1. Let's get down to business!
Every approach starts with an analysis of the status quo: where is your social media presence? Is it optimal? The main thing here is to be objective and self-critical. Don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues (and even friends and family) what they think about your online presence. It’s important to take a step back and try to see the big picture. Accepting the faults in your strategy is the first step towards optimising it!
Take a multidisciplinary approach by consulting your webmaster, who will be able to give you some valuable insights into the content and targets that are performing best on your social media accounts. This will also help you to draw a link between your social networks and your website hits.
Another essential is a competitor analysis. Choose 5 competitors/leaders in your field (both in Belgium and beyond!) and analyse their strengths and weaknesses. You will then be able to identify effective strategies and adapt them to your market/company.
2. S.M.A.R.T. objectives
If you want to get a bit of perspective and identify your company's needs, it’s essential to define your objectives. These will need to be matched up with your company’s business objectives, so it’s worth checking in with your CEO and getting them to point you in the right direction. It’s then up to you to translate these business objectives into communication objectives. They should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. In other words, don't try to increase your fan base by 10,000 fans in a week. Opt for gradual, realistic growth.
So what should these objectives be? Here are a few suggestions:
- Traffic generation
But watch out! You should pick one and only one objective for your actions/campaigns. You won't get the best results if you attempt to drive engagement, boost visibility and recruit new fans all at once! The trick? Work in phases.
Let’s say you’re launching a new product. No doubt the first thing you think of is sales/conversions. But this is overly optimistic (and ambitious). If your product is going to sell, it first of all needs to be recognised, to engage a particular audience, and to generate traffic.
What you need to do is map out the customer journey (conversion funnel) that covers each stage (and therefore each objective).
4. Don’t get tempted by vanity metrics.
As we’ve already mentioned, it’s important to be objective and frank about your results. There's nothing less constructive than a report based on an overly positive analysis. We're talking about those famous vanity metrics (lots of views, lots of likes, etc.). This data may flatter your ego, but does it actually help with your business objectives? Not necessarily. You should practise caution and transparency in the face of positive results that seem reassuring.
To avoid being misled, the first step is to correctly choose your key performance indicators (KPIs). As a grandmaster when it comes to defining your objectives, you’re already halfway there!
But what’s the best way to choose them? Think about what will show whether or not you’ve achieved the objective. Are you building your visibility? Opt for KPIs like reach, CPM (cost per thousand views), and the number of video watches at 50%. Have you set a sales objective? Choose things like the CTR (click-through rate), which is a great indicator for telling you the cost per conversion.
With this approach, you’ll steer clear of the vanity metrics trap. These metrics look like reassuring, positive KPIs, but in fact they have very little relevance for the objectives you’ve set. A good performance indicator will help you optimise your strategies and see whether you’re heading in the right direction. The ultimate aim of this is to improve your results, little by little.
Let's take an example: You’re starting to sell a product. To do this, you set up a nice little conversion campaign on Facebook and Instagram. The campaign launches and two weeks later you notice that your ad has generated more than 2000 likes and 200 comments. “Fantastic,” you think, “the campaign’s working!” Wrong! The aim here is sales/conversions, and so engagement (all of the interactions generated by the campaign) is completely useless in terms of the campaign’s performance. The main indicators that you should be looking at are the conversion rate, the cost per conversion, the average “add to basket” actions, etc.
A final bit of advice for the road: Test & Learn.
Forget those 1-year communication plans! The digital world is constantly changing. What seems like a racing certainty today could be completely irrelevant in 2 weeks’ time. Instead, take a quarterly approach: set your objectives for the next 3 months, keep an eye on them and optimise them at the end of the quarter. And never lose sight of your business objectives, which should guide your tactical choices from one deadline to the next. Be like a mountain climber: stay on course, and never lose sight of the summit.