Developing a Social Media Strategy. Whether your business is a start-up or an established brand, social media can help in many ways. It’s a fantastic opportunity to connect and engage with your audience, because social media is a two-way conversation.
When creating a social media strategy, you have to align it with your business goals and know exactly how it will benefit the brand. To make things a little easier, we’ll tell you how to develop a powerful social strategy so you can take your business to the next level through your marketing efforts.
Developing a Social Media Strategy: What is a social media strategy and how is it good for business?
The definition is simple – it’s a plan that lays out what you want to achieve with social media and how you will achieve it, with specific and actionable steps.
Meanwhile, social media has a number of benefits, including but not limited to:
- Brand awareness.
- Increased website traffic
- Lead generation (gated content, newsletter and event subscriptions and others)
- Brand image management
- Social listening to improve your business proposition
- Comparison with competitors
Now that we’ve figured out what a social media strategy is and why it’s useful, let’s break down the steps for success.
Step 1: Define your goals
All good strategies start with defining your business goals. What do you want to accomplish this month or quarter? Is it an increase in sales or perhaps the development of your audience? Goals should be aligned with broader business goals so that social media works in tandem with other channels to drive growth.
When creating your strategy, set specific and measurable goals, not general “I want more traffic, so I’ll use Facebook.”
Define a timeline by which those goals must be met and what exactly you will do. Keep in mind, many people think that tasks will take less time than they actually do, so plan enough time to accomplish them.
Step 2: Pick and mix.
Once you’ve identified your goals, it’s time to choose the right social channels. For example, LinkedIn is used more often by B2B companies, such as marketing agencies, and is great for building relationships. Instagram and Facebook, on the other hand, are more customer-focused and may be appropriate if you’re a fashionable e-commerce brand.
Choosing the right media is extremely important because you don’t want to waste time and resources on an audience that isn’t there. While some companies prefer to be on all channels and see this as an opportunity to be more visible, you need to pick and mix and determine which ones will be key in achieving your conversions and goals.
Step 3: Know your customer.
If you’re marketing a business online and have no idea what your audience is like, it’s no better than shouting into an empty vacuum. So do an in-depth customer search before you post on your chosen platforms.
You should be able to answer at least basic demographic questions like age, location and occupation. Luckily, you can dig into Google Analytics to check who’s visiting your site and use that data to make decisions about how to use social media to reach that group.
Divide your audience into core groups so you can target them more effectively and know what type of content they’re more likely to engage with.
Step 4: Conduct a competitor analysis
So, now that you’ve identified your brand’s social media goals, target audience, and channels to use, the next step is to research your competitors.
If you don’t already know who your competitors are, check organic search, and if they rank at the top of your targeting keywords, you’re almost guaranteed to have found a competing brand.
Next, determine what social media platforms they’re on and what type of posts work for them. Check how they communicate with their existing and potential customers. You can usually tell almost immediately whether they are industry disruptors or followers of established trends.
Pay attention to successful competitors and determine what they do that moves the brand forward. It could be the frequency of posts and hyper-targeted offers and content, or it could be their tone of voice and branding that makes the difference.
Incorporate these elements into your own social media strategy if it aligns with your business goals, and continually upload posts.
Step 5: Define your brand and tone of voice
Before you publish, you must define your brand and how you will communicate with your audience. The business should have a persona that represents values and tone of voice.
As an example, take the American fast-food restaurant chain Wendy’s, which has gone viral on Twitter. Their playful responses and use of memes around the brand allowed them to connect with their target audience.
By having a certain personality, you will stand out from the competition and attract attention. Social media is more informal than a website, so you shouldn’t be afraid to let your personality shine through.
Step 6: Create a content calendar
When creating a calendar for your brand, the key is to plan how many times a week content will be posted on each channel. Some require consistent posts, like Twitter, but they are less structured and can be achieved with retweets and quick thoughts, essentially offering content in short form.
Meanwhile, Facebook and IG don’t need as much maintenance and are great places to post quality informational and educational content. For example, UK dealer Stoneacre Motor Group created a landing page to warn people about guaranteed auto finance scams and use social media to spread the word to help customers make informed decisions.
Also, make sure your content is not overly promotional, as such posts do not generate much response and provide little value to customers. Post attention-grabbing content – ask questions, create polls and share really useful information and industry news. Don’t be afraid to link to other people’s articles if they are informative and you think your audience will like them.
It’s also a good idea to create content in advance and schedule it with Sprout Social or Hootsuite, so you can manage posts in one place without having to go to each feed.
Step 7: Always monitor and adjust
Use the analytics tools that social media platforms provide for free and see if your efforts are paying off. Also, don’t forget to implement UTM tracking to see how social media is performing and whether it’s driving conversions on the site.
Vanity metrics like the number of followers and likes mean little if your audience isn’t converting, so check the metrics that are having an impact, such as:
· Engagement – are people commenting and sharing your content?
· What is the reach of your audience?
This mini-tutorial explains how social media can help promote your business and outlines the necessary steps you need to take to make your strategy successful. One of the most important things is knowing your brand’s goals and choosing the right channels to implement that strategy.
An audience and competitor analysis is also necessary. Another aspect of creating a content calendar will keep you on track. Once you’re all set, don’t forget to optimize your profile and interact with people by responding to comments and feedback.
This will get you started on your social media strategy – good luck!