Growing up, my family was one that prioritized traveling oversees and exploring the culinary cuisine in depth while we were there. My mom is a planner, and not someone who took these vacation opportunities lightly. Before even getting off the runway in our departure flight to our destination, we knew what sites we would seeing, what food we would indulge in, and what culturally enriching opportunities we would be partaking in already. Now yes, I may be biased, but I’ve long held the belief that these trips were more than successful, they were perfectly executed feats of travel itinerary. There was never a wasted movement or moment, each new experience and finding transitioned seamlessly into the one that proceeded it. I give all the credit and fondness I still have for these memories to my mom, who was the real architect of our travels. It was her plans that laid the foundation for what these trips would be. Similarly to my family vacations, social media campaigns benefit greatly from having a plan and creating a strategy. Having a strategy that paints a picture of what a social media campaign will look like before any content goes “live,” can be the driving force behind a brand being able to visualize success. Travel itineraries and social media strategies are two completely different topics, but they have one very common central theme: the importance of planning.
A social media strategy includes, but is not limited to; creating a social media content calendar, highlighting keywords or hashtags, writing captions, and tracking results. There are many reasons why social media managers should perform some, or even all of the above. Creating a plan maximizes visualization, organization, promotion, reporting, and improvement. I’m not that credible (yet), but even the experts are echoing the same sentiment! According to Forbes, the benefits social media strategy planning can bring: Improving your brand’s recognition and loyalty, providing better customer service, gathering valuable data and insights, and more.
Like I said before, creating a plan maximizes visualization and organization. This plan can look something similar to a social media content calendar. One of the benefits of using a social media content calendar is the ability to visualize a social content strategy over a period of time and stay organized across all social channels. It helps brands plan social media marketing efforts around important opportunities in their industry. A solid social media calendar allows plenty of time to fill space with relevant content that is valuable to a brand’s audience rather than posting on the fly (Buscemi, 2018).This is the true value of creating a planned out campaign, the ability to focus on relaying the content to consumers. The ability to relate to customers while giving value to your target audience is imperative to the overall success of a campaign, and it stems directly from a combination of planning content and analyzing data.
Brands are implementing monitoring and measuring tactics into their strategies. The strategy itself acts as a framework and reference point, so if you see a pattern among the posts that work well and those that flop, you can hold it up to the wider plan and make adjustments at the source. The result of monitoring and measuring activity allows brands to fine-tune their tactics. Instead of wasting time on things that don’t work, or getting stuck in a rut posting the same ineffective stuff, brands are able to dynamically respond to their audience and the changing of the digital seasons (Birnie, 2018). A majority of social media platforms today give users the ability to track analytics, and social media managers should be using that to their advantage when creating a social media strategy. The opportunity to measure success and impact has never been more readily available, something that previously did not exist until very recent in the industry of social media. This not only gives more insight into the campaign, but has greatly improved the value of the social media manager, as businesses often rely on data to make decisions and shape the direction a company is heading.
It may seem more convenient to post whatever comes to mind that day, however, not having a social media strategy set in place typically does more harm than good. A lack of strategy hands the advantage to competitors. If you invest in a social presence without a clear strategy, you won’t know whether or not your campaigns are successful. For example, if you simply post content to appear active, how do you know that content is contributing to the business positively? What if it’s actually putting people off your brand? (Gird, 2019). Constantly posting isn’t the same as consistently posting. Consistency equals effectiveness. Having a social media strategy is what helps brands put out consistent content that aligns with their brand voice and mission. It is essential to plan social media management effectively for better promotion of your business (Measure Marketing, 2013).
Looking back on my family vacations, it’s clear that they were so successful because of my moms ability to map out a trip before even beginning it. After reading from the experts, it’s also clear that planning and carefully enacting a strategy, are directly correlated to effective social media campaigns. Being spontaneous is fun, but planning is effective (and also fun). As I progress throughout my personal life and professional career, I’ll be sure to remember to always plan for two things: family vacations and social media campaigns.