How to Create a Social Media Strategy
So, you're ready to build your social media strategy, huh? Let's take some time to see if you have all of the beginning components to get started.
It doesn't matter how much revenue you generate or how many employees you have, you have to have a plan. Think of a social media strategy as a roadmap to marketing success. It's a guide that will ensure you're sending the right messages to the right place, at the right time.Before you start building your social media strategy, there are a few things you need to know:
Who is your ideal customer?
What are your competitive advantages?
What are your goals associated with social media?
Identify Your Ideal Customer
Many entrepreneurs see social media as just a distribution site, but I believe marketing is all about creating a human connection, especially social media marketing. Think about it - the keyword is social media not selling media. People don't initially use Facebook and Instagram as a way to make purchases, so you risk being ignored or unfollowed when you go for the sale too early. That's why it's best to be relatable and start creating human connections first.I know what you’re thinking.
"But how do I know if I'm being relatable?"
The answer is easy. Create an ideal customer persona. This persona will help you envision exactly who you are talking to on social media. When you have an ideal customer persona you'll be able to run all your social media content through it as a filter. It may sound silly, but it works. Marketing one-to-one is how you can get customers that will eventually be advocates for your brand because you’re relatable to them. This process is actually pretty easy, but it does take some time.These 5 questions should help you get started:
What is your customer's problem?
How does your customer consume information?
What values are the most important to your customer?
Which brands are your customers following?
What information does your customer search for online?
This type of information can help determine what type of content you should be sharing online.
What is your customer's problem? Identify your customer's struggles and how you can help solve their problem.
How does your customer consume information? Does your customer prefer to download ebooks, listen to podcasts, watch videos, etc? Do they use social media on their desktop, tablet, or mobile device?
What values are the most important to your customer? What are the human traits most important to this customer? Example: Trust, Education, Empowerment, Community Involvement
Which brands do your customers follow? Think about other brands your customer may like. This could help you identify new competition or uncover good ideas you can adopt and make better under your own brand’s channels.
What information does your customer search for online? If you know the type of questions your customer searches for, you can become a valued resource for them.
Identify Your Core Values
There's a ton of noise out there and some of it is probably coming from other businesses that provide the same service or product as you. That's why it's more important than ever to share your company's core values. Your core values are fundamental beliefs that support your vision, shapes your company culture, and highlights the values that are most important to you. These are not industry best-practices or just catchy taglines. Your core values are the "why" behind your business and they should be noticeable in everything you do so be sure to dig deep when identifying these aspects.Once you have your core values, be sure you can answer "yes" to these 5 questions:
Are these core values fundamental to you, regardless of whether or not they are universally praised/accepted?
If you woke up with enough money to retire, would you continue to hold onto these core values?
Can you envision these values being as valid 100 years from now as they are today?
Would you still want to uphold these values, even if they became a competitive disadvantage?
Would you build your core values into a new organization, regardless of its activities?
If you answered "no" to any of these, you may want to go back to the drawing board.
Set Attainable Goals
If you want your social media strategy to be successful, it's very important to clarify your company's goals. Start thinking about the big picture and ask yourself how social media can help your entire business. Likes, comments, shares are cool, but it's all just fluff when you try to track whether or not your strategy is getting people to do what you want them to do.With that in mind, what are your biggest goals for the year?
Do you want to expand to other states?
Do you want to increase user retention by adding new product features?
Do you want to increase employee advocacy?
If you don't have any holistic business goals, let's start which these basic social media goals:
Increase website traffic to your site
Increase blog subscriptions
Increase brand awareness
Increase customer reviews
Building Your Social Media Strategy
Okay, now you're ready to build your strategy! (Woohoo!)Trust me, when you identify your ideal customer, core values, and business goals first, building the social media strategy becomes super easy.
Step 1: Choose your social channels
You're probably thinking you should be on every social media platform. I know, I've been there before. But you really need to just be on the channels your ideal customer will use. This is why you need to create an ideal customer profile because in that profile you should know what sites best fit their lifestyle.Let's pretend we're owners of a wedding planning business for each social media strategy example. ;)For example, let's say our ideal customer loves searching for examples of their dream wedding and saving them. Maybe we should be looking at social sites that allow you to save content for later like Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook.
Step 2: Identify content topics
A lot of owners hate this step, but it's actually pretty easy if you have identified your business goals and ideal customer. Remember when I said marketing is all about finding the human connection? Well, this is where it matters the most. Create content topics that add value to your ideal customer and stays true to your core values. When you created the ideal customer profile, two of the questions were "What is your customer's problem?" and "What information does your customer search for online?" If you answered those two questions, you basically have your content topics! Simply list and place them into categories that you can easily organize. You're essentially becoming the valuable resource your customer is searching for online.So, if we're managing a wedding business, a few content topics could be:
Seasonal wedding trends
Unique wedding photo ideas
How to find the perfect wedding photographer
Name change checklist
Step 3: Identify content types
Take a look at your ideal customer profile again and take a look at the "How does your customer consume information" section. This question should play an influential part in deciding what content you should post. Also, don't forget about your business goals. Be sure to choose the content type that can help you achieve your goals! If an ideal customer prefers to consume visual content and your goals are to increase brand awareness, you should take your topics and create photos, videos, and infographics.For example, the ideal customer for our wedding planning business loves visuals and our business goal is to increase website traffic. So, we should create a video that highlights wedding trends of the season, a checklist article of questions to ask your photographer, and a blog that shows photos of the best guestbook ideas we've seen our clients do.Sounds pretty easy right? Now all you have to do is create the content!
Step 4: Create the content and plan it out
When you start creating the content, consider the resources you may need. Maybe it's time to refresh your blog or get a tripod to keep your camera steady while filming. Whatever the case, there may be times you might need some help so it's a good idea to find ways to expand your network of creative professionals.While you're creating content, it may be a good idea to create a social media content calendar. A social media content calendar is an easy way for you to organize the social post(s) you want to send out each day. If you're doing social media on your own, this is an easy way for you to take 20-30 mins out of your day and to plan your content for the month.
Download My FREE Social Media Content Calendar Template.
Evaluate Your Social Media Strategy
Here's a pro tip - social media strategies are ever-changing based on its performance. You can easily measure the success of your strategy with Google Analytics. If you have a business goal to increase traffic to your website, Google Analytics is a great and free option you can use to track that information. Pay attention to the "Network Referrals" and "Landing Pages" tabs. There you will find answers to questions like:
How many first-time users came to my webpage?
How many returning users came to my webpage?
How many pages did they view while visiting my website?
Which social media channel delivers the most website visits?
If you're just looking for brand awareness, then the built-in social insights provided on each social site is best for you. Each social channel is different so you want to be sure you're thinking about your business goals and what information can be used to determine your strategy's performance.Coming up with a successful social media strategy takes time, but it definitely pays off in the long run. You'll thank me when you get your first loyal client that loves your business and sells your service or product to others without being asked. ;)