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Social Media Strategy: No One Ring To Rule Them All

And I mean it.

For most of you, this merely serves as a reminder. But for the lot of you who are still trapped thinking there is only one high road to social media success, let me do the honor of bursting that big fat bubble. There is no one social media strategy that you can get off the book whether it’s for your brand or from one client after another. You may get ideas and general guidelines online but the social media strategy that will take you above the rest? That should be all unique and personalized to your brand.

social media strategy
Photo courtesy of Propelrr

What’s Hot? What’s Not?

There are a handful of social media platforms that are at your disposal, but do you keep yourself updated? To get you started on planning, let’s see and find inspiration on how big brands made social media work for them. Here are some of the successful social media campaigns and strategies from the past years:

Facebook

Running online contests somehow never runs out of style. Although, with today’s bigger competition, the more creative and exciting, the better. Nat Geo created a great image generator when they launched “My Nat Geo Covershoot.” Fans uploaded their photos, captioned it, and got a chance to win a travel package. Pretty engaging, wasn’t it?

successful facebook campaign
The giant Facebook like thumb — built out of Dairy Milk pieces.
Photo courtesy of Certified Foodies

From Nat Geo, let’s move to chocolate. Cadbury, one of the most famous brands of chocolate, launched a social media campaign in conjunction to a sweet celebration of reaching one million fans. Upon the approach of the milestone, they realized only 16% of its fans saw their brand posts. As a game changer, they built a Facebook Like Thumb with none other than Cadbury chocolates and had a full campaign revolved around it. The result? 40,000 new Facebook fans and more than 350,000 participants. Sweet!

Twitter

It doesn’t follow that the more social media managers you have, the more successful your social media campaign would be. Best Buy has a pool of dedicated employees and serves as community managers, who carries numerous Twitter handles. Southwest Airlines, on the other note, has 10 people tweeting for them while Whole Foods only has Mr. Michael Bepko managing everything. These three have individually unique strategies but one thing keeps them common: They know how to converse and share with their audiences.

successful twitter campaign
They tweeted their way up with a light-hearted tone of voice.
Photo courtesy of Our Social Times

Another brand who knew exactly how to connect was Taco Bell. Their witty and friendly approach combined with trending hashtags spiked their engagement rates and acquired them over 600,000 followers. That’s 3x as much as Burger King, one of their biggest rivals!

 Google+

One of the best brands to teach us how to engage in Google+ is H&M. Global Social Media Manager, Miriam Tappert, highlights that in Google+ they’re focusing on inspiration. Google’s case study reveals that its dynamic, updated, and regularly scheduled media offerings made it successful for H&M to target and interact with their audiences. It also achieved a 22% CTR uplift because of its effective use of social extensions with AdWords advertising.

Successful google+ campaign
H&M uses tailored content such as exclusive collection previews, contests, and behind the scenes footages of photo shoots and the like.
Photo courtesy of Smart Insights

LinkedIn

From the company that brought the first “talking newspaper” campaign comes the whopping 2,700 car recommendations in 4 weeks. Having the knowledge that a person’s professional life and identity affects their car choices made LinkedIn the perfect venue for Volkswagen India to reach out to current and potential buyers. 

Being the first company in India to take advantage of LinkedIn Recommendation Ads put them way ahead of the rest. They gained 2,300 followers and 960,000 viral updates on VW car models.

Pinterest

What happens when you give $500 and challenge 5 influential pinners to take a 24-hour break from Pinterest to bring something from their boards to life? 5,000 repins and almost 2,000 likes. That’s exactly what Honda got when they ran the Pintermission campaign.

Another trick to boost exposure in Pinterest is to connect it with Facebook. Lowe’s created a custom Pinterest tab on its Facebook page. Without having to leave Facebook their fans could see their boards, follow and interact with them. This gave them a 32% increase — over 3,100 additional followers to its main Pinterest page.

Instagram

Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ may be some of the key social channels but a study by Forrester revealed that in just 9 months, Instagram grew 50% and is now larger than Twitter. That’s no reason to leave Twitter, rather a great opportunity to make the most of it specially now that only 28% of marketers are on Instagram.

social media viral dress
Still wondering what color #thedress is? Oh, for crying out loud, it’s BLUE!
(On another note: It’s probably trivial posts like this that keep Twitter alive, don’t you think?)
Photo courtesy of Wired

Brands like Ford, Coke, and Sony ran successful Instagram campaigns. The photo-sharing app, Fiestagram, served as the platform for Ford to launch a new car and allowed users to upload photos with hashtags highlighting its features. Diet Coke introduced #showyourheart campaign in Instagram and Twitter. It reaped more than 3,000 of user-generated content. Let’s not forget, the first Instagram-made video was released by Sony.

successful instagram campaign
More than 16,000 “surprising to challenging to beautiful” images submitted!
Photo courtesy of Mashable

Successfully using social media management for your digital marketing efforts is a real feat.

There are too many components to consider:

Who to reach?

Which platform to use?

What to post?

When to post?

When to stop?

When to iterate?

How to analyze and measure?

What to analyze and measure?

Too many questions, so little time.

Social media among anything else is one of the most fast-evolving marketing channels there are. Today, you’re a meme. Later today, you’re viral. Tomorrow, you’re history. Really, the last word you’d want to describe it is monotonous. Therefore, your social media strategies shouldn’t be shaped by just one cookie cutter, it should never be in monotone. Maybe your new strategies could be based around some of this year’s social media marketing predictions:

  1. Video Becomes The Content Of Choice
  2. Local Search Expands Google+
  3. Campaign Focus Shifts to Experience
  4. Fans Demand Personal Interaction
  5. Social Media Goes Niche
  6. All Social Networks Offer Paid Visibility
  7. Visual Content Ups Its Game
  8. Marketers Take Control of Content
  9. Hashtags Build Collaborative Communities
  10. More Apps Support Anonymity
viral social media
Remember her? Say hello to the The Overly Attached Girlfriend!

Copy-Paste Your Way to Failure… NOT

How hard can social media be? You create an account, religiously post and share content, monitor daily and engage every now and then. Isn’t that the strategy? Simple as it may sound, that’s only 30% (maybe even less) of your endeavor. Simply because the answers to the questions posed above will never be the same to your brand or any of the brands you handle as compared to all the other business entities that are in the realm of social media. Look at it this way – brands belong in different industries, and these industries have specific audiences. And these audiences have different behaviors and can be found in one or more social media platforms. That alone explains a lot.

social media thumbprint
Social Media thumbprint speaks a lot of your brand.
Photo courtesy of CD Slug via Flickr

Take, for example, Dan Wilkerson’s statement when asked how to optimize Twitter and Facebook posting, “There is no correct answer”. That’s true and I couldn’t agree more, there really is no formula to solve your questions. There is no perfect time, no perfect day, no perfect type of post, no perfect social media platform—only the drive to be relevant. The best thing you can do now is to think along these lines: 

Measure… your current social metrics and analyze.

Iterate… create a new set of targets and goals based on your analysis.

Repeat.

Don’t Go to War Empty-Handed

Going to war without plans is like dragging your deathbed as you go out into the field. That being said, no matter how simple or small the requirements are, you need to plan. You need to gather useful information in order to strategize. Don’t forget to ask the right questions so you can move on to plotting your strategy easier and faster. Identify your audience, find and go with them. Strategizing begins with having solid data at hand.

social media market research
Surely, with today’s technology, it won’t take you more than 15 days.
Photo courtesy of Tom Fish Burne

Since social media platforms also have their unique capabilities, you would want to maximize these as much as possible. For example, knowing the right audience allows you to:

  • Create different lists or circles that you could interact with.
  • Include related content that can drive and interest your target readers.
  • Use appropriate hashtags.

Aim for the Light at the End of the Tunnel

Once done with data gathering, don’t forget to list down your goals and targets for each social handle. If you’ve been doing this for quite sometime but want to see drastic changes, revisit the insights or analytics section of your page. For Facebook, you may want to check out likealyzer by meltwater to analyze your page.

For starters, you may want to look into this posting schedule:

social media posting guide
Maximize this scheduling template by using relevant content.
(Timing based on Neil Patel’s recent Infographic on QuickSprout)
Photo courtesy of Propelrr

Benchmark what you have, try this for a month, and see how your social media metrics fare. You can easily tune this up (or down), depending on the data gathered.

Timing is Key

Frequency and timing go hand in hand. You may be releasing enough posts but if it goes live an hour late or an hour advance, you’ve wasted precious time. Refer to the table above for scheduling your social media postings.

Imagine, you’re the bus. You wouldn’t want to upset nor miss passengers in waiting, would you?

Spread Worthy Content

Crafting original posts for your social media pages will do you wonders as well as sharing the appropriate, relevant content will amplify your social media marketing strategies altogether. Now that you know where you should be and who you should engage with, it’s time to map out what you’ll feed the online world. Avoid a stream of dull and uninteresting posts (you should know what interests your audience by now, alright?). Keep the tone of the brand while mixing up the content. Choose from blogs, infographics, images, videos, memes, vines and what have you.

Don’t Be Foolish, You Need Help

Some people cringe at the thought of automation. Well, if you’ll craft robot-sounding headlines spread over the course of the week, then yes, let’s cringe together to that! Social media tools are created to make your life easier but not to the point of being ultimately passive. Start by familiarizing yourself with your social platform’s built-in apps. Use these tools to your advantage then venture for more. There are lots of free online tools to get you started.

Mold Your Own Cookie Cutter to Its Maximum Efficiency

No, you can’t just buy one off the internet. Period.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not encouraging you to abandon tips and hacks professionals can offer. I, too, look up to most of them and try to learn as much as possible on a daily basis. The problem with that though, is getting stuck and loving the familiarity and regularity it offers. Your copy-paste method in developing a social media strategy might be easy but it will definitely get you nowhere.

Easier said than done, you say. (Really, it’sbetter said than not.)

The fifth version of #Socialnomics might help in your musings:

We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media. The choice is how we’ll do it. – Erik Qualman

So, you see? The only option now is to choose how you’ll do your social media strategy. The brands we’ve used as examples above have shown diverse strategies. They’ve proven that if you know how to maximize your resources and are willing to recognize the value of unique social media approaches then your brand too, can be steps closer to better conversion.

Feeling like you need help to drive your way to social media success? We’ll keep our lines open.

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