Since working in social media for the last 8 years (gasp!!), one thing is for certain, this job is more than just the fun tactical, shoot off a tweet and go viral, type of job. It includes copywriting, photoshoots, editing, reporting, listening, and most importantly…strategy.
No one really teaches you how to be strategic, I think it really comes with time understanding each platform, your audience, and brand objectives. When you hear the word ‘strategy’ or ‘strategic’, you think boring. You think no one even opens that deck anyway? Well, you’re wrong. Being strategic is more important now than ever because we manage multiple platforms all with different audiences, content, and outcomes.
So let’s talk about strategy…
At the end of the day, your strategy is your north star. It’s where everything leads back to. It’s your map. It’s your bible. It’s fluid as time and business objectives change. It’s how you bring your team onto the same page.
You get the idea.
After years of being in the weeds and doing tactical social, I made it my mission to learn how to think strategically and talk about it with executive leadership and get on board with the craziness. So let’s begin…
Step 1: Social Business Challenge
I like to start by thinking about your overall business challenge and how social can support it, calling it “Social Business Challenge.” This is one or two sentence preamble on how social can support your overall business challenges. It’s combining what your leadership is working on and when they ask you “how can you support this through social?” you will have the answer.
Step 2: Manifesto
Now that we got our mindset right from a business perspective, I always like to kick things off with a fun manifesto. This is your chance to flex your creative muscles in a way to get people on board. Make this energized. Make this fun. Make this a place to channel the energy you want this social strategy to give to your fans.
Step 3: Social Objectives
This is where you outline the job to be done through social. Whether that is to update your brand perception, foster your communities, make your brand approachable or crave-able. Is social there to help you make noise in your category? What is the role social will play in your overall brand objectives?
Step 4: Social Strategy in one line
This is where you summarize the work you’ve done above into one sentence. Your elevator pitch of what the goal of social is.
Step 5: Channel Roles
Now that your north star is shining, let’s talk about the platforms you’re currently on. Being a social media manager is about managing multiple communities that cater to different audiences with different tactics. Instagram is meant for sharing images and videos, Tik Tok is about that perfectly imperfect video, Facebook is the largest platform with (sometimes) the most amount of followers. Each platform is a different community that needs special attention.
For your channel role slide, this is where you define each platform and what they are meant to do. So outline that with content examples with the KPIs you want to measure.
Step 6: Social positioning
On this slide, we outline the problem, truth, human need we’re solving, and our purpose on social (your one-liner you created in Step 4)
Problem: what is your current business challenge or challenge on social? Is it you’ve lost engagement? You’ve lost your brand edge? You are building a community?
Truth: What is your brands truth? What is the need your brand is solving? For Auntie Anne’s, our truth is that we are the snack that fulfills and keep you moving and it gives you and your mood a boost.
Human need we’re solving: what is the solution your brand gives to your fans’ needs?
Your purpose on social: this is your social strategy one-liner
Step 7: Tone of Voice
Here is where you outline how you will talk to your audiences. You can outline a list of “Do’s” and “Don’ts” on the tone you use to speak to your audience, This TOV slide is how you interact with your fans whether it’s in the comments or on posts.
Step 8: Content Pillars
Now let’s have some fun. Here is where we are thinking about the storytelling piece of our strategy. We have outlined our objective, our tone, now we have to think about the look and feel. I usually like to keep it to 3 different pillars that outline the three main categories of content. For example, there could be a content pillar for…
- Your brands mission/vision
- Your audience
Then, I like to show examples of what that could look like either from content we’ve already captured or through examples from other brands.
Step 9: Competitive Audit
It’s important to know how your competitors are telling their stories on their platforms so you can differentiate how you tell yours. It’s also a way to get inspired and figure out your content mix. As Social Media Managers, we do not have time to recreate the wheel. We have to get inspired and stay relevant by doing trends that other brands are participating in (but with your own twist).
Step 10: Measurement/benchmarking
Finally, this is where you can show your success. Outline how you define social success for your brand. Whether it’s engagement, page following, impressions, etc For Auntie Anne’s, we have all of our 2021 numbers outlined with goals for us to hit, calculated by what we did last year. This gives us something to work towards but also something to show off the amazing work we do!
In conclusion, writing a social strategy is like building a foundation for a house. All of this work is done to make sure you know what your purpose is on social media and it helps drive every decision that needs to be made, whether it’s community management, content planning, and what trends to hop into. And if you need help tracking your organic social activity give Triple Whale a try.