The key to success when it comes to social media is having a strategy. Without a strategy and understanding your goals and your audience, it’ll be difficult to get the results you want. Whether you’re a seasoned social media pro or you’re starting from square one, developing a social media marketing strategy can be overwhelming. But, it doesn’t have to be.
Here’s an eight-step guide on how to create a plan that works for you and your business.
1. Set S.M.A.R.T. GoalsCreating a successful strategy starts with defining your goals. Without them, you have no way to measure your success and ROI. Your goals should be:
- Specific: Be clear. It’ll help you measure your success and progress.
- Measurable: Each of your goals should be measurable.
- Attainable: Even though you may believe the sky’s the limit, you’ll need to set goals that are within reach with hard work.
- Relevant: Your goals will need to tie back to your business goals.
- Timely: Deadlines make people accountable.
2. Determine Your Most Important MetricsHow are you going to determine that your efforts are successful? Look beyond vanity metrics. Even though it’s nice to see your follower count grow, it’s much more important to track things like engagement, click-through rates, and conversions. Other metrics that may influence your bottom line can include time spent on your website, reach, brand mentions, sentiment, and total shares.
3. Define Your Audience
Knowing your audience and what they want to see is going to be key to your strategy. That way you can transform your followers into life-long customers with valuable content that addresses their pain points and needs.
You will want to be as specific as possible because it’ll help you with creating an audience that is likely to engage with you and your business. Determine your highly focused buyer persona by looking at the following:
- Job Title
- Pain Points That You Can Solve
- Most Used Social Networks (This will help you define what channels you will be using)
In creating your customer avatar, don’t make assumptions. Use data and your social media analytics to dive deep into your followers.
4. Know Your Competitors
Understanding how your competitors already use social media can take a lot of the guesswork out of your strategy. Do a competitive analysis to better understand who your competitors are and what works for them (platforms, types of media, voice and tone, and messages). By analyzing your competitive market, you’ll get an idea of what opportunities are available to you. For example, if your competitor is dominant on Facebook, you can focus on Twitter or Instagram to market to an under-served audience.
If you use a social media tool, you can set up social listening streams to keep an eye on your competitors. You may notice shifts in the way sites are used, or you might see a post that gets a ton of engagement. This information can help guide you in developing your strategy.
You may even find some inspiration while you do your analysis. It’s important to stand out from the crowd, but you can always take a little inspiration from businesses that are doing great on social media.
5. Conduct a Social Media AuditIf you’re already on social media, take a look at what you’re currently doing. You’ll want to take into account:
- What platforms you’re using
- What’s working and what is not
- What type of media you’re using
- What sites are bringing you value
- Who is engaging with you
- How do you compare with your competitors
6. Set Up Your ProfilesThis is the time to fine tune which sites you’ll want to use. Once you have decided which networks you’ll focus on, create your profiles. Be consistent with your branding across all your channels so it is easily recognizable.
7. Create a Social Media Content CalendarCreating engaging, valuable content is vital to the success of your social media marketing. By creating a content calendar, you have a visual representation of when posts will go live on which network. This will help you plan the types of content out throughout the week, month or year. When creating your calendar, take into account the time you will be spending on engaging content (besides your moments of spontaneous engagement of course). Here are some examples of content that can help you be successful:
- Company News
8. Measure and AdjustEven the best social media managers rely on trial and error to optimize their content. Track your metrics, analyze your data, and then adjust your strategy so you can optimize. A fantastic social media strategy isn’t set in stone, and is always a work in progress.
Developing your strategy may be one of the most difficult things you will do when setting up your social media. Take a look at the big picture and shift your focus from the small day-to-day tasks, so you aren’t posting content for the sake of posting. It will help you achieve your marketing and business goals.
Intro to Social Media
Social Media Starter Guide for Businesses
In this book, you will learn an overarching social media strategy, best practices of the platforms and we will even walk you through setting up a Facebook Business Page, Instagram Professional Account, LinkedIn Business Page and Twitter Account.
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