How to Design the Ultimate Social Media Strategy
Social media marketing has become an important resource for marketers in order to increase brand visibility, get more traffic, obtain valuable customer insights, distribute content, and improve SEO rankings, according to Business 2 Community.
Having a social media strategy is crucial to survive as a brand in this constantly changing digital landscape.
This blog post will consist of two parts: strategy and tactics. The first part will give you some pointers to take into account when implementing your strategy. The second section will guide through the 9 tactical steps to reach your overall strategy and goals.
PART 1: STRATEGY
Conduct a Social Media Audit
When conducting a social media audit, you must ask yourself the following three questions:
- What has my company been doing on social media so far?
- What about our competitors?
- What is our target audience doing on social media?
What the first question is concerned, you should first take a look at your current social media strategy to see which channels work best, and what type of content truly engages your target audience. Take notes and adapt if necessary. Social media is constantly changing as new channels come and go.
If your company is just starting out on social media, it’s a good idea to get inspiration from your competitors. Answering the following questions will provide you with valuable insight which you can use for your social media strategy:
- What kind of content do my competitors post on social media? Why?
- How does this content differ from my company’s content?
- Does this content really work? Why?
- Which channels do they use? Why?
- How often do they post? Why?
- Is there anything we can learn from our competitors? If so, what is it?
Finally, knowing your target audience is highly advisable to be able to send the right messages at the right time. Think about questions like:
- What is your target audience talking about on social media? Why?
- Which channels are they active on? Why?
- Do they have any particular interest in other brands? If so, why?
- How can we make our content engaging for them?
For example, if your company is selling personalized birthday party hats, you should know that your target audience both consists of parents/grandparents (B2C), and retailers, specialized shops and schools (B2B).
Both target audiences should be approached differently. While most people will be active on Facebook, the grandparents may not. Advertising on Google might be a better option to reach them. Different channels have different purposes as I’ll explain later in this post.
Set Your Goals
Please note that there’s a difference between branding and sales goals. Increasing engagement on a particular channel can be a branding goal. But how do we define ‘engagement’? For example, likes, comments and shares are considered as engagement; the number of people that actually interacts with your post on social media.
Sales goals shouldn’t be your primary goal on social media. Branding will lead to sales. More specifically, you have to engage your fans first, and create brand awareness in order to generate sales. For example, if you have an online store selling football merchandise, you can create brand awareness by showing behind-the-scenes, engaging your fans, organizing contests, interacting with them, etc.
In order to engage your target audience, you must first listen what your target audience is saying about your brand. Maybe they’re looking for answers. Make sure you’re active on platforms like Twitter to answer their questions. Facebook is a great platform for interaction and community engagement.
Ultimately, if you do all this your fans will visit your online store and generate sales. Even better, true fans will remain fans and their customer lifetime value (CLV) will skyrocket.
To sum up, it’s all about branding on social media. Of course, you can post links to your website in order to generate sales, but be creative, and make sure every post adds value for your customer and brand.
Know Your Target Audience
Use the Facebook advertising tool to get insights about your target audience. This will help you to save a lot of money because the more you know about your audience, the better your niche will be. Facebook can tell you more about your audience’s demographics, interests, behavior, and more.
I am not telling you to immediately create ads, just play around with this tool and learn more about your target audience. Once your posts need more reach, you can boost them with ads.
Decide on Your Channels
As I said before, different channels have different purposes. I’ll discuss the most important social media channels used by companies, namely Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and LinkedIn.
Let’s start with Facebook. This popular social media platform, with more than 1.6 billion monthly users, is great for community management and engagement. Being active on this platform is a must for every company. Although B2B companies tend to use this platform less than B2C companies, Facebook remains a good resource if utilized correctly. Pay attention to your overall ‘look & feel’; your cover photo, frequency of your posts – remember that B2B customers are just normal B2C customers like me and you when they finish their work and go home. You just need this social media presence as a brand.
Facebook is amazing for B2C companies. Let’s just think about contests, engagement tricks (e.g. complete the sentence), questions, engaging videos… All these types of posts really work.
Whereas Facebook can be used for community management and engagement, Twitter is a good customer service tool. What’s more, it works really well for posting short updates, although its user growth is stalling.
Instagram is a very personal social media platform. It’s great for companies who want to boost their brand image. Showing behind-the-scenes, inspiring pictures, tips & tricks… works great. If you do decide to use this platform, make sure you link it with Facebook.
Similar to Instagram, Pinterest wants to inspire their users. If you want a lot of engagement, try something inspirational, like makeovers, before & after photos – just showcase what you got.
YouTube can be used for creating a brand image, or inspiring your users. “How To” videos work really well, especially because they’re good for SEO. Investing in video is a smart move as it will become even more popular this year. When you upload videos on Facebook, make sure to upload them natively to keep your user base on Facebook.
Finally, LinkedIn company pages can be compared to Facebook pages. LinkedIn is good platform to showcase your professional content. Although the engagement is rather low, the reach is quite high. It’s the place to be to post recent updates, products, vacancies, etc. Remember to keep your posts professional and visually appealing. Every B2B company should have its own company page on LinkedIn.
In the previous part I talked about competitors, goals, target audience, and the different channels you can use for your social media strategy. In the second part I’ll elaborate on the different steps you can follow to reach your overall strategy.
PART 2: TACTICS
Step 1: Smart Objectives
In order to reach your overall goals, you must have SMART objectives in place. SMART stands for specific, measurable, actionable, relevant and time-bound. For example, obtaining 10,000 Facebook fans within a period of 3 months can be one of your objectives.
Step 2: Define Your Content Territories
Once you’ve thought about your audience, channels, competitors, overall goals and objectives, you can start thinking about the type of content you’d like to share on social media. Don’t just start posting because you have to. You need a plan.
Content territories are topics you’re going to talk about on the different social media platforms. For example, Coca-Cola creates posts about “happiness”. Happiness is one of their content territories. L’Oréal builds posts around “beauty”. Budweiser will obviously share content about “food & drinks”, “craftsmanship”, and more.
Take a look at popular Facebook pages and try to guess the content territory they’re talking about. This is a good exercise and will give you more inspiration for your own brand.
So how many content territories should my brand have? That’s a difficult question. I guess 4 to 6 different content territories is a good number.
Let’s take “personalized birthday party hats” as an example. What content territories would you chose if you had to brand this company on Facebook? Probably territories like “birthday”, “having fun”, “caring”, etc. Think about content like “tips & tricks to organize amazing birthday parties, “what you should watch for when organizing parties”, “how to draw your own birthday party hat design”, and so on.
Make sure your posts contain engaging and compelling images, a short, but clear copy, and a call-to-action.
Step 3: Find Your Soul
Knowing what type of content you’ll share is one thing, deciding on what your content will do is another burden. Do you want to inspire people with your posts? Entertain? Inform? In other words, what’s your brand purpose? Sharing content like “fill out this sentence: …” is asking your audience to DO something. In this example your content is engaging your audience.
Let’s take a look at Coca-Cola’s Facebook page. What does the company want to achieve? Mainly to inspire and engage people. According to Huffingtonpost, small companies often lack a solid brand purpose.
Apart from your brand purpose, you should think about your persona. If your brand was a real person, how would he/she be? Think about adjectives like “friendly”, “playful”, “warm”, and many more! Let’s go back to our “personalized birthday party hats” example. Since our target audience mostly consists of parents or schools, choosing a playful and inspiring persona would be a good option.
The same goes for language usage and tone. Are we going to use simple or complex language? Maybe post something funny or personal? As a brand, you should think about your purpose, persona, tone and language.
Step 4: Create a Content Calendar
The next step is about planning and for that reason you need a content calendar. HubSpot clearly explains why having a content calendar is important, and has a nice template which you can download for free.
Step 5: Map Your Channel Matrix
Step 5: channel matrix or frequency of your posts. You know what type of content you’re going to post, and when. Still, one question remains: how often should I post my content on social media? Well, that depends and it varies across different industries.
I suggest you post at least once per day on Facebook, and the same goes for LinkedIn. For Twitter I’d say about 4-5 tweets per day. Coca-Cola, for example, posts every two days or so on Facebook. So there are no clear rules. Whatever you do, be relevant and create engaging content.
Step 6: Advertising
Now you’re ready to share your posts on social media. You know what type of content you’re going to share, what you want to achieve with it, and how often you’re going to post. Make sure you have a content plan, and then think about advertising to reach larger audiences.
If you need more likes, try fan gain ads on Facebook. If you want to boost a popular Facebook post, go for engagement & campaign ads. As a general rule, create engaging and relevant content for your target audience first, and if needed boost your posts with advertising. Advertising low quality content won’t work – so don’t waste your money on it.
Be aware that only 10-20% of your audience actually sees your posts on Facebook, due to Facebook’s algorithm called Edgerank.
Step 7: Measure Your Sucess
According to HubSpot, 53% of social media marketers don’t measure their success. What are your KPI’s? How are you performing? How many new Facebook fans have your posts generated? How many people have viewed your website or downloaded a template? These are all important questions. It’s crucial to set KPI’s in order to measure your success.
Step 8: Start Tracking
Knowledge is power. Use tools like Google Analytics to track the amount of visitors on your website, the number of conversions, time people spend on your website, and many more.
Finally, keep optimizing your content and see what really works. Pay attention to engagement and open your ears – it’s all about your fans. Listen, interact and engage.
So what do you think? Have I missed something? Let me know by commenting below.
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