Social media is one of the most powerful and influential ways you can connect with your audience. According to statistics, individuals are spending around 5 hours and 51 minutes on the internet every day! So, whoever your customers are – there is a strong chance that you could reach them via social media. A good social media presence is essential for your business, in order to compete in today’s marketplace.
What Is a Social Media Strategy, and Why Do You Need One?
To make sure you get the most from social media, it’s important to know what goals you want to achieve are and how you’re going to achieve them. You need to develop a well-thought-through strategy in order to bring this all together. Implementing the right strategy will help boost brand recognition and loyalty, therefore, reducing your marketing costs, and giving your company a more competitive edge online. Below is an example of what a well-planned strategy can achieve:
Case Study – A Successful Social Media Strategy
Buzz Feed is the perfect example of a massive, established brand that has really embraced social media. The brand has tackled the idea of individuals not having enough time to serve home cooked meals every day and simplified it. They base their recipe videos around 30-second tutorials which make it user-friendly and simple. Ashley McCollum (Tasty’s general manager) told Adweek, “In two years, Tasty has re-imagined the recipe format as a visual, shareable and interactive medium, democratising food and making cooking more accessible, social and fun in the process.” And with a substantial, 17 million followers on Instagram alone, Tasty knows how to engage their audience.
Follow this 8 step plan
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to using social media successfully, however, there are some basic principles that apply across all platforms, brands and audiences. This eight-step plan is sure to help you maximize the return on your investment in social media.
Step 1: Determine Your Social Media Goals
The initial step in developing your social media strategy is to determine what your goals are.What are you working towards? Is your end goal to increase your website traffic? Or, perhaps, build relationships with customers, market your products or share special offers? Select a couple of priority goals and focus on how you’re going to use social media to achieve these goals. Whatever your goals, make them SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. Decide how you will measure success. For example: If you want to drive more traffic to your website, set a target number of visitors each week and determine how many visitors you want to receive with minimal bounce rates.
Step 2: Assess Your Current Social Media Status
If your business is already using social media, use the goals you defined in Step 1 to analyze how well this is working for you at the moment. Are you achieving your goals? If so, you might want to consider setting the bar a little higher. If not, now is the time to work out why. Think about the platforms you’re using. You don’t need to be on every single one, especially if you have limited time to spend on social media. It’s far better to find out where you’re getting the best results, and focus your efforts there. Next, consider whether your posts are meeting your objectives. Does your target audience connect with your posts, or do they just scroll past them? Use analytics to review the traffic for your posts and sites, and determine which types of content get the most and the least
Step 3: Know Your Audience
To make a connection with your audience, you’ll need to build up a clear picture of who its members are, where their interests lie, and what activities they like to do. Start by defining your ideal customer. Who are the individuals you are hoping to reach through social media? What are their demographics (age, interests, occupation, etc)? The more precisely you can define your ideal customer, the more targeted your strategy will be, and the better the results will be. You’ll also be able to use this information to determine which social media platforms to use, and what kind of content and activities to invest in.
Step 4: Choose the Right Channel
You will have already started thinking about which platforms to use in Step 2. Now, consider whether they match your audience profile Facebook will give you the widest potential reach. However, if you provide services for business professionals, you might want to develop a presence on LinkedIn™, while Pinterest™ or Instagram™ might be more promising if you’re in interior design, fashion or another “lifestyle” industry.
Step 5. Plan Your Content
The people you are trying to target are already inundated with content from your competitors, you, therefore, need to ensure that your content is rewarding their time, not wasting it. The content needs to reflect your company’s overall voice and message. Always aim to produce content that is relevant and engaging.
Step 6: Decide when and how often to post
Deciding when to post is highly subjective, as there is no perfect time for any organisation. Observe the habits of your online audience and when they are active, and, therefore, more likely to engage with you. You will also need to decide how often to post. If you post too often, you may become annoying to your audience and drive them away. However, if you don’t post enough, you could be losing valuable business. It is all about trial and error to see what will work for your business.
Step 7: Plan Appropriately
Consider bringing in a specialist to help with your social media strategy, as implementing one takes a lot of time and effort. Make sure that the person you involve understands the social presence you are looking to achieve. Maintaining an online presence takes a lot of hard work and more than just scheduled posts, it is about building relationships too. It is, therefore, vital to respond to comments from your followers.
Step 8: Measure your progress and Adjust your Strategy Accordingly
Social media is a fast-paced arena. It is vital to constantly re-assess how your social strategy is evolving. Measure progress using insights from Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Look for ways to analyze how customers arrived at your website – Google Adwords has a tool that can help with this. Be ready to adapt to the ever-changing needs of the market and plan accordingly.