Should you emulate Social Media Strategies?

If i had a cent for everything i heard this in a meeting…

You’d be surprised at how often i hear that in meetings. Well maybe not in those exact words but plenty of people in businesses without an SMM strategy think it. Why shouldn’t they? There are some great social media accounts out there, posting amazing content on a daily basis. Some boast great communities and have awesome engagement rates. So why not copy that strategy? This social media stuff is easy and this sounds like a great hack to get you started, right?

Well, not really.

Sure, there are some great strategies to emulate out there. And it’s a given that a good SMM strategy must take a good look at what the competition is doing. What it’s doing well and, even more importantly, what it’s doing wrong. But taking cues from well known and successful brands on social media is a double edged sword. Before you’re tempted to start copying what someone else is doing, ask yourself these three questions:

Are they positioned on the same marketplace?

Pictures of tulips might be great if you’re a brick and mortar flower shop but don’t quite hit the mark if you’re selling paper clips. Everything you do, from the moment you create your presence on a social media channel, has to be relevant for your specific brand, product or service.

That doesn’t mean you should’t learn from the approaches of different markets! And some strategies have a universal allure. Visual content, from high quality pictures to awesome video always work. But a great SMM strategy is about more than just a well designed logo and some pictures. It needs to be targeted to achieve a goal, to reach a specific audience.

Wait a minute, do we have the same audience?

So you’re checking out the competition. Looks like their strategy is working! But are they targeting the same audience as you?

A key component of any strategy is building your buyer persona. Is it a Millenial, Gen Xer, Boomer or someone who identifies with none? How do they go about deciding what to buy? What are the key deciding factors when making a purchase? Just because someone has a successful strategy to engage their target audience, doesn’t mean that they are targeting the same people as you. So before even thinking about adopting any strategy, give your buyer persona some thought. Because you want to convert.

Hummm… Is their strategy really converting?

They post often. They get a lot of likes on their Facebook page and those Instagram posts have hundreds, if not thousands, of likes. WOW. That’s what you want! Or is it…

Sure, Facebook likes are great. A bunch of Instagram followers are awesome. But when it comes right down to it, a Social Media Strategy has to have an ROI. For every post you make there is a cost. Even if you aren’t running ad campaigns or boosting your Facebook posts, you are spending vital hours of your week planning out your Social Media posts (as you should!). What you should get out of that is engagement, leads and conversion of those leads.

When checking out the competition (or brands with strategies you think you should emulate) there are a few surface signs that will speak volumes about conversion:

  • How many people are sharing their content? If you have 100k followers and aren’t getting shares, retweets and regrams a connection with the audience wasn’t achieved. And the reach of your social media is not at full potential.
  • Do their posts get comments? If the content being put out isn’t getting people to comment then odds are people aren’t really THAT interested in what you are saying. Sure, they might even like your Facebook post. Liking is easy. Actually engaging takes an effort.
  • How many views do those video posts have? If you have a video post with 10k likes and 500 views something isn’t adding up.

So yes, you should look at what the competition is doing. Yes, you should look at success case studies to see what works and what doesn’t. But the bottom line is a Social Media Marketing strategy should always be tailor made to suit your product, service and company culture.

So take the time to make yours as unique as your company is.