Businesses need to focus mostly on the effort that is beneficial to their business goals and doing that exactly requires some strategy..
If you are a social media manager or business owner operating your business social media account, no sooner have you started to manage account/s will you realize the importance and need for a clear social media strategy.
Strategy is the bedrock of almost any successful social media marketing plan.
Social media strategy is the sum total of all the plans, actions and goals you intend to achieve in the social media space of your choosing. And it all start with knowing and setting your goals. The aim of social media strategy is to guide your actions while socializing on social media because, it is easy to be carried away by the fun, activities and trends of social media. So, it is needful for any business who wants to come to the social world to have a reason, a goal for doing so.
This piece will guide you to it.
How to create a social media marketing strategy
1. It All Start With Goals.
As simple as it may sound, goals are the bedrock to know the direction you want to tread on social media. The honest truth is that the tools are not really the problem you will encounter in social media but how you intend to use them . Brands and businesses have different reasons fro being online. And the earlier you discover it for your business the better. In fact, I won’t advice any business to go social without having a goal.
Note: Any goal you set for your social efforts must be in tandem with your overall offline business goal.
Your goals could be:
- Brand awareness
- Lead generation and Sales
- Driving traffic to website/blog
- Build a community around your business
- Grow an audience etc
It is not uncommon for business to pick more than one goal for their social media campaign, but it is better to concentrate on the goals that match your topmost business goals. The more concise and precise the goals are the better.
Example: “We will use Facebook to create awareness about our brand and grow our audience to 1000 by the end of the quarter”
Hope you get that.
Now What is your social media goal?
2. Research And Create Your Audience Persona
Creating an audience persona is better done imperfectly than ignored totally. Even before going social with your business, you probably have some general idea or some specific idea of your customers and prospects. On this premise, you will need to build an imaginary social media persona who is likely to buy or will need your product. When you know the possible age, demography, interest, earnings, hobby etc of your prospects, you will be in better position to locate them in the social platforms they are likely to hang out, and that would have solved the question of “what social platform to join”.
It is not wise to just make assumptions, information you didn’t have on ground can be sought for. Facebook for instance has most of its users from the millennials, with 30-49 age bracket topping the most active users on Facebook. Most information you will need for any social site can be seen online. So do your homework.
However, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, twitter and tiktok are the top performing social sites you should keep an eye on.
3. Who Are Your Competitors? Find Them, Know Them, Keep An Eye On Them?
Your social media strategy should not be seen as a copied strategy. Your competitors’ activities on social media will help you direct your own effort. If you are a late entrant, focus on areas where your audience are under-served, you shouldn’t start off fighting your competitor if they are already dominating a particular platform. Be smart, carry out competitor analysis, to understand your competitors and discover what they are good at, what they are not so good at and what platform they are leading in. Little bits of discovery like this will help you to make decision on how best to strategize your social media marketing plans. Which relevant platform to focus to get hold of the untapped market your competitors ignored. Keeping an eye on your competitors entails using social monitoring and listening tools to understand what comment (positive or negative) people are making about them.
Note: You are not on social to just monitor and listen to negative comments about your competitors, remember that serious competitors are also probably doing the same on you. Your social goals should be the topmost, listening and monitoring should be done sparingly.
Google search is the simplest way available to you to find your competitor. Search with your industry most specific keyword and see who comes top of the list. From the result , take a look at the social channels, compare them if they are more than one. And I will add, it is of no use being jittery on how far, well positioned and consolidated your competitors may look. If possible, measure up to them in areas you can, but most importantly focus on your Unique selling point(USP). No two companies should have the same social media marketing strategy.
After you have gone through your competitors pages and websites, optimize your own strategy and move on.
4. Create Engaging Social Contents
Content is king. When people follow you, they expect to get educated and informed on the latest product, promotion or offer you are giving out. To keep your brand in their minds, you need to be coming up with relevant and engaging contents that will resonate with them.
If social posts and blog articles are just graphics and videos, imagine how boring and less engaging it will be. In your social strategy, you should tailor your posts, graphics or videos to echo what your business is and stands for. Tip: Stick to one or two themes in your graphics, don’t make your color choice look noisy
Types of Contents to use
- Actual product photos
- User generated contents
- Story-styled content
- Videos (long or short)
- Text posts
- Live video
5. Determine Your Posting Strategy
When your contents are ready, your strategy should also be able to state clearly when you should be posting, how often you should be posting, how best to mix your posts and posting frequency.
It is advisable to make post consistently because your post tells your audience you are still active in business, and it keeps your brand alive in their mind. If more people see your post, there is high chance it will be shared, reach new audience and probably engage more people. Don’t be too salesy with your posts, you can go with 80/20 rule for a start.
TIP: If you are testing your strategy, and don’t know what to post,
80% of your post should be informative, educating and entertaining for your audience.
20% can directly be about promoting your product or brand
Your strategy should include the maximum interval of hours you need to respond to messages and make provision for a quick response. Most users prefer 4 hours maximum but the shorter the response time the better. Social media is not a one-way communication channel, when you make posts, you need to engage your audience, answer their questions, make comments on their posts or shout out to them. This is a sure way to build brand loyalty.
Note that when you are present and talking to your audience, you will be respected as a brand thereby building brand loyalty in your followers. I wrote a 4 mins article on tips to building brand loyalty. You can skim through it here.
You should be able to capture important moments that is general and specific to your business interest in your posting strategy. General celebrations like Christmas, New year and Thanks giving and specific events like teacher’s day if your business is into education should all be captured in your posting strategy.
Be timely too in your posting strategy. Post when your audience are likely to be online, not when the world is online. This way, you will be positioning your self to get the best organic traffic you can get.
To achieve all this, Content calendar is what you need.
Content calendar is the overview of all the posts you need to make within a specified time.
Content calendar consist of:
- Exact Time and date to publish a post
- The social platform to post on
- Image/videos/info-graphics to be used
- Link or other additional information you deem fit
Content calendar can be as simple as a google spreadsheet or as complex as calculus. And the benefits are mostly in the long run than the short run. It is always better to plan contents ahead. If you think you can come up with killer quotes, great copy or interesting business sentence on the spot, you will be surprised at how dumb you can be.
6. Establish Metrics And KPI To Keep An Eye On
Data is the new digital currency, so it is not wise to create a strategy without having a way to track the performance of the strategy. Going that way is bound to bring loss in time, effort and money to your business because you may be investing wrongly
Reach, clicks, engagements, organic likes, paid likes and sentiments are the key metrics to keep an eye on.
Reach tells you the number of unique users that saw your content or post. The more the reach the better chance you stand to get clicks and engagements. Fewer reach is not a good thing.
Clicks tells you the number of people that paused to see what you have there in your page, account or content.
Engagement tells you the number of people that went extra mile to say something (negative or positive) about your brand or post. You need to pay attention to whatever is it they say to you there.
Likes can be deceiving at times.
7. Be Adaptive, Be Agile In Your Strategy
Nobody has the final answer on how best to be online. So be adaptive, trial and error may cost you time but you will learn what didn’t work for your business at the end of the day.
Agility is all about tweaking, and adjusting after interacting with your audience and followers. Since your social media strategy is not set in stone and you probably got some success with your plan, continuously work on your strategy. When you go this way, you will be able to know and predict what is it your audience and customers need next.
In conclusion, having a strategy goes a long way to make your journey easy and organized.