A well-defined social media strategy is crucial to any business. Whether you’re planning to run your own social media accounts or hire an agency, these six steps will help you create an effective strategy.
Your first step should be to understand your audience. This will involve performing research into the social networks that they use most frequently and then expanding to include any network where a significant percentage of your audience operates active accounts.
1. Know Your Audience
When you have an effective social media strategy in place, it can be much easier to grow your audience. However, achieving this requires more than just running a campaign or posting a successful blog. It is also crucial to know your audience and understand what they want from your content.
To do this, start by getting clear on your marketing goals and then researching your audience. Your audience research will help you tailor your messages to your goals and ensure that they are relevant to your target market.
When you understand your audience, you can also better empathize with their concerns and needs. It is no secret that people hate impersonal and insincere marketing, so it is important to put a human face on your company so that your audience can connect with you. Using tools like social listening can give you a good idea of the demographics of your audience, but it is important to go beyond the numbers and really understand who they are as individuals. For example, a department head may be a different demographic from a single woman in her 20s, but both can be part of the same audience.
2. Create a Content Strategy
To maximize the effectiveness of your social media strategy, you need a clear plan that includes specific goals and the means to measure them. This will help you stay on track and provide a consistent voice for your brand.
Begin by conducting a content audit to determine which pieces are performing well and what your audience is looking for. Analyze the metrics that matter to your business, such as follower count and brand awareness. Also, consider what works and doesn’t work on each platform, as every network attracts a different type of audience with unique preferences and habits.
Once you have a better idea of what’s working, look for opportunities to improve your performance. This can be as simple as changing the text or images on a piece to reflect current trends and include new, relevant keywords. It may also mean creating a series of “pillar pages” that each cover one topic in-depth. A good example is Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing, which utilizes a chapter list at the beginning of each page that links to more-specific, content marketing-themed pillar pages.
3. Invest in a Content Marketing Tool
A content marketing tool makes it easier to manage all of the moving parts of your social media strategy. The best tools help marketers create and plan campaigns, track performance and provide insights into new trends.
Social platforms continue to prioritize visual content. Whether it’s live video or Instagram stories, incorporating visuals into your posts can increase engagement. Additionally, video has proven to be one of the most effective types of content in converting followers into customers.
Using a social media management tool can help you create and track campaigns to maximize reach and visibility. It also saves time by automating the scheduling process. Moreover, you can use the tool to analyze and measure performance and improve ROI.
Sprout Social’s social media analytics and monitoring solutions give you a full picture of your audience across all channels. You can also use a content planning tool to create and schedule content. Then, you can monitor the performance of each post to optimize future posts. In addition, the tools can help you identify potential competitors and keep tabs on industry trends.
4. Create a Content Calendar
The best social media management tools allow you to view all of your upcoming posts at a glance. This can help ensure that all necessary materials are in place before a post goes live. This could include links, images, and other types of content such as a video or quote from a customer. Viewing all upcoming posts also helps avoid simple mistakes like typos, as well as more complicated issues such as inconsistencies in branding or tone of voice.
A good tool will also let you store content in a library, which can be reused for future posts. This can save time coming up with new ideas and allows high-performing content to reappear on other channels such as Facebook or Instagram.
A good tool will also allow you to set up content types and channels, so you can plan out which type of content will appear on which channel. This can help you improve performance across different platforms, and help you drive more visibility with new audiences. This can be especially important for brands that have multiple products or services that they want to promote.
5. Schedule Posts
With a strategy in place, it’s time to start planning and scheduling your content. This will keep your team on track and ensure all posts align with new blog content, events, or product launches. Plus, it will help you stay consistent in your social media marketing efforts. According to CoSchedule, top marketers are 400% more successful with a documented and organized marketing plan.
Using a social media scheduling tool is the best way to make sure all of your marketing team members are working on the same goals at the same time. With a tool like Sprout, you can schedule a week’s worth of social media posts from one dashboard. Plus, the social media calendar view will allow you to easily see your posting schedules and deadlines at a glance.
Be sure to track trends in your industry and even outside of it to get fresh ideas for your social media marketing. Fans get turned off when brands share too much promotional content, so remember to use a mix of topics that are relevant to your audience.