Apologies here for the harsh title, but after seeing far too many organizations and entrepreneurs post on social media without defining a clear strategy first because, well, “if you don’t post on social, you’re missing out, so we need to have something right now,” I’ve just about had it.

Yes, while it is true that if you’re not on social, you’re missing out– the more important thing about posting to social media is first defining your strategy.

By that, I mean, before even creating your accounts, you need to (not should) think about a lot of things to be successful right off the bat. Here are a few ideas just to get you started:

  • What social media platforms are my audiences using?
  • What type of content does my audience consume on those platforms?
  • What type of content do I/my team create now?
  • Is/How can my content be the kinds of content my audiences consume?
  • How often should I/my brand post?
  • What hashtags should I/my brand use?
  • What’s the tone I/my brand should take on social?

Again, those are just a few of many questions you/your team needs to be asking before getting started with social.

Why?

Because without asking yourself those questions– and more– in regard to your brand, audience, and social media plan, you simply won’t see or be able to measure growth, learn more about your audience/client base or have an understanding of what can be replicated for success in order to optimize your ROI when it comes to social media.

Feeling overwhelmed? That’s okay. You’re not the only one.

For years, I’ve seen many B2B and B2C companies and organizations treat their social media accounts only as another place to share content…or, to be frank, a content dumping ground.

And while the mentality for those organizations is, “well, at least we’re on social media,” what most don’t know is, the way you treat and present your brand on those platforms could hurt you just as much as it could help.

Without a dedicated resource for developing and maintaining a social media strategy and calendar, tailoring messaging, and truly engaging on social platforms, your brand’s social presence naturally falls behind, becomes out-dated or comes across as spammy or disingenuous. And all of that pushes your potential clients, customers and influencers away from your brand instead of towards it.

So…what can you do?

Instead of a content dumping ground, think of your social media channels as a content and engagement playground. Social media is the driver of instant news and content, and you– as a brand– need to figure out how to ‘stop the scroll’ and how to get people to engage with your content and come back for more.

Think about what times are most popular for your social media playground….when are the most people showing up?

Think about what attraction everybody’s always lining up for and coming back to…is it video content or infographics? Maybe you should be creating more of those.

Think about what makes people bring their friends with them next time…did you respond quickly and appropriately to someone’s concern or comment?

Okay, I think you’ve gotten the metaphor by now, so my final takeaway about social media strategy development is this:

Give your social media the time and resources it needs to grow and prove success, just as you would any marketing campaign.

Putting a plan and structure around your social media platforms will not only help you better engage your audiences, but it will boost brand awareness and drive demand and/or sales.