With so many social media platforms out there, it can be hard to know which one to focus on first. Social media can be confusing enough just figuring out what to do, without having to worry about which platform you should use first.
Here are some tips for developing your own social media strategy, whether you have one or you’re just starting out. And don’t forget—if you need help with any aspect of your online presence, there are plenty of freelance social media consultants who can help!
What is a Social Media Marketing Strategy
A social media strategy is a summary of everything you plan to do and hope to achieve on social media. It guides your actions and lets you know whether you’re succeeding or failing.
So why do you need one, anyway? When it comes to marketing, having a strategy is key. After all, how can you expect results if you don’t have anything planned out?
It’s very similar with social media. Instead of jumping around from site to site, trying new things with little direction, setting up your social media accounts without knowing what your long-term goals are, having a strategy gives shape and meaning to all of these activities.
More than that, though, it provides benchmarks for what works best for both your brand and audience.
Creating a social media strategy isn’t just about defining objectives—it also outlines who you’re targeting, how to reach them effectively, and what tactics work best. You’ll then be able to track your success against specific targets, so it gives you an idea of where you could improve in future posts/content/promotions.
Social media strategies aren’t just useful for businesses either—they also work well for individuals hoping to establish themselves online.
If anyone ever asks why should I be on social media? Then creating an effective strategy will help provide answers; even if it doesn’t convince them right away (and trust us—people love hearing about numbers), at least they’ll understand why they should be using social platforms like Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn.
Why you need a Social Media Marketing Strategy
Every business in every industry can benefit from social media. But your strategy doesn’t have to be complicated. Ask yourself these questions: Does my company have a website?
How many followers do I have on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest? What are my goals for social media—and are they SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-sensitive)? That’s really all you need to get started creating a strong social media strategy.
If you need help brainstorming or setting goals—or if you don’t even know where to start planning—speak with a professional social media consultant about creating an action plan for success.
Why You Need One
Every business in every industry can benefit from social media. But your strategy doesn’t have to be complicated.
Ask yourself these questions:
Does my company have a website?
How many followers do I have on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest?
What are my goals for social media—and are they SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-sensitive)?
That’s really all you need to get started creating a strong social media strategy. If you need help brainstorming or setting goals—or if you don’t even know where to start planning—speak with a professional social media consultant about creating an action plan for success.
A consultation usually takes less than two hours; it costs less than you think and it will put you well on your way to building long-term relationships that matter.
How to Create A Social Media Strategy
Many businesses and brands wonder if they need a social media strategy. After all, you can just wing it on social media, right? Maybe so, but you’ll never know how to run your social media accounts until you sit down and outline what you hope to achieve and what you plan to do.
A good social media strategy is based on four things:
But let’s talk about those things in context.
Research Your Competitors On Social Media
When planning your social media strategy, you need to do some research. This means knowing what your competitors are doing on social media.
Are they responding to customer service issues quickly and politely or are they just ignoring it?
Are they actively promoting their business or just posting about random topics that don’t relate to anything of importance?
These are all questions you should be asking yourself when you’re creating a social media strategy for your business. If your competitors are already on social media, then research their strategies so that you can come up with new ideas.
If they’re not on social media at all, then get started right away! Many companies don’t realize how important it is to have a presence online.
By starting social media accounts, businesses can begin interacting with customers in real time instead of waiting until customers visit their websites or call them directly. You never know who could help you succeed.
Maybe your customers will suggest things that will improve your company! Best case scenario: one loyal customer tells you what they want to see more of and becomes one of your most frequent posters.
What Do You Want To Achieve On Social Media?
The first step to creating a social media strategy is determining what you want to achieve. Is it more followers, more engagement, better rankings in search results, or some combination of them all?
While many of these things overlap and help you succeed with others, each one requires a different type of strategy and helps your business in its own way. Once you know what you want to achieve on social media and how it benefits your company overall, then come up with a plan on how you’re going to do that.
Who Are Your Audience You Want To Target On Social Media Channels?
Just because you have a Facebook page or a Twitter account, doesn’t mean that your audience is going to show up. Instead of spending hours on social media trying to build an audience from scratch, analyze your target market and develop strategy around that.
For example, if you want to target new parents with baby products, look at their age range and interests. You may find that they’re more active on Pinterest than on Facebook so focus on developing strategies for Pinterest first.
That way when people show up they see your content organically which will boost your chances of converting them into customers.
What Content Are You Going To Share On Social Media Channels?
Your social media strategy has to be aligned with what you actually share on social media. After all, there’s no point in telling fans about your latest promotion if it isn’t relevant to them (and vice versa). So take some time to examine what content drives traffic and conversions then work it into your marketing efforts.
What Tactics Will You Use On Your Social Channels?
The biggest mistake you can make with your social media strategy is being vague. What are you going to say on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn?
The answer to that question should be tied directly to your business goals.
Are you trying to get more leads or build brand awareness?
Are you planning on sharing links to your content or are these social profiles where people will connect with your employees in an informal way?
Are you putting together a contest or sweepstakes on Facebook or Instagram for users who engage with your posts through likes and comments so they’ll be more likely to share it with their friends for extra entries into a drawing for a prize pack full of great products from many brands?
Track Meaningful Social Media Marketing Metrics
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. If you have no idea what your social media strategy is supposed to achieve, then how will you know whether or not it’s working? Before a strategy is a marketing plan, and marketing plans are useless without metrics.
You need to know what progress looks like, what your ideal outcomes are, and most importantly – whether or not they actually happened. Goals that aren’t connected to tangible numbers aren’t really goals at all.
They’re simply grandiose dreams with little relevance in day-to-day operations. In order for a social media strategy to be effective, it needs concrete goals that tie directly into measurable results. Otherwise, why even bother?
Ways To Measure Social Media Success
The first and best way to measure success on social media is: Are people responding to your content and sharing it with their friends and followers?
If you aren’t getting likes, shares, retweets, +1s, upvotes or any other form of interaction from your social media activities, then you have to question whether you’re even doing social media right.
Your content has to be good enough for others to want to share it with their audience.
If it isn’t—if your content is only being seen by a handful of people in your immediate network—then I’d argue that you aren’t doing very much in terms of social media at all.
Another easy metric to assess social media performance: Are you seeing more leads than before? For companies and individuals looking to generate leads, one should consider how many leads they were able to generate as a result of their social media efforts.
I’ve written about how many conversions counts as one metric , but there are also ways to track social-generated leads as well as other kinds of important metrics such as brand awareness and engagement rates .
Some types of organizations will consider page views as an indicator of social media success. Take into account that page views don’t necessarily mean new business or more sales. You can still get value out of page views without directly selling things.
Just make sure you know what kind of value those page views provide you! Word count is another data point that some may choose to evaluate.
How long were your social media updates? Did they fill Twitter’s 140 character limit or did they go longform ?
What’s appropriate for your social media platform will depend on who your target audience is and what type of information you’re trying to convey. It may be worthwhile to include word count as part of a larger reporting tool so you can collect multiple data points from one platform.
You need to know how you measure success for your social media strategy – or you won’t get very far at all.
Content Made For Social Media
Of course, having a plan is only as good as your ability to execute it. In other words, if you’re developing a strategy for Pinterest but spend all your time posting on Instagram and Twitter, you’re going to have a bad time.
Take stock of how much time you can dedicate to social media and make sure that those networks are your top priority.
You should also take into account what kind of content works best for each network. If YouTube is a major traffic driver for your site, then video may be well worth it—but not if Facebook consistently provides greater conversion rates.
The bottom line
Know who you’re trying to reach and where they hang out online before committing resources or precious energy to any one platform or tactic.
Then create your strategy accordingly. Yes, social media requires strategy; even more than fancy tools or esoteric tactics!
(Many people become marketers because they like shiny objects; Don’t let them talk you into doing something foolish) Some say 80% of an organization’s content has no SEO value.
To ensure that non-SEO content doesn’t waste your audience’s time (or business development opportunities), try repurposing existing assets (for example, slides from presentations or event announcements) rather than creating something new every single time someone wants to publish something new.
Want Some Help With Your Social Media Marketing Strategy?
If you are stuck on your social media marketing strategy and aren’t sure where to start – then let’s chat. I can help you build a social media marketing strategy from scratch, and drive valuable returns for your business.
Social Media doesn’t have to be dark art. It’s exciting, and once you crack it – will reap the benefits for years to come.
Let’s set up a 30-minute consultation now, and change your business for the better.