Anyone will tell you that social media is an integral part of any marketing strategy today. You will also hear people boasting of the variety of platforms and new technology their business is appearing on. They will tell you that the key is to develop a social media strategy that truly engages and inspires your audience. But what many people forget in creating their social media strategy is to start at the beginning. 

Ready to cut the cord? 

Clearly the world of social is constantly in flux and new technologies are coming out every day, as such any social media strategy will need to be flexible and take a ‘test and learn’ approach where possible. However, there may be occasions when you know that the approach just simply isn’t working and as a result it’s important for brands to know when to ‘cut the cord’ with their old social strategy and embark on a new one. Here are five signs that your social strategy isn’t working and you should cut the cord:

  • Your social media results in less than 10% of your overall site traffic.
  • You have given it time and yet you are still not seeing results.
  • People aren’t actually clicking on your content, which means either it isn’t good enough or it’s not reaching the right people. Either way this needs addressing right away.
  •  You are not getting strong engagement from your followers, let alone getting new ones. 
  • You aren’t sure why you are actually ‘doing’ social and the investment isn’t proving its worth. 

Restarting in five steps

1. Be clear on social media goals for your business

Until you work out the business aims behind your social media strategy, it is impossible to evaluate how well it’s working. Before reinventing your social media strategy, you need to be clear on how you think social should be helping your business, only then can you make social media work harder for you.

Here are four common aims that you can elaborate on to make them relevant to your business: 

  • Enhance your brand’s digital footprint.
  • Find and attract leads. 
  • Engage and build loyalty among current customers. 
  • Position yourself as a thought leader. 

2. Auditing current social media efforts

Nobody has time to be on every new platform all the time and, most importantly, you don’t need to be. If you’re a SaaS product for example, perhaps the most effective way for you to engage with your customers is not live and with your face, so don’t stress yourself with how best to use Periscope just because it’s there. Begin working out where to spend your time by creating a mission statement for each of your channels which includes what type of content you will be posting on it and the purpose of it for your business.  For example, for many businesses, Facebook lends itself most neatly to advertising thanks to its specific ad targeting, while Twitter is more useful for engagement and customer queries. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is a great way to connect with influencers and also establish yourself as a thought leader. 

3. Use social media intelligence to pinpoint your market

A vital part of any social audit is taking a look at your brand and competitors from the outside, as well as from within your enterprise. By delving deeper into social media analytics, we can now find out a huge amount about any market and its potential social media audience that we may not already know. As well as finding out what your customers are saying about you outside your own digital properties, we can use it to maximise an existing customer base and find new opportunities and unexpected new directions. 

4. Timing is everything

If you’re not using social media to promote your brand at the same time as potential customers, you may as well not be using it, especially with a fast moving medium like Twitter. This doesn’t mean to say that you need to be awake and on social media 24 hours a day waiting for an opportunity. A good analytics tool will give you a weekly breakdown of the peak times your customers are online and engaging. Many brands neglect to do this and since their social team isn’t in the office at weekends, they tend to schedule their content during the week only. However as seen in our recent B2B report, we know that many customers consume social content more on the weekends when they have downtime. As a result this is most likely when they will engage with the brand and this is not just the case for B2C brands. Certainly you don’t have to take up residence in the office at weekends, rather use a good scheduling tool like hootsuite to plan your posts and maximise your output during these valuable times.  

5. Use demographic insights to broaden your attack

Demographic insights – traditionally, most commonly offered by digital advertising executives – used to be very heavily generalised, as the consumer data was mainly based on an IP address that may or may not have been linked to a particular individual.  Now, the opportunity to mine social data gives us really accurate information on a variety of demographic attributes. Location on social media can now be pinpointed with postcode accuracy and we can also take a look at the gender, interests and even occupations of people chatting online about any particular topic. You might think you know your market, but often this kind of research can be quite revealing in who you should be targeting. 

What next? 

Ultimately whether you decide to cut the cord altogether or just take smaller steps to revitalise your strategy, brands will need to constantly measure and evaluate their social campaigns. Most importantly, this should be done regularly, rather than at the end of a quarter for example, so that any problems can be nipped in the bud quickly and efficiently. 

The fluid nature of social media means that there is no beginning or end to tailoring your social efforts, they will evolve and grow as your industry does. Your strategy should work on two tiers, being both planned and reactive accordingly. Using a few helpful tools to gain insights and make your workflow easier will save you hours of experimentation.