Rethinking Your Social Media Strategy

Picture of Aliza ShermanAliza Sherman is a web pioneer, author, and international speaker. Sherman is the author of 8 books about the Internet including The Everything Blogging Book, Streetwise Ecommerce, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crowdsourcing and Social Media Engagement for Dummies.

Rethinking Your Social Media Strategy

When it comes to technology, like many things in business and life, the only constant is change. Now is a good time to re-evaluate what you’re doing in social media to understand what has changed about your business, technology and digital marketing tactics you’ve used in the past. No matter what time of year, revisiting your marketing efforts is essential. Start by answering these questions:

  1. Are my social media tactics still as effective as when first implemented?
  2. Are my social media tactics still tied to an overarching strategy?
  3. Is my social media strategy still consistent with my business goals?

If you answered no to any of the questions above, spend the time to look at what is working and where you can make changes to reinvigorate your social media marketing.

Here are four things to consider when reviewing your social media accounts:

1. Current and Clear Branding

When someone lands on your social media account page, is it immediately obvious what your company is all about? Is your logo prominently placed and easy to identify? On Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, this means reviewing your profile image and the “header” or “cover” image at the top of the account page. The images, videos and even colors and fonts used on your page should be consistent with your brand. On these three social networks, adding your logo or some branding to the visuals you post – as appropriate – helps extend your brand when people share your posts with others.

Branding on Instagram and Pinterest is less obvious but can be conveyed by the images, videos, colors and fonts you use in the posts you upload. With Pinterest, the choices you make to re-pin should be chosen to convey your brand. Anything you post should fit the look, feel and even personality and mood of your company.

2. Tell Your Brand Story

While visuals are important to attract attention, words are equally as important to get your messages across. Communicate what your company does in a concise manner in your social media account bios.

Review the brief descriptions in the Bio or About sections of each of your social media accounts. Most social networks, including Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube, provide very limited space for a description. LinkedIn provides more space, however, most of it is tucked away behind a “read more” link. Facebook provides space for a very short description and additional space for a longer description. Make sure your description is consistent, compelling and includes a call to action such as “subscribe to our emails” or “click the link in our bio to shop.”

3. Choose Better Destinations

Chances are you are driving people to your company website’s home page from each of your social networks. Consider this: most people get lost once they arrive at your home page, and very few will take the actions that you want them to take like signing up for something, contacting you or making a purchase.

Most people today want to take action directly on the social networks they frequent. Think of ways to put action-oriented pages on the social networks that allow that, particularly Facebook. Add “tabs” to your Facebook Page for an email list subscription form, a form to request more information, a live chat for customer service, even an online catalog where people can buy directly on Facebook. Even if it means replicating what is already on your website, adding actions to Facebook and keeping users on Facebook increases response rates.

On Twitter, adding one or two additional links directly into your bio with calls to action in addition to the link below your bio turns them into live links. Links in your Instagram bio, however, will not be clickable so consider changing your bio link as needed to usher people away from Instagram to take actions on another site. On Pinterest, pin regularly from different pages within your website to drive traffic directly to those pages. On any social network, consider sending people to a “landing page” customized for each particular network that zeroes in on only a few specific actions that lead users in the right direction.

4. Identify Your Most-Shared Content

Every major social network – except Instagram – has sharing built into their features. Facebook Page posts, LinkedIn posts and YouTube videos can be easily shared, tweets can be retweeted, pins can be re-pinned, Tumblr posts can be “tumbled,” and so on. While you cannot directly share a post from Instagram, anyone can use an app like Repost to copy and paste someone else’s post into their own feed with attribution. Snapchat is one of the few major social networks that does not allow sharing of other people’s content.

Your challenge is to develop content worth sharing. Look over the content you’ve posted throughout the past year, and find your most shared posts on each network and analyze what may have influenced your following to spread the word. Social network analytics only get you so far – they show the most shared posts. Look more closely to figure out any patterns that tell you want your followers wants to see and share.

Humor and emotional, heartwarming or inspirational posts often do better than anything “commercial,” so use what you learn from both analytics and a careful review of your most popular content to focus more on what works and eliminate or modify what doesn’t work. Also pay attention to what posts generate the most actions.

While it is easy to get into a rhythm, or even a rut, when posting regularly each day, look for ways to shake things up and break away from formulas. Engage in more live online interactions and provide the types of content your social media audience wants while making sure your online presence - and your posts - further your company’s goals.