Over the last few weeks, I’ve been doing a fair bit of social media planning and strategizing for clients, which got me thinking more in-depth on how much goes into running and planning successful social media channels.
Social media strategy takes time, research and a lot of collaboration with clients in order to be successful. So when I came across this post on LinkedIn, it was so relatable and true to the point I want to make.
As social channels have evolved, they have demanded a steady feed of new content and high-quality visuals. It is important to step back and think how much goes into successfully running social media accounts even if sometimes we take them for granted. There’s strategy behind each post, and even more behind entire campaigns and annual planning.
Establishing overall goals
While social media has become a necessity for most organizations, you shouldn’t participate just for the sake of participation. Your organization needs a reason and specifics goals to be successful. These goals could be promoting your brand, products or services. They could be to inform, educate and interact with your followers. While these may seem obvious, you would be surprised on how many organizations lack a clear vision for their social channels.
Each organization will have different goals, which can take time to fully develop and will evolve. These goals shouldn’t be left up to the social media manager. Rather, you should have internal conversations with the leaders in your organization to establish a collective set of goals. Take time to develop a clear direction rather than just rushing to sign up for an account and figuring it out as you go. Setting distinct goals and having a clear purpose will get your social media planning off the ground properly.
Deciding on platforms
Organizations too often see a competitor on a specific platform and think they should be on it too. Avoid this temptation. You shouldn’t be on certain platforms just because others are or it’s trendy. Such spur-of-the-moment decisions to add a social media account often lead to an inactive page shortly after.
The best way to decide what social media platforms to use starts with being informed. Take time to review the latest data on social media trends to see which platforms align with your organization’s goals and audience.
For example, research shows Facebook is the preferred channel for adults over 50, while Instagram and Snapchat are popular with the 18 to 24 demographic. It’s valuable to know your own demographics and align them with current research to make an informed decision on which platforms are best for your organization.
Being on more social media channels does not equate with more followers or better engagement. It’s always better to manage one social media channel well than do a mediocre job with many.
Planning for success
I could write a whole blog series just on social media planning, which is a testament to how much time and energy social media truly takes. Planning is one of the most labor-intensive aspects of managing social media.
Any successful social account is derived from a comprehensive social media plan and calendar. Annual content calendars are essential, but they take time to develop and maintain. Start with planning out those “evergreen” events and topics you know you will always address on a yearly basis. Then go into current events that may be more unique, which will fill in your calendar even more. And of course, inevitable items will come up and are something to factor in, forcing you to rearrange planned content.
And the work is only halfway done once you’ve finished this step. There’s the actual posting of the content, which requires drafting and getting approval of social copy, deciding what visuals to use, capturing and editing those visuals, including or creating links and much more.
Engaging your friends
Success on social media is most commonly measured by engagement, such as likes, comments and shares. While you want your followers and the general public to engage with your content, a great way to get these numbers trending upward is to develop a strong internal support strategy. Arming your internal stakeholders with language they can use to promote the latest news from your organization helps cast a wide, uniform message.
This step can get the ball rolling for others to encourage them to jump on the “engagement wagon.” Internal stakeholders serve as advocates, further legitimize your messaging and each has their own unique following which will further expose the organization’s content.
It’s important to recognize those short videos and colorful photos that grab your attention don’t just happen without a lot work behind the scenes. When we become aware of that, we can appreciate the effort and meaning behind the content even more.