- Social media cracks open many great opportunities, but only if you define your goals and map how you will achieve them. In other words, you need a strategy.
- A social media strategy is essentially a roadmap that underpins all of your social media initiatives. Without one, your time, money and efforts are likely to go to waste.
- While it may sound like a lot of work, we've broken down each step to help you get your social media strategy ready in no time.
Over the years, social media has become increasingly important in building your brand personality, connecting with your target audience, and driving sales!
Did you know that 90% of social media users have used social media to communicate with a business or brand? I certainly do it daily! I bought my children's present, booked someone to fix our roof and found my son a tutor all through social media.
Think about how you use social media to connect with businesses and think how you can improve your business's social media so that people are coming to you rather than you having to chase them down.
However, you can't just start promoting your brand on social media without creating a strategy.
A strategy is essential in giving your social media activities an aim, helping you define your goals and planning how to achieve them. It will also provide you with a way to measure the return on investment for any campaigns you run and help you continually improve them.
How to Create a Social Media Strategy
Follow these nine steps to create a social media strategy for your business:
- Vision and goals
- Target audience
- Brand identity and key messaging
- Social media platforms
- Create content
- Track and measure performance
1. Vision and Goals
The very first step would be to define your vision and goals.
Your vision is the overall vision for your business. Where would you like your business to be in 12months time? Would you like to be able to hire staff? How much do you need to be earning to take the three holidays a year you want to take?
However, your goals will be much more specific than your vision; you should base them on using social media to help reach your overall strategy. Please make sure they are SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based.
Some examples of this would be:
- to increase your website visitors by 10% in the next quarter; or
- to increase your followers by 100 by the end of the month.
Make sure these goals align with your overall strategy. Why do you need to increase your followers? Is it to align with a lead generation goal?
Don't stress too much if you don't reach your targets the first time you do this; as time goes on, you will get a better idea of what targets are realistic for your business. The idea is to give you something measurable to aim for!
2. Target Audience
If you have previously worked on a brand and marketing strategy, you may have defined your target audience. If you don't define your target audience and are marketing to everyone, then it's like dropping a penny into the ocean!
If you haven't already identified your ideal client profile (ICP), then do that in this step. Make sure you consider demographics and psychographics (the way they think and behave), in other words, where they would hang out online and what kind of content they like to consume.
Consider the following aspects:
- Demographics – age, gender, marital status, occupation, etc.
- Interests – what are their interests? What do they like to do in their free time? Are they foodies? Or maybe they want to be outdoors?
- Behaviours – are they spontaneous? Or are they planners? Do they like to shop online? Where do they hang out online?
You get the idea! If you need some more guidance, you can download My ideal client workbook.
3. Brand Identity and Key Messaging
You may have already created a brand strategy to define your principal brand messaging. If you haven't done this yet, it may be an ideal time to do it.
This involves defining your brand identity, who your business is and what it stands for. Try to shorten this down to just a couple of sentences! The key messaging should form the basis of everything you communicate on social media.
It would help if you considered your target audience when deciding on the messaging and the wording you will be using. Think about the type of language your ICP would use.
4. Social Media Platforms
You then need to decide which social media platforms you will use, e.g. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc? This is where the work you did on your target audience will come in.
You need to know where your target audience hangs out to decide which platforms you should have a presence on. There is a lot of free research on sites such as HubSpot that will help you find this information. There is no point in having a presence on a platform that your target audience doesn't use or create an account and leave it dormant.
One of the key things to remember is that each platform has a different communication style and target audience, so make sure you're not wasting your valuable time building a presence on the wrong platform.
This is where you set out how you will reach your goals. Do you need to engage with influencers? Will you be trying to drive your followers to your website using a blog? Will you be using video content? Will you share tips for your industry?
It's best to list out all activities and then match them to each of your goals to make sure you're not spending valuable time doing something that sounds like a good idea, but isn't effective in practice.
- What activity is going to help increase engagement?
- What action will increase your reach?
- What activity will drive traffic to your website?
The next step is scheduling your planned activities. There will be certain activities you will need to schedule for certain times of year, i.e., Black Friday sales or Christmas offers.
Identify if your business has any critical periods and decide when you will run particular campaigns. If you have an annual calendar, this is a great thing to complete this step.
7. Create Content
Next comes the fun part – creating your content! Ensure your content is of good quality and adds value to your audience. Remember, if you are creating content for different platforms make you adjust the size, formats, captions, etc.
In some cases, you need to consider changing the language you use, i.e., you can be more casual in Instagram posts but require more formal captions for LinkedIn. You can re-use content for the different platforms with a few tweaks (i.e., I often use the same image for Instagram and LinkedIn but also tweak the language).
It's time to put your strategy into action. This is where you will carry out the marketing activities you have planned out. You can use social media scheduling tools such as Hootsuite, Facebook Business Suit, or Later to schedule content.
Just be aware that Facebook prefers you to use their scheduling tools and may decrease the reach of your content if you use other tools!
9. Track and Measure Performance
It's essential to monitor the performance of your posts and make adjustments if the engagement and reach are low. Don't just post content and never recheck it; make sure you check to see what has worked and what hasn't.
Each of the social media platforms has their insight tools that you can use, but there are also other free tools you can use which look at the performance of your content in more depth.
Each of these steps is important in ensuring you have a complete plan that yields results and that your marketing efforts are not wasted. Do the work, and you will see the results! Good luck!
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