Social Media Strategy: Make The Most of A Social Media Plan
Social media became a must-have tool for many businesses out there. Are these companies using social networks to their full potential, though? Simply creating a profile and posting random content every once in a while is not enough anymore. Actually, it never was. Yet, many businesses don’t seem to have a documented social media marketing strategy. It might not seem like a big deal at first, but not having a clear social media plan and well-set workflow often means missing out on seeing any results from social media marketing efforts. However, if you do it right, you can easily set your goals and achieve them in no time. Here’s how to develop a social media strategy.
Developing a social media strategy step by step
1. Define your starting point.
Realising where you are at when it comes to your social media marketing activities should be the very first thing you do. Before you come up with a proper social media plan, take a closer look at your own profiles, as well as your competitors. This will help you identify what works and what doesn’t. How exactly?
- Prepare a SWOT analysis to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your business, as well as the opportunities and threats it faces,
- Research your competitors and find out how your business can stand out from them,
- Conduct a social media audit to check how, where and with what results you have been communicating up till now.
Useful tools: Creately, Competitors.app, Likealyzer, Facebook Analytics, Instagram Insights, Twitter Analytics, etc.
2. Specify your target group.
Understanding your audience is crucial to a successful social media marketing plan. After all, you should be creating content that your target group likes, comments on, and shares. Luckily, there are a few ways to get to know the audience.
- First, check out who your content resonates the most with and see whether this group matches the ideal audience for your brand,
- Get familiar with relevant survey reports and statistics to gain more insights,
- Come up with a few personas that will represent that ideal audience. This will basically be a detailed description of specific people, with real wants and needs, that you want to turn into your fans and followers.
Useful tools: Brand24, Make My Persona, Google Trends, Buzzsumo, YouGov, surveys, industry reports.
3. Set the objectives.
Smart, detailed goals will allow you to create well-structured campaigns, measure your progress, and optimise your social media strategy in the long run. How to distinguish a proper objective, as opposed to a vague one? See the difference for yourself:
VAGUE OBJECTIVE: I will increase the number of fans on Facebook.
SMART GOAL: By the end of the year, I will increase the average engagement rate per post on Facebook by 2%.
In order to make it work, you should:
- Establish your expectations and specific goals deriving from a social media marketing plan. What would you like to achieve through your social media presence? Are these goals lining up with the overall marketing strategy for your brand?
- Set relevant KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), which should accompany your social media marketing strategy at all times.
Beware of so-called vanity metrics! These are the numbers you can easily keep track of, but they don’t mean much for your business – just like the number of followers on social media does. The examples of good KPIs include: Engagement rate among your target group; CPA: CPC, CPL, CPS; Reach; Referral traffic to your website.
4. Pick the right communication channels.
Social media is so much more than just Facebook. When choosing the best platforms for your business, though, you should look at the benefits of each and every one of them. Basically, the aim is to choose social networks that are used by your target audience the most and suit your brand’s image at the same time. Once you decide which platforms you’re going to include in your social media strategy, it’s time to specify a social media marketing plan for every social network.
- Be where your target group is. It doesn’t necessarily have to be Facebook or Instagram – you can find your target audience on other social networks as well. Check out Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube, or even Quora,
- Get familiar with the requirements and unique features of each platform. For example, some social networks offer live video streaming options, while others let you make good use of groups,
- Once you come up with a social media plan, set up “missing” accounts and improve your existing profiles.
5. Think of the best communication lines and content formats for every platform.
In order to diversify your content, you should create unique posts for each social network with their features in mind. Consider incorporating user-generated content, live videos, Stories and polls in your social media content strategy (just to name a few). The possibilities here are endless, but you should always make sure that at least some of your content actually supports overall business goals. For example, you can decide that a part of your content aims to drive traffic to your blog, another part supports lead generation, whereas the remaining part educates and entertains the audience. The ratio here is entirely up to you, though.
- Decide what you want to communicate. What would seem the most attractive for your target audience?
- Identify the content formats you are going to take advantage of and make sure they are all well-designed,
- Specify how often you are going to post across social networks.
- Define your brand attributes, if any. These can be certain hashtags, using your logo on every visual or even developing a specific template for all your social media posts.
Useful tools: Canva, Crello, Easil, Biteable, Recast Studio, Splice, Oodls, Kaboompics.
6. Put your social media marketing strategy to work: Designate the tasks.
A successful social media marketing strategy often requires a motivated team. It’s important not only to have the best people on board but also to distribute tasks between them wisely, and then ensure seamless collaboration in order to actually complete those tasks.
- Define your social media workflow and name specific tasks,
- Decide who is responsible for what part of the whole social media content strategy (i.e. creating copy or visuals, approving and scheduling posts, moderating the profile),
- Take advantage of dedicated tools to ease collaboration between team members,
- Don’t forget to include your client (if applicable) – in fact, client approval is often needed to maintain a certain brand voice. It might be high time to make it easier, instead of exchanging numerous emails.
Useful tools: Kontentino, Asana.
7. Choose the right social media management tool.
Speaking of tools, you will definitely need one not only to manage your team but social media profiles in general, especially if you’re in charge of a few of them. Actually, a good social media management tool often proves to be essential for social media marketing efforts.
- Think of your needs. Rather than jumping straight into research, specify your own goals and priorities first,
- Do your research. Once you know what you’re looking for, finding tools that have the potential to meet your needs will be much easier. Actually, you will have a proper set of criteria to measure the alternatives against,
- Test out a few different tools before you decide which one suits your business best.
8. Organise your content properly.
Having a content calendar is a great way to keep track of all holidays, events and other important dates. In fact, social campaigns based on specific events tend to attract more attention. It’s not the only perk of having a proper social media calendar, though. You can easily plan and schedule your posts (as outlined in your social media content strategy), and ensure that you’re maintaining your brand voice across social networks.
- Take advantage of your social media management tool. Most likely, the tool you’ve chosen allows you to create your own content calendar. Make good use of this feature,
- Plan your content wisely. Choose the optimal times and frequency that work for your target audience best.
9. Maximize your reach.
Nowadays, simply posting your content may not be enough to get a lot of attention. Fortunately, there are some ways to maximize your reach.
- Invest in paid campaigns. You can easily boost your posts and target the audience you want to,
- Use retargeting. To get your message across, consider targeting those who are already familiar with your brand. Once you’re at it, you can also use link retargeting and grow your audience this way.
- Team up with influencers. Find those with a similar target audience to yours, who post attractive content and have a significant reach at the same time,
- Use other marketing methods to complement your social media strategy. As mentioned before, social media plan should be part of your overall marketing strategy and thus, bring you closer to achieving your business goals. If possible, though, don’t just put all eggs into one basket and go for omnichannel campaigns instead.
10. Analyse the results and constantly optimise your social media marketing strategy.
Figuring out what works and what doesn’t should be your priority from day one. Technically, the more you track, the more insights you can have – and that’s precisely why you should keep an eye on how well your content is performing.
- Decide how you’re going to track the results (you can take advantage of native features of each social network, or use your social media management tool, for example),
- Strive to improve your social media content strategy at all times. If you notice that some of the posts are not performing as good as you would expect them to, try to figure out why.
Useful tools: Kontentino, Social Blade, Sotrender.
Social media strategy – Template
Developing a social media strategy might seem like a lot to process. If you feel overwhelmed at this point – don’t worry. Our bot will provide you with social media strategy template to help you to get on the right track.
The examples of successful social media strategies
Now that you know how to develop a social media plan (and you even have a template for it!), it’s time to get inspired and learn from the best. Speaking of – Nike definitely has one of the greatest social media strategies. Mostly because the brand keeps all posts consistent: highlighting the athletes that it partners with, using concise copy and a motivational tone of voice that apparently works wonders among the fans and followers (given the numbers). Even though Nike has separate profiles for different product lines, it’s clear to see that there is a well-thought-out social media plan for each of them.
Another successful social media strategy example belongs to Missguided. Actually, Instagram appears to be a crucial channel for this fashion retailer. No wonder – a well-balanced combination of user-generated content, lifestyle posts and special offers keeps the followers engaged at all times.
Developing a social media strategy in a nutshell
Even though developing a social media strategy may seem like a lot of work, in reality, it’s quite simple. Once you plan it well and define your social media workflow, managing multiple social media profiles will come naturally. That’s precisely why you should dedicate some more time in the early stages (just to make sure your social media plan is in a good shape), and choose a reliable social media management tool to help you organise your content across social media platforms.