The number of global social media users continues to rise. No matter your business’ size, you need a strong social media strategy to build and grow an online presence, boost sales, and improve your bottom line.
Setting up your business accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media platforms is only the first step. You must develop a detailed plan of action so social media activity you invest in achieves its goals.
What Is A Social Media Strategy
A social media strategy is a plan that documents how your business will execute and measure all its social media marketing efforts. It outlines all necessary actions needed to achieve social media objectives.
These can be targets like increasing customer engagement, improving customer satisfaction, generating more leads, or driving traffic to your website.
A documented strategy lets you increase your social media leverage. It helps align your social media activity with business goals, and can also check each social channel, or measure specific social media campaigns.
How To Create A Social Media Strategy From Scratch
Creating a social media strategy can be intimidating, especially if you are a small business owner with stretched resources. By taking it one step at a time, you can create a strategic social media plan that benefits your business.
Get started with our eight-step plan outlined below.
1. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Every great plan needs goals and your social media strategy is no exception. Without goals, it would be hard to set action plans and measure success or your return on investment (ROI).
When setting goals, make sure they follow the S.M.A.R.T. goal framework:
Specific. Be specific about what you want to achieve. Provide answers to questions ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘which’, ‘why’, and ‘how’. Identify your target audiences, social media channels you should use, and how to engage them, among others.
Measurable. Make sure there is a way for you to measure your goals. For example, if you are aiming to increase brand awareness, the metrics you could use are followers count, mentions, and shares.
Attainable. Your goals should be achievable with your resources. The more specific your goals are, the easier it will be to meet them. For instance, you want to engage 1000 people per post, this is both measurable and attainable.
Relevant. A goal should also contribute toward your long-term goals. One example of a relevant social media goal is to drive more traffic to your website. This goal benefits your audience engagement, lead generation, and website conversion.
Time-bound. All goals should be time-bound. It should follow a timeframe, whether it is one week, one month, or a year. Allocating a finite time to goals will help you complete them on time.
2. Perform A Social Media Audit
Once you have defined your social media goals, the next step is to perform a social media audit.
Your audit will give you a clear picture of your business’ current social media health. It will also help test how well each social channel is performing for your brand, and enable you to spot the gaps in your existing social media strategy.
While “audit” sounds a bit intimidating, the process itself takes 30 minutes or less. Here is a walkthrough to social media audit:
Identify and list your social media profiles. Include official and unofficial profiles and any accounts outside Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram (the big four).
Create a spreadsheet and input the following elements: URL, profile name, numbers of followers, and date of your last activity.
Examine the details of each profile. After listing your social media profiles, go through each one. Check if branding is consistent, focusing on things like images, avatars, backgrounds, descriptions, etc. Update your spreadsheet with this information.
Evaluate each profile’s performance. Revisit your past goals and compare them against your social media profiles performance. Each social media platform has different metrics that you can measure. You can use Facebook’s page insights and Twitter’s Followerwonk, for example, to see how your audience has grown.
Once you have filled the sheet with these details, ask yourself these questions:
- Is my target audience here?
- Why are we using this social account?
- Can this account help my business achieve its goals?
- What are my business goals for this social media platform?
If any of your accounts fail to provide the needed answers to the above, cross them out in your checklist and focus your effort on other social media profiles that attract profitable actions.
3. Choose The Right Channels
Choosing the right channels is an integral part of any social media strategy. Do not waste time and effort across all platforms, choose only the ones that support the achievement of your strategic goals.
Let us take a look at the BIG FOUR social media channels and the business goals they support.
Facebook. This social media giant works for both B2C and B2B businesses. With nearly 1.7 users worldwide, Facebook is the perfect platform for increasing brand awareness.
It is also a great place to share video content, letting you generate high levels of engagement. Additionally, Facebook can help you monitor your competitors’ social media output using built-in analytics.
Twitter. Twitter is effective in drawing brand engagement. Its recent increase from a 140-character limit to 280 makes it easier for companies to create branded content in a single tweet.
This platform can also generate leads. Brands should take advantage of Twitter Ads campaign types to build their following and conversion.
Instagram. There is no doubt that this platform is most popular among the millennials. It is a “must-have” social channel, especially for brands investing in influencer marketing.
In fact, a survey found that 99.3% of influencers use Instagram, making it the top social network for influencers in 2018.
LinkedIn. Renowned for being a champion in lead generation, this channel can help businesses grow their networks. It has more than 500 million professionals and boasts 2x the buying power of an average web audience.
Furthermore, LinkedIn serves as the social media platform of choice for B2B marketers. Businesses can engage potential customers through sponsored content, sponsored InMail, and text ads.
4. Plan Your Budget
Social media is often used only as a free advertising tool. Paid social media advertising will increase your chances of reaching your target audience.
If you are thinking of fueling your paid social efforts this 2020, consider the following:
- 72% of B2B marketers who use paid channels online use paid social. – Content Marketing Institute
- 27% of internet users say they find new products and brands through paid social ads. – Hootsuite
- The average organic reach for a Facebook post is 5.17% of a Page’s likes, while the average paid reach is 28.1% of total reach. – Hootsuite
Your social media marketing cost depends on your business goals; a common rule of thumb for B2B companies is to allocate 2-5% of revenue and B2C companies should spend between 5-10%.
Before deciding on your social spending, research your customers and check your analytics. Be realistic about your budget so you can tweak your campaign to get the best return on investment (ROI).
5. Create Audience Personas
Social media channels are the best venue for sharing content. Before you plan and create content, know first who your audience is.
This is why you need to create audience customer personas. A customer persona is the profile of your ideal customer. Personas help you craft the most impactful messaging and brand voice for your audience in all forms of online communication.
The questions ‘who,’ ‘what,’ ‘why,’ and ‘how’ can guide you in creating customer personas.
Who. Who are your existing customers? Look through your current database to define the background and demographics of your typical customer.
What. Find out what their goals and challenges are. Conduct surveys or interviews to get this information from your customers.
Why. Understand the motivations behind your customer’s goals and challenges, as well as the common issues they face.
How. How can your company and your products or services best address their challenges? Craft your content around it.
6. Plan and Create Your Content
When creating a social media strategy, it is crucial to remain focused on content creation. Sharing blogs, videos, infographics, and other content is a perfect way to maximize your social media profiles. It increases brand awareness and drives things like website traffic, leads, and sales.
A social media content calendar helps keep track of past and future social media posts and ensure content consistency. Here are the things that your content calendar should contain:
Content categories. Remember your social media audit? You know what worked and what failed, helping you identify the gaps in your current strategy. Align your goals with what your audience wants, and plan and create your content around that.
Some content categories might be blog posts, product promotions, case studies, and upcoming events.
Date and time. Input the day, date, and time to schedule or publish your post.
Visuals. Will this post include a photo or video? List all the assets needed in your calendar to save time and stress.
Links. Add the link to the published post as well as the other resources linked in your post.
Think of the formats that work best on the social channel you are using. Video is a fast-growing trend on all channels, especially Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Entertaining and informative videos between 3-90 seconds drive engagement, so learn to use them to your advantage.
Research the various features unique to each social platform to best leverage it. For example, as a business, Facebook check-ins and reviews are a great way to establish your brand because people trust them.
7. Encourage Social Media Engagement
If you are starting out, it is common to see little or no engagement on your social pages. This is where your employees come in. Chances are, your employees have one or more social media accounts. If they do not have one, encourage them to sign up on LinkedIn at least.
Encourage them to link their social media profiles to your company’s main social media brand accounts. Make it simple for your employees to share social posts. You can even incentivize them if necessary.
The more your employees share, the greater your reach as you tap into their networks of friends and family. The more people that see your content, the more likely they interact with it, and the higher the engagement.
Using your employees as first advocates of your brand is part of trust-building. Their network trusts them so referrals hold more weight, thus helping others form a positive impression of your brand.
Do not overwhelm your employees: getting them to share too many company messages may seem forced. By creating meaningful, quality content people will share it more willingly.
8. Re-evaluate And Adjust Your Strategy
After implementing your social media strategy, data starts coming in. It is important to evaluate your social media campaigns and keep track of what is working for you.
Here are the main metrics to look out for:
Volume. Page likes, page views, and website traffic show how interested people are in your brand.
Reach. Reach helps you measure how far your social content is spreading. It is not only about big numbers! You need to check this metric against others to see if you are reaching the right target audience.
Engagement. Engagement measures how people are interacting with your content. The number of likes, retweets, shares, etc., shows how people engage with your profile. Engagement metrics like “reactions” on Facebook also gives insight into a post sentiment—negative or positive.
After looking at the performance metrics, adjust your strategy as needed. Make sure to inform everyone in your team about the updated strategy to make the most of your accounts.
The Bottom Line
The social web is growing, your business should make the most out of your social media profiles to skyrocket your online presence.
Create a social media strategy to make all your social networking plans and actions work parallel to your business goals.
As a full-service digital marketing agency, 2Stallions can assist you throughout the social media marketing process. We can do social media audits to optimize profiles, help with content strategy, execution, quarterly reviews, and digital maintenance.