It’s a pretty well known fact that, when starting out online, you have to have some form of social media presence. In today’s world, customers ask more of the companies they buy from. They want to feel like they know your brand in some meaningful & connecting way. Having a social media strategy can help you use this powerful tool to connect with your customers on that level and elevate your brand.
But how do you make sure you’re actually utilizing the right platforms to get the most out of it for your business? Some people make it seem like it’s just so easy. Throw up some posts a couple of times a week on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and the traffic will come flooding in, right?
Social media planning is a marathon, not a sprint.
In truth, to benefit from social media, you have to have a clear strategy. Social media planning is a marathon, not a sprint. Developing a social media marketing strategy is probably one of the most difficult things to do, because it requires you to step back and look at the big picture. It’s important to you know what you’re trying to achieve, who your customers are and what your competition is doing. Ask yourself, Who? What? When? and Where?
- Who is your target audience?
- What are you going to post?
- When are you going to post?
- Where are you going to post?
A lot of social media is a matter of trial-and-error. Asking yourself these questions is key to formulating a successful strategy.
Know Your Target Audience
Talking to your customers is a lot easier when you know who you are posting for. Take the time to really research your audience. What are their interests? Where do they browse online? This information is powerful for making sure you are in the right space at the right times. There are several studies that provide insights on where your audience interacts. A study done by the Pew Research Center found:
- Facebook and YouTube are the most widely used platforms
- Majority of Instagram’s users are under 30
- Majority of Snapchat users are under 24
- Women vastly outnumber men on Pinterest
- Facebook and YouTube both have high-earning user bases
Be careful not to fall into the trap of trying to be everywhere.There are so many different social media platforms, it’s impossible to cover them all with any real meaning. Knowing who your audience is makes it easier to find them. Additionally, fewer platforms help you focus and allows more time to create better content so try to focus only on two or three platforms. Check out our infographic on the pros and cons of each social media platforms.
Be in the Right Place at the Right Time
Once you have the audience though, you want to make sure you’re engaging with them in a meaningful way. From picking the right creatives and captions, there’s a lot to mull over. What are your customers interests? What are their hobbies? How does your brand or products fill those? How does it fit into their lives? We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, quality content is king.
However, coming up with original content to share on social media on a consistent basis requires a lot of creativity and a good amount of time. Your content should reflect not only what your business offers but the personality of your brand. It can be difficult to balance promotion and personality though. Posting too many promotional items or too much irrelevant content can you cost you followers.
Find your “golden ratio” of original and curated content. Evaluate what topics and categories are relevant to your brand. You should have a blend of original content, curated content, and syndicated content that follow a theme of topics relevant to your brand.
Know What Your Competitors are Doing
Your competitors can act as a good guide when working on your own social media strategy. Do a quick search of your most valuable keywords and phrases and take a look at who’s showing up and for what. What social media platforms are they on? How they’re tagging their content? Are they getting engagement from their followers? Are they engaging in return? The goal here isn’t to copycat but rather study what’s working for them and what’s not. Figure out how you can adapt those strategies into your own campaigns.
Set Attainable Goals
Without having a goal and continuously analyzing your efforts you can’t know what’s working and what’s not. Wanting to reach a thousand followers in a month and get 90 likes a day is most likely not going to happen, sadly. Set goals that are realistic and line up with what you’re trying to get out your social media strategy.
- Are you trying to drive traffic to your website?
- Generate new leads?
- Increase awareness of your brand?
This means looking at your metrics and knowing what is your top-performing content is and fine-tuning your campaigns accordingly. The most important metric is engagement or, the number of people leaving comments or clicking on your links. Engagement metrics are essential to building relationships with your followers. After all, what good is like if they don’t interact with your product or service? Use your social media metrics to assess what’s working, what isn’t and how you can improve.
Social media can help you gain the respect and camaraderie of your customers just by being present and engaging with them. Having a strategy that focuses on knowing who your audience is and what their interests and needs are is critical to a successful social media strategy. It’s all about reaching your customers on a meaningful level.