May I see a copy of your social media strategy?
More than a decade into the Web 2.0 era and entering into the Web 3.0 evolution, brands are still lagging regarding a documented social media strategy.
Looking back, it was the mid to late 2000s when Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and the iPhone hit the palms of our hands.
Fast forward to today, we enter the next generation of the internet, called the metaverse, and even more digital ways to engage with audiences.
You aren’t alone if you don’t have a social media strategy.
While almost 60% of the world population are reported active social media users, more than 50% of B2C brands admit to not having documented content or social media strategy.
It’s true! Without a strategy, you are gambling. With Web3, the metaverse, digital goods, and virtual worlds on the horizon, it is impossible to skip Web 2.0 and move on.
“I believe Web 2 and Web3 have a lot to learn from each other. There are frameworks and best practices in each which lend themselves very well to the other, so it’s a lot about bridge building. Leave behind the practices that slow us down but bring with us those which provide structure and support scaling in a sustainable way. We are moving too quickly to re-invent the wheel; better to grab the best and mold it to our future needs,” said Stefanie Hingley, COO of Mission Impact, an organization helping females elevate in Web3.
Forward-thinking, purposeful plus strategic will usually win the social media game.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating an effective social media strategy to level up your Web 2.0 and prepare for Web3.
1. Write An Executive Summary
Start your strategy with an executive summary.
This should be a one-pager, succinctly identifying your social media purpose and how it ties into your current business goals and objectives.
In addition, make a note of relevant testing or projections into Web3.
Establish the primary goal and specific objectives you are trying to achieve. Be sure to identify a channel focus and avoid trying to be all things to all social media platforms.
For example, if you are a B2B company, consider creating content for Linkedin and then repurposing it for other secondary channels.
Web3 Tip: Explore and research what other brands are doing with Web3. What is working? Start holding team meetings to discuss your social media strategy in the Horizons Workrooms environment.
“Horizons Workrooms works across both virtual reality and the web and is designed to improve your team’s ability to collaborate, communicate, and connect remotely through the power of VR— whether that’s getting together to brainstorm or whiteboard an idea, work on a document, hear updates from your team, hang out and socialize, or simply have better conversations that flow more naturally,” as noted in the Meta Newsroom.
Benchmark and include measurable outcomes to assure all players are defining success with the same expectations. Larger goals need granular objectives.
Example: Grow your Instagram audience by 20% by the end of the quarter.
2. Do A Social Media Audit
Keeping your friends close but your enemies closer is an intelligent way to stay ahead of the competition.
Start by conducting a social media audit of your brand’s social channels compared to two or three competitors. You can even pick a non-competing brand to use for inspiration and aspiration. Consider choosing a brand already involved in Web3 strategies.
For example, Wendys, Airbnb, Netflix, Buffer, Hubspot, and Cisco are known for their social media savviness. It’s helpful to go beyond your industry’s borders and see what’s working.
Compare types of content, engagement, frequency, audience size, visuals, video use, tone, and customer service messaging. How’s the response rate?
Other factors to compare and take note of include:
- Live streaming.
- Courses and webinars.
- Influencer marketing.
- User-generated content.
- Features such as Reels, Stories, and Frequency.
- Virtual Worlds.
- Creator Coins, Tokens, or Crypto.
- Metaverse collaborations.
- Audio experiences.
- Emoji use.
- Facebook Messenger, chatbots.
- Keywords and hashtags.
- Third-party content.
- Online branded search results.
According to the 2022 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, brands and marketers see increased exposure and traffic as social media’s main benefits. On the flip side, the “struggle is real” for translating social media into quantitative ROI, such as improving sales and generating leads.
Recent reports indicate Facebook and Linkedin are the go-to channels if you are looking for leads out of social media channels.
3. Zero In On Social Media Objectives
Let’s quickly review the difference between goals, strategy, objectives, and tasks, known as GSOT.
- Goals: These are your broad social media outcomes.
- Strategy: The approach you will take to accomplish your goal.
- Objectives: These are measurable steps you will take to achieve the strategy.
- Tactics: These are the tools or tasks used in pursuing an objective related to a strategy.
- Goal: Make our book the #1 best-seller in the Metaverse category.
- Strategy: Increase the amount of content we publish on social channels supporting the book’s topics, ideas, and opinions.
- Objective: Increase unique visitors from social channels to the book’s website or landing page by 50%.
- Tactic: Using metaverse and Web3 influencers, leverage the exposure with branded hashtags and behind-the-scenes content using Instagram Stories, Facebook Live, and Twitter.
- Advanced: Participate and host events in Web3-centric communities using Twitter Spaces, Clubhouse, Discord communities, and virtual worlds such as Meta’s Horizon Worlds, Decentraland, Roblox, or Alt Space VR.
4. Develop Buyer Personas
Know your avatar. Develop a personal relationship with your personas. If 50% of brands lack a documented social media strategy, the number of brands having defined buyer personas must be significantly greater.
Brands need personas. This is a must if you want to survive and thrive in Web3.
Marketers preach the value of personas, but when it comes down to investing the time and effort into building and using personas? Zzzzzzzz. Sound asleep.
The good news: The lack of buyer personas makes for a huge opportunity if your competition is missing the persona step.
Buyer personas + social media = a winning formula.
The results mean big wins in increased:
- Relevance scores.
- Efficiencies across the board.
Getting your persona started is a must!
Start with these buyer persona hacks and get to know your buyers.
#SocialPRSecret: In his book “X: The Experience When Business Meets Design,” digital analyst Brian Solis had this to say:
“You want to create personas for the people who buy from you today as well as for those who don’t, whom you’re targeting. The research that goes into the accurate portrayal of current and potential customers and their behaviors should be a combination of demographic, psychographic, and ethnographic.”
When creating your buyer personas, don’t forget to include your media, stakeholders, community admins and moderators, podcasters, bloggers, and influencers as personas.
The media (journalists, podcast hosts, Twitter Spaces hosts, Clubhouse room hosts) is your target audience, too! Make them real people with real interests and real lives. You might relate to them more.
5. Find Your Brand Persona
Every brand needs a voice, personality, and sense of character.
Think about what adjectives describe your brand.
Are you positive, fun, playful, or coy?
Maybe your brand is serious, straight-laced, and emoji-free.
Do you dare to roast or poke fun at a competition like Wendy’s and Taco Bell?
Make a list of how you want to be perceived when interacting with a brand. Are you supporting and encouraging or sensational and bold?
In 2009, when social media was heating up, best-selling author and PR icon Aliza Licht played the persona behind the famous (and now defunct) @DKNYPRGirl.
Of the experience, Licht said:
“Before any other fashion brand had stepped into the social game, I created an anonymous Twitter personality called DKNY PR GIRL. DKNY PR GIRL pioneered authentic voices in social media and ultimately captivated the attention of 1.5 million people around the world across platforms. In 2011, I revealed myself as the person behind the handle, which resulted in over 230 million global impressions, including a full-page feature in The New York Times.”
Licht’s persona behind the DKNY PR GIRL netted some nice gains for her personal brand.
“Over six years, my DKNY PR GIRL persona resulted in many awards, a TED talk, and a book deal. “Leave Your Mark” was published in 2015 and has successfully mentored thousands of professionals around the world.”
7. Establish Strategies & Tools
This is where you figure out how to slice up the paid, earned, and owned categories.
Paid social is a must – and it doesn’t have to break the bank.
Maybe the combo looks something like this:
Increase your results, and boost a featured Facebook post once a week.
According to Joe Youngblood, wait a few days before boosting a Facebook post, and let it publish organically and then boost.
Remember, anything you build on social media is basically “rented space.”
You do not own your social media community, following, or content. It can shut down tomorrow, as we saw with Vine, Blab, and other now defunct social media channels.
You can transition your social media community into an email list (this is what you own).
Think of creating some free download, cheat sheet, guide, or course to gain direct access to your audience.
Introduce a branded hashtag and start using it across social platforms. Publicize in bios and posts.
Encourage influencers to use the hashtag. Promote hashtags across social platforms, emails, ads, and social media covers and captions.
Monitor social media for branded keywords and targeted keyword phrases. Twitter is primed with journalists, bloggers, and real-time influencers. Find the conversations and engage.
Warning: This activity has been known to cause positive media coverage, shares, and engagement outcomes.
#SocialPRSecret: You can’t buy good public relations and social proof, and you can’t hide from negative PR.
Earn the positive first to own more and gain positive search and social results.
I like Canva. She likes Spark. They like Hootsuite. We like Buffer. The CEO’s son wants to know why you don’t have a Snapchat geo filter.
Having 50 million tools fragmented across your social media team is no fun and not efficient. That’s a slight exaggeration; the point is to have an approved list of tools and platforms.
Everyone needs to be using the same social media management tools and platforms.
Web3 Tip: Explore Web3-centric tools and platforms such as spacial.io, Discord, and Threedium to enhance your brand experience.
8. Make Your Mark: Timing & Dates
Timing is everything! One day late is a dollar lost.
You must show up to the party early on social media and never be late. This means researching industry dates for conferences and events. Look up tie-ins to seasons, days, or official months.
Make sure your reporting is efficient and on point for the proper analysis.
The CEO gets the one-pager, the CMO gets the two-pager, sales gets the sales connection report, and the analysts get the full 10-pager.
Match the report with the right persona and what they care about most.
Figure out internal dates, external dates, and reporting dates.
- Internal: Check out conferences, workshops, team meetings, and marketing reports in your industry. Don’t forget the hashtags!
- External: Look at seasons, themes, events, and trending news to tie into your social media content.
#SocialPRSecret: From Pineapple Day to World Productivity Day, never miss a day! Check out Days of the Year and keep your editorial calendar filled with the most interesting events, festivals, and weird holidays. And bookmark this SEJ article to help your editorial calendar further: You Need This Marketing Calendar & Free Template!
Web 3 Tip: Sign up for Crypto, Web3, and NFT-related events. Be on the lookout for virtual and in-person events and conferences to educate your team and possibly connect with Web3 partners to elevate your brand.
9. Measure What Matters
Measuring what matters is the key to social media strategy sanity and success.
Every network has its version of analytics. It’s easy to spend infinite time running reports. Make sure you are circling back to those measurable objectives.
Look at both quantitative for the hard numbers and qualitative for the sentiment and intent.
- Quantitative examples include website sessions, number of email sign-ups, impressions, and social network data.
- Qualitative examples include sentiment, such as favorable reviews or comments on social messaging. For example, did you raise prices on the menu and have complaints on your Facebook Page?
Quantitative tells what happened, and qualitative can usually tell the “why.” For instance, you have a positive feature story in Business Insider with a link to your company website, which caused a spike in website visits.
When influencers started turning on Daily Harvest, the vegan meal-delivery service that sells bowls, soups, and smoothies, with negative reviews after falling ill – this could be an example of quantitative and qualitative – sales fell, negative media publicity, and negative social media sentiment.
After following all of these steps, what’s next?
You might find yourself in a different direction due to your new social media strategy process.
You may venture your brand into the metaverse, start an NFT collection, continue your hashtag campaign, and even add more budget.
#SocialPRSecret: After accessing your reports and progress, create a proposed action plan, including the next steps. Provide analysis and recommendations interpreting your findings.
Web3 Tip: Make sure you are following the evolution of Web3 – the next generation of the world wide web, which includes the unfolding of the creator economy, decentralization; artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning; Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), the metaverse, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), and connectivity and ubiquity, blockchain, digital wearables, and more.
While having a documented social media strategy is important, it’s more important to make sure the plan is fluid and flexible and to keep current on trends.
Meta offers Meta Blueprint, a selection of self-paced and self-guided courses, certifications, and educational materials designed to keep your business moving forward.
As a marketer, having these certifications can help you stand out from your competition.
Keep the social in social media by staying engaged and in the conversation. The strategy will follow, flow, and fill from Web 2.0 to Web3. Be sure you are proficient in Web 2.0 to maximize your returns in Web3.
Featured Image: Jacob Lund/Shutterstock