|Is It Time To Double-Check?|
"There is nothing so useless as efficiently doing something that shouldn’t be done at all." - Peter Drucker
Some years ago, omnipresence was the social media trend for almost all brands. With each freshly minted social network coming alive, brands gleefully added a new button to their company’s websites and proudly invited their respective audiences: "Connect with us on (fill in the blank)", adding any new platform name within the blank.
The "If you build it, they will come" approach used to manage social networks appeared to work for some, but for many of us who hopped on every network just because "everyone else did," the trees fell but nobody heard them.
Even though it was common sense, nobody paid attention to the fact that brands should only engage with audiences that a) really existed, and b) were willing to pay attention to them. As I said, even though it was common sense, yet many continue to project their business or personal voices into an empty space.
And many continue doing so today. This might largely be due to the powerful force of our habits. It's very hard for most of us to alter or pull the plug on "something we've always done" and it’s worst when what we’ve done has worked.
You might be posting your social content pretty much on schedule, following specific guidelines and using social media engagement platforms that make it easy to go as if you were going on autopilot. You might even think you’re doing it very efficiently. That’s granted.
But as Drucker Reminds us all in just 88 characters: there's a critical and important distinction effectiveness and efficiency.
If you've reached the point where you feel the voice of your company or business is not resonating with your audience, do not generate interaction, you're not getting the results you had imagined at the beginning of this mess, maybe it's time review your strategy from a broader perspective.
1. Review and redefine your goals.
In some instances, you may have to start by defining goals, or reviewing those that were established before. This is quite a critical step (and will always be) but it’s often overlooked by most brands on social media.
How can you know that you get there, when you didn't know where you're going?
You’ve spent the last five years amassing an army of fans and followers in your social profiles, but now the question is: What do you want to do with all of them? (Or more importantly, what do they want to do with your business?)
Make a list and include all the social channels you're on and clearly define what you want to achieve with each one. Is it selling? Is it customer service? Recruiting new talent? Showcasing your company’s culture?
You could be using some channels to achieve a couple of things or more, but without clear goals, you have nothing to measure your progress with.
2. Take a deep look at data.
If you are used to planning before implementing actions, then data will always trump your intuition. And, in an age when all of us are under big pressure to justify where we are putting our money and resources, data is a powerful ally.
Data should always be used to back up your strategies.
I’m not trying to say that analyzing data should be more important than being creative. Quite the opposite: Data can and should inspire creativity. But driving your business based on the "this social media strategy appears to be working" does not make the case anymore.
With the right platforms, you can use data to uncover insights into what social channels are providing you with the greatest audience engagement. Then you can dig deeper into what type of content and campaign is resonating more strongly with your audience.
3. Then it’s time to adjust your efforts.
Once you've defined or re-defined objectives, and take a deep look at the information on your hands, it's time to make things happen. Are you posting on a social network where you're simply talking to yourself? Are you efficiently posting to a social channel where you shouldn’t be posting at all?
Over the years, a lot of people closely involved with the social media industry has worked together to combine their intelligences and produce best practices guidelines and manuals for each social network.
Doing some quick research, you can easily find anecdotal evidence of what has or hasn’t worked well in the past for businesses on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and any channel you might think of.
You should look at industry best practices for inspiration and guidance.
You should always keep in mind data is your friend. Take a look beyond generalizations and use data to understand what kind of content would work best for your individual industry, competitors and even your audience’s demographic.
People say you can’t manage what you don’t measure, and social media is no exception to this rule. After doing your homework and adjusting your efforts, it's always important to measure the results. This could be done weekly, monthly or every other month, but you should have a system in place to keep track of your progress and compare it with your goals to confirm you’re headed towards the place you wanted to.
Don't give up just because you're not reaching your goals overnight. Nobody does.
Discovering industry trend and analysing them takes time, however. Reaching your goals usually doesn’t happen overnight and if you can’t link your Facebook posts and instagram pictures to immediate sales in the first two weeks, it’s not a big deal (or shouldn’t be).
Expecting overnight results in social media isn’t not a better mind set than the one responsible for mindlessly maintaining social networks presence simply because someone said "we all must do it."
Again, using data is the best way to measure social ROI.
From here, your social media strategy becomes a perfect cycle: you start by taking into account the analysis you make of the results, you set the new shares are going to launch, these will take you to a new analysis generate new shares, and so for the rest of your life and your days.
Photo credit: freehandz | Dollarphotoclub
I recommend reading the following posts on this blog:
Relationships Value: What Can You Expect From Social Media?
How Can I Build My Company With A 2.0 Mentality?