With the growing popularity of social media, businesses have a unique opportunity to engage with their fans and expand their brand’s visibility. Sadly, the common misconception is that you can just jump into social media without any preparations or a strategic thinking. Sadly this approach doesn’t work as months down the line businesses and their teams discover that a lack of strategy is holding them back.
To help your social media grow I’ve put together this easy to follow-up guide – read the post or skip to the bottom of the page to discover an infographic explaining 9 steps to creating a winning social media strategy.
Step #1: Understand why having a social media strategy is important
As of May 2015, Google started showing tweets in search results bringing greater incentive to brands using social media. While this exciting news means new opportunities, it also leaves no room for ad-hoc social media management. In order to succeed, social media must be treated like any other marketing channel. It must be supported with a strategy which could help your business plan improve and expand.
Having a social media strategy will help you:
- Meet your business objectives and reach your targets
- Understand what your competition is doing and how to get ahead of them
- Meet your audience expectations by looking at their lifestyle, habits and interests
- Overcome your business obstacle, whether you struggle with resources, time, budget or tools
Step #2: Where does your social presence stand against your competitors?
To get a true understanding of how your social media presence compares to your competitors, you need to begin with a comprehensive social media audit. By reviewing your own strengths and weaknesses you will be able to benchmark your own channels and spot further or even undiscovered opportunities.
By digging deeper into industry trends and getting to know the latest changes you will be able to learn where you’ve been failing so far. Equipped with these findings you will gain a strong foundation for your social media strategy.
Step #3: What are your social media goals?
The success of any social media strategy is setting up realistic goals of what you want to gain from your investment in having a social presence. Your goals should match your digital marketing strategy but more importantly, they should be tied directly to your business goals.
- Start by selecting at least three social media goals for your business
- The goals you choose will depend of business type and character of your industry
- Depending what are your key goals are, the strategy will differ and will also require applying different tactics
- Some of your social networks may require a channel specific setup of objectives
- Keep in mind all your goals should be achievable, measurable and you should be defined using S.M.A.R.T. goals criteria
With your social growth and accounts expansion, you may discover the need to change your goals year after year, depending of how successful you are at achieving them.
Once you know what your goals are, you can can start working on establishing next steps for your strategy.
Step #4: What are your unique selling points?
To prevent your messaging from getting lost within the noisy feeds, a clarification of unique selling points is crucial. This important, yet often overlooked element, will help your team members understand what your company’s unique proposition is and how your brand stands out from the crowd.
Empowered with this knowledge your team will be able to help you create a the social presence your customers would love and engage with.
Step #5: How do you segment your social media audience?
To discover previously unknown revenue and ways of interacting with your consumers, audience segmentation is a must have. Defining who your audience is, what their needs are and their expectations will help you deliver the right message to the users who are best suited for your product, and most likely to buy.
Different social media platforms allow you to segment your audience in different ways. Facebook offers the most options – instead of sending one message to your entire follower base, you can choose exactly who sees your post using criteria such as age, gender, interests, or life stage.
Twitter does not allow this kind of customisation, meaning that your message goes out to everyone, so you have to make sure your messages don’t alienate any single group. As soon as you start paying for advertising however, your targeting options become more refined, on Twitter as well as Facebook.
Step #6: What channels are you planning to use?
This will rescue you from managing way too many accounts and not delivering on the promise of creating quality engagement and content. Go for the trending or upcoming channels only when your core channels are developed and hold a strong position, as any addition to this mixture would require extra time and investment.
Step #7: How you are going to use content?
B2C businesses tend to use social media to build a community around their products and influence others with social proof stories of how their products makes people’s lives better.
B2B companies see social media as a way of positioning themselves as thought leader within the industry, promoting their company’s culture and employee’s knowledge, and a way of attracting new team members.
Step #8: How are you going to use tactics to meet your goals
When you know what your key goals are you can break down each of them into one or two tactics which are going to clarify how you are going to use each of these channels, what are you planning to do and how. You should also align each tactic with a measurable metric which will help you measure performance of your activities and keep you focussed in order to reach the final goal.
Social Goal #1: Drive traffic to the website
- Social Tactic #1: Establish posting consistency between Monday to Sunday
- Social Tactic #2: Post social updates linking to your website at the timings when your audience is online
- Social Tactic #3: Make your content a) sharable and b) visually engaging c) snackable by breaking the information down for easy consumption
- Social Tactic #4: Recycle content in clever ways by reposting the same articles using different images, wording and calls-to-action
Metric: Once you introduce regular posting, begin to track your performance to evaluate which of them are getting the most likes, favourites, shares, etc.
Step #9: How are you going to measure your success?
Finally, to determine whether your social activities are working and bring difference to your business, you need to measure their outcomes. By matching KPIs to your goals you will able to evaluate your progress but most importantly this data will help you demonstrate improvement and reveal true value of these activities.
You must also remember to tie these metrics to specific time frames by defining when you want to see results by.
Social Goal #1: Drive traffic to the website
- SMART objectives: measure unique visitors from social media referrals, bounce rate, time on page, conversion rate and revenue
- Timeframe: Increase number of visits to the website via Twitter by 35% by December.