Social Media 102: A Situational Analysis
It is important to develop a strategic plan before starting a social media campaign. As I explained in my earlier post, the first step is to make a list of both long-term and short-term goals that you’d like to achieve. The second step is to take a hard look at your current situation online and perform a situational analysis.
This exercise helps you evaluate the effectiveness of all your online materials including any blogs you may be running, any social media platforms you have started, and even your website. It will show you what strategies worked in the past, what you need to change, and where you need to be focusing your social media efforts to achieve your goals.
Break this process down into two parts. The first evaluates search engine optimization (SEO), the back-end strategy for becoming more visible online. The second is an analysis of any and all social media platforms.
SEO helps boost a website’s ranking on Internet search engines. Well-optimized websites can attract a new and unfamiliar audience via search. They may then want to seek you out on various social media sites. The keywords that you use in your web content can be utilized on your social media channels to further boost your SEO ranking.
- Keyword Optimization leverages certain buzzwords to achieve a higher search engine ranking. Keywords appear throughout your content and live in the HTML code. Compile a list of your most commonly used keywords. (To find the keywords in your HTML code goo to the “View” drop down menu and click on “Page Source.” A new pop-up window will appear with the code of that particular page. Locate <meta name = “keywords”>. Those are the keywords for that specific page.) Once you know your keywords, you can use a tool like Google Adwords to measure how effective your current keywords are in driving traffic to your site; see how much competition there is for those same keywords; and discover new keywords that may boost your SEO ranking.
- Cross-Linking connects all your online materials. Connecting your social media accounts to your website and vice versa helps boost your SEO ranking. See if your website displays links to your social media channels. Check if your social media accounts have links to your website.
- Content Relevance means that your site has information that will answer what a searcher is looking for online. Content becomes relevant based on the use of keywords and links within the website. Read through your website, blog, or other platform that you are analyzing. Make note of the themes you post about most frequently. See if these match with the HTML keywords on the particular page.
II. Social Media Outlets
Social media outlets are websites that promote an online dialogue among users. They can help you connect with customers, potential new clients, and other businesses. Evaluate both your own tactics and your competition’s (seeing what similar companies are doing gives you a better sense of your position in the market, and you can learn from their strategies). To pinpoint problem areas consider the following questions:
- How long have you been a member of that particular site? The longer your account has been active on a particular site, the easier to restart and energize than brand new accounts. Build upon what you have before starting something new.
- What does your bio blurb say? Often overlooked, a well-written bio can be just the thing to entice an unfamiliar audience to find out more about you. Be succinct, descriptive, and include links to your website.
- What information have you provided on your profile? Your contact information should be up to date.
- Do you have links to your website? Social media campaigns are centered on driving consistent traffic to your website. Including a link makes this easier for your followers to find out more information.
- Which posts were people the most responsive to? Make note of the content that received the most attention from your fans. This indicates the type of material your audience wants to see from you.
Have an idea or suggestion? How has a situational analysis helped your social media strategy? Share it in the comment section below!