9 Steps to Create a Social Media Strategy for Your Business

william-iven-19844-unsplash (1).jpg

Did you know that 300 billion people in the world use social media? So it’s clear that social media is a vital tool to market your business. Your prospective customers are discovering new brands online each day. Social media marketing is exciting because creativity for it is endless. But it can also be overwhelming to someone managing other business responsibilities or someone who’s never used social media.  Don’t worry, because I’ve got you covered! Here are 9 simple steps to create a social media strategy that works!

1. Create S.M.A.R.T Social Media Goals That Align to Your Overall Business Goals.

The first step to any marketing strategy is to identify objectives, and social media is no different. Without goals, you will waste your time, and not be able to effectively measure your success. The S.M.A.R.T acronym stands for, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals. By using this method you’ll develop clear goals that are achievable.

Here are a few examples of S.M.A.R.T social media goals that could align to your business goals:

  • You will increase your Instagram followers by 200 people per month, to drive brand awareness. To achieve this you will dedicate 15 minutes a day following new accounts and engaging with your target audience.

  • You will generate 100 leads on LinkedIn this year. To achieve this, you will publish two or more content offers per month, that capture details about your prospective customers.

  • You will get 60% of your open positions filled using Facebook by the end of the quarter. To achieve this, you’ll share photos and videos that demonstrate you have a great company culture, and that employees enjoy working your company.

2. Determine Your Target Audience & What Platform They Use The Most

There is no point wasting time managing a network that your target audience is not on. Due to the amount of social media networks, it’s best to focus on 1-3 max, when just starting out. It’s better to have a few accounts be very successful than to have too many accounts that you are struggling to maintain.

When you’re discovering which platform is best to market your business, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Does my audience use this frequently?

  2. If yes, how are they using it?

Each network has a different base demographic and tone. Your social media content should reflect that. Not sure who’s using what and how? Here’s a brief crash course:

  • LinkedIn - is a channel for business professionals. 61% of users are between the ages of  30 to 64 years old. These users typically are seasoned professionals. The network is ideal for B2B companies seeking domain authority and lead generation. LinkedIn also offers a careers page that can aid with recruitment for specialized jobs.

  • Twitter - is a news station. There are trending topics and hashtags that vary throughout the day. You will typically need to tweet at least 5 times a day for your content to appear at the top of the feed. It’s reported that 36% of users are between 18-36.

  • Facebook - is the largest social media network. It’s reported, 65% of users are 35 or older. It’s primarily used to connect friends and family. Businesses can leverage that concept to make a personal connection with their audience, by sharing stories and experiences. It’s almost like a journal of sorts. Facebook also has a great built-in event page, that tracks attendees, allows you to invite guests, and more.

  • Instagram - is a popular growing sensation. It’s the younger, cooler version of Facebook. It’s my personal favorite. I love how it seamlessly connects users through visuals. In a recent study, 55% of all online users 18- to 29-years old are using Instagram. Teenagers have described Instagram one of their top networks, second to Snapchat.

  • Pinterest - is perfect for DIY pioneers or any business who can showcase a collection of items they sell or services they offer. Women are 80% of Pinterest users.

  • YouTube - is the largest video-streaming platform. This is the platform that many vloggers and influencers have rose to fame from. Influencer marketing thrives on YouTube (and Instagram). The reason it’s so effective is because it humanizes the brand by telling stories, and cementing a personal connection.

3. Perform a Social Media Audit

Do you already have social media accounts in use? Well, then it’s time for an audit. First, assess what is already out there. Are there any fake accounts or negative reviews lingering, if so, those need to be taken care of immediately. Second, make sure your accounts are completely filled out on each site. The social media name, URL, and description/bio should accurately reflect the brand and include a link to your website. Third, review your competitors. Are they running any promotions or special offers? Do they have more followers and engagement than you? Learn what they are doing right and avoid their mistakes. I recommend performing an audit of all social media sites once a month.

4. Create Content That Sparks Conversations

Once you’ve determined which channels to use, start thinking about your brand’s voice, tone and style. Content is so important in social media strategizing. You can choose to curate or create original content that appeals to your target audience and is relevant to your industry. Remember, people want connections and not sales pitches. So focus on building a relationship.  

Check out a few accounts for Inspiration from B2Bs, Customer Brands, and Influencers:

5. Combine Other Marketing Efforts [Blog, SEO, Local Outreach, Research, Email Marketing]

Social media marketing can work with your traditional marketing to enhance your strategy. Learn how to connect with your target audience in real life too. Pull your other marketing efforts into your social media strategy. For example, if partnering with local organizations is a part of your Communications strategy, find a way to integrate that into social media. If you need more email contacts, try running a social media contest that requires emails to enter. By combining other marketing efforts, you are centralizing the process.

6. Automate the Process

When you start managing multiple social media accounts, it can be time-consuming. To help make the process a whole lot easier, automate most of your content. I say most because some things that you post might be time sensitive and more effective when posted in the moment. For easy automation, try Hootsuite, a free social media scheduling tool.

What’s worked best for me, is to create a monthly content calendar. That way I can visually see all of the relevant activities, events,  product launches and special promotions that need to be discussed on the social media channels.

7. Advertise to reach a larger audience

You’ve heard the old saying, “It takes money to make money.” That is true for social media too. If you want your products and services seen by a larger audience, you will have to run social media ads. Today, social media has become a pay for play deal. To start off, set a small budget aside each month and record your return on investment (ROI). Depending on the results, adjust the budget as needed.

8. Analyze Results & Learn How to Do Better

This step is often overlooked, but very critical for long-term success. I’ve learned, that Google Analytics is your friend. It’s a free tool that lets you track and analyze website, mobile, and social media data. My advice is to review your social media analytics once a week. Here are a few activities to track:

  • Website Visits & Sessions

  • Followers

  • Engagement

  • Reach

  • Advertising

9. Seek a Social Media Manager to Gain a Competitive Advantage.

By working with a social media manager, you can release the responsibilities of managing your accounts to a trusted advisor. An experienced social media manager will you establish your company or brand as a leader in your industry, stay ahead of trends, develop a consistent brand voice, and track campaigns. These are all reasons why a social media manager can greatly benefit your company.

There isn’t a one size fits all, but in general, having a strategy will help you better understand how to connect with customers online.

Interested in learning more of how your company can leverage social media? Contact me today!

Kristina ThomasComment