5 steps to a stronger content and social strategy

Every business is unique, and your social media and content marketing strategies should reflect what distinguishes you from your competitors. 

When the time comes to rethink your social media strategy and plan a fresh approach to your promotional activities, consider the following questions and priorities to set yourself on the right track.

1. What are your business objectives?

Yes, it’s crucial to understand the buyer personas you’re targeting, and it’s important to give them what they want, but what about what the brand wants and needs? Giving your audience cute pictures of fluffy animals might generate likes, but what purpose does it serve? Are the likes contributing anything worthwhile to your marketing strategy or business overall?

Before you plan (or continue with) your content and social strategies, stop and think about business objectives and the departments that your social activities can successfully support.

Which departments should social media work alongside, you ask? Think about public relations, human resources, research and development, and sales and marketing. By being aware of a major objective, such as ‘to decrease negative sentiment about the brand by X% in [time frame]’, you can see that a PR focus for social will be highly beneficial. You can then ask: “What does the customer want or need from the brand and how can I create the right type of content to share on the most appropriate social networks?”

2. Is your strategy straightforward or complex?

Sometimes, your objectives will allow you to adopt a straightforward approach when it comes to your strategy. Your major goals – for example, related to sales, marketing, and research and development – will be aimed at the same personas.

However, if the aims and departments that you’re looking to support demand very different methods of targeting, this will mean that each audience needs:

  • Specific content shared on the most appropriate networks
  • Their own ‘area’ for conversation

A brand that targets a B2C and a B2B audience is a good example of a business that can benefit from a more complex social and content strategy; the informational needs and requirements of each audience differ greatly and targeting both on the same network could result in confusion.

Another scenario demanding a more complex strategy is when a B2C (or B2B) brand has two very different, but equally important, business objectives: generating sales/leads and ensuring that the company attracts quality talent to allow for rapid expansion into new markets, for example. To increase the strategy’s effectiveness, each goal requires unique content and tailored social activities.

3. Are we all speaking the same language?

Sometimes it’s okay to create content and social strategies solely in English. Sometimes it’s not. By understanding the needs and beliefs of your key personas, you can ensure that both your content and social media strategies take language, cultural sensitivities and varying demands and expectations into consideration.

When creating an integrated social and content marketing strategy for a global brand, it’s also important to know which networks are most relevant on a country-by-country basis.

For example, do Australians use Facebook differently to Europeans? If you’re aiming to reach your B2B audience in Germany, is Xing more important than LinkedIn? What are the implications of your findings when it comes to content creation and social actions for success on social networks?

4. Where does your brand belong?

Your social content should be relevant to the platform on which it’s being posted. Before you launch your strategy on a specific network (or networks), it’s important to understand who your key personas are, where they are, why they’re there, how they consume various types of content and what they expect (ie video, images, informative blog posts). Once you have answers to those questions, you can consider whether or not your brand has, and can continue to create, the type of content that will engage your fans and followers.

For example, if you’re considering a brand push on Pinterest, you need to ask questions like:

  • Is your target audience active on the network?
  • Do you have enough visual content to post regularly and perform well?
  • Will activities on the network add value for your customers and the brand?
  • Is this sustainable over the long term?

If you can’t answer yes without hesitation, then you might want to reconsider your options. Always do what’s right for your strategy and don’t look for potential ‘quick fix’ or ‘everyone else is doing it’ solutions when it comes to content and social media.

5. The brand ambassador vs. the brand

Who’s doing the talking? The brand? Key employees (or thought leaders)? Make sure you’re clear on the answers to these questions before you implement or change your content and social media strategies. The reason behind this is that the required type and frequency of content, as well as the social networks (or social features) that are relevant to the brand and individual, may all be different.

Imagine a B2B brand that wants to be active on LinkedIn to generate leads and build awareness. The managers want to promote the brand itself, but they also want to champion internal thought leaders. This means that two distinct types of content and a variety of targeted social activities will be required. Company page content may focus on general company news and individuals will require thought leadership content to enhance their presence within groups and on their personal profile. Individuals may also benefit from the integration of Slideshare files featuring offline presentations and work portfolios to further optimise their presence. From this example alone, we can see how content requirements and social actions are impacted by the introduction of multiple voices.

For most businesses, resources play a large role in determining what you can and can’t do when it comes to social media and content marketing strategies. When thinking about available time and budget and what you can achieve, be realistic. No one can be ‘everything to everyone’. Focus on the objectives, social networks and types of content that will provide you and the consumer with the most benefit and return. Worry about doing more later, when you can do it properly.