Top tips for social strategy
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Top tips for social strategy

We list effective tools and techniques for social media strategy, recommended by industry experts.

Start with your objectives and work back

“When it comes to making technology choices to help implement a social media strategy, it is vital to be very clear as to why you are making the choices in the first place and what purpose that technology platform will fulfill,” says Raluca Efford, head of digital and social engagement at Direct Line Group. “To gain the most benefit from social media, you must make sure your chosen strategy complies with the core criteria of your organisation’s goals and needs.”

Henry Clifford-Jones, director of marketing solutions at LinkedIn, concurs: “It sounds simple, but don’t get distracted and choose a channel because it’s new or you understand it. Have a laser focus on what you want to achieve, who you are trying to engage with and pick channels that will reach them and offer up useful and relevant content.”

Strategy planning

All social media strategies can be broken down into three phases – planning, delivery and analysis/measurement, says Daren Bach, MD of brand communications agency Provoke.Define who your audience is, how and where you are going to communicate with them and what it is you want to say that is of interest to them,” Bach says. Only then should the tools that can deliver be selected.

Aligning social media strategy tightly with marketing goals is key to success, says Alison Dwyer, MD of Smith & Smith PR: “Fundamentally, it doesn’t matter how sophisticated the tools are if you aren’t immersing yourself into that conversation. As a result, the questions you need to be asking about tools are: will it help me nurture leads? Will it enhance engagement? Will it allow me to communicate the way I want to? Once those questions are solved, find the tools that give you visibility of the analytics you need.”

“A good listening tool is worth its weight in gold,” says Bach. “By listening first and understanding what you see, you can create your golden rules of engagement to empower your social media teams moving forward. At this point, you can see how people interact with your brand and the sentiment from industry commentators and influencers. This enables you to identify the appropriate resources, procedures and workflows within your teams and departments.”

Marketers should also create a robust but fluid content planner and scheduler with content themes, dates and overlaid with their audiences. “This is the backbone to your success so you can plan assets to be created ahead of time,” says Bach. “And don’t forget to measure and mark up performance. Use tools like Feedly and Buzzsumo to add to this plan by constantly researching topical content that will resonate with your audiences.”

Finding the right tools

While finding the right tools is key, it can be difficult. It’s worth following industry trade media, thought leadership blogs on various platforms and so on to stay informed of what’s new and effective.

Alexei Lee, head of social media at Fat Media, advises: “If you are a business at the start of your social media journey, the best approach is to go with tools that are more established – for instance Hootsuite, SproutSocial or Buffer. These apps have had a while to evolve and now provide a well-rounded set of features and user experience, and are more reliable in terms of up-time and customer support.

“It is unlikely you will find a ‘one-size-fits-all’ tool that does everything you need it to, so be prepared to manage a ‘suite’ of apps and look for those that integrate well with each other in order to streamline your workflow.”

SOCIAL LIST – a selection of the best tools for social media delivery and scheduling:

  • Hootsuite – A great all-rounder social media dashboard, it allows users to manage all their posting and engagement in one place.
  • SproutSocial Another useful social media management tool created to help businesses grow their presence.  
  • Meet EdgarSocial media management and scheduling tool.
  • BuzzSumo Social analytics tool BuzzSumo is a great way to get a picture of what interests your audience, what kind of content they love to share and where they live online, and is useful for identifying social media influencers.
  • Audiense Audiense is a Twitter analytics tool that enables you to gain a deep understanding of your follower network.
  • Buffer Great for multi social media publishing – you can schedule posts and share content on multiple channels from anywhere on the web.
  • Brandwatch Analytics for social intelligence, providing insights into social media conversations and trends.
  • Crimson Hexagon Platform for social research and historical social data.
  • Traackr Software platform for social sentiment analysis and harnessing the power of influencers.
Phil Lattimore Freelance Journalist CPL
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