7 easy steps to developing a social media strategy
Whether your company is a start-up or an already established brand, social media can be helpful in many ways. It’s a fantastic opportunity to connect and interact with your audience as social media is a two-way conversation.
When creating a social media strategy, you need to align it with business goals and understand exactly how it will benefit the brand. To make things a little easier, we’re going to show you how to develop a powerful social media strategy so that you can take your business to the next level with your marketing efforts.
What is a Social Media Strategy and How is it Beneficial for Businesses?
The definition is simple – it’s a plan that outlines what you want to achieve with social media and how you want to achieve it with concrete and practical measures.
Social media now has a variety of benefits including, but not limited to:
- Brand awareness
- Growing website traffic
- Lead generation (gated content, newsletter and event registrations and others)
- Manage brand image
- Social listening to improve your business offering
- Benchmarking with competitors
Now that we’ve covered the basics of social media strategy and its benefits, let’s break down the steps to success.
Step 1. Define your goals
All good strategies start with defining business goals. What would you like to achieve this month or this quarter? Is it more sales or maybe your audience development? Goals should be aligned with broader business goals, so social media works with other channels to drive growth.
When creating a strategy, set specific and measurable goals instead of the general “I want more traffic, so I use Facebook”.
Define the timeframe in which these goals need to be achieved and what exactly you will be doing. Remember that many believe that tasks take less time than they do themselves, so allow plenty of time to complete.
Step 2. Choose and mix
Once you’ve set goals, it’s time to choose appropriate social channels. For example, LinkedIn is more commonly used by B2B companies such as marketing agencies and is great for building relationships. Meanwhile, Instagram and Facebook are more customer-centric and could be a good fit if you’re an ecommerce fashion brand.
Choosing the right media is extremely important as you don’t want to waste time and resources on an audience that isn’t even there. While some companies choose to be on all channels and see this as an opportunity to get more visibility, you need to choose, mix and match, and determine which channels are most important to increasing your conversions and goals.
Step 3. Know your customer
When you’re marketing a business online and have no idea what your audience is like, nothing better than screaming in an empty vacuum. Therefore, do an in-depth customer search before posting on the selected platforms.
You should at least be able to answer these basic demographic questions such as age, place of residence and occupation. Fortunately, you can use Google Analytics to check who is visiting your website and use that data to make decisions about how to use social media to reach that group.
Divide your audience into large groups so you can post more effectively and know what type of content they are more likely to interact with.
Step 4. Do a competitive analysis
Now that you’ve identified the social media brand’s goals, audience, and channels to use, the next step is to sniff out your competition.
If you don’t know your competitors already, check out organic search, and if they are at the top of the keywords you are focusing on, you are almost guaranteed to have found a competing brand.
Next, identify what social media platforms they are on and what type of posts are appropriate for them. Review how they connect with their existing and potential customers. Usually, you can tell almost immediately whether it is a disruptor in the industry or a successor to already established trends.
Look out for successful competitors and identify what they are doing to advance the brand. It could be the frequency of the posts and hyper-targeted offers and content, or maybe their tone of voice and branding that make a difference.
Incorporate these elements into your own social media strategy, as long as it aligns with business goals and posts are regularly uploaded.
Step 5. Define your brand and tone of voice
Before posting, you need to define your brand and the way you are communicating with the audience. The company should have a person who represents the values and tone of voice.
Take Wendy’s, a US fast food chain that went viral on Twitter, as an example. Their playful reactions and the use of memes related to the brand led them to connect with their target audience.
With a defined identity you stand out from the competition and attract attention. Social media is more informal than a website, so don’t be afraid to let the personality through.
Step 6. Create a content calendar
When preparing a calendar for your brand, it is important to plan how many times per week the content will be posted on each channel. Some require constant posts like Twitter, but they are less structured and can be achieved with retweets and quick thoughts, which are essentially short pieces of content.
In the meantime, Facebook and IG don’t require as much maintenance and are a great place to post high quality informative and educational content. For example, UK dealer Stoneacre Motor Group created a landing page to warn people of guaranteed car finance fraud and to use social media to get the word out to help customers make informed decisions.
Also, make sure your content isn’t overly promotional as these types of posts don’t generate a lot of interaction and offer little value to the customer. Post engaging content – ask questions, create surveys, and share really useful information and industry news. Don’t be afraid to link to other people’s articles if they are informative and if you think the audience will like them.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to create content in advance and schedule it through Sprout Social or Hootsuite so that you can manage posts in one place without logging into every channel.
Step 7. Always track and adjust
Use analytics tools provided for free by social media platforms and see if your efforts pay off. Also, don’t forget to implement UTM tracking to see how social media is working and if it is leading to conversions on the website.
Vanity metrics like followers and likes don’t mean much if your audience doesn’t convert. So watch out for metrics that have an impact, such as:
- Engagement – Do people comment and share your content?
- How much of your audience does it get?
This mini-guide explained how social media can help your business and outlined the steps you need to take to make your strategy successful. One of the most important things is knowing your brand goals and choosing the right channels to implement that strategy.
Performing an audience and competition analysis is also essential. Another aspect of creating a content calendar is making sure you stay on track. After everything is done, don’t forget to tweak your profile and connect with people by replying to comments and reviews.
Here’s how to get started with your social media strategy – good luck!