It’s time to get your SWOT analysis hat on and start thinking about metrics. You can’t develop an effective social media strategy without a SWOT analysis. And we don’t mean flies.
Don’t be embarrassed if you don’t know what it means. Plenty of business owners don’t. But you’re different because you recognize the importance of educating yourself on those things you don’t know. And you also know that your business could use every advantage, tool and resource it can get its hands on right now.
In this segment, we’ll walk you through SWOT analysis definitions, benefits and execution steps. This is the blog you’ll want to print out and share with your social media marketing teams, too. Getting the most results from your social media efforts will depend on how sharp your SWOT skills are. If you’re not already conducting these internal audits, you could be missing out on key opportunities for growth and social media campaign success.
SWOT analysis exercises are great for every aspect of your business. Here are traditional definitions to get things started.
SWOT Analysis: a customized study undertaken by any business to identify the company strengths and weaknesses, as well as the potential opportunities and external threats.
There are four key pillars to a SWOT analysis, each representing a critical element in your business. You can conduct these reviews on your finances, your non-digital marketing and especially your social media marketing.
Strengths: Always be evaluating what your company does well so you can lead with your best foot forward.
Weaknesses: You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken. So, identifying holes in your ship early will prevent your company vessel from sinking.
Opportunities: If you’re not looking for them, you’ll miss opportunities that are mission-critical to the success of your business.
Threats: Every business has them, and they can include productivity challenges, competitor advantages and industry shifts.
Meet Steph: In Steph’s Optometry office, she sees a lot of kids coming in to get their eye exams for school and sports. She’s spent a good three months promoting student patients on her social media channels. But she’s wondering if she’s missing an opportunity to target other potential patients. And she realizes what she needs is a SWOT analysis to help her gain perspective. So, she sits down and draws out her four columns.
There are some apparent advantages to creating a SWOT analysis for your company processes. But when it comes to creating effective social media marketing and the ever-changing landscape therein, the SWOT analysis can mean the difference between marketing success and failure online.
Cost Savings: SWOT analysis conducted on social media marketing campaigns can help you determine quickly what strategies are working and which are not. Bailing on a failing ad campaign can save you thousands, for example. But the SWOT analysis can also help you identify the best spending opportunities with the highest value and ROI.
Forecasting Benefits: You can’t predict the future of your business or the success of your social media marketing. But the SWOT analysis can help you to see around some corners, making the idea of forecasting more precise. You can identify quickly marketing variables that change how you invest or post, for example.
Keeping an Eye on the Competition: SWOT analysis reviews are great for assessing the threats of competitors, in general. But it’s even more productive when applied to social media and keeping an eye on your rivals there. The SWOT analysis can also be helpful in finding your edge, niche, or competitive price point.
Making Educating Decisions: So much of social media marketing is a risk. The gambling on campaigns and posting strategies doesn’t have to sting so bad, though, especially when you’re leveraging SWOT analysis data. You can uncover metrics and insights that allow you to make more educated decisions and avoid guessing or shooting in the dark.
There are plenty of templates floating out there on the web to help you create your own company SWOT analysis guide. But typically, you’ll design the four boxes to represent the pillars of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. You can then collaborate with your teams to determine what to put in those boxes.
In social media marketing, your four elements might look like this:
- Strengths: Posting frequency is good, with routine scheduling and message responses.
- Weaknesses: Not getting as much interaction anymore with a declining rate of likes, shares and views.
- Opportunities: There is a new Facebook group that represents your local community that might help you reach a new, hyper-local audience.
- Threats: You have a competitor who is witty and fun with videos and tons of comments on all his posts.
Whatever you plot into your SWOT analysis boxes, be sure to keep it real. Get honest and realistic with yourself and your teams about what’s happening online. You will also want to draw conclusions that are rooted in fact. Don’t say your competition is smoking your ass because he’s cheating the system or has a bigger budget. He’s getting more traction than you online because he’s better at engaging your shared audience. Now you just need to figure out what it is he’s doing that’s allowing him to outpace you.
It’s also important to establish goals for each SWOT analysis you perform. Make it bold and share it with everyone involved in your process. And remember, for accurate data and consideration, you’ll want a SWOT analysis grid for each social media channel your company uses.
Meet Austin: Austin’s gym has been lagging in memberships. And he realizes the pandemic certainly has put a damper on people wanting to gather in groups for sweaty exercise with each other. So, he sits down with his team of trainers and staff to conduct a SWOT analysis. He discovers there might be an opportunity to offer some fun, outdoor classes that draw in members who are willing to join in those outdoor settings because people are posting on social media about outdoor exercising. Everyone on Austin’s team gets excited and starts brainstorming about goat yoga and outdoor walking classes that allow members to bring their dogs to class with them.
One of the most significant issues we see with our clients is a lack of patience. And we get it. You want shit to work RIGHT NOW. You expect game-changing results by the end of the week. You need sales to increase immediately. But pulling the plug on a social media campaign before it’s had a chance to perform will only waste your resources and drain your sanity. You’ll be chasing trends and ideas until you’re out of breath and budgets, with nothing to show for it.
The SWOT analysis is a really great tool to help pace yourself with your social media efforts. Some experts suggest conducting one every six months or annually. But you could theoretically sit down and draw your grids and discuss every quarter. You can then determine which of your social media platforms, campaigns or interactions are worth continuing. And you can feel better knowing you gave it a good three months to prove itself or not.
The role of your social media practitioners is a tough one. And the SWOT analysis can be helpful to overcome some of those more common challenges your company front line, social media staff face. When you’re in the social media trenches everyday, it can be hard to see the forest through the trees. Use the SWOT to gain some big-picture perspective.
A SWOT analysis can allow you to see where your teams are spending the majority of their time. And you can help them by removing unnecessary steps in their social media management schedules that aren’t making significant contributions.
A SWOT analysis will provide your teams an opportunity to tell you what they need. If they’re struggling to keep up with customers online or lagging in messaging response, you know it’s time to make some changes. Maybe you can adopt new tools and resources to help, like chatbots or AI for quicker responses, for example.
You can have all the analytics compiled, but if you’re not looking at them, they’re not helping. Regular SWOT analysis efforts can force you to sit down and look at the numbers. Your social media practitioners might be struggling to keep up with KPIs because they’re unrealistic. Or maybe you need to realign your strategy with an entirely new measuring stick.
The role of a leader (that’s you) behind the company social media strategy is going to be a little different. You’re looking at the big picture and planning for long-term success, not necessarily the acute decisions or daily tasks associated with posting and sharing on Instagram. Here’s how the SWOT analysis can be helpful in facing your leadership role challenges.
The sometimes overwhelming weight on your shoulders, as a business owner, is much greater than the weight your teams carry. They’re focused on short-term deadlines while you’re eyeballing the long game for growth and scaling. Decisions you make today need to impact the overarching business goals to ensure you’re on track with your vision. Those SWOT analysis exercises are great for getting a snapshot of the social media contribution to those long-term business goals.
As a business owner, you’ve also learned how to stretch a buck. Preserving budgets and resources is paramount to your business’s success. SWOT analysis discussions, especially if you do them often, will help you identify any wasteful spending immediately. It will also point to new opportunities you can allocate more funds to increase ROI.
Despite your best efforts to instill your company vision and why among your teams, no one can really tell your story better than you. What your business does and says on social media should always harken back to your origin story. A regular SWOT analysis will help you supervise the content you’re publishing and make adjustments to ensure every piece of content continues to do just that.
Look, SWOT analysis exercises have their many benefits. And yes, you should look for ways to incorporate them into your ongoing social media marketing strategy. But don’t presume the SWOT analysis will replace any of the other metrics you need to keep your social efforts on track. You can’t evaluate page views or conversions without the platform metrics associated with each channel or your website.
A SWOT analysis won’t be effective if you’re not being honest about it. We mentioned this before, but faking your way through strengths and weaknesses won’t improve your business. Don’t conduct these through rose-colored glasses.
If you’re locked in a dark closet and can’t find the door, a flashlight would be great as a way to illuminate the space. But you’ll still be stuck in the closet if you don’t turn the knob, right? The SWOT analysis works like the flashlight. It can point to areas that need improvement or highlight what threats might lie ahead. But if you don’t act on those points, your business won’t effectively adapt and grow.
The SWOT analysis is a great tool every business should be using, regardless of industry niche or core offering. It’s an easy way to involve your entire team and brainstorm for solutions and new ideas. It can preserve resources and keep you from investing in costly mistakes. You need social media marketing. But you also need to verify it’s working to your advantage.
Consider some of these tips and execution steps. And contact the Awareness Business Group if you need help developing a robust SWOT analysis best practice for your company!