Whether your business is a start-up or an already well-established brand, social media can help in many ways. It’s a fantastic opportunity to connect with your audience and interact with them, as social media is a two-way conversation.
When creating a social media strategy, you must align it with the business goals and know exactly how it will benefit the brand. To make things a bit easier, we’ll share how to develop a powerful social strategy so that you can take your business to the next level with your marketing efforts.
What is a social media strategy & how is it beneficial for businesses?
The definition is straightforward – it is a plan that outlines what you want to achieve with social media and how you will do that with specific and practical actions.
Meanwhile, social media has a variety of benefits, including, but not limited to:
- Brand awareness
- Growing website traffic
- Lead-generation (gated content, newsletter and event sign-ups & others)
- Managing brand image
- Social listening to improve your business offering
- Benchmarking against competitors
Now that we’ve covered the bases of what social media strategy is and why it’s beneficial let’s break down the steps to achieve success.
Step 1. Define your goals
All good strategies start with defining business goals. What is it do you want to achieve this month or quarter? Is it more sales or perhaps developing your audience? Goals should align with broader business objectives, so social media works in tandem with other channels to drive the growth.
When creating a strategy, have specific and measurable goals instead of generic ‘I want more traffic, so I’ll use Facebook.’
Define the timeframe by which these goals need to be achieved and what you’ll do exactly. Keep in mind, many believe that tasks will take a shorter time than they do, so plan for sufficient time to execute them.
Step 2. Pick and mix
Once you’ve established goals, it’s time to select appropriate social channels. For example, LinkedIn is more commonly used by B2B businesses like marketing agencies and is excellent for relationship-building. Meanwhile, Instagram & Facebook is more customer-centric and could be a good fit if you’re an e-commerce fashion brand.
Picking the right mediums is extremely important, as you don’t want to waste time and resources on an audience that isn’t even there. Though some companies opt for being on all the channels and see it as an opportunity to be more visible, so you need to pick and mix and determine which ones will be primary in driving your conversions & goals.
Step 3. Know your customer
If you’re marketing a business online and have no idea what’s your audience like, it’s no better than shouting in an empty vacuum. So before posting on the selected platforms, conduct an in-depth customer search.
You should be able to answer at least these basic demographics questions, such as age, location, and occupation. Luckily, you can dig into Google Analytics to check who’s visiting your site and use this data to inform decisions on how to use social media to reach these groups.
Break your audience down into major groups, so you can target them more effectively with posts and know what type of content they are more likely to interact with.
Step 4. Conduct a competitor analysis
So now that you’ve identified social media brand goals, target audience & which channels to use, the next step is snooping on your competition.
If you don’t already know what your competitors are, check organic search, and if they rank on the top for the keywords you’re focusing on, then it’s almost guaranteed you’ve found a competing brand.
Next, identify which social media platforms they’re on and what type of posts work for them. Check how they connect with their existing and potential customers. Typically, you can almost instantly see whether they’re a disruptor in the industry or a follower of already established trends.
Take note of successful competitors and identify what they’re doing that’s driving the brand forward. It could be the frequency of the posts and hyper-targeted offers & content or maybe their tone of voice and branding that makes a difference.
Incorporate these elements into your own social media strategy, provided it aligns with the business goals and be consistently upload posts.
Step 5. Define your brand and tone of voice
Before posting, you must define your brand and the way you’ll be communicating with the audience. The business should have a persona that represents the values and the tone of voice.
As an example, take US fast-food chain Wendy’s that went viral on Twitter. Their playful responses and taking advantage of memes around the brand led them to connect with their target audience.
By having a defined identity, you’ll be standing out from the competitors and attracting attention. Social media is more informal than a website, so you shouldn’t be afraid to let the personality through.
Step 6. Create a content calendar
When preparing a calendar for your brand, the key is to plan how many times the content is posted on each channel a week. Some require constant posts like Twitter, but they’re less structured and can be achieved with retweets and quick thoughts, essentially offering short-form content.
Meanwhile, Facebook and IG don’t need as much maintenance and are a brilliant place to post quality informative & educational content. For example, UK dealer Stoneacre Motor Group has created a landing page to warn people about guaranteed car finance scams and use social media to spread the word to help customers make informed decisions.
Also, make sure that your content isn’t overly promotional as these types of posts don’t get much interaction and provide little value to the customer. Post content that aims to engage – ask questions, create polls & share genuinely useful information and industry news. Don’t be afraid to link to other’s articles if they are informative and you believe the audience will like them.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to create content in advance and schedule it via Sprout Social or Hootsuite, so you can manage posts in one place without having to log in to each channel.
Step 7. Always be tracking and adjusting
Use analytics tools that are provided for free by social media platforms and see whether your efforts are paying off. Also, don’t forget to implement UTM tracking to see how social media is performing and whether it drives conversions on the website.
Vanity metrics, like followers & likes, don’t mean much if your audience isn’t converting, so check for metrics that make an impact, such as:
- Engagement – do people comment and share your content?
- How much of your audience is reached?
This mini-guide has explained how social media can help drive your business forward and outlined the necessary steps that need to be undertaken so that your strategy is successful. One of the most important things is knowing your brand goals and choosing the right channels to execute that strategy.
Conducting an audience and competitor analysis is also essential. Another aspect of creating a content calendar will ensure that you stay on track. After everything is done, don’t forget to optimise your profile and engage with people by replying to comments and responding to reviews.
This will get you started with the social media strategy – good luck!