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I’ve recently moved to the dark side, to a digital agency. Until now I’ve always stayed client side – you have one account to run, you have your strategy for the year, your focus is set and you know your competitors inside out. I’d often go online and look at what other people were doing on social media, more often than not though I’ll have found them through a great viral campaign or through peer recommendation, so their offering was likely very good. Having moved over to work across multiple accounts, each at varying stages in their quest to ‘do’ social media, it suddenly struck me how many companies are, well, just doing without thinking. After spending hours analysing brands across varying markets it’s astounding to see so many large household names still clearly working without a social media strategy.

How to recognise those without a social media strategy


Image used under CC via myrrh.ahn on Flickr

  • Channels: Look across the different social channels, if one brand is posting the same content across each then it’s pretty evident that they’re without a strategic content planning model. It’s great to leverage content across your social channels but don’t make each one the same.
  • Random Posts: We would all love to be the brand that can get away with talking about absolutely anything. Skittles do a great job of getting animals, ninjas and god knows what onto their Facebook page, but that doesn’t work for everyone and believe it or not all of those posts will have been planned in. If the posts flit from one topic to the next with intangible links back to the brand then it’s highly unlikely that they’re being scheduled in from a conversation calendar. Furthermore, if the tone of each post changes dramatically, then they’re probably without tone of voice guidelines, another key output of a cohesive strategy.
  • Visuals: If you skip back through the timeline and see that the page hasn’t changed since its inception that’s probably because no-one’s sure which direction they want to take going forward. A robust strategy would provide key dates for you to update your cover image, introduce new apps and create meaningful media-rich conversations to drive page engagement.
  • Post Frequency: A good strategy should provide you with key objectives for each social platform, from which you can then build your content and conversations around. If a channel is rarely updated then there’s a strong possibility that the purpose of that channel is yet to be defined.
  • Page Engagement: The output of a social media strategy should provide you with the tools and direction you need to plan and analyse your performance. Regular reporting is a good way to keep the team and business informed about social success. If a page has very little growth and engagement over a long period of time, it’s likely that no reporting is being done to alert the business to the situation or rectify it.

While they may seem like basic observations, they’re small but clear indicators that a social channel is running on the fly. Every social media manager should have a strategy in which to follow to ensure that they’re creating meaningful conversations and can present value back to the business.

If you’re struggling to pull a strategy together, then why not use the above list as a starting point and at least you know that your channels will be working for you in the interim.

AUTHOR: Harriet Rhodes
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