Being the Social Media Manager that I am, I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a strategy set in place for your business or brand. Establishing a social media strategy is more than just posting an update informing people that a new product or service is on sale or just sharing pieces of relevant information through posts and videos. So much of the social media experience is about your brand’s individual audience and niche. What works for you might not work for someone else. It also may take a few tries to get it right but in the end it will be so worth it.
I believe that you must have some sort of strategy set in place so that your social channels are cohesive and content is not all over the place with no sense of direction. Trust me, people can tell the difference between well thought out social media pages and ones that have no clue what they’re doing. While carving out time for a social strategy is in my opinion, mandatory, the way/order in which you develop your social strategy can vary depending on your brand. Overall, there are 8 main points I like to touch on when developing a strategy for my clients and hopefully these will help you out too.
What’s the Point?
The first point I want to make is…well, what’s the point? Before you do anything, make sure you have one. Yes, you can use social media to help accomplish several business objectives. But the best social media strategies are those that focus (at least at first) on a more narrow rationale for social. What do you primarily want to use social for? Brand Awareness? Sales? Loyalty and retention? Pick one. In order for your social media presence to work, have a primary goal in sight or at least know why you are doing what you’re doing. This may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people just don’t know.
Choose Your Channels
Just because you’re on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Pinterest and have some fans doesn’t guarantee success. In fact, being on every single social channel out there could potentially end up hurting you in the long run. You don’t have to be on all of them, just the ones that matter to you and your audience. For example, if you are a professional business that wants to use social media mainly for B2B relations, Instagram and Snap Chat may not be for you. In this case, LinkedIn would be perfect. It depends on your goals, brand, and audience, but you should be educated on the differences between the many social platforms out there and know that you are not required to be on them all.
Optimize Your Profiles
Once you decide which social platforms work best for your brand, you have to make sure the profiles are filled out completely and correctly. Make it a habit to visit each of your social media profiles every month and make sure that your images, cover photos, bio, and profile info is up-to-date and complete. A completed profile shows professionalism, cohesive branding, and a signal to visitors that you’re serious about your brand. Download our Ultimate Social Media Sizing Guide to make sure your cover photos and images are always up to date.
Analyze Your Audience
Who will you be interacting with on your pages? What are the demographics characteristics of your current or prospective customers? How does that impact what you can and should attempt in social media? Tools like Sprout Social and Buffer can assist in helping you find not only your audience but your competitor’s audience. Facebook provides its audience tracking tool called Insights and Twitter has one as well. Pro tip: if you’re really trying to figure out your niche I would recommend a paid tool.
Select Success Metrics
How are you going to determine whether social media is actually making a difference in your business? What key measures will you use to evaluate your social media strategy effectiveness? How will you transcend (hopefully) likes and engagement? Will you measure ROI? Set goals for yourself each month and track them. I like to do monthly social page(s) growth and track engagement to see how my efforts are doing over time. It’s up to you, but it is important to outline what success metrics you will track so you can determine what is working and keep doing that or switch it up if you’re not getting the results you’re looking for.
Choose a Posting Strategy
Having great content, perfect timing, and the ideal posting frequency are the parts that make up the perfect posting strategy. Based on your particular audience, different times of the day might be better to post. The frequency in which you post also matters depending on the channel. Each network also has their own recommendations and best practices for posting so you’ll have to use what works best for you. For more information on the importance of a posting strategy, check out our post on the best times to post on social media as well as learn about different scheduling tools that will make your life SO much easier.
How Will You Be Human?
The mechanics of social media basically forces companies to compete for attention versus your customers’ friends and family members. That being said, your company has to (at least to some degree) act like a person, not a computer. Your social channels will be better focused and more on point if you develop a voice and tone for your content right from the beginning. How will you do that? If your brand was a person, what kind of person would it be? What’s your relationship to the consumer? Are there companies that have a similar personality to yours that you could draw inspiration and ideas from? These are some of the questions you need to answer before diving in deeper to your social strategy.
Analyze, Test, Repeat
The more you post, the more you’ll discover which content, timing, and frequency is right for you. A/B testing goes a long way in social media. You might find that a certain demographic’s CPC is too high and tweak the audience and post copy to get the best result for your business. How will you know? It’s best to get a reporting tool. Most current social networks will have basic analytics built into their own site, but sometimes it’s just easier to find this information from an all-encompassing dashboard. Short Stack, Simply Measured and Sprout Social are just a few of the many worth looking into.
How do you develop your social media strategy? Keep the conversation going in the comments. If you know someone who could use this, feel free to pass this along. If you’d like more assistance setting up your social media channels, contact us!