By Emma Hodgkinson

The importance of a social strategy

May 1st, 2024
6 min read

Feel like you're aimlessly posting on social media with no engagement? Sounds like you need a strategy...

It’s commonplace now for many businesses to have some kind of social media presence. Social media has many benefits – reaching a wide number of potential/current customers, creating engaging communities, and ensuring that your product or service is front of mind when customers are looking to buy.

The most common reason we hear as to why businesses are on social media might surprise you. They simply say – ‘because everyone else is’. Whilst this sentiment might be true, the challenge businesses face is that in today’s society of constant newness and trends, paired with customer expectations reaching stratospheric levels – simply being on social media isn’t enough.

You need a strategy, or more specifically, a social media strategy.

What does a great social strategy include?

A snapshot of where we are today. This is typically the result of a social media audit which looks at who your current audience are on social, how they behave and how that varies by channel, how your content currently performs, what works in terms of engagement and audience interactions.

A competitor activity review – all of the above benchmarked against industry standards and broader audience behaviours.

One direction that everyone is aligned to.  It’s easy when it comes to social for individual opinions and behaviours to dictate the overall approach – after all, most of us are on social media ourselves. But that doesn’t mean we know how to run social media accounts or to define what the best approach is, and what tactics will be most beneficial in helping to reach those all important objectives and KPI’s. Having one clear direction means that everyone is aligned and all working towards the same goal.

Clear role and purpose for each channel – The platforms are constantly changing and what works for one channel, might not work for another. Add into the mix that audiences can behave very differently and consume content differently across the platforms. It’s easy also when new platforms or channels enter the market to immediately join them – think threads or lemon8, but if you’re not careful and there’s no strategy you’ll end up with 9 social media channels you constantly have to update and keep audiences engaged.

Aligned to your business goals – filtering down from the marketing strategy. A great social strategy has objectives and KPI’s that link up to those of your wider marketing strategy. Every piece of marketing communications and all activity should be working hard to help achieve a much bigger outcome. Without this, your marketing acts like a busy fool – a lot going on, with no clear results.  Your business objectives/plan sit at the top of the tree, helping to guide the business to growth and success over time.

Objectives = Measurement = Reporting = Improvement – It’s not rocket science, but having clear objectives for social also means that you can effectively track your progress against them. With consistent reporting you’ll be able to spot current and potential future issues, and pivot your tactical activity accordingly, without changing the entire strategy. By having a hands-on approach to your objectives and tracking them + pivoting tactics where needed, you’re more likely to see quicker and more lasting improvements in your social media performance.

Sets clear boundaries
Your social strategy will help to manage internal expectations by setting out what content types and topics you will be posting - and importantly - what you won’t be.

More efficient content planning and production

By having defined objectives, understanding what your audience want to engage with, and the content types and topics you will be sharing, you can streamline your content planning and production process. Giving you more time to focus on other things. Win-win!

Consistency and Results

We often hear that ‘consistency is key’ and that definitely rings true when it comes to gaining social media engagement.  

How to engage and convert on social media

Your strategy can also help you influence and convert your audience depending where they are in their customer journey. We know that not all buyers are always immediately ready to buy so how you go on the journey with your customers and move them closer to purchase - and then advocacy - is key.

Being sure you show up where your audience are. Being present on platforms they use the most, so that you're part of the conversation. Your audience are driving the conversation, so you should be there when it matters.

Remaining front of mind when they’re ready to purchase ensures that you are the go to brand for when they need to buy your service or product. The same happens when your brand is seen all over trends and conversations: remaining front of mind with a great social strategy = converting customers.

Sharing the right message at the right time does a dual job, as showing up when your audience is ready is key to capturing their attention, and then saying the right thing to them, in the right way to nudge them along the customer journey.

Ensuring customers feel seen, heard and represented helps to create brand loyalty across platforms. So that when you release something new they're at the front of the queue. They do this because you make them feel seen and they can align their own values to your brand and products or services. An example of this is people queuing to get into the gymshark store when it opened on regent street, even though they can order from the comfort of their own home.

So how do you get started on a social strategy?

Having an un-biased, outside perspective on your strategy is paramount for long-term success. Where internal stakeholders are key in the research phases of strategy development, often opinions and stakeholder priorities can take centre stage when pulling together the strategy. 

If you’re looking to appoint an external strategy specialist to support your strategy, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

We discussed the importance of having a social media strategy and much more in our LinkedIn hosted Masterclass, how relying solely on a social marketing apprentice can screw your business, which you can catch up on here.

Emma Hodgkinson

Strategy & Channel Director

A customer centric strategist, Emma weaves brand, customer and commercial strands together to form growth driving strategies. Strong client side and agency side experience.