How to Create a Social Media Strategy for Success
There are 3.2 billion people on social media and about 80% of those users follow at least one business. This means social media is a great platform to create brand awareness, generate leads, boost conversions, and foster relationships with customers and prospects.
Before you start creating social media posts, you need to have a solid foundation providing the direction needed to meet your social media goals and align with all other marketing efforts. A social media strategy is the first milestone of successful social media marketing.
Here’s our step-by-step guide to create a solid Social Media Strategy for your business.
#1: Set Social Media Goals
Before you create a strategy, you need to have a clear understanding of your business goals. Research shows that about 50% of marketers struggle aligning social media campaigns with business goals. Remember that social media is only one piece of the entire marketing puzzle, and this is why you need to ensure that your marketing efforts are fully aligned with your business goals.
Here are a few examples:
- Are you a new company?
- Then you should highly consider setting your social media goal to create brand awareness.
- Example KPI: Increase the number of followers by X% in 90 days.
- Are you stuck getting new clients?
- Then you should consider setting your goal to generate new leads.
- Example KPI: Obtain X form completions (or sales calls) during the month of Y.
If you need more help deciding on the direction you are going to aim your social media marketing efforts, these are the top goals that social marketers set.
#2: Understand Your Target Audience
Now that you know your goals, it’s time to better understand your customer. Knowing this information will help you identify which platforms to find your customers, what content they’re drawn to, and what times they’re consuming content.
To help you narrow down your target audience, create a buyer persona. Summarized, your buyer persona is your ideal customer based on real data about your existing customers and market research. Ideally this is only one person, however, if you have a wide range of products and services, then you can have a buyer persona for each product and service.
To create your buyer persona, simply gather this information about your ideal customer:
- Demographics (Age, Education, Location)
- Challenges or Pain Points
- Biggest Fears
- Goals & Motivations
Here’s an example of what a complete buyer persona looks like:
Once you have narrowed down this information, then you need to look where your ideal customer is the most active. The best place to find this is social media demographics research. There you will find the platforms your audience is on and where to concentrate your social media efforts.
#3: Analyze Your Industry and Competition
Now it’s time to take a look at what your competition and your industry are doing. Find their social media accounts and analyze what they are sharing, when they are sharing posts and what seems to resonate the most with their audience in terms of engagement (e.g., comments, likes, shares retweets, etc.) Gather this information and analyze it creating a SWOT Analysis where you stack your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats against your competition.
Looking at the social presence of your competition will help you stay informed and to have a clear understanding of what the industry is doing. The purpose of this analysis is to determine what’s working in the industry and what to stay away from. Draw your conclusions based on what you find and create your strategy accordingly.
#4: Create Your Social Media Strategy
Now that you have decided on your social media goal(s), understand your buyer persona(s) and researched your industry and competitors, you can build your social media strategy.
This strategy is not only about what type of content you will be posting, but it is also about when you will be posting and on which platforms. This is why it’s important to follow the previous steps to help you map this out.
You may be aware of most types of content that you can create like text and images. But the more out-of-the-box you think about your content, the more likely it is to make an impact on your audience. Below are some examples of content you may not have considered.
User-Generated Content (UGC)
You don’t always have to generate the content for your social media; you can let your audience do it for you. When done right, this can be very powerful content. Not only are you setting the stage for the content your audience created, but your audience is doing most of the work!
A great example of a UGC campaign is from Buffer, our recommended social media automation tool. They created the hashtag #BufferCommunity to showcase the content of their users worldwide. These photos are not meant to be a promotion, and that’s why it has over 4,500 posts on Instagram when you search the tag.
Stories and Time-Sensitive Content
This is the type of content that is being currently pushed for more engagement, especially on Instagram. Stories are a great way to show behind-the-scenes content and humanizing your brand.
A great example of a brand using their stories to create engagement is LEGO. They use Instagram stories to interact with their audience through polls and quizzes. Last year, they shared a story celebrating Harley-Davidson and showed a LEGO replica with a quiz on the post.
Video is the newest wave of most popular content types. It may seem like it takes a lot of resources, but you can create video for social media with your smartphone and an app. Nowadays, there’s no excuse to ignore video in your content mix.
If you don’t know how to use your phone camera, that’s okay. There are many classes available that teach you how to maximize the features on your phone to create amazing video content. If you are located in the New Hampshire area, sign up for a hands-on workshop we are teaching on this.
A great example of simple video content can be seen in the post below from AllState. Nobody likes to think about insurance; however, Allstate made a relatable meme video about budgeting which goes hand-in-hand with the adulting responsibilities of having insurance.
#5: Schedule Your Content
Having a strong social media presence doesn’t mean you have to be online at the precise moment you want to publish a post or to engage with your audience. You can pre-schedule posts and even some interactions like shares and retweets.
You can plan your content a day, a week or a month ahead of time and schedule it using a Social Media Automation tool. Creating your content in batches will help you increase productivity and reduce efforts.
Whether you use an automation tool or not, you will want to plan out your content for days and sometimes even weeks in advance so you’re not waiting to the last minute and making social media a low priority for you business and its goals.
#6: Engage with your Community
The fact that you are automating your content doesn’t mean that you should refrain from logging into the individual social channels. We highly recommend scheduling 10-20 minutes every day to log into your social media platforms and engage with your community. Comment on your follower’s posts, retweet their witty tweets, congratulate them on getting a new certification, etc.
It is extremely important that you take time daily or at least after posting any content to engage with your community. At the end of the day, yes it is important to provide value to your audience with your posts, however, it is equally important to interact with them and be social. That’s why these platforms are called social media, because it is an opportunity to interact 1-on-1 with your audience.
#7: Analyze Your Social Media Strategy
At least once a month, look back on your social media efforts and analyze your performance.
The best way to do this is to create a report starting off with your business goal and your social media goal. Then go to the analytics and insights of each social media platform, pull the information of the previous month, and add it to your report. Analyze what worked and what didn’t perform well and provide an explanation. Based on this information, re-adjust your social media strategy and plan your content strategy for the following month accordingly.
It is extremely important to have a plan when it comes to marketing efforts. Creating a Social Media Strategy will help you identify the why, when, where, and what behind these efforts. It will also keep you focused on what needs to be accomplished and will make the creative process easier on your team.
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