Social media – putting the audience first in a channel agnostic context
Channels are not the best starting point to develop digital strategies
Social media strategies are too often driven by platforms and channels. We are frequently asked questions like “what should our Facebook strategy should be?”, or “should we be on Instagram?”. While these are valid questions in the right circumstances, they are not the best starting point from which to define an organisation’s social media presence.
Be driven by your objectives
The first point to consider is that a social strategy should always be centred on business objectives, ultimately contributing to improved organisational performance. Therefore, start by asking: What do we want to achieve? What are the business goals that we are looking to support? Who are the target audiences we need to reach in order to achieve these goals?
The second consideration is that users tend to jump between social media platforms, and expect companies and organizations to provide them with a holistic experience on whichever channel they happen to be at the time. That means that rather than thinking how you want an audience to engage on a specific channel, instead define the experience that you want to provide to fans and followers. Also study how audiences you want to reach are using social media.
The final point to consider is that the centrepiece of any digital communications strategy should be engagement and content. Companies and organisations should provide equally high-quality content and service to customers and stakeholders regardless of the channels they use.
Does it mean that channel strategies are irrelevant?
Paradoxically, no – it actually makes channel strategies and differentiation between platforms more important than ever. Whilst audiences expect coherent quality and themes across channels, they still expect channel-specific content, tone of voice and methods of engagement. If a customer chooses to look you up on LinkedIn, they will expect different content than if they explored your Instagram – although they will be surprised if the main themes and messages were completely different. This is true across organisational, business to business, and business to customer audiences.
Developing robust channel strategies is crucial to building successful engagement – just ensure that these strategies are rooted in your broader aims and objectives.
Key considerations for developing social media strategies
Considering these points when developing your social strategy:
- Define strategic goals – what do you want to achieve
- Know your audience – how they interact, which channels they use
- Develop content strategy – what do you want to share, both in terms of main themes, and channel specific content
- Look at your strategy holistically, while seeking to provide the best customer experience
- Don’t forget emotion if you want to steer audiences