By Tamara Caire, General Manager – Social Media AOK

According to the 2018 Sensis Social Media Report, 65% of social media users use social media to research holidays, travel and accommodation. However, launching into social media for your business without a well thought out strategy can be disastrous and a waste of time. Here is why:

Forgotten Business Goals

Hopping straight into social media without first putting in place a framework for your activity means that your business goals are being given little to no regard. All social media activity should support whatever your overarching business goals are; whether it be foot traffic through your doors, bums on seats, online accommodation bookings, increased positive reviews online – the list goes on.

Wasted Resources

Harvard Business School academic Michael E Porter once said: “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”

Just because there is an emerging social media channel does not necessarily mean it is right for your business. Will its use address the achievement of your business goals? Are your ideal customers even using this channel yet? Furthermore, are you spending too much time churning out lots of content instead of focusing on quality? If you do not have direction behind your activity, you risk allocating staff time and your marketing budget to things that are not worthwhile.

Missed Opportunities

Putting a strategy behind your social media activity and educating your staff about it means that you will miss fewer opportunities to source great content or encourage positive reviews. For example, if your frontline service staff know that famous visitors to your attraction make for great social media content – and you incentivise them for capturing special moments – you will begin to generate excellent content easily.

Performance vs Results

Setting in place a social media strategy also means that you will set yourself some clear, SMART goals for what you would like to achieve through using social media for your business. This is important so that you can benchmark your activity and address whether it is helping you to achieve your goals. Regularly reporting on results is very different to measuring your performance against clearly defined goals.

Crisis Management

What would your business do in the event that you received a one-star review on Facebook? How would you react if one of your staff went on a racist rant on Facebook and it got linked to your business? Failing to plan is planning to fail here. Every business should have clearly defined escalation protocols as a part of their social media strategy – what to do in case of an emergency. Hopefully you will never need it, but you can be sure that if you do not have it – it will happen to you.

All of that said social media is a fast-moving and ever-evolving beast. Your social media strategy should not be something that is ‘set and forget’. It requires regular reviews and its direction must evolve as you take learnings from the activities that you undertake.