post on your Facebook page is NOT likely to be seen by people who ‘like’ you as Facebook’s Edgerank limits what people see in their newsfeeds. A study done by Locawize (as reported by the Social Times) in March 2015 found that people saw less than 3% of a brand’s content for pages with over a million followers – and this percentage is shrinking.

In short, know your goals, your target and what you want done and focus your strategy on those areas.

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Randi Priluck

Professor of Marketing and Director of the MediaStorm Masters in Social Media & Mobile Marketing, Pace University


Dr. Randi Priluck is Professor of Marketing & Director of the MediaStorm Masters in Social Media & Mobile Marketing at Pace University. She currently teaches graduate Social Media & Mobile Marketing Strategy and undergraduate Social Media in Marketing. Her book, titled Social Media & Mobile Marketing Strategy is forthcoming from Oxford University Press and she has published widely in a variety of marketing academic journals including: The Journal of Advertising, The Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Psychology & Marketing and the Journal of Consumer Marketing. The MediaStorm Masters program is a joint effort by the Lubin School of Business at Pace University and MediaStorm, the second-largest independent media planning and buying agency in the U.S. Media Storm works with some of the most well-known digital, entertainment, and retail brands in the world. The agency brings a unique media model that places unpaid media at the forefront. Founded in 2001, it has offices in New York City, Los Angeles, and Connecticut. The program offers students opportunities to work directly with MediaStorm executives and their clients on special projects in social media & mobile marketing.

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