It can be hard to create a Social Media strategy from scratch, especially if you haven’t had one implemented previously. Everything you do across your social media channels should have an end goal instead of aimlessly posting content that seems good in the moment, you need to think of the bigger picture. What are you trying to achieve? Every type of engagement, whether it’s likes, comments or shares should be towards a goal or several goals you have set for your business, increasing sales or awareness could be a goal. However, this differs for every business. It’s not as complicated as it sounds either, by taking the time to create a social media strategy you’ve put thought and effort into, the rest of your efforts will follow naturally.
What are you trying to achieve? Your social media strategy is a summary of what you’ve planned to do and aim to achieve for your business by using your social media channels. If you currently have social media accounts, you should spend time analysing where they currently are and where you want them to be in the next three, six and 12 months and how you’ll get there. Ideally, you should be as specific as possible, the reason being that your strategy will be far more effective when it’s time to implement it. You will also need to keep it concise, if your social media strategy is too broad or the targets are set too high, it won’t be achievable.
Before creating a strategy you’ll need to establish what objectives and goals you aim to achieve. By having these objectives set, it’ll allow you to react when your social media campaigns aren’t meeting the expectations you had. Without any goals, you won’t be able to measure if your social media campaigns are successful or providing you with the results you’re after.
Your goals should be aligned with your overall marketing strategy so that your efforts across social media platforms are going in the same direction as your business objectives. When you have a social media strategy that backs up and supports your business goals, the more successful you will be.
A way of setting reasonable goals is to use the SMART framework, this means that every objective you’ve set should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.
If you currently have a range of social media channels, it would be ideal to analyse and research what you’ve done in the past, prior to creating a strategy. Different things to analyse would include; the content that’s been published so far, how your social media presence compares to your competitors, what has worked successfully in the past and what hasn’t. Once you have completed this step, you should have a clear picture of what’s been done on each of your social media accounts; how they’ve been representing your business, who has been running them and the purpose they’ve served.
Not every social media network will be suitable for your business or your goals, because of the range of social media platforms available, you can be picky about where you want to have a presence. It needs to be aligned with your goals. If you currently don’t have an account on a specific platform, now is the time to create one and build them from the ground up with your goals and target audience in mind. However, if you do, it’s time to hone your online presence. Refine and update your current channels in order to get the best results that you could possibly get.
Coming up with content to schedule can be a challenge, if you spend time looking at what others in your industry are sharing and listen to how your audience interact and communicate, you can distinguish yourself from your competitors and appeal to your audience in a way that your competitors might not be doing.
Your content should offer value to your audience as well as yourself, if you’re a retail company, you should share the products you sell, the offers you currently have and more but also make it relevant and how your audience could benefit from it. From valentines and birthday gifts to their partner to seasonal items. Don’t make your social media channels all about yourself as your audience and followers will quickly lose interest, always keep them in mind when coming up with content to post. Ultimately, put yourself in your customers’ shoes, what content would you like to see or find value from on social media? It can be a bit of a trial and error process to see what works for each platform and for your business, it can take time but it’s definitely worth it in the long run.
Having great content to share is essentials in order to succeed on social media. By having a social media calendar which includes the content you need to publish, things will run much smoother. Some of the things you should include in your calendar are:
You should create your calendar in advance instead of updating it on a daily or weekly basis, creating it quarterly is ideal as you’ll know what’s happening in the coming months so you can prepare if you have anything in particular to promote. This will also help you work on the tone of voice for each platform and posts you publish. You should still be spontaneous and not schedule everything but having a calendar is essential to maintain and build your social media presence and to reach the goals you have set for your business. The calendar you’ve created will also need to reflect the set goals you aim to achieve, e.g. if you want to generate leads on LinkedIn, make sure you are sharing content that would generate leads.
Once you’ve completed all previous steps, you’ll need to look back and what you’ve been testing and evaluate to see if it has been working the way you envision it to. If it hasn’t, then you’ll need to adjust your social media strategy in order to work towards the right direction. You should always be testing new things to see what works best for you, without any tests you’ll be stuck in the same place. Tracking URLs is a great way to see what posts generated the most traffic to your website and contributed to any leads.
The most important thing to keep in mind about your social media strategy is that it should always be changing, all social networks are constantly evolving and you need to adapt in order to stay ahead in your industry and of your competitors.
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