The ball has dropped, the confetti’s been swept up, and you’ve recovered from your hangover (or lack of sleep). Now it’s time to pull yourself together, clear the fog from your brain, and start the New Year with a strong social media strategy for your business.
Ideally you should have done this already, but it’s never too late to revamp your social media strategy. The first of the year doesn’t have to be the mark where you look over your past goals and game plan to define and refine new ones. You can relaunch your social media strategy at any time.
The following is a summary list that I’ve come up with to help me define my 2014 social media strategy for Crackerjack Scribe. It may take some time to analyze past marketing efforts to see what worked and what didn’t so you can determine how to approach the new year. But diving deep into the past will help you see the year ahead more clearly.
So get a cup of coffee (or tea, beer, or whatever is your poison), your favorite notation device (mine is still pen and paper), and get started on a new and even more successful social media strategy for your business.
1. Analyze Past Social Media Engagement Efforts
Download a social media engagement report for the entire last year directly from your social network sites or from the social media management platform you use, and take a look at the past year’s activity across all networks. Start with original posts and links you shared. What drove the most engagement or traffic? Was it posts with links, photos or videos? Were they informational, educational or simply entertainment based? Did you ask questions that generated responses, and if so, what were they? How could you add to conversations that were generated? Take a look at the contests and other special campaigns that may have generated optimal buzz. Organize the posts complete with links and images in a spreadsheet, in order of highest buzz factor. Use this spreadsheet as a base to model what type of content you will post in the future.
Also take a look at those you followed in the past year, and whose content you retweeted or reshared. Whose profiles with content you retweeted and shared generated the most buzz? Put those thought leaders from your industry on another page of your spreadsheet. Those are the ones you want to continue to monitor in the year ahead. If you haven’t yet, sign up for their blogs or RSS feeds to make sure you don’t miss out on important information they’re publishing that you can share with your fan base.
2. Rinse and Try Something New
Just as Facebook and Google come up with a new algorithm seemingly every other month in this fast-changing social media world, people’s tastes and attention metamorphose. Among the tried and true tactics from the previous year, don’t be afraid to try new thought and action campaigns. Take a look at what other brands did the past year that generated buzz. Airline company Virgin America’s “Two for One Tacos and Tickets” campaign is a great example of a unique social media campaign utilizing geolocation. From campaigns with a personal touch to more innovative social media strategies, you can generate a buzz that will ignite your fan base. Here’s a blog article on Social Media Today that highlights more creative ways companies engaged fans on social media.
3. Repeat Successful Campaigns
If you just posted like mad anything you thought might have even remotely interested your fan/follower base without any forethought then skip this step. But hopefully you established some social media strategy goals for individual posts, even if the simple one of generating engagement through likes, shares and retweets. Remember, the more your content is shared, the more your brand or business name is seen by potential clients and consumers. Other goals could have been to capture email leads, grow your company’s blog subscription base, or convert leads into buying customers.
If you achieved clearly stated goals, list those in the spreadsheet you created in Step 1 next to the content posted that was a step in the goal conversion process. Unless you are a Google Analytics pro, or have a prescribed analytics team that can do this for you, it may be difficult to follow the conversion process, but apps by companies like Shortstack or Woobox, enable you to see exactly where the conversion process took place for contests and similar campaigns. The goal in this step for the year ahead is to replicate, and even improve upon successful campaigns.
Tip: If you use a social media management/monitoring platform like Social Report or Raven Tools you can create and download reports that cover a full year. Social Report, which I’ve been checking out for the past month, offers in-depth reports on all the major social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube. Sprout Social allows you to download in CVS format posts, direct messages and comments from Google+, Facebook, and Twitter, with the number of shares/likes/comments/reshares, as well as the percentage of reach/engagement.