Fact: Social media is no longer as simple as it used to be. With so many things to consider – what, when, where to post – it can be difficult to win on the space. But with a solid and robust social media strategy, it is NOT impossible.
To help you out, we’ve outlined six easy, actionable steps you can implement when building your social media strategy (whether you’re an agency managing multiple brands or an SMB).
Your Social Media Strategy: A How-To
1. Set Smart Goals
First, think about what you want out of social media. Is it to generate more leads and sales? Grow your email list? Improve community engagement?
Be specific and make your goals measurable. For example, don’t just set a goal to increase Instagram engagement. What does this mean? It could mean anything! Furthermore, you can’t measure it. It’s too broad and too vague. And on top of that, this goal includes the “what” but not the “how.” How are you going to achieve this? What steps are you going to take?
Instead, you could say, “Increase Instagram engagement from 1,000 to 5,000 within three months by promoting UGC and hashtags.” See the difference? This gives you something specific to track and measure and also includes specifically what you’ll do to reach your goal.
Setting goals will guide your course of action and keep you on track.
If you’re already on social media, take time to audit your current efforts. What’s working and what’s not? What types of content or channels are performing well? Test your strategies to know what to continue, revise, or improve. This will also help you to select which platforms will enable you to reach your goals since you hopefully know by now that you don’t need to be on every platform. You should focus on the channels that deliver the most results.
2. Understand Your Audience and Competitors
Truly knowing your target audience is essential in creating high-quality and relevant content. Go beyond the usual demographics and create a customer avatar that defines their needs and wants. Map out the buyer’s journey to identify how you can turn followers into customers. Study what content they engage with and how they interact with your brand.
Write this down: You absolutely cannot deliver what your audience wants and needs if you don’t first confirm what exactly that is!
The same goes for your competitors. Examine their social channels to see what’s faring well and what’s not. Conduct competitive analysis or use third-party tools to deep dive into their numbers. Do social listening to monitor what they’re posting or what people say about them. These can help spot opportunities for what they’re not yet doing or what you can enhance.
Remember the goal is not to copy or steal from them but to learn and do better. You don’t want to be as good as them. You want to go far, far beyond that.
3. Set Up and Maintain a Social Media Calendar
A social media calendar allows you to strategically plan your content – what to post, when, and where. It lets you schedule your posts in advance, avoid duplicate content, and have cohesive branding and aesthetics across channels. It helps you work efficiently, collaborate easily, and monitor campaigns effectively.
Instead of manually logging in on each platform — and doing so every single time you need to post — you can simply go to your calendar and plot posts for all relevant channels from one place. You can look into the suggested posting time, draft and edit as needed, color-code depending on content type, and check the analytics of what you’ve shared. Essentially, you will save so much valuable time.
Bonus tip: Check out e-clincher’s Visual Calendar that lets you do all of these things and more.
4. Optimize Your Profiles
This one is so simple that we almost didn’t include it on the list. However, it’s something that many brands often skip right past.
Accurate, complete, and up-to-date profiles prove that you’re a legit business who’s serious about doing well on social media. That’s why it’s essential to audit and optimize your profiles regularly.
Make sure all fields – bio, description, taglines, etc. – are filled out. Check that your email address, hours, and contact details are still applicable. Your followers should never have a hard time trying to contact you. Make it fast and easy.
Use profile and cover photos that are easily recognizable and aligned with your branding. Don’t forget to resize everything to perfectly fit on each platform. (This is something you can easily do within e-clincher.) Any photos that are pixelated or cropped funny should be fixed immediately.
Remember, your social pages are your chance to make a good impression online. Make it count! Don’t lose followers for something as silly as an improperly cropped profile or cover photo.
5. Design Content That *Provides Value*
Your content is the heart of your social media strategy. Even if you’ve done the first four steps, if you don’t have great content, you still might not get positive results.
So, what makes stellar content?
Your priority shouldn’t be selling. It should be providing value. If you provide value, then the money will follow. What are your followers’ needs? Goals? Pain points? What kinds of problems are they having and how can you help solve them? What do you have to offer?
Here are a few tips for what your content should look like.
- It’s clear, concise, and easy to understand. The audience won’t have to read between the lines or stress about figuring out your message.
- It has a powerful call-to-action (CTA). Readers and viewers know exactly what to do after they see your posts.
- It’s relevant to your market and consistent with your branding, but not hard-selling. People love brands that genuinely care about their customers, and not just about making sales.
- It’s exciting and engaging. You have the right mix of photos, videos, and GIFs. After all, variety is the spice of life.
- You share user-generated content and thank and feature people who take the time to give your brand a shout-out.
- It’s evergreen. Whether today, next month, or next year, your topic will still be relevant and valuable.
Bonus tip: Look into award-winning campaigns or your favorite brands on social. Again, it’s not to copy or steal their ideas, but to find inspiration and improve.
Also, consider what captures your attention. What types of posts cause you to stop and take a second look while scrolling through your social media feeds? Screenshot them and use them as guidance when the time comes.
6. Monitor, Evaluate, and Adjust Accordingly
Social media is ever-evolving, so what works today may not work tomorrow. And even if something does work, it’s important to learn if there’s a way you can refine and improve your approach further. All good marketers know this! Social media is absolutely not a “set it and forget it” type of marketing.
The only way to manage your tasks properly is to measure the results of your efforts, study your analytics, and revise your social media strategy over time.
It’s important to stay on top of things by consistently tracking and measuring your performance. Are your customers still behaving just as you researched? Have there been changes to the platforms’ data privacy guidelines or algorithms? Are your campaigns on track to achieve your set targets?
For instance, if you’re receiving plenty of impressions but no clicks on your social media posts, something’s off. If you’re getting plenty of clicks but no conversions, once again, something’s off.
If your efforts aren’t bringing in results, re-evaluate, test, and do it all over again. Also, keep in mind that strategies can change anytime, so you have to be ready to make adjustments along the way. This is totally normal and should be expected.
7. Collaboration is Gold
This is really important. Your social media strategy is not an island. You’re not alone. The whole point of social media and digital marketing as a whole is to connect us with each other.
So, why would you assume that your social media strategy is all about you?
There are so many ways you can work with others and create a memorable and valuable collaboration. For example, find a relevant social media influencer whose values align with your brands. They’ll expose you to their audience and open new doors for you.
Or, team up with related brands (read: not competitors) for a campaign. As an example, if your brand sells premium dog food, you might team up with a brand that sells dog clothes, toys, or training materials.
We already mentioned user-generated content, and it’s worth repeating. UGC acts as sort of a customer review. And customer reviews are incredibly important for the reputation of your brand. This is because potential customers are going to trust current customers more than they’re going to trust you. You want people who will vouch for you.
Find happy customers sharing UGC and reach out to them! Come up with a small campaign where they continue to promote you, and you then share that content. It’s free advertising. Use it wisely.
Your Social Media Strategy: The Key Takeaways
With these seven steps, you’re well on your way to building a social media strategy that can get you closer to your marketing and business goals. Remember to:
- Set goals that you can track and measure, and include the steps you’ll take to achieve those goals.
- Create a customer avatar and analyze your competition.
- Create a social media calendar.
- Optimize your profiles.
- Provide value with your content.
- Measure your results and revise your social media strategy accordingly.
- Collaborate with social media influencers, related brands, and happy customers.
Remember, too, that with social media, you really can’t be in a hurry. Slow and steady wins the race. We’re not trying to go viral and then disappear into the shadows. You want long-term success. Focus on quality, consistency, and providing value for your audience, and you’ll reap the rewards.
What other tips do you have? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
And remember, regardless of where you are in your strategy building process, e-clincher is here to help. Sign up today for your free trial.