By Lauren | April 7, 2017 | 0 Comment
Having a social media strategy is critical in building a social media presence that meets your needs and grows over time. However, I’m a strong believer that a social media strategy doesn’t necessarily have to be an 80 page document that you put together at the beginning of each year and likely never look at again. A strategy can be short and to the point as long as it serves the purpose of giving yourself and your business a direction. It also should be constantly reviewed and evaluated as you grow and your direction or objectives change. But one of the hardest parts about building a social media strategy is knowing where to start and what to think about to make it the most valuable. I put together a few points to consider when building out your strategy.
Before you even start you should probably have a good understanding of your audience. Everything revolves around your audience when it comes to any aspect of marketing. Having an in depth understanding of your audience will help set you off on the right foot. Understand who they are, their online and offline behaviours, likes and dislikes, etc. Have a good understanding of the social media channels they’re on and the things they are looking for or doing on these channels. This will help you determine the next steps.
Need help finding your audience? Check out this article by Marketing Land.
What do you want to achieve with social media? I’m sure there are a lot of things. But having a more narrow focus will be more effective in the long run. Your objective is your overarching aim for your social media efforts and will be what influences the things you post and do with your social accounts. It could be that you want to:
Those are just some examples of what your objective of having social media can be. Start small and as you grow this may change, or you may add more than one objective.
Under your objectives should fall your goals which are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely). Your goals are different than your overall objective(s) as these are much more specific and dive deeper into how you are going to reach your set out objectives. For example, if your objective is to increase engagement, your goal may be to double the amount of likes you receive on Facebook content by 20% in four months. Although having an objective and focus for your social efforts is critical, your goals are what is going to actually help you get to where you want to be. Since goals are smaller and specific they hold you more accountable and have something for you to work towards.
Here’s a great guide by Sprout Social on how to create social media goals.
It’s easy to get lost in the different channels that are out there and assume you need to be on every single one of them. However, this isn’t the best approach to take given that just because a social media platform is “trendy” doesn’t mean you need to be on it. Instead, do your research about the type of people that are on these channels and also think about the kind of content you could be posting if you had them. For example, if you sit behind a computer all day and aren’t great at taking quality photos, you likely shouldn’t start an Instagram account. Also look at where your audience is and what their usage behaviours are like on these channels. This will help you narrow down exactly what channels you should be on. Resourcing can also be an issue. If you don’t have the team or capacity to take on five social media platforms, don’t be afraid to start small! Think quality over quantity for the best results.
It’s great to build out all aspects of your strategy but without thinking about who is going to be held accountable for your social media efforts you won’t get very far. Putting together a strategy should be a team effort (unless you’re a one man show). Social media affects an entire company and having multiple heads in a room will help you better set your goals and objectives to be in line with your overall organizations goals and objectives. For example, if your company has a goal to double their leads in your fiscal year, but your social media is focused on increasing engagement, you may want to reevaluate. Everything should compliment one another so it fits together seamlessly.
Picking your channels, setting them up and setting goals is important but how are you going to prove that what you’re doing is successful and reevaluate when it’s not? Just like any other aspect of your business, numbers matter and it’s important to take the time to collect analytics and evaluate how you’re doing, what’s working, etc. Within your strategy build out a plan for this. How often are you collecting data? Who is collecting and analyzing it and how will you use that to move forward? This may be different with every company. For example, if you have a huge social following you’ll be able to evaluate fairly if something is working in a smaller amount of time then if you are still building your following. So remember that just because one type of post you posted didn’t perform well once, that doesn’t mean it won’t again.
Developing a social media strategy will help set you up for success online. When you plan, your business will be more likely to use social media effectively and drive better results.
Want to see an example of a social media strategy? Here’s one I created for a freelance client in the past. Note that a SWOT analysis isn’t always mandatory but can be great to conduct if you’re already on social media.