So, you're looking to create a social media strategy, but where do you start? There are so many things to think about - research, planning, content creation, sharing and of course engaging with your audience. That’s why we’ve broken it down to seven key areas - to help you to build a strong foundation for your strategy.
And if you are still in doubt as to whether it's worth getting into social media for your business, there’s no need. Social media is no longer the poor relative of marketing channels and has now matured into a fully fledged part of all effective digital marketing strategies.
How to create a winning social media strategy
1. Fail to plan, plan to fail
Before you start posting on social media, you will need to develop a plan. Research your market and define your target audience to identify which social media networks give you the best reach and engagement.
A large part of your success will depend upon how well you plan your social media campaigns (and optimize them). Bear in mind that social media campaigns need to either educate or entertain their audience, rather than shamelessly promote products.
Social media can help your business achieve a number of marketing objectives, from simple goals like increasing website traffic to more sophisticated aims like becoming a thought leader or building brand presence.
First you should establish your SMART objectives:
- Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
- Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
- Assignable – specify who will do it.
- Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
- Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.
2. Create social media content that resonates
Your content is at the heart of your social media presence - so you need to investment time and effort into its development. Consider the needs of your target audience and which social networks they favour. Then with that in mind you can establish what kind of content you can create frequently, whilst maintaining quality and remain within your resource limitations.
For some businesses, it's images and blogs, whereas for others - videos, whitepapers or case studies make much more sense. Once you’ve decided the kind of content to create, make sure it matches your branding, tone of voice and business objectives.
The best part about content creation and sharing these days is that you can create great content without being a professional. There are a number of social media marketing tools that can help you improve your writing and designs.
— evernote (@evernote) November 1, 2016
3. Join the party!
Seasonal holidays are a great opportunity to offer something special to your customers - be it a discount, free gift with each purchase or some extra content to entertain them. It's also a great opportunity for businesses to loosen up on social media and interact in a less formal way with their followers.
Most countries have a couple of major holidays that will offer you an easy starting point, like Independence Day in the US, whilst some themes transcend borders, like Valentine’s Day and the Olympics.
Similarly, you don’t have to exhibit, or even attend an industry event to get additional exposure with virtually no extra cost. As long as your content is relevant, you can contribute to discussions around topics at these events, using their hashtag. And if you are attending an event, make your presence known on social media by posting, or even streaming live video.
— Sendible (@Sendible) November 3, 2016
4. Social can drive SEO success
You have probably heard about using topic related hashtags with your posts to extend your reach. But did you know that you can actually improve your SEO with social media?
There are some simple ways that you can you social media to improve the discoverability of your content and hence extend its reach. The more people discover your content, the higher the chance some of them will convert into paying customers. Reap the benefits of better searchability by:
- Being active on your social media accounts .
- Continuously publishing engaging content that gets shared .
- Including link backs to your blog and website in social media posts .
- Embedding videos and social media posts in your blog posts .
- Using keywords in social media posts.
5. Take advantage of social selling
Social listening can help you find your audience on social. Look for hashtags @mentions, indirect mentions and of course, industry keywords. Remember that social selling isn't about selling, but about listening and helping, so give advice instead of directly linking to your product pages.
If you have a CRM tool, you can create contact lists of your most active social media followers and prospects in addition to influencers. By keeping a record of such prospects you will already be one step ahead when deciding on what to do for your next outreach campaign.
6. Automate to scale up your social media strategy
Marketing automation often brings to mind annoying, impersonal and unwanted contact from disreputable companies. The irony is, that when it is used well, you never realise that it is automation. Thoughtful and targeted automation can help grow your business while you are away from your desk, making a great addition to your social media strategy.
Creating automated welcome messages can generate leads, as long as the personalisation is good. Instead of directing your new followers to your website or a product page - ask a question about their challenges.
By setting up automatic replies to keyword searches, starting new conversations on networks like Twitter gets much easier. Prospects who have already expressed an interest in a product or service are much more likely to be interested in what you offer. Just try and avoid the most obvious marketing automation mistakes!
7. Invest in software
Constantly logging in and out of social media accounts, especially if you manage them for more than one company can be tough. Social media management tools can help you manage all of your social networks in one place. The basic requirements of any such tool is the ability to schedule posts in advance, monitoring keywords and analyzing your campaigns.
Our very own, all-in-one social media management tool, Sendible is focused on growth and making all processes simpler, putting a large emphasis on making it easy to create and source content to share with your audiences.