Social media content can have a direct impact on the delivery of your brand objectives and the achievement of your business goals. Here’s how.
Managing a corporate social media account is a massively challenging task. The purpose of doing so is to engage with our audiences and to build their loyalty, awareness and support for our brand. We also want to create great content that our audience interacts with so that we make the algorithms happy and our content is shown to more people.
But, many brands fall into the trap of using their social media channels simply as platforms to broadcast the content they create for other channels and audiences (like press releases). They might either have too much content on social or too little, varying from bombarding their audience to sharing the same content over and over again. Having no forward plan can also mean that content is ad-hoc and unplanned, leading to chaotic resource management in the office and an inconsistent social media feed.
So, how can we start to move away from this approach and towards using social media strategically to deliver on our brand objectives?
The lovely folks at CrowdControl HQ asked me to deliver a webinar on how to connect social media strategy with brand objectives. I did and you can watch the recording here:
My 30-minute presentation offers an argument for shifting your social media perspective to make your content more strategically aligned with your overall marketing communications objectives.
One of the resources I found really useful in preparing this (and in completing my CIPR Professional Diploma assignment on the same topic) is the Share This book series from CIPR. I would highly recommend reading these two books for some practical advice from PR experts on shaking up your social channels:
Here’s a summary of my tips for connecting your social media strategy with your brand objectives.
Know your objectives
It’s vital that you understand what your business objectives are, how your marketing communications objectives respond to them and how your social media strategy will deliver on them.
It’s that simple really. Business goals > marketing communications objectives > social media strategy > success.
I showed an objectives hierarchy by PR Smith in the webinar to illustrate how this all works and to demonstrate how strategic communications is only strategic if it specifically addresses wider business goals.
We need to have clear goals for what we want our social media content to do in order for it to have any impact on our strategic objectives.
Robin Wilson’s fantastic chapter in Share This Too completely changed my perspective on this and gives some really practical advice on planning social media content more effectively. He says we should ask two things to identify content goals:
- What marketing communications objectives do we want to affect?
- What reactions or actions do we want to generate?
The answers to these two simple questions are the key to creating content with a strategic purpose and a measurable impact.
Planning content is essential to making it work.
My webinar includes a discussion on Wilson’s content planning grid, which is a very simple tool for setting out your marketing communications objectives, content objectives and content KPIs. That’s essentially why you’re doing something and how you’re going to know it was successful.
Wilson’s content matrix – again shown and discussed in the webinar – is another weapon for your planning arsenal. With this, you can start to get into the granular detail of what content you’ll deliver and when. It’s a fantastic way to ensure you’re producing a wide variety of engaging content that hits your brand objectives while also engaging with your audience.
Know your audience
There’s a fundamental shift in this approach that requires us to think about the content our audience wants to see not just the content we want them to access.
Here’s Wilson’s take on it:
Acting like a media company and producing content that people want to read, watch or listen to is very different from producing content you want people to read.
See the subtle difference? To create engaging content, we need to know what our audience is interested in and give them content that appeals to those interests. It’s not about just broadcasting what we want them to know about our brand. We have to engage them first then begin to increase their awareness of our values, priorities and services.
I showed an example in the webinar of how you can use Facebook Business Manager insights to find topics of interest that you can use to create content your audience will want to engage with. In my experience of managing local authority and social housing association accounts, these topics have mostly been dogs, food (especially pizza) and the local area. I shared some examples of how I transformed this insight into engaging content – with everything from simple polls to large-scale place-branding projects being generated as a result.
But, is it worth it?
This approach ain’t easy. It takes some detailed research to understand your audience’s interests. It takes some time to plan your content in advance. And, it takes some often delicate conversations with senior leaders to get buy-in to a new way of working.
I promise you, it’s worth it.