You've got a well established business and marketing plan, and you're ready to get your marketing activity across the line and out to an audience, to convert a few more of those precious leads.
Naturally, the first medium you turn to is social media. You've witnessed businesses transform into corporate success stories through head-turning Instagram ads (lest we forget the Kylie Jenner & Waist Trainer collaboration), and you're keen to fine-tune your social media strategy.
The most important thing to remember is that any good marketing strategy has a well-tested, tight-knit plan. Without a marketing plan in place, you may risk social media fragmentation and experience problems down the track that could hurt your brand.
Here are our top tips to help you double-check your social media strategy, and ensure that you connect with your target audience.
What is social media fragmentation?
Often, when a company uses social media platforms as a part of their marketing strategy, it can be tempting to spread their brand messaging as far and wide as possible across multiple channels in order to reach the largest potential audience.
Unfortunately, if not implemented with a cohesive strategy behind it, this usually results in a few negative outcomes:
- Budget is spread too thin across too many social channels, resulting in mediocre ROI and not enough push behind the campaigns that really need it
- Your brand's messaging isn't cohesive across each platform, and conflicting points of difference are portrayed to each audience
- Time and money is spent on channels that may not align well with your brand and its target audience
- New, in-vogue channels may be added to your strategy haphazardly, creating a 'silo' effect where the new channel's branding and messaging differs significantly from the original channels
- The same audience is over-saturated with identical content across channels
If you're looking to fine-tune your social strategy, or bring a new channel into your scheduling, we recommend taking these 5 steps to make sure your brand messaging is cohesive and avoids fragmentation.
1. Re-visit Your Target Audience & Channels
One of the most important steps in creating a social media strategy is understanding who you're trying to connect with. No matter the channel, social media is a communication platform that's tailored to creating connections, so it's important to understand who you're trying to convey your messaging to.
One of the biggest mistakes that companies make (large corporations included) is assuming they already know who their target audience is. It's key to challenge your assumptions and put in the research to find out who you're going to market to.
We've put together a quick check list of how to re-visit your customer research:
- Call your current customers and have a chat about their demographics, wants, and needs
- Put together a survey to conduct primary research about your audience
- Look to your competitors for market research that may have already been completed and learn from their current strategies
- Social listening - check in on what your customers are saying online, on competitor's social pages
- Put together a 'persona' of who your audience is
Once you've established a clear outline of who you're marketing to, you can begin to pick the social channels that suit your brand best.
The key thing to consider here is that not all audiences will be present and engaged on all social channels.
For example, if your target audience are typically mums between the ages 29 - 40, you're likely to be able to connect best with them on Facebook. In contrast, if your target audience is between the ages of 16 - 29, and your product or service is a cafe with brilliant, visually appealing food, Instagram might be a better bet.
It's much better to do your research on which social channels provide the best opportunity to connect with your audience and double down on those specific platforms, rather than spread your resources and messaging thin across irrelevant channels.
2. Refine your Brand & Messaging
Before curating content and posting it to your selected social channels, it's really important that you revisit your company's point of difference and the main messaging you want to get out to your audience.
From there, you can begin to structure each piece of content cohesively and ensure that across all of your social media channels, you're saying the exact same thing.
For example, if you're that same cafe with brilliant, visually appealing food we mentioned earlier, and your point of difference is that everything you use in your cafe is recycled or eco-friendly, you'll need to make sure that across the board, that's the message you're sending to your potential customers.
- Make sure that your graphics are designed to be decoded as an 'eco-friendly' business and that across all channels your logos, images, and eco-content is cohesive
- Your copy across channels needs to read the same way. Keep the same angle throughout (possibly changing your tone slightly between channels, ie. professional for LinkedIn and # for Instagram), but for the most part, make sure you can tell that your business wrote it
- If you have a hashtag that relates to your business, or an 'eco' related hashtag you'd like to include, make sure to do so on every channel
- Always keep your target audience in mind. This is the single best way to make sure that your content always conveys similar messaging and isn't fragmented.
By following these steps, no matter who looks at whichever social channel, they know it's your brand and what you're all about. Zero confusion, cohesive social marketing.
3. Review your Content Schedule
Another mistake that companies easily make that often results in fragmented marketing across social channels is haphazardly posting content.
If you're not already familiar with a content schedule there is a great example of one here. Otherwise, it's really important to revisit your schedule and ensure that you're strategically mapping out which content you're going to post, to which channel, at a specified time. This will help you to ensure your content is cohesive, planned and timely.
It's especially handy if you're having trouble getting consistent content out across separate channels. Everything is ready to go, easy to read and keep track of.
4. Constantly Check & Update your Plan
Of course, as your brand evolves, you'll need to check in on your content plan and social strategy, as it's likely that your target audience will need to be tweaked slightly as you go.
Changing and updating your plan is particularly relevant to social media as, quite frequently, new mediums are added and some platforms lose popularity and influence.
If a new platform comes in to play that you'd like to branch out into, make sure to follow the same process of researching what kind of audience the channel connects with best - and if it aligns well with your messaging.
Finally, make sure to add the new channel to your social calendar. This will give you a good overview of how the new channel slots into your current content schedule and help you to maintain a cohesive social strategy.
Keeping a tab on social strategy
If you're interested in learning the best practice for social media strategy, the easiest way to gain insight is to look to your industry leaders.