Social Media Marketing: How to make a Social Media Strategy

social media strategy

A social media marketing strategy, is basically the summary of the things you plan to achieve throughout your social media campaign. It allows you to see how your actions are affecting your business, and whether you’re succeeding or failing. Everything you do, every post, comment, like, or reply should have a purpose.

Having a specific strategy will help you keep your goals in the long run. Don’t make a plan so large that it is unachievable, or impossible to keep track of. 

Within this guide we shall go over how to create a social media strategy, step by step. Keep the things in this guide in mind and before you know it, you’ll have an unbeatable marketing strategy of your own.

Part 1. Set Goals That Align With Your Business Objectives.

Smart goals.

Before anything else you need to set the goals that you’re willing to work towards. Without goals, you’ll have no way to keep track of your progress or return on investment. (ROI.)

An easy way to set your goals is to follow the S.M.A.R.T goal plan, this basically means that each of your goals should be.

* Specific.

* Measurable.

* Attainable.

* Relevant.

* Time-Bound.

By following these guidelines you can ensure that each of your goals will lead to real business results.

Track Meaningful Metrics.

Things such as Vanity Metrics which include, retweets, and likes, are easy to track, but it can be difficult to prove their value. This is why it is better to focus on other things such as leads generated, web referrals, and conversion rates. Keep in mind that metric values differ from site to site, and as such it might be better to track them separately for each channel, or even each different use of each channel.

Your goals should be in line with your overall marketing strategy, allowing you to show the value of your work, and get executive buy-ins and investments easier. You can start making your strategy by identifying three separate goals for your business.

Part 2. Learning About Your Audience.

Create Your Buyer Persona.

It’s important to know who your ideal customers will be, and what it is that they would want to see on social media, allowing you to turn social media followers into customers.

The first step in this is creating you buyer persona’s this will help you think of your potential customers as real people, and make it easier to identify there wants and needs. Allowing you to think more clearly about what to offer them.

Gather Real World Data.

Making assumptions can be deadly for any business, especially a new one. You may think something but that doesn’t make it true, be sure to do your research first for everything. 

Social media analytics are great for gathering information, letting you see things such as who your followers are, where they live, what languages they speak, and how they may be interacting with your brand on social media. This knowledge will help when it comes time to refine your strategy and create ads that better target your demographic.

Part 3. Research Your Competition.

Chances are, that your competition is already utilizing social media in their advertising adventures, so you can actually use them as guides to help you improve your own business.

Conduct A Competitive Analysis.

A competitive analysis helps you to understand who your competitors are, and what they are doing right, as well as what might not be working out quite so well. This will give you a good sense of what’s expected in your industry, helping you to set your own targets when it comes to social media.

This can also help you spot opportunities. Say one of your competitors is dominate on one social media channel, but neglecting another. It might be better to focus on the channels where they have little to no presence instead of immediately jumping into competition with a large competitor.

Utilize Social Listening.

Social listening is just another way to keep track of your competition, by crawling their channels you can find important industry keywords. You could also notice shifts in how they utilize their channels, or you could see a post that does really well, or even one that totally blows. Either way you can learn from it and adjust your own strategy correspondingly.

Part 4. Conduct A Social Media Audit.

Examine Your Current Efforts.

Whilst you may already be using social media tools, It is important to take a step back and observe what you’ve already done. Pay attention to the following questions.

* What’s working, and what isn’t?

* Who are you connecting with on social media?

* Which networks does your audience utilize most?

* How is your social media presence, when compared to your competitors?

Once you’ve answered all of these, you’ll have a great starting point when planning how to improve your results.

Your audit should be able to give you a clear picture of what purpose each of your social media accounts serve. If one isn’t abundantly clear, you should consider getting rid of it. 

Look For Impostor Accounts.

During your audit, it’s possible that you may find fraudulent accounts using your business name, or the names of your products.

These accounts can damage your brand, not to mention they’re stealing customers that would otherwise be buying from you, report these accounts at the earliest opportunity. Also keep in mind that you can get your account verified on social media allowing your customers to know they are dealing with the real account.

Step 5. Set Up Accounts, & Improve Existing Profiles.

Determine Which Networks You Should Use.

As you begin setting up and deciding which social media networks you should utilize, it will become apparent that each one will require its own unique strategy. It’s a good idea to create mission statements for each account, these one sentence declarations help with staying focused on specific goals for each account on each social network.

If you find it too difficult to come up with a mission statement for a certain social network, you may want to reconsider whether that network is worth it or not.

Set Up And Optimize Your Accounts.

Once you’ve gotten an idea for which social media networks you wish to utilize, it’s time to create your profiles. Or you could focus on optimizing previously existing accounts, either way it can seem daunting at first, and I’ll get into more detail at a later date but the important things to focus on are.

* Make sure you fill out all profile fields.

* Use keywords that are relevant to your business, that people would actually use.

* Use the correct size images for each network.

Part 6. Finding Inspiration.

While it is important that your brand be unique that doesn’t mean that you can’t draw inspiration from other sources, such as businesses that are already doing great on social media.

Social Network Success Stories.

These typically appear on a social networks website, in the business section, and will offer case studies that you can use to help with your own social network goals.

Your Favorite Brands.

Looking at the sites that attract you can be very helpful as well, as you crawl through social media channels of all kinds, look and see what it is that they do to draw your attention. One thing that you may notice among these is consistency, by being consistent with their content, customers know what to expect when dealing with them.

Staying consistent with your own business will grow the trust that people have in your brand, as well as increase your notoriety in positive ways.

Ask Your Followers.

Consumers can also offer inspiration when it comes to social media networks. Look at what your target customers are discussing online. What does it teach you about their wants and needs? If you have already existing social media channels, then you could ask your followers directly what they want to see from you, just be prepared to follow through with anything you promise.

Part 7. Create A Social Media Content Calendar.

While sharing great content is essential, it is important to remember that you need to have a plan in place, to help with deciding when is the right time to share such content. A social media content calendar will help with this, as well as letting account for the time that you’ll spend interacting with your audience.

Create A Posting Schedule.

Your content calendar will list the dates and times that you will publish different types of content on each specific channel. It is the perfect way to plan all or your social media activities. It will include both your day-to-day posting as well as your content for social media campaigns. A calendar will ensure that your content is appropriately spaced out and published at the most optimal times.

Plot Your Content Mix.

It’s important that you have your calendar reflect your mission statements that you’ve assigned to each social media profile, so that everything you post is supporting your overall business ideal.

If you aren’t sure how much of each kind of content to post, you should consider the 80-20 rule which states that.

* 80 percent of your posts should entertain, enlighten, or educate your audience.

* 20 percent should focus on directly promoting your brand.

If this doesn’t look like your cup of tea, you could also try the social media rule of thirds.

* One-third of your content focus should be on promoting your business, converting readers, and generating profit.

* One-third of your content shares ideas and stories from thought leaders in your industry, or a like minded business.

* One-third of your content will involve personal interaction with your audience.

Once you have your calendar all set up, you should utilize a scheduling tool to prepare your messaging in advance so that your not updating constantly throughout the day. This will ensure that you can craft the language and format of your posts instead of writing them on the fly when you have the time.

Part 8. Test, Evaluate, And Adjust Your Strategy.

Don’t mistake that your social media strategy is an extremely important document for your business, and don’t assume that you’ll get it right on the first try. As you implement your strategy you may find that certain aspects don’t work as well as you expected, while others work even better. 

Track Your Data.

In addition to the analytics within social networks you can also utilize UTM parameters to track social visitors as they move around your website. Allowing you to see exactly which posts are driving traffic to your website.

Re-evaluate, Test, And Try Again.

Once data starts to flow in, you can use it to re-evaluate your strategy regularly. Using this information you could also test different posts, campaigns, and strategies against each other. By constantly testing these things you can understand what works and what doesn’t.

Surveys are a great way to find out exactly how well your selected strategy is going. Ask your audience, email list, followers, etc… whether you’re meeting their needs or not, and what they’d like to see more of.

In the social sphere things have a tendency to change fast. New networks are constantly appearing, while others may change demographics. Of course your business will go through shifts as well. What this all adds up to is that your strategy is a living document that should be looked at regularly and changed as needed.

If and when you update your strategy be sure to let all your team members know, this will help you all work together, making sure that your business is making the most of your social media accounts.

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