Creating a social media strategy is key for any business serious about competing online as it will help to ensure you are using the platforms to their best ability without spending more time and effort than is necessary.
These 6 easy steps provide an outline of how to create a social media strategy tailored to your businesses needs.
Analyse your current usage
Look at your follower counts, your engagement rates, and how frequently you are posting to get an idea of how your social media presence is performing now. This doesn’t need to be massively in-depth, but it will make setting objectives (see Step 2) much easier and will give you a good reference point throughout to help judge how well your new strategy is working.
Another key part of this is to analyse your competitor’s usage. Is your rival tweeting 3 times as much as you are, does it look like they are getting better engagement? I wouldn’t jump to too many unsupported conclusions, but if you are noticing a competitor that is performing well on social media is doing something you aren’t, maybe it’s time to add this to your strategy.
Define your objectives
Once you’ve analysed the now, it’s time to jump to the end. Where do you want to be? What do you want to achieve? These can always be slightly tweaked along the way once you’ve had a deeper look into your competitors' accounts, but by defining them at the start, you can tailor your strategy from the off. It is also advisable to make these as SMART (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound) as possible. Start by thinking generally, do you want to increase your follower base, or improve the quality of your content?
Make this as specific and measurable as possible – ‘grow follower base by 100%’. Is this attainable? Look back at previous years, is this level of growth similar? This doesn’t mean aim low, but if your following usually grows by around 20% per year, aim for 50% rather than 100%. Also consider relevance, if you already have a large following, but little engagement, the aim of increasing engagement or the quality of content may be more appropriate than aiming to increase the number of followers.
Finally, as with all objectives, including a time frame. May this be a year or a matter of weeks, give your team something to aim for. It is also important to add in time, both throughout and at the end of the time frame, to review success and adapt the strategy for the next set of objectives.
Grow Facebook page likes by 50% by the end of the year.
Increase engagement by posting relevant and exciting content – Twitter interactions to be up by 40% within six months.
Increase website traffic by 20% by posting 40% more content across all social media platforms, within 18 months.
Research your audience
The most important thing to consider when creating social media content is the people who will be reading the content. Too many irrelevant or overly salesy posts and they will disengage and probably unfollow. The more you know about your followers and fans, the easier it will be to create relevant content, Twitter Analytics and Facebook Insights are great places to start as they contain a wealth of information about your followers, including their interests and location.
However, just collecting this information isn’t enough; you must use it when creating and sharing content. You should add in additional tweets or retweets based on the topics that are ranked highly as interests among your followers. For example, if this is technology, you could post about any new technologies you are using as a business or even interesting articles in the field. If it’s relevant to your followers it will help them to engage with you as a company and take more notice of future posts.
Build a solid automation plan
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t engage (see Step 5) but automation is a good way to save on time and to ensure you have a steady stream of content going out on a regular basis. Tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer can provide a great way to schedule posts in advance. Make sure you still post non-scheduled content that is relevant to the news or trending topics or that day, helping you to create relevant, up-to-date content.
Remember to engage
One of the reasons social media so important for consumers and businesses is that it gives them an easy way to connect with each other. By responding to comments and questions, and replying to messages in a timely fashion, brands can use social media to build a strong reputation for customer service. It is vital that your team knows who is responsible for replying to queries to ensure it happens efficiently.
Review, Report, Revise
As mentioned in Step 2, you should set aside some time at regular intervals to review how well your strategy is working, and whether you have met, or are on track to meet, your targets. Reporting on information such as current follower counts and engagement levels as well as noting which types of posts receive the most engagement, will help you to discover trends and work out where to focus your time in the future.
This is one of the most important steps as it will help you to revise your strategy to be even more efficient.
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