How to Create a Successful Social Media Strategy
Having a well thought out Social Media strategy for your business is fundamental to success in today’s always-on digital landscape. Mastering the many different aspects of your Social Media strategy can often feel overwhelming. It can be a long and challenging process.
Aligning Social Media Goals with The Business’s Objectives
A good place to start when planning your business’s Social Media is to establish which Social Media goals will assist the business in reaching its overall business objectives. The company’s Social Media strategy should be in line with the business strategy and your digital marketing strategy.
Your business’s online brand and offline brand do not exist in isolation, so your business must present itself the same way across all channels through which it communicates with its customers.
For example, the above table demonstrates how one would set Social Media goals that compliment a business’s objectives.
Your business’s Social Media goals should be clear and attainable. As the goals you set will lay the foundation for the type of strategy, budget and social platforms you will tackle within the set timeline.
Choosing the Right Social Channel for Your Business
Instead of misallocating your time across multiple networks rather focus on finding the best Social Media platforms for your business and its target market. It is better to focus on one platform and really connect with your audience than be on all the social platforms but not have time to connect with your audience.
There are many social platforms out there and not all of them are relevant to your target audience. For example, most Instagram users are female, whereas most Facebook users are male. Age groups also vary across platforms with Instagram having a higher % of younger users and Facebook reaching an older audience.
Keeping in mind that Facebook and Instagram are by no means the only Social Media platforms out there, doing thorough research into where your business’s target audience is most active and reaching them through the content they enjoy, on the relevant platform, is of the utmost importance.
Once you have completed your research, you may find you can reach your audience across several platforms. This is where you need to investigate whether your company has enough resources to manage your brand across all the platforms simultaneously. Rather start small, you can always expand. If you spread your resources too thin, it will only hurt your brand, and underperforming in the public space could be detrimental to your business.
It is important to note that while you will have an overarching Social Media strategy which you will implement across platforms, you will also need to have platform-specific strategies in place. All platforms are not equal, and you would not post the same content to your LinkedIn company page that you would upload to Instagram. Users on different platforms may consume content differently and want different content, which is why it is imperative to select the right platforms for your business.
Research and Understand Your Target Audience
As marketers it is never a good idea to make assumptions about your target audience and thanks to extensive data available online and through Social Media analytics tools there’s no need to. Most Social Media platforms give you access to their user’s demographics; this is especially useful in understanding which segment of your audience is on which platform and how they use the platform.
Understanding Social Media platform best practices and what your audience’s interests are, as well as where they are in the marketing funnel will help inform your overall Social Media Marketing strategy.
You will be able to use this information to inform the type of content you create, how often you post and how you plan on engaging with your audience.
For example, we often suggest an 80/20 split for our clients, meaning 80% of the content published is either entertaining, educating or informing the audience, and 20% is selling. There are subtle ways to sell without being overbearing and still achieve brand resonance.
Defining the Metrics That Matter to Your Business
An effective Social Media marketing strategy is based on numbers. That said, the numbers used to inform and lead your Social Media marketing strategy need to be given context and be in line with your original goals. The metrics you choose to measure should be in line with your business goals and be the same across the Social Media platforms your brand will be using. If the metrics you track across platforms are the same it makes it easier to compare and clearly see on which platform your content is resonating most with users.
The most common metrics used to measure performance on Social Media platforms are:
Impressions: The number of times that content appeared on-screen
Reach: Is the number of people your content made contact with or ‘reached.’ Reach is different from impressions, which may include multiple views of your content by the same people.
Engagements: Engagement is an action a user has taken on your page or page’s content. Such as a reaction (Like, Happy, Love, Excited), click, share or comment on your content.
Creating and Sharing Content That Drives Your Strategy
Your Social Media strategy will be driven by the content your brand creates and shares with its Social Media audience.
After setting your social media goals, researching which social media platforms your brand will use to connect with its audience and understanding the needs of your target market, you will have a good idea of what to publish.
However, understanding what exactly engaging and effective Social Media content looks like and how to create it can seem overly complicated with the number of options available.
We have put together the below content principles to help guide your strategy from creation to implementation.
Step 1: Define Your Brand’s Content Pillars
In other words, what are the topics or themes your target audience is interested in and can be communicated through different types of content such as video, blogs, infographics, animated posts, etc.?
A useful way of defining your pillar content is understanding your audience and the different personas within your target audience. Content pillars are focus topics or themes on which your social media content should be based.
For example, let’s say you are a personal trainer your content pillars could look something like this:
- Inspirational – success stories, healthy living quotes, testimonials, simple swaps etc. content that inspires.
- Workout tutorials – displaying videos, gifs and carousels image posts of different workouts and stretches.
- Food Focus – sharing healthy recipes and simple snack options in different media formats.
- User-Generated Content – Content of your followers implementing your workouts and recipes.
Within these pillars, you will target your different persona’s such as:
- New to fitness
- Seasoned fitness people or frequent gym goers
- New moms trying to lose baby weight
- Those trying to maintain their weight
Your content pillars and audience personas will give your content direction and make it easier to achieve your social media goals.
Step 2: Create and Structure Your Content Plan
Once you have defined your content pillars, you will use them to create a content plan.
There are many formats you can use, but the simplest is using an excel spreadsheet.
You can use your four pillars any way you choose, using the example above we created the below:
As you can see, we used the content pillars defined in Step 1 to feed our calendar layout and now we have a social media content calendar structure we can use to plan our monthly content.
Step 3: Feeding Your Content Calendar
Once you have your structured content plan, you will use the defined pillars to create content that is in line with what your users are looking for and grow your following. A calendar is a useful way to keep track of what content has been created and what still needs to be created.
Once you have created all the content needed for your monthly calendar, you are ready to schedule or post your content as and when necessary. Another useful aspect of having a content calendar to work from is it allows you to plan content in advance and be creative with the content types and variations you share with your audience.
Step 4: Don’t Be Afraid to Repurpose, Reuse and Recycle Content
Continually coming up with new and inspirational content can be tricky so why not try reusing content from old blogs or other content forms and repurpose it into a ‘new’ useful piece of content such as a video or infographic. You can even incorporate the reusing of content into your content plan, i.e. you could reshare ‘old’ useful content on Thursdays, with a useful hashtag such as #OldieButAGoodie, as a way of keeping new followers in the loop.
Content creation does not have to be overly complicated. One blog should be able to be repurposed or used to feed at least 5 social media posts. Below is an example of how to use one blog to create 5 pieces of social media content.
- Post 1: Would be the blog itself.
- Post 2: Would be an infographic based on the blog.
- Post 3: A short video based on the blog content.
- Post 4: An animated post focusing on a key take away mentioned in the blog.
- Post 5: A carousel post on the 5 most important points mentioned in the blog.
When it comes to creating multiple posts from one piece of content all you need to do is break the content into bite-sized bits of information and create different types of creative out of it whether it be a video, animated post/ gif, carousel
Sharing user-generated content is another way of staying in touch with your audience and adds another dimension to your brand’s social media.
Another option is sharing third-party content that is useful and in line with your brand that provides your audience with value. As long as you give credit to the source and are not sharing competitor content, this is a useful tip that can save you time but still provide value to your audience.
Lastly, you can always try adding another layer of content with a content layering strategy.
Congratulations, you have created your Social Media strategy and are ready to start growing your business and communicating with your customers online. Once you have run your basic strategy for three months and understand your business’s digital landscape better, you can update your strategy, add social media ads or run a campaign to get more bang for your buck. However, the first step is getting started and establishing your brand’s online presence.
Need help establishing your business’s Social Media presence?
Let us help you with that – Contact Shift ONE Digital today!