Your social media strategy is what is going to separate you from the average user who just tweets, shares, and comments whenever they feel like it. Without a plan you’re no better than a ditzy teenager cruising around looking for someone to troll – you need to build a social media strategy if you truly want to reach a focused goal.
Here are the steps I’d recommend you take to see who you are as a marketer, and what you want to accomplish. With that sorted, your social media strategy will start to become apparent!
How to Start Your Social Media Strategy in 21017
- Regularly conduct a thorough audit of your social-media accounts. Pick a discrete period of time (say, 3 months) and use tools like Google Analytics to study crucial data about your traffic, engagement, and growth.
- Take a serious look at your competitors. Be thoroughly honest about what they are doing better than you, social media wise, and take steps to improve wherever you can.
- Make certain you have an audience growth plan. Make certain you have an ironclad strategy to build your customer base and for delivering content that will grow your readership base while still making sales.
- Mobile content is key. Use all the tools available to you, and follow the advice below specific to Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube.
- Last, must not least, follow these social media commandments: Maintain a consistent brand voice; create content that truly engages readers; and always stay focused on serving your audience, not selling.
Starting your social media strategy
Do an audit on your social media accounts
You need to figure out what’s working with your current social media strategy, and what isn’t getting you closer to your goals. You’re going to have to look at the numbers to figure this out.
Take a look at a focused time frame for your posts and shares – 3 months, 6 months, a year. You can do this the hard way by slugging it through the API of each social media website, or you can use some of these social media traffic tools:
- Social Report – for daily reports you can analyse individually or collectively
- Cyfe – for dashboard lovers
- SumAll – for establishing ROI
- Google Analytics – for social audience demographics analysis
I can’t tell you which of those four is most important to your business as each business has different goals. What you’ll be looking for when you use these tools will be the same: Which pieces of content you’ve shared get the most traffic that make sales.
Take a look at your competitors
As with all things in marketing, your competition are your surest signs of your ability to compete. If your social account follower numbers are far, far below those of a competitor on one social media website you know where your weakness is. Focusing your social marketing strategy on correcting your weaknesses through competitor analysis can get you on level with, and then crushing, your competition.
- Start with their website and note the landing pages. Look at the types of language, images, and features on these important pages. Do they have live Twitter feeds? A Pinterest pin feature? A Facebook ‘Likes’ button? Start looking at how exactly they connect these pages to social media.
- Now branch out into each of those social media channels and analyse the content. What’s similar across them all? Which are the most successful and which landing pages do they send social media users to?
- You’ll start to notice that not every piece of content they share leads directly to a landing page with sales. You’ll now have a chance to analyse their blog and other content marketing avenues.
- Take some time, by comparing to your own efforts, the total hours put into their social media strategy and the budget involved. This will give you an idea of how much you should be spending as well.
You don’t have to build your social media strategy for nothing. Many businesses in your industry are already succeeding. Learn from the successes, and failures, of the social media strategy to narrow your learning curve.
Have a strategy for your audience growth
Marketing on social media isn’t so much about having a perfect content plan full of the most exciting information. It’s about having a plan for content that your audience will enjoy, and ensuring that audience is right for your sales goals.
- Is your audience large enough?
- What content balance do you need for growing your audience while still making sales?
The first point is an important part of your social media strategy as you’ll have to determine if you need to create more content that grows an audience, and the type of calls to action that make that happen.
The second aspect of your audience size is do you have a large enough audience to sustain your social proof? A smart social media strategy may be to boost your audience numbers with a Twitter follower, YouTube Subscriber, or Pinterest Follower package that boosts your numbers up high enough to convince new potential audience members that you’re worth paying attention to.
The second point is going to look at the type of content you need to create to continue growing your audience while still making sales. It can be a delicate balance as social media users want to feel like they’re part of a conversation with a brand – not like they’re part of a target audience. If you need a point to start from, the 80/20 rule is a good beginning point.
Your mobile social media strategy
Mobile devices are being used more and more often to read content on social media websites. Taking the time to specifically address this need, rather than leaving it as a general part of the plan, is the way of the future. The way that people consume media on their desktop/laptop is very different from how they consume it on their smartphone/tablet.
- Facebook: Posts of company content must have photos as part of the share. Include small pieces of vital information in those images – the headline, a price, or the product name.
- Twitter: Is also visual and will benefit from the same approach as Facebook above. Another point which applies to both – when tweeting/sharing other people’s content do not use photos. You’re looking to highlight your content or your social channels – it’s only fair that you use images to make your content stand out.
- Pinterest: Always upload your Pinterest pins from your website, not from your computer. This creates a direct link from Pinterest to your website, giving mobile users fewer clicks to make to get to a point where they can make a purchase.
- LinkedIn: Content has more structure in the LinkedIn mobile app, grabby headlines take precedence over grabby images.
- YouTube: Creating some short, punchy videos that are easy to load on slow mobile devices, and linking them together through Annotations and your end video feed, is how you’ll keep people watching.
Mobile isn’t just a nice bonus anymore, it’s an essential part of a successful social media strategy.
Your social media marketing strategy can be a success
Not every brand on social media has been a wild success. Those that have failed have done so for any number of reasons:
- No consistent brand voice
- Content lacks value to audience
- Not creating your own content
- Never engaging with your audience
- Using the wrong language for the platform
- Focusing too much on sales and conversions rather than engaging an audience
The list could go on and on. The end strategy of every brand will be different. How you arrive at your best social media strategy, however, will be the same. Any brand can follow this guide and start creating the best content possible for their audience, and start seeing true ROI from their social media marketing.
Feature image credit to Sergey Peterman / Shutterstock