How to create a social media strategy
What is social media marketing?
Social media marketing is a term used to describe the use of social media platforms to engage new and existing customers online. Social media marketing helps you to:
- promote your products and services
- grow your audience
- build brand awareness
- increase your sales
- drive traffic to your website.
The activities involved in social media marketing include posting fresh content routinely, engaging with your followers, running social media advertising campaigns, and measuring the results of your efforts.
How can social media benefit my business?
Social media empowers your business to share content, build communities, and engage with potential and existing customers online. This is why so many small businesses use platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to promote their products and services online and to strengthen customer relationships.
According to Investopedia , more than 4.7 billion people use social media, equal to roughly 60% of the world’s population. So, if you're looking for ways to connect with customers online, social media platforms may be your bridge to new audiences.
Key benefits of social media for business include:
- helping you to grow your customer base
- the ability to create online networks of new and existing customers
- the power to sell and promote your products and services.
What is a social media strategy?
A business plan sets out your future objectives and strategies for achieving them; a social media strategy does much the same. The difference is that a social media strategy focuses on how you plan to use online platforms specifically to help achieve our goals.
As part of your business’s broader digital marketing strategy, your social media strategy should include:
- your social media goals
- the tactics you'll use to achieve them, and
- how you'll measure your progress and success.
If you’ve never created a social media strategy before, it’s a good idea to start with the following questions:
- What do I want to achieve? The answer could be making more sales, reaching more customers, or just increasing awareness of your brand.
- Which platforms should I be using? From Facebook to Instagram, TikTok to LinkedIn, there’s a lot to choose from.
- Who will manage my social media advertising? You may choose to outsource your digital marketing to digital experts, or have someone handle things in-house.
Do I really need a social media strategy?
The more strategic you are with your social media use, the more it can help your business succeed. So, while a formal social media strategy isn’t essential, it can help you make the most of the time you’re spending online. In fact, according to business.gov.au , doing the groundwork before you start is critical to a successful social media presence.
What steps should I take to create a social media strategy?
Now that we’ve established the benefits of a social media strategy, it’s time to outline how to create one for your business. The way you end up using social media will depend on your goals, but the following steps will help you integrate social media into your larger digital marketing strategy.
Step 1. Choose goals that serve your business
Seems obvious, but the social media goals you set should align with your broader business objectives. For example, if you want to increase your sales, the social media advertising campaigns you run should be designed with making sales in mind.
According to social media management platform Hootsuite, each of your social media marketing goals should also be SMART. So, what does that mean? Basically, SMART is an acronym used to guide goal setting. It stands for:
- Relevant, and
Using this framework will help your business to set clear expectations and, most importantly, to measure the success of your social media strategy.
Step 2. Find your audience and use the platforms they prefer
To build a successful social media strategy, it pays to understand your audience. Before you start posting, pause to think about who you're posting for.
If you’re new to creating customer personas, you can start with the following questions:
- Who are they? Knowing their age and location will help you target your social media campaigns.
- What are their interests and needs? This will help you tailor your content.
- What motivates them to engage with social media? Some customers may just want to shop online, but others are looking to learn and connect with others.
- Where do they spend their time online? Not all audiences log on to the same social media sites, so find out which social media platform your customers use, and then align.
The better you know your customers, the more you can meet their expectations online. This, in turn, will help to increase engagement on your social media platforms.
Step 3. Watch your competition
Your customers are likely already engaging with other businesses in your industry online. In the world of social media, that isn’t such a bad thing, as you can learn a lot from what others are already doing.
So, take the time to look closely at your competition, and ask yourself the following questions:
- Which platforms are they using?
- What content are they posting?
- Are customers engaging with their posts?
This is called a competitive analysis. Keeping watch of what other businesses are getting right, and wrong, will help you figure out what kind of content your customers are likely to engage with or not.
Step 4. Choose your social media platforms
In today's digital age, there are lots of social media platforms to choose from. But before you rush to create your accounts, it's important to think about which are the most relevant to your business, based on your audience and broader digital marketing goals.
Here’s a list of social media platforms and an overview of what they offer your business:
- A Facebook business page empowers you to run Facebook advertising campaigns.
- An Instagram business account gives you the option of running Instagram ads.
- A TikTok account may give you the option of exploring influencer marketing.
- A Twitter business account can help you increase brand awareness.
- A LinkedIn company page can help you tell the story of your business and its purpose.
- A YouTube channel allows you to experiment with video digital marketing for business.
This list is not exhaustive, but these platforms are where a lot of brands invest their digital marketing efforts. Many small businesses also set up Instagram shops and Facebook shops as interim (or permanent) solutions in lieu of web stores.
Remember, whether you create an Instagram business account or a LinkedIn company page, the most important thing is to be where your customers are.
Step 5. Think (strategically) about what you want to say
On social media platforms, every post counts towards you achieving your goals. So, once you’ve set up your accounts, it pays to think strategically about your messaging.
A holistic social media content plan should feature a mix of different content types, and may include:
- Content to promote your products and services, including any special offers you may be running.
- Content to educate your customers, such as infographics, links to blog posts, or custom videos.
- Content designed to engage your customers, such as polls, quizzes, and questions that encourage followers to communicate with you, and one another, online.
Step 6. Create a content calendar
When it comes to sharing content on social media platforms, consistency is key. You can strengthen your digital marketing efforts by creating a content calendar to help you plan and post content routinely.
A detailed social media content calendar will help you strengthen your online presence, and may include:
- The dates and times you publish on each social media platform.
- The type of content you'll be posting on each platform.
- The words and images you plan on sharing with each post.
- The links you intend on sharing with each post.
- The blog posts and custom videos you’ll promote throughout the month.
- Plans for longer-term social media advertising campaigns.
Updating your website and social media on a regular basis may help you to improve your online search ranking. A social media content calendar can keep you on track.
How do I measure the success of my social media strategy?
We now know that each of your social media marketing goals should be measurable, and there’s an important reason for this. To get a clear view on your return on investment (ROI), you need to monitor the performance of your social media efforts.
In addition to listing your goals, your social media strategy also needs to define how you’ll measure success. You can do so by tracking and reporting on social media metrics, to help you understand what kind of content is working, and what’s not.
To help you measure success, you may choose to track the following kinds of metrics:
- Engagement metrics: such as likes, follows, shares and comments.
- Awareness metrics: such as the number of impressions your posts make and their reach.
- Referrals and conversions metrics: such as clicks and click through rates. This can provide insight about how many customers visited your website after looking at a post.
If you're new to reporting of this nature, remember that most social media platforms have built-in analytics tools that can help you track metrics.
Ready to create a social media strategy? We can help.
When used strategically, social media is a powerful tool that can help you reach more customers and increase your sales in the digital landscape.
If you want help getting the attention of audiences online, we can help with the behind-the-scenes strategic thinking, so you can focus on the day-to-day to evolve your business.