How to Build a Social Media Strategy That Actually Works
If you haven’t tapped into the power of Social Media Marketing, now is the time. Social Media is connecting people across the globe and has proven to be a consistently successful marketing channel for brands who use it properly. There’s more to it than just sending out a few tweets, posting an image on Instagram or sponsoring a post on Facebook. Social Media Marketing requires a well planned strategy of its own, which is why we want to inform you how to build a social media strategy that actually works
You might be questioning the value of Social Media Marketing and that’s good – you should question how your resources are spent, whether it’s time, money or both, but let us reassure you that there is great value when it’s done well. Here are a few reasons why:
1) Social Media provides numerous free platforms that allow you to strengthen your brand awareness.
2) Once your accounts are populated with great content, you will be able to build a community of dedicated brand advocates that will provide valuable consumer insights.
3) Social Media allows you to communicate with your followers. Take advantage of hearing what they have to say and contribute to the conversation. Addressing their support and concerns will set you apart from the competition.
4) Your community can and will be a great source for lead generation.
5) Well-crafted Social Media practices contribute to your overall search engine ranking.
Now that you’re on board the Social Media train, it’s time to explore building a strategy that works for you.
Step 1: Refer to your business goals. Every part of your marketing strategy, including your Social Media strategy, must contribute to the big picture. Every post should link to a goal, whether it’s educating your audience on your mission to give back to the community by posting a picture of them at the annual company food drive or increasing sales by driving them to a landing page that offers a promotion.
Step 2: Conduct a Social Media Audit. Auditing your existing accounts will paint a clear picture of what’s working and what’s not. It will help you assess where you should be focusing your efforts as well as areas that require improvement. This is crucial in the beginning phase of any company/brand’s social presence but is also important to do annually so you can keep track of your progression. Hootsuite made this process super easy with their auditing template.
Step 3: Embrace SMART goals. You have probably seen this acronym so many times and are likely cursing it right now but it is important in multiple phases of your overall marketing strategy. Each post or series of posts should have a goal. For example, if you want to communicate how dynamic your team is, you may want to post 3 photos a week of different team members, their interests and how they contribute. Determine how success will be measured, whether it’s likes, comments, shares, etc. and adjust your approach accordingly.
Step 4: Know your audience. This is key in every aspect of marketing. The more you know about your audience the better you’ll be at providing them with content they care about and will share with their network.
Step 5: Choose your channels. While there is an abundance of existing and emerging platforms, don’t get caught up in the trap of maintaining a presence on every one. Find 2-4 platforms that make the most sense for your demographic and focus on those.
Step 6: Be consistent. Your verbiage and visual representation should be consistent across all platforms. We recommend offering variations of the content you release on your different platforms to make each post unique. It is important that your content is in line with your brand’s identity at all times. It is also important to maintain themed visuals across your platforms so you can build brand recognition. To ensure proper visibility of your text, logo and design, check out Constant Contact’s cheat sheet.
Step 7: Keep track of your content. Based on your audience, their interests and their habits, create a content strategy, a distribution strategy and an editorial calendar. This will help you keep track of what content you’re putting out, how it’s being released and when you intend to release it. By planning ahead you will be better prepared for campaigns, holidays, promotions, etc.
Step 8: Engage your audience. Get your audience talking and sharing by switching up the content you release. A well balanced engagement strategy includes the use of relevant hashtags, sharing of images and/or infographics, videos, links, updates quotes and re-shares.
Step 9: Pay attention. Test different frequencies and timing of your posts to gauge how well and at what time(s) your audience interacts most with your brand. Analyse your efforts using Google Analytics Social Report. Evaluate your efforts and what can be done to improve your Social Media presence and constantly evolve. Not only do you need to stay on top of your own progress, you also need to be mindful of the ever-changing rules and regulations of social media platforms. It is essential to follow their guidelines to get the full benefits of their service. These guidelines can be found in the Terms and Conditions of the respective platforms.
Step 11: Keep one eye on the competition. Keep tabs on your competitors, the content they’re posting, the interaction they’re receiving and use that to your advantage. Use the insights from your competitors’ strategy to better that of your own. However, always be mindful that authenticity always trumps imitation when it comes to content.
As you can see, there is a lot of work that goes into building a Social Media strategy but it’s one of the few forms of advertising that gets your brand visibility among the masses. With proper practices, your brand can be directly in the palms of your consumers which can dramatically increase your overall growth.