We all learned that we shouldn’t ask a Yes/No question when desiring to start a discussion. Also, it would seem like we are “supposed to” say “Yes” to a question of whether we need a strategy or not. I mean, isn’t that the correct answer?
We may all know that we need a strategy. We also all know that we should eat healthy food and that we should exercise regularly. So, does that mean we do any of it? Not necessarily. At least, not necessarily for every single person in existence.
WHY Do We Need a Social Media Marketing Strategy
That could be answered a couple of different ways. I suppose, technically, you could perform your social media marketing tasks without any strategy at all, but, even that is actually a strategy. For example, if you say you have no budget, with your spending, and you spend whatever you want whenever you want to spend, then that is your budget, a limitless amount of spending.
In the same way, strategies and processes exist, even when we are not aware of it. As humans, we tend to develop routines. If you wear makeup, and you tend to wash your face before going to your day job, you probably wash your face BEFORE you put your makeup on in the morning. That is a process that becomes a routine. You have found that it is more effective to wash your face once and put the makeup on once, then to put makeup on, wash your face, and re-apply makeup. Simple logic, eh?
So, when we are talking about strategy, it is really more of a case of effectiveness than the strategy itself. If you find something that helps you to meet your goals and objectives, then you have a strategy that is effective, at least to some level. If you have a strategy (or routine) that is giving you some ROI (return on investment), again, you are finding that that strategy has some merit.
HOW Do We Develop an Effective Strategy?
First, before getting to a point of defining your strategy as effective, you need to have some sort of measurement or analytics, to help you define the success of your strategy. Without that, you do not know if you are moving forward or backward, in your progress. Even a simple sticky note with a record of the increase or decrease of followers will suffice. Fortunately, many platforms have that metric built-in so you don’t need the separate sticky note.
Second, we need to have our own process that works for us, for defining our strategy. While people may claim that such-and-such method or approach works and is the “ultimate,” there really is no black or white when it comes to the ultimate strategy. There are shades of gray. If it were true that one single strategy was the answer for everyone in the world, then 1) everyone would be doing it; and 2) once everyone is doing it, it will lose its effectiveness.
That is not to say that there are not effective methodologies out there (I have a few and I teach my own clients some!), but they have wiggle room at different points and it is about how you apply it, for YOUR special situation. If you have purchased one, or have a blueprint, go ahead and use it for the exercise we suggest today.. you are already at an advantage right out of the starting gate!
This article is not here to give you the ultimate strategy, but rather, to give you tools and perspectives to get your juices flowing, to help you develop your own strategy.
One thing I will share with you. I have found that the most effective strategy is really the result of an iterative process (which is also an effective and widely used approach in programming). What that means is that you are open to modifying and updating your strategy as you see room for improvement. Your strategy can sort of “go with the flow,” like you 😉
So, if you are sitting down, developing your first strategy, give yourself some slack and don’t expect it to be the best strategy ever. Instead, realize that it is a growing process. And, even if you develop the right strategy for you, realize that things change, social networks change their algorithms, life changes. You need to be prepared to change with it and be ready for that continuous process improvement.
Basic Tools to Get You Started in Defining YOUR Strategy
First, let’s grab some tools. I guarantee that you will be adding to this list (and even maybe subtracting some of these, in lieu of other tools).
You already have your computer or your tablet or your smart phone, as you are reading this digital content. Well, I suppose someone could have printed it for you, but let’s go with an assumption that you have the first tool, the computer or something like that (i.e. tablet).
You free resources to add:
Disclaimer: Some tools may be free for a trial period and cost money eventually.
There are also built-in analytics within different social media platforms (like Facebook Insights) and within social media marketing tools like Hootsuite and Buffer and many more.
You thought you’d get by easy, eh? Well here you go. The assignment is to start formulating what you are doing now and what is working. If it helps, and you have the time to do it, start logging what you do each day and the results that you are seeing, so you can start to identify what is working and what is not working. From there, we will need to analyze those results, but the hardest part is done. You have started!
Guess what? You have taken the first steps in developing your social media marketing strategy! Now, why not share your tips on how you analyze what you are seeing? 🙂