Launching your own small business is hard enough. But ensuring that you’ve properly set your company up for success online is a daunting task all in itself. You’ve probably gained insight firsthand on how your brand stands out and where it could use some improvement. But, while social media may seem like a whole new ballpark separate from your everyday business, these shortcomings and successes often go hand-in-hand, both in a traditional and digital setting. Likewise, to find success online, the best way to start is to assess how you stack up against your competitors by taking a strong look at how internal and external factors affect your business.
If you’re familiar with the “SWOT” method of marketing strategy, you may have seen this set-up coming from the very beginning. While some may assume that the “SWOT” method is dated, in actuality, this strategy is tried and true, perfect for assessing the digital aspect of a business’ marketing plan. Just because this market includes different digital facets that may be new to you doesn’t mean that they aren’t based on the basic concepts of business; strengths and weaknesses. It’s tempting to blindly run your social media accounts, but without a plan you’ll never fully accomplish your goals.
A “SWOT” analysis refers to a simple acronym that represents a company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats:
Essentially, you’ll want to go over every factor that could affect your business, both internally and externally. This kind of analysis will help you determine your weak spots and where you’re most likely to find the greatest reward. In most cases, there are positives and negatives to analyze to determine how you can improve your business. The greatest takeaway you’ll have from running a SWOT analysis with your business is that you’ll be able to improve the things under your control that need help and figure out how to react when the factors you can’t control inevitably begin to wreak havoc. By running a separate SWOT analysis on your social media presence, you’ll be able to nail down the specific ways you need to better your social media to make this facet of your company one of your business’ overall strengths.
Without further ado, let’s jump right into this method to see how it can be applied with your social media strategy!
(And if you’d like a professional opinion on what your next steps should be, schedule a consultation with us today)
The two categories that make up the internal factors affecting your business can all be summarized quite simply into strengths and weaknesses. In this section, you’ll be able to determine how you stand out against competitors and how you need improvement by taking a closer look at what you can control. This type of self-awareness is great because it’s something you can grow upon, especially within social media.
Ask yourself, “What is it that’s going to set my business apart from competitors on social media?”. Maybe it’s your customer testimonials or reviews. Maybe it’s the behind-the-scenes content that drives your following. Or maybe you just have a visually captivating story to tell with your products or services. Either way, you can be good at all of these things. But, it’s important to figure out which point is your strongest so that you can blow your competitors out of the water when consumers compare you.
There are ways to take proactive steps to make sure your social media content is always above par. For example, if you are a traditional business and want to use a lot of user-generated content in your strategy, you’ll want to make sure that your atmosphere is worth sharing online. For example, by just adding a designated photo op area, you’ll be able to spread awareness through word-of-mouth marketing online. One of the best things about analyzing your online strengths is that you’ll be able to see what people love about your business and build upon that.
Some ways you can assess your social media strengths are by taking record of your analytics, such as your followers, engagement and likes. Figure out what people want to see you from you, and you’ll be able to garner a greater following both online and in-person.
A Few Examples of Social Media Strengths:
- You have an active following that engages with your posts
- You’re tagged in a lot of user-generated content (UGC)
- You have a passionate staff willing to showcase behind-the-scenes content
- Your imagery is crisp and clear
- An excess in time, creativity and manpower
While social media works best for you when it’s showcasing your strengths, you can have weaknesses that really take a toll on your business. In fact, weaknesses most often transfer over in a traditional business sense and have the power to negate a possible sale.
Not all weaknesses have to do with something super obvious in your social strategy. It might be that you lack a following, lack engagement, or that you haven’t quite figured out a posting schedule. Yet, even though these are all weaknesses in the long-run, the best things about them is that they are internal. You may not be able to control if someone leaves you a negative review, but you can control how you respond to it. You may not be getting the results you’d like to have, but you have the power to make some changes and put in the effort necessary to achieve your goals.
A Few Examples of Social Media Weaknesses:
- You don’t have any digital presence
- You lack a following
- Your posting schedule is inconsistent
- You aren’t reaching your goals and have no way to track your analytics
- Your content is unrefined and unprofessional
- You don’t respond to the engagement you receive
The second half of a SWOT analysis is much trickier to navigate, but even more important to conduct. Knowing how to react to what’s out of your control is crucial when posting online. Sure, you want to take strong action, but it’s important to fill in available opportunities and fight competitive forces. Additionally, you can find a lot of success by playing off of posting opportunities you didn’t even know were possible!
The opportunities for online success are endless. Besides online advertising, most of the attention and press you gain online is free! When it comes to social media, the best thing you can do is get creative with any opportunity that comes across you. Maybe a trending challenge or topic doesn’t directly correlate with your industry, but it’s an opportunity to post about something that your audience may be interested in. At Hyperchat Social, we recommend your social media strategy stick to a 20/80 model, meaning we believe your content should be 20% sales focused and 80% thought provoking. An opportunity that may seem trivial online can lead someone to better recognizing your brand and getting their foot in your door business wise.
A Few Examples of Social Media Opportunities:
- There aren’t any local businesses in your industry on social media
- There are a lot of relevant influencers in your area of focus you can connect with
- Trending topics and challenges
- The ability to host giveaways and promotions to followers
- The ability to use call-to-actions to drive traffic back to your website
- Being able to direct message potential prospects and target them by demographic data
Due to the independence the digital realm offers, there are always going to be threats online to your social strategy. These are the external factors that directly affect not only your social media presence, but your business. Most obviously, if you have negative reviews it will be harder to persuade a prospect. Even worse, positive reviews could be your competitor’s strength. If you have no reviews at all this can be quite damaging as well.
While you can’t always stop others from commenting negatively on your page or creating a post bashing your business online, you CAN react to how you manage damage control and have a protocol in place on how your staff should react in these scenarios.
Pro Tip: If you’re getting a lot of negative reviews on your page, post a comment addressing the issue and continue the conversation in a direct message. This way, the user can still exercise their frustration without having the discussion permanently plastered on your account for future prospects to see.
A Few Examples of Social Media Threats:
- Your competitors have a strong presence on social media
- There’s a scandal revolving around your industry or services
- Your current campaign isn’t sustainable
- You have negative reviews or comments on your content
- The social media platforms you’re on may be down due to internal maintenance
Things to remember
While conducting a SWOT analysis works great for the social media aspect of your marketing strategy, you can also use it in a variety of different areas in your business! Knowing your strengths and weaknesses are helpful, but this knowledge is useless until you take action to make improvements to your campaign. Every strength can become a weakness quickly and every opportunity can become a threat in a flash. Know what you can control and proactively prepare yourself for what’s to come online- you’ll be seeing success in no time!
Not quite sure what your strengths and weaknesses online are or need help getting started? We’re here to help you find answers and get you real results. Schedule a consultation with us today!