Now that your social media accounts are live, how do you develop a strategy?
There’s a general misconception among small professional service firms that you can establish a few social media accounts and, so long as they have your firm’s information and a few intermittent posts about relevant issues, you’re golden.
But unfocused or sloppy content creation is useless. Other than establishing that your firm has a digital pulse, it doesn’t help your business. Any content strategy should have a purpose and end goal, otherwise you’re wasting your time and that of your readers.
Are you attempting to advertise directly to potential clients or are you more focused on establishing yourself as a thought leader in your field? Are you trying to achieve widespread recognition, or are you more concerned with reaching your current client base?
What are you attempting to achieve? Is this a long-term or short-term marketing strategy? Are you hosting a promotion or competition? Do you need more clients right now or are you looking to long-term growth? Do you want to highlight your firm’s wins? Do you want to raise the profile of your firm?
Reason: Why do you want to implement a digital strategy?
If you don’t have a clear purpose, hold off on going social. Would your end goal benefit more from print, e-mail, or other marketing? Is social the best way to reach your desired audience? Social media may seem like an inexpensive alternative to print media, but it can be costly to manage and is time-consuming; print marketing materials are controllable and don’t require an of-the-moment response.
Audience: Who will you reach?
Now that you’ve identified your goals and understand the reasoning behind them, consider your targeted audience. Are you looking to solicit clients or are you trying to fill staff positions? Do you want to get on journalists’ radars? Whom do you hope to engage? Some people find it helpful to create “personas,” three to five identities of their ideal consumer. Consider the nitty-gritty details to fully flesh them out: age, race, ethnicity, geography, occupation, hobbies, interests, et cetera. Depending on how lofty your goals are, this exercise will help you conceptualize your audience and eliminate inefficiencies in your strategy.
Time: When will you engage this strategy?
Are you running a specific campaign (around a hiring cycle or sales promotion) or are you setting up the long-term social media presence for your firm? Whether your plans are short or long term, you should identify benchmarks for your strategy’s success. These benchmarks can be as simple as the number of unique engagements by a certain deadline, or achieving a certain number of blog posts each month. Set a timeline and stick to it.
Platforms: Where will you post?
Now that you’ve identified your audience and timeline, consider which platforms best suit your needs and will best engage your targeted demographic. Where do you want to allocate your time? If you’re looking for short-term engagement, look to Twitter. Do you want to raise the profile of your firm? Cross-post on the company’s blog, LinkedIn, and Quora. Play to your firm’s strengths.
Lastly, when considering your digital media strategy, be SMART. Once you work out the 5Ws of your operation, bring your strategy back around to your goals.
SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic (or Relevant), and Time-Bound. Identify all of these markers for each of your social media strategy end goals. The planning stage is invaluable for developing content and its corresponding production schedule. Don’t be afraid to revisit your plan of action if you’re not getting results. Analyze your feedback periodically to make sure you’re on track. Adjust your goals when necessary.
Now, get started on your social strategy!
Jen Hand is a social media manager, small business consultant, project manager, and writer. Find more great content @jayhizzfoshizz.