Just because a zucchini plant happens to grow in your garden doesn’t mean it will taste like one. Sometimes a wild variety spontaneously gets in and left unchecked, it will take off in all directions only to produce something terribly bitter and completely unpalatable.
Much like this rogue zucchini, communications or social media strategies that emerge from the wild and become de facto, or grow from an unchecked outdated hand-me-down plan, will leave you with lackluster results, meet none of your desired objectives, and leave a bitter taste in your mouth.
Instead of carrying out strategic plans that seem to have evolved out of thin air or are in place just because they ‘have always been done that way,’ follow these strategy development essentials to grow your social media presence with purpose and serve your audience something delicious:
Know who you are talking to: Clearly and specifically define the desired audience you which to attract and communicate with -this means defining the demographics, location, values and culture of the individuals you will be taking a targeted approach to connect with.
Know what you are telling them: Once you understand who you’re talking to, you need to clearly articulate what you want to communicate to your audience,and what you want them to do. This should be a balance between what you want them to know and do, and what they want to hear and receive from you. If you’ve done your homework, you’ll understand this audiences’needs and wants, and you can map your message to those ends. Based on the characteristics and demographics of your desired audience, craft messages that will resonate with them and compel desired actions.
Know what you will measure: Before you start executing a strategy, it is vital to decide what metrics you will track over time so you know if your approach is effective, so you can compare performance over time, and so you can spot trends around what works and what doesn’t. A clear plan for what you will monitor allows you to hone, iterate and narrow your focus to achieve the specific goals you set forth.
Holly Fearing and Michael Ogden are the newest consultants to join CDS Consulting Co-op and provide social media assessment, strategy development and consultation to enable cooperatives to effectively amplify their messages, connect with members and grow their brand awareness through social media. Contact them today if you are seeking guidance on your social media communication efforts.