Five simple steps to innovate your social media strategy

Social media has transformed the way Australians discover, consume and interact online, driving real results for small business. However, Hootsuite’s 2018 Social Trends Report shows that 56 per cent of small-business owners face the challenge of demonstrating a return on investment into digital marketing. So, what can small businesses do to track the impact of their efforts? The first step is developing a social media strategy that aligns with core business goals. This can be complicated depending on the size and resources of your business. These are five easy steps that will help your businesses achieve social success.

1. Define business objectives
If you don’t know where you’re heading, you won’t get there! Identify your business objectives before building a social media strategy; it could be driving conversation, deepening relationships, better addressing customer questions, or increasing sales.

Whatever the goal, ensure you have a list of clear objectives in mind as the foundation for planning your social media strategy.

2. Align business objectives with social objectives
The next step aligns your business objectives with your customer’s journey. This can be split into five stages:

a. Awareness: Increasing how many people know you exist
b. Affinity: Enhancing your business’ reputation in the community
c. Consumption: This is the social bucket for you if you want more people reading your blog, or viewing your curated Pinterest boards
d. Intent: Growing the number of people who click through to your contact page or website – those who want to know more about your business
e. Conversion: Making sales

Matching business objectives with social buckets will show clearly what is working and where efforts are falling short.

3. Identify priority social key performance indicators
Here’s where it gets a bit technical. Key performance indicators (KPIs) clarify how you will achieve your objectives. It’s easy to see whether you are making more sales – but it is less obvious to see how many people know you exist, or are talking about your new solution. KPIs determine the how of your strategy.

Some examples of KPI’s include:

  • Total impressions or reach – how many people see your posts
  • Post frequency – how often you post
  • New fans/followers – how much your follower count has grown
  • Sign-ups to your newsletter
  • Click through rates – how many people have clicked a link to go to your website

Identify the KPIs that are best suited to your business goals to transform the direct of your strategy and enhance efficiency.

4. Measure the performance of your activities
You can measure success by comparing your results with your KPIs. Analysing social data gives accurate insights about audience growth, time saved and enhanced recognition – helping you see whether you have achieved your goals.

If you’re struggling to measure the impact, invest in activities that you can measure. Set a simple target, like increasing email signups or boosting event attendance. Or use tools offered by social networks to identify the relationship between social activity and direct sales.

5. Compare insights with your goals
Comparing your results with original goals will provide an exhaustive look at the ROI potential in social. You can see efforts that have been rewarding and areas for improvements.

Solutions such as Hootsuite Impact offer an exclusive ROI dashboard and provide a plan to increase results from your social content. Easily digestible, sentence-based insights provide month over month performance analysis.

Creating and maintaining a successful social media strategy, and measuring the outcomes, are essential small business skills in an increasingly digital world. An efficient social strategy involves thorough analysis and critically defining your goals – these important steps will highlight clearly how hard your social channels are working to achieve solid business outcomes.

Ben Mulligan, ANZ Regional Marketing Leader, Hootsuite

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