When it comes to social media, businesses often feel pressured to do a ton of different activities. But unfortunately, the limited amount of time available each day doesn’t always allow for that. Like most things in life, having a simple strategy is often better than trying to do everything. Read on for some thoughts about what must be included in a social media strategy, and how to put this approach into practice.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with SMB’s, Fortune 500 companies and some startups. During this time I’ve seen a need for social media consulting that would deliver on the promises of ROI and return on investment. Unfortunately I’ve also seen the other side of it too — the broken promises, misunderstandings, and a general lack of direction from many social media agencies or consultants that claim to provide services for your business.
Understand Your Goals
Before you get started on your social media strategy, it’s important to understand what your goals are.
Do you want to increase sales? Do you want to boost brand awareness? Do you want to drive traffic to your website? Or do you just want people to like your posts and comment on them?
You should know the answer to these questions before you start writing a strategy because they’ll help guide the way in which you build out your plan. The most successful strategies are built around specific goals so that they can be measured and evaluated at the end of each month or quarter.
One of the most important aspects of developing a social media strategy is understanding your goals. What do you want to accomplish with your social media presence? Do you want to build a community, reach out to new customers, or just keep up with what’s going on in the industry? Understanding your goals will help you decide which platforms are right for you and how much time and effort to put into each platform.
For example, if your goal is to build a community around your brand, then it would make sense for you to focus on Facebook or Twitter. On the other hand, if your goal is to drive traffic back to your website, then maybe Instagram would be better for that.
Gather Your Assets
The most important step to your social media strategy is simply to gather all of the assets you have. You might be surprised at how much you already have that could be used in a social media strategy, but it’s also possible that there are some things you’ll need to get from elsewhere. For example, if you’re trying to build your brand on Instagram, then it’s likely that you’ll want to hire someone to create a custom logo for your account or buy stock photos with which to populate your feed.
Think about what kind of content you want to share on social media and what kinds of accounts will be necessary for that goal. For example, if you’re hoping to build up an audience on Instagram, then it might make sense for you to open up an account on Snapchat as well as Facebook and Twitter.
If you’re wondering what a social media strategy should look like, the first step is to gather your assets.
You’ll want to know who you are and what you have to offer. You’ll also want to know who your audience is and what they want.
Once you’ve answered these questions, it’s important to get a feel for how people are using social media today—and where they’re going next.
Conduct Competitor Research
You’ve got a great idea for a social media strategy, but how do you know if it’s the right one for your business?
You can’t wing it. You need to do some research first.
The best way to start is by looking at what your competitors are doing. Here are some questions to get you started:
- What kinds of posts do they make? Do they like pictures more than videos? Do they post often, or once a month? Do they use hashtags?
- Are their posts more text-based or image-based?
- How often do they post, and what time of day does that happen? Is it during the workday or after hours?
Now that you have an idea of how your competitors are approaching social media, you can adjust your strategy accordingly.
As you develop your social media strategy, it’s important to conduct competitor research. This will give you a better idea of what your competitors are doing right and where they’re falling short. You can also see what strategies work for them and which ones don’t.
You’ll want to look at the strategies that have worked for them in the past, but also look at what they’ve been doing recently and how that’s working out for them.
Create a Buyer Persona
The first step in creating a social media strategy is to create a buyer persona.
A buyer persona is a fictional person that represents the ideal customer for your business. You can use this information to help inform your marketing decisions and determine what type of content will be most relevant to them.
To create a buyer persona, start by answering these questions:
-What are their demographics?
-What are their hobbies?
-Where do they live?
-What are their goals?
What Should a Social Media Strategy Look Like?
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that “social media strategy” and “social media campaign” are interchangeable terms. They’re not! A social media strategy is the overarching vision for how you intend to use social media to reach your target audience, while a campaign is one specific way you intend to achieve that goal.
For example, your strategy might be to use social media to connect with potential clients and share information about your business with them in order to build trust and rapport with them so they feel confident developing a relationship with you. You might decide that your first campaign will be posting content on Facebook every day or sending out weekly emails that link back to your website’s blog posts.
The point here is that you need both: a broad-strokes plan for how you’ll use social media as part of your overall marketing strategy and more focused plans for individual campaigns.
Find the Best Social Media Channels for Your Brand
A social media strategy is all about finding the best channels for your brand, and then making sure you’re using them to their fullest potential.
The first step in creating a social media strategy is to take an honest look at your business’s goals. Do you want to drive sales? Gain new customers? Increase market share? Make people feel good about themselves? Whatever it is, think about how social media can help you achieve that goal—and then set up a plan to make it happen.
Next, consider your audience. Who are they? Where do they live? What kinds of things do they like? How old are they? What types of devices do they use most often? Are there any groups of people who are particularly difficult to reach through traditional forms of advertising (like young children)? Once you’ve got a good idea of who your audience is, figure out which platforms might be right for them—and how best to reach them on those platforms.
The first step to creating a social media strategy is to find the best social media channels for your brand. Social media can be a great way to reach customers, but it’s important to understand that every channel is different and has its own strengths and weaknesses.
For example, if you’re looking for a way to interact with current customers and find new ones, Facebook might be the best choice. But if you want to communicate directly with employees or keep up with industry news and trends, LinkedIn might be better suited. And if you’re trying to reach people in a specific geographic region, Twitter could be ideal.
You should also consider which channels are already being used by your competitors so that you don’t end up duplicating their efforts.
Create Metrics to Measure Success
When you’re developing your social media strategy, it’s important to keep track of how well your content is performing. Your goal should be to create a set of metrics that will help you track the success of your posts.
This can be anything from the number of likes or shares on a post, to how many people engage with your content, or even how much traffic your website receives after posting.
The goal here is not to overly complicate things by creating an elaborate series of metrics. Instead, focus on just a few key measurements:
1) How many people are engaging with your content?
2) How many people are visiting your site?
3) What kind of engagement is taking place?
A social media strategy is a plan of action that you can use to make sure your brand is reaching its goals. It should include a set of goals, along with a plan for how those goals will be met. It should also be based on an understanding of the market conditions surrounding your brand, as well as an understanding of the social media platforms where you want to reach your audience.
A social media strategy should also include metrics for measuring success—how will you know if your strategy is working? These metrics may be different depending on the goals of your strategy (and the type of business you’re running). For example, if one goal is to increase sales but another goal is to build brand awareness, then two different metrics might be appropriate: sales revenue and number of followers/friends on social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook.
The key to a successful social media strategy is very much rooted in the type of business that you have. Build a strategy that is in tune with your specific business and you will be taking the right first step towards ensuring that your presence on social media actually contributes to growth instead of being a drain on resources.