Social media has exploded so much in recent years that it can be hard to even know where to start with using social media for your business. When utilised well, social media is an incredibly powerful tool for boosting engagement and generating sales or leads for your brand. This is where creating your social media strategy comes in.
A social media strategy sets out what you aim to achieve from each of your social platforms, how you are going to do this and how you will measure your successes. By following our step-by-step guide on how to create an effective social media strategy, you will be able to see the real ROI of your company’s social media platforms.
Above all, you need to determine the purpose of each of your social platforms. If there isn’t one, then why are you using this platform? Think about what you want to achieve and state this in your social media strategy. Keep it as concise as possible with measurable goals that you can work towards.
For example, if your goal is to grow your audience then aim to increase your following by 10% each quarter. For your business to truly feel the positive effects of your social media strategy, align it with your overall marketing strategy.
Before you focus on finalising your strategy and generating new effective content, take a step back and do some research. If you already use social media accounts for your business, look at what already works and what doesn’t.
What kind of content gets the most engagement? Which platform generates the most website traffic? Who are your social media audience? This is likely to vary between platforms and it is therefore important to tailor your strategy for different socials rather than adopt a ‘one size fits all’ policy.
Take a look at the social media accounts of some of your competitors to get a sense of how you can stand out from the rest. Equally, have a look at any companies who you particularly enjoy engaging with online and explore what it is that attracts you to these accounts that you can replicate on your own platforms.
One great way to see what your audience wants from your social accounts is simply to ask them! This way you give your audience the opportunity to engage with your brand and you can ensure you are delivering the content your customers want to see.
Now you have set goals and you know what you are up against, it’s time to get an actionable strategy pinned down. At this point, it is important to consider how to divide up the type of content you are going to broadcast on social media, and how this relates to your social media strategy goals.
For example, 60% of content aimed at informing your audience about your brand to encourage sales, 25% on thought leadership, 10% on personal interactions to engage current and potential customers and 5% on HR and company culture.
You also need to ascertain how you will utilise paid, earned and owned media, to what effect and on which platforms. For example, boosting Facebook ads, creating hashtags specific to your brand that you encourage customers to use and getting influencers on board are all strategies to consider. Each goal should have a number of actionable tasks that will lead to an ROI.
The most successful social campaigns will have a clear idea of who their demographic is on each platform and then create a consistent brand persona to appeal to their specific audience. You want your persona to align closely with your brand values and to be consistent throughout your content so that your audience gains a real sense of you as a brand.
Take some time to consider your ideal customer persona too and think about how to engage with this figure. This will then help you to decide which content to share on each platform. For example, LinkedIn is generally populated by educated professionals so is the ideal place for in-depth industry discussion which may be less appropriate for a Facebook or Instagram audience.
In order to keep on top of social content, there are a number of tactics to help keep you organised and posting regularly. Create a social calendar with dates of when you will be posting each piece of content on each platform. Decide how often and on which days and times you are going to post, keeping in mind when your target audience is most likely to interact. For example, there is usually little point posting B2B content in the evenings or over the weekends!
Be aware of holidays, conferences and any relevant seasons throughout the year that you can capitalise on for your content. Using a social media scheduling tool, such as Buffer or Hootsuite, means you can get all your social posts lined up and ready to go live in advance and see across your platforms at a glance.
It can also be helpful and visually useful to have a collection of graphic templates to use to keep your appearance consistent and therefore easily recognisable to the consumer, which will also contribute to your brand’s identity.
Your social media strategy is never going to be perfect from the word go and, considering the speed at which social media trends fluctuate, it will need to be regularly reviewed. Within your social media strategy, you should include how you will measure your successes and then how you will improve on results.
Looking at both qualitative and quantitative data will give you the best sense of how your social strategy is doing. Whatever the size of your business, looking at engagement numbers is a great indicator of how your social media is doing. Each social media platform will be able to provide you with analytics on engagement, demographics and more but there is also plenty of analytics software that will give you even more in-depth KPIs.
However, it is important not to get entirely bogged down with the numbers and also take stock of people’s comments and the general mood of engagement. Positive feedback is just as important as increasing following counts and engagement numbers!
Establish the KPIs you will use to measure your success and then tweak your strategy as results come in and you have an increasingly good knowledge of which strategies are most effective and have the best ROI for your brand.
Et voila! At the heart of your social media strategy, you should have a clearly defined set of goals to achieve through your social platforms. Remember your target audience and your brand persona, engage with them, and you can’t go far wrong!