I’ve observed an interesting tendency among many of my small to mid-sized business clients when it comes to social media. Once they’ve made a decision to “be” there, there is an assumption that they need to be everywhere. And that doing social media is somehow an all or nothing endeavor.
In other (related) cases, they might be gaining some traction on one channel, and assume that it’s a signal to initiate a presence on a new, unrelated channel.
But more is not necessarily better. And as audiences grow more fragmented, and content more abundant, thoughtful strategy is more important than ever. So before you decide to add another channel to your social media mix, consider these 20 critical questions first.
1. What's happening on our other channels? Are we fully leveraging our existing social media accounts? Are there opportunities to remove a channel that isn't driving results or in hindsight, is a poor fit?
2. What are we trying to accomplish? Why do we think this channel is the best way to accomplish these objectives? Do our strategic objectives match the channel we're intending to leverage?
3. What implications will our presence on this channel have on other platforms? For example, if the goal is to drive online sales, do you have an optimized e-commerce site ready to receive orders?
4. Is our target audience on this channel? If so, how do they typically use the channel? For conversation, customer support, as a news source? Do our intentions for the channel match our customers' expectations?
5. What do we want our audience to do once they've joined our community? Be specific about the actions you're expecting customers to take in order to help anticipate how you will need to engage them.
6. What value can we add? How do we intend to uniquely contribute to what is an already overcrowded party? Hint: Check out your competitors use of social media for clues on potential content gaps.
7. Who will manage the channel? This includes posting content, daily monitoring of brand mentions, responding to customer comments and reporting.
8. How much time will we need to allocate for channel and community management? Perhaps the most common mistake I encounter among clients is underestimating the amount of time it will require to manage a social media channel. Depending on the volume of posts and how engaged your community is, you'll want to allocate a minimum of 1-2 hours/day per channel. This doesn't include the creation of content (we'll get to that later).
Good to know
More than half of marketers are spending between 11 and 20 hours on social media per week.
Source: The 2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report via Social Media Examiner
9. How will we handle responses to customer questions, comments and reviews? Have we created a protocol to guide how we manage these responses? Do we need to integrate our customer service teams into this process? You'll want to be prepared to answer customer inquiries in as close to real-time as possible. Brands that are slow to respond or worse yet, don't respond at all put their credibility at risk.
10. How many times per month do we intend on posting? While this may fluctuate, it's a good idea to anticipate approximately how many monthly posts you'll need to create and the implication it will have on how you allocate resources.
Good to know
Recommended daily posting frequency for optimal engagement:
Facebook: 1 post per day
Twitter: 15 tweets per day
Pinterest: 11 pins per day
LinkedIn: 1 post per day
Instagram: 1-2 posts per day
Source: Various studies compiled by Co-Schedule
Disclaimer: The above is just a guide. Ultimately, your strategy, industry and resources should inform your posting frequency.
11. Who will manage the editorial calendar? Generally this includes generating ideas for content, coordinating communications inputs from various stakeholders, writing copy and managing the production of content assets.
12. How much time will we need to allocate for editorial planning? This will largely depend on the volume and complexity of the content you plan on creating and how many stakeholders will be informing the process. In my experience, for a single channel you'll want to allocate around 1-2 hours per post for concepting, copywriting & scheduling.
13. What kind of content will we create? Graphics, photos, videos, white papers? Out of our planned posts, how many will require original creative work?
14. Where will this content originate from? Can we create it in house and on-site or will we need to hire an outside resource?
15. If we're outsourcing, what is our budget? If we're developing in-house, what is our process? What (if any) additional tools (hardware/equipment and/or software) will we need to invest in?
16. How will we nurture our audience? Don't assume that if you build it they will come. Offline promotions, contests, influencer partnerships and social media advertising are all part of a healthy community engagement strategy.
17. Who will manage advertising and other engagement tactics? Again, is this an in-house resource or something we need to hire a consultant to manage?
Organic reach across social media has been on the decline. Combined with recent algorithm updates that prioritize user content over brands, it's all but imperative you have an advertising plan if you hope to meaningfully grow your social media channels.
18. What is our monthly advertising budget? This will likely require some testing based on your industry, campaign goals and the channel you're advertising on. Most social media channels offer self-service platforms that allow you to spend as little as a dollar a day. Start small and test and than increase your budget as you learn what's working (and what isn't). Also, be sure to consider any costs associated with developing the creative assets for your ads.
19. What does success look like? What kinds of short and long-term KPI's have we designated to measure progress? How will we measure and report on that progress? Do we need to invest in any third party reporting tools for monitoring and reporting?
20. Do we have buy-in from the right stakeholders? Social media is a team sport and requires cooperation and buy-in from multiple departments across your organization. Be sure that all of your stakeholders are on board and understand their role in the success of your channels.
“The ability to ask the right questions is more than half the battle of finding the answer.” –Thomas J. Watson