The social media landscape has changed dramatically since the start of 2020. If you’re not working from a current strategy, you have no strategy at all. That’s why we recommend that you audit your social media programs annually.
If you’re just getting started with a social media review, here’s my (free) course on conducting a competitive audit and a C&C primer on the best tools to use to perform an audit.
A key part of redesigning a social media strategy is to assess which social media channels are the best fit for your business with their different strengths and weaknesses. It is important that you understand how each channel can be used as an effective tool for marketing, customer service and communication. There are many factors to consider before you can decide which channel will work best for your business.
There are three things you need to know before creating a channel-focused social playbook: your audience, how best to engage them, and the purpose of each social channel. Articulating them will help you determine how to support a social strategy by detailing the type of posts to post, how often you should post, and the metrics that will show your progress.
Is your audience also your subscribers?
The first step in this process is to clearly define the audiences targeted by the use of social media.
Creating a relationship between the brand and the follower requires significant effort from both sides. A subscriber must sign up to “Follow” and then seek out or actively engage with a brand’s content in their feed. The brand needs to ensure that the content is relevant to the follower and offers enough value to help them move forward in a relationship.
When we do social media audits for clients, there’s always an “a-ha” or gap between who the brand says is following them on social media, and what the demographics and psychographics of the audience tell us about who is really among the subscribers. If you haven’t looked closely at subscriber information by channel, make sure that’s part of your next review.
Think you know your followers? Then you should be able to answer these five questions about the top target audiences you’re trying to reach on social media.
- WHAT type of content do they expect?
- WHERE do they attend most often?
- WHEN are they most active?
- WHY are they motivated to follow and engage with your business?
After considering these questions, you’ll be better equipped to develop the tactical steps to reach these audiences and see positive results on every channel.
Action steps: Create a matrix that lists your priority audiences on the side and your mix’s social channels on top. For each audience, identify the channels where they are most likely to be active and engage with brands. Review the matrix to determine the correlation between where your audience is online and which channels are most important to you.
Consider your selection of social channels
Social media channels are as diverse as cities and global cultures – none are exactly alike. Spend time in each channel and immerse yourself in the culture of the channels before (re)creating your strategy. This includes understanding the audience’s intent and expectations. What kind of content will match what they’re looking for and drive engagement that matches your business goals?
Good to be on all social media channels. It’s also good to be more selective and activate only where you and your audience are constantly present.
Ask these questions of each social media channel when reviewing social media to determine if it is part of your strategy going forward:
- Is your target audience here?
- Does the content you create match the channel’s preferred format(s)?
- How much time per day can your team be involved beyond posting to interact with audience responses and the accounts you follow?
- Is there a budget and resources for paid amplification to support this channel?
- What are the most valuable results to achieve with this audience?
Action step: Prioritize social media channels for your brand in HIGH, MEDIUM and LOW effort. Next, identify which emerging channels to start experimenting with, and which ones can be decommissioned to free up resources.
Writing your social media booklet
The Social Media Playbook is the guide on how to use social media channels to achieve business goals and engagement targets. The playbook should be rewritten periodically to align with changes in marketing campaigns, target audiences, internal resources, and results.
What’s going on in the Playbook? A good playbook stems from your strategic approach to using social media to support marketing and communications activities, but does not replace it. A playbook explains the tactical support of your social media strategy. It should have specific direction on the mix of channels and how each channel individually supports business goals with a specific KPI. The playbook should be concise, easy to understand, and flexible enough to be updated throughout the year.
- Write (or rewrite) your playbook to align with the audience targeting and channel considerations made in the aforementioned steps. When moving away from what has been done historically on social media, potentially deprioritizing a channel or focusing efforts on an emerging channel, it’s important to “show the work” on how that reprioritization will look. in the future.
- Detail a game plan for each channel starting with the core content that anchors the brand presence. Core content aligns with the editorial or content marketing plan and should address multiple people or journey stages. It is important to precisely define the content supported by each channel. Identify which content pillars are prioritized, what types of content will be used, and how to support the ideal frequency of curating and sharing user-generated content.
- Show how much time is spent engaging with the brand on each channel and the best times of day to be active (depending on your audience’s time zone). It’s important to remember that social media is not just another online platform for posting content. It’s more of a conversation between you and your followers. This means that you should actively engage in conversations on social media as much as possible, even if there isn’t new content to post every day.
- To select specific KPIs which will identify the health of each social channel and how it contributes to overall business goals. If TikTok experimentation is done to reach a different audience, the KPIs should reflect that it is a high-end activity. Compare that to Pinterest, which has a more direct goal of bringing users back to a website. So measuring referral traffic is a better KPI than pin impressions. Include data from your social media audit to compare current results and set targets for increasing your KPIs.
Action step: Write a channel game plan in the Playbook for each priority social channel in your mix. Be sure to include target audience(s), frequency and types of content, hashtags and emoji to use in posts, and how to measure results.
Final Thoughts for Your Social Media Review
Conducting a social media audit is a smart first step to understanding the strengths, weaknesses, and overall health of a social media program. Use your social media review to identify what is working, what needs to change, and where adjustments need to be made. How data and insights are used to rewrite a strategy and playbook is what sets the best social media teams apart.