You can’t move forward and be a better person until you’ve learned from your mistakes and recognized faults from your past. This sentiment is one that I feel everyone can use as a guiding principle for their life, but it is a concept that more specifically can be directly applied to social media managers. No brand is the same, but something that every brand is utilizing today is marketing across all social media platforms. This raises the question; How can a brand effectively market to the digital world if they don’t understand what they’re doing wrong? How can a brand move forward without understanding the possible threats that are holding them back? Here’s where a SWOT analysis comes to the forefront.
A SWOT analysis serves as a way for brands, companies, and people to effectively evaluate themselves based off of past business efforts, while simultaneously creating goals for how to move forward. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. These categories help companies pick apart their brands so that they may begin to evaluate themselves in the same way that their clientele would. “SWOT analysis provides an organization a clear view of its strengths, allowing it to build on them and meet business objectives. Highlights weaknesses and provides analysts a chance to reverse them. Showcases possible opportunities that lie ahead” (Pestle Analysis, 2016). But how is this acronym of an analysis actually helpful to businesses? First and foremost, a SWOT social media analysis tends to help most businesses before the analysis even begins. Why? It forces them to take a look at their business goals and objectives. Defining these goals from a general standpoint should be part of every great marketing campaign in general, but it’s especially important in the case of social media marketing campaigns (Mikolajczyk, 2020). Let’s take a deeper look at each phase of SWOT so we can fully understand the “why” behind it.
Identifying the strengths of any company is an important first step. A social media manager needs to know what a brand is doing well so they know what to continue incorporating moving forward. The identifying of strengths is imperative to maintained success for any business. Hone in on the positives, and build of those strengths, allowing these strengths to compound themselves into further strengths. Just like any other category in the SWOT analysis, strengths can include product offerings, location, brand voice, owner experience, business efforts, social media content, and more. Understanding what your brand is doing well is the first step to moving forward.
The next step to take is identifying weaknesses. Trust me, I also hate pointing out my own flaws, but every brand needs to do it so they know what to change! Businesses need to be adaptable and change their marketing efforts to support new trends. The best way to start that change is by putting a larger focus on a brand’s weaknesses. A reassuring point about this step is that “weaknesses are controllable. They [can] be minimized and eliminated” (Management Study Guide). Weaknesses = Control. Doesn’t every brand want to be in control? Once weaknesses are established, it’s easier and more beneficial to focus on the opportunities.
To successfully move forward, a brand (or person for that matter) need to identify the opportunities that are placed in front of them. A social media manager should constantly be thinking: “What can we do as a brand to maximize our revenue? And HOW can we get there?” In my opinion, there should be an emphasis on the “O” of the SWOT analysis because that is most rewarding part of the analysis. You can “capitalize on your opportunities, take advantage of your strengths, and develop business goals and strategies for achieving them.” (Business Queensland, 2017). This section allows for brands to look at their potential and turn it into action.
And finally, we need to understand what is possibly going to get in the way of a brand’s path towards success. In the SWOT analysis, this is better known as identifying threats. Essentially, the analysis is trying to help a brand understand what could potentially ruin them or get in the way of them moving forward. These threats can be internal or external. Internal threats can be employees, management, or location. External threats can be based off of what competitors are doing or what the economy may do that month or year. Threats may come and go, but being able to do an audit on what could potentially ruin your success before it happens is beneficial to any company.
“Brands can struggle with figuring out what’s “realistic” and what isn’t. By conducting a SWOT analysis, you can better understand where you might struggle and what avoid putting yourself in a situation where you can’t meet your goals. Additionally, SWOT encourages you to explore new opportunities and further define the “why” of your social presence” (Barnhart, 2020). Ultimately, the goal of the SWOT analysis is so that social media managers can be more in-touch with their target audiences as well as a brand’s opportunities and threats. It’s important that social media managers know these identifiers for a brand they’re overseeing. Without this knowledge, social media managers can’t effectively measure their marketing efforts or understand if users are positively engaging with the brand. Establishing a target audience can help social media managers notice opportunities and grow a brand.
Understanding and utilizing a SWOT analysis is an ideal situation for any brand or social media manager. By taking a deeper look into what a brand is successfully (or not successfully) doing, can help them maximize their potential and increase brand awareness, brand engagement, and revenue. A SWOT analysis is the best way for any brand to push itself into a better future through focusing and analyzing their past.