It’s no secret that social media marketing offers a huge array of benefits to any organisation. From increased business visibility to greater brand exposure and awareness, it’s a digital marketing channel that, when used correctly, can be a very powerful tool.
However, it’s easy to slip into the habit of merrily posting on social media, but giving little or no thought to your content, design, or audience. This ‘spray and pray’ tactic in social media marketing is likely to consume a whole lot of your time, with very little reward and no real engagement with your audience.
This is why having a social medial marketing strategy is so important. But before setting out a strategy, your marketing team or the agency you work with must answer several key questions, including:
- Which platforms are best suited to us?
- How many posts should we create?
- What types of content would work best?
- Where are we driving traffic to?
- What are our brand/style guidelines?
- What tone of voice should we adopt?
- Are we using video?
These are only a drop in the ocean, but you get the idea. It’s important to be 100% clear on what you’re looking to achieve through your social media platforms before posting whatever it is you see fit.
The following ten tips break this process down into bite-sized chunks for you to take away and implement. Each and every tips looks at a specific element of social strategy, and how it can benefit your business.
“A strategy delineates a territory in which a company seeks to be unique.”
1) Target Audience
One of the most important marketing activities you can undertake (and not only for social media marketing) is to clearly define your target audience.
This can be done by creating buyer personas – a specific definition of individuals whose characteristics match those of the audience you are seeking to target through social media activity. Your audience is unique to you, so take the time to work through this thoroughly.
Set out a content strategy. You can be as active as you like on social media, but if your content isn’t valuable to your followers, you won’t get much engagement at all.
Think about the content that would best resonate with your audience. If you haven’t been active on social media before then this may evoke the need for trialling certain types of content, to see what gets the best response.
3) Competitive Research
Find out what your biggest competitors are up to across their social media platforms. Your social activity is, of course, unique to you, but you could be missing a trick with something that’s working well for your competitors.
From types content and posting times to follower numbers and their responses to followers, gaining a good perspective on what works for them is extremely helpful for your own activity.
4) Budget and Resources
Ensure what you want to achieve sits within your budget and resource allocation. Setting out an elaborate social strategy with no resource to actually implement it is a waste of time.
Consider how many individuals are working on your social media, and use that as one of the starting points of understanding how far you can take your social strategy.
5) Measurements and Metrics
A crucial part of any social strategy – otherwise, how are you going to know whether what you’re doing is successful or not?
Determine how you are going to measure your social media marketing and what metrics are to be used for this measurement (e.g. numbers of followers/inbound messages etc.). Getting clarity on what you’re aiming to achieve overall makes it easier to understand why you’re carrying out each element of the strategy.
6) Business Goals
How does your social activity align with both your overall marketing strategy and your business goals? Each part of your marketing, including social media, should focus on how it contributes to the collective goals of your organisation.
7) Management Tools
Social media management tools are a great way to not only automate the social posting process, but provide reporting and analytics after posting to allow you to understand what’s working and what isn’t. Such tools can also give you key insights into your audience, by looking at the demographics of who’s engaging with your content.
Find the tool that works best for you, and include this within your social strategy to simplify the management of your social media platforms.
8) Your Mission Statement
The ‘So What?’ question. What is it that makes your company stand out above others? What would make people want to not only follow you on social media, but to listen and engage with what you’re saying?
Create a ‘mini mission statement’ sentence for each platform you intend to post on, to give you something to work towards as well as a guideline as to what your efforts should be aligned with.
Choose the social channels which are right for your business. There’s lots of advice out there out as to which channel is best for which industry, but realistically the best thing to do is test and see which social media platform works best for your company.
10) Analyse and Review
One of the most important things you can add to your strategy is to analyse and review your social media activity to check on the success of what you’re doing.
Be critical here. Perhaps some of your content isn’t getting the engagement you thought it might, or maybe certain content works better on one platform than another. Continuous review of your social activity allows you to stay ahead and make the most of your efforts.
Be aware that once you have laid out your social media marketing strategy, it can change. Both internal and external factors in any organisation can affect the way in which your social efforts need to be performed. Keep adapting, keep measuring and work closely with those who are involved in your social media activity because the rewards of getting this right can be huge!