Vince Lombardi once said, “winning isn’t the most important thing, #Winning is.” Old Vince was ahead of his time both in his use of annoying futuristic slang and his understanding of social media on the not-yet-invented internet. The point is social media is competition. Who doesn’t check in on their post to see how many likes or retweets they got for their dog picture, baby picture, baby dog picture or popular TV ranting? We all do. And what was up with that True Detective finale? #Justkissalready
As strategists and marketers, obviously, this competition has much higher stakes. If you’re good at #Winning, you get to make money, win new clients and keep having a job. If you’re not, well, you’ll probably still get hired somewhere. Because most people and most companies are bad at this stuff.
But don’t be bad. Be good. Follow these tips and you’ll be #Winning in no time. Just like Old Vince.
Understand your voice. Does your company or organization have a persona? If you’re company were a person who would they be?
Actually do this exercise.
It is so much easier to write cool posts if you’re just “doing an impression”—writing in the voice of the imagined character that is your brand.
It’s important for all employees understand what you do and pretty much explain it all the same way. This is especially important when you have a multi person social media department, your brand (while different contributors) will have a singular and clear voice.
Understand where your targets live. If you do everything you’re an expert at nothing, right? The point is not to stretch yourself too thin, where you’re on every platform. Even though social media is technically free to use, there is still a large cost in terms of resources, time, paid incentives, among many other considerations.
So only focus on social media sites where your targets are already hanging out. Research, historical sales and referrals all tell you where your targets exist, where they go to find out more information, who the key influencers are, where/how they work and where they play. These platforms are your biggest opportunity. Pay attention to them and develop a strategy to engage from here.
Keep social aligned with business goals. Social has to be a means to an end. It has to part of the overall marketing and sales strategy. Every site, every post has to have a reason. Finish this sentence: “I’m posting this X so people can Y.” If X and Y don’t sound like real things real people would want or do then you should probably just stop.
Likewise, your social platforms can’t behave in a silo. For example, could you funnel customer service through twitter? Could you make your Facebook page the first stop for hiring and showing off your office culture?
The more integrated social media is with the rest of your business, the more you’ll know how to be good at it.
Content is King. Create worthwhile content and good things happen.
Develop an approachable/scalable and reasonable content strategy. As you plan for 6 months or yearly editorial calendar, your social outreach will have much more meaning.
Speaking of editorial calendars. They rule. Literally. No, figuratively I guess.
They help an organization understand what’s happening now (internally as well as out in the marketplace), plan for the future and provide a loose, overall direction.With a broad overview of what’s to come, who’s doing what, and what other people are doing that you can leverage or address, you can develop infrastructure to support it (database for content, teams, works in progress, competitor analysis, trends and updates).
Be mindful of your platforms. Different types of content belong on different platforms. Don’t just post the same sentence on every platform and think you’re doing a good job. So don’t post a picture of your lunch on LinkedIn. No one cares.
Decide which audience resides where. Then, understand what appeals to them. Listen before engaging. Post, write or share items that make sense, are digestible and will be digested to those you want to eventually hear from.
Determine measurement upfront. What are you looking to get out of your social strategy? What do you want to happen on each platform? What is the call to action from each platform? Is the whole idea to get likes? Followers? Repins? Or is it to get things like brand recognition? Market Share? More sentences that end in question marks?
Eventually, your boss or your bank account are going to start asking you serious questions about what you’ve done with your time and your money. Don’t try to analyze things in retrospect. Have a plan right from the start. Then weasel out of it if you miss your deadlines. (Just kidding.)
In the end, my best advice is to be authentic. You can have a media channel where you show the playful side of your company/organization. You can have a channel that shows your serious tone. But when you post too many misleading or misdirected anecdotes, content that has nothing to do with your core competencies or company culture—it ultimately confuses your targets, convolutes your brand and makes for a bad social strategy.
But the key is just authenticity. Once you can fake that, #Winning is certain.