How to develop a social media strategy (and stick to it)
By Maggie Boesen on October 10, 2017 in Digital Marketing
As we dive into Q4, now is the perfect time to begin putting together your 2018 social media strategy. Many businesses finalize their marketing budgets around this time, so it only makes sense to include your social media strategy in this conversation.
You may be saying, “I don’t need a social media strategy. All I have to do is post content and I’ll get likes, right?” Wrong. Social media, when planned and executed effectively, drives quality engagements, click through rates, and conversions or sales.
Below are a few tips to plan an effective social media strategy for 2018.
Where Do You See Yourself in One Year?
First and foremost, it’s important to establish your goals and objectives when outlining your social media marketing strategy. Without goals, there’s no way to measure the success of your social media. Whether these goals are quantifiable or not, they need to represent your company’s vision for social media and how those channels will play a role in your company-wide public relations and marketing efforts.
Identify Your Audience
You could post all day, every day on social media, but if you’re not posting content that is relevant to your audience, then what’s the point? In order to post content that your potential customers find useful, it’s important to identify your audience. Are you targeting a specific industry or demographic? Find out more about that audience and how they use social media. Is your audience stay-at-home moms? Great! Then avoid LinkedIn. Trying to target high schoolers with your newest product? Might be time to dabble in SnapChat. Just because there are numerous social media platforms out there, doesn’t mean you need to be active on each one. Be active where your audience is active.
Pro Tip: Facebook allows you to find out your local audience's habits. Go to Insights and click Local on the left-hand side. There, you'll be able to see the top age group of the people near your location and the hours of the day and the day of the week that they're on Facebook the most. This will help you better identify your audience and the time of day you should be posting to ensure they'll see your content.
Who Are You Competing Against?
It’s important to know who your competitors are and what they are doing on social media. How many followers do they have compared to you? What are they posting about that is getting good engagement? Understanding how your competition is reaching your target audience in instrumental in developing a social media strategy that differentiates you from others operating within the same space.
Pro Tip: Facebook allows you to keep an eye on your competitors. Under Insights in the Overview sections, you can add pages to watch. Here, you'll be able to see how many people like your competitor pages, how often they post each week and the amount of engagement their posts get each week. You and your competitors will be ranked based on these factors and you'll be able to make adjustments accordingly.
Analyze Your Social Media Presence
Now that you’ve identified your audience and your competitor’s presence on social media, it’s time to take a look within. Make sure you’re actively part of the conversation on the social media channels that are relevant to your audience. Are you setting yourself up to be an industry leader on social media? Even if you’re not looking to drive sales, it’s important that your audience or customers are turning to you, instead of competitors, for industry advice or expertise. In addition to being active on your own social media channels, consider leveraging influencers on their social media channel by having them feature your product to their followers. It's important to find influencers who align with your product and values in order to see success.
Content Is Key
Now that you know where you need to post and to whom, it’s important to narrow down exactly how you plan to formulate your message. Social media trends are constantly changing, and in order to remain relevant on social media, you need to stay on top of those trends. For example, have you tested live video? Or video at all? Make sure your content is presented to your audience in the way they want to receive it. Test out different images or calls-to-action to see which one gets the most engagement. Try out a contest to drive web traffic or sales. Be willing to make adjustments in order to improve your social channels.
Now that you’ve landed on the social media channels you plan to post to, it’s time to set quantitative objectives. Set objectives based on your goals. Are you wanting to gain more brand awareness through your social media pages? Set growth, reach, and engagement objectives based on the performance of those same metrics in 2017. Did you reach an average of 500 people per post in 2017? Try setting an objective of reaching 1,000 people per post in 2018 with the goal of posting more relevant content on a more consistent basis. Do you want to drive your audience to your website? Set a link click or CTR objective that you plan to reach based on your previous performance.
Define Social Strategies
Set overall social strategies that will be used across all social channels, meeting a variety of channel objectives. In addition to setting overall strategies, you need to set channel specific strategies. Each social platform is different, so it’s important to know how your audience likes to receive information on each. Your audience may be more prone to watch a video on Facebook without taking any further action, whereas, they may be more likely to click on a link to a product page from Twitter.
Once you and your team have settled on a strategy for your social media in 2018, it’s important to follow through! Don’t let all that hard work go to the wayside. Check in every month or quarter to make sure you’re on track with your strategy. This way, you can make changes fluidly instead of finding out at the end of the year that you weren’t anywhere near your goal.
Now, get planning! 2018 is only three months away. Need help? Don’t hesitate to reach out! We love putting together social media strategies for our clients and help them stick to it.