Social Media Strategy: How to Create a Plan That Works

16 October 2017

Every business should be using social media. Social networking has become an essential part of most business strategies, and leveraging it can provide endless benefits.

A social media strategy is the best way to do this, though there are steps you need to take for it to work. Targets need to be set, trends need to be piggybacked, and content must also be catered to your customers.

Planning will help you define what to post and how often to send them out. It will also help you to select platforms to use, and what to do with the data you gather. Paid advertising also offers a flexible marketing solution that caters to a highly targeted, local customer base.

We show you how to establish a social media strategy that stands out in the sea of posts, tweets, and more.

Set objectives

Want to raise website traffic, build awareness, or generate leads? The goals and objectives you set should reflect the desired outcome of your digital marketing campaign. They should be in accord with your company’s image and broader marketing strategy.

Without establishing objectives, you’ll have no means of gauging the success of your campaign, let alone measure your return on investment (ROI).

But don’t set your objectives in stone. The beauty of social media is how adaptive it is. If you find that your goals aren’t living up to your expectations, step in and adapt your social media strategy.

Planning your objectives doesn’t have to be difficult. For example, the SMART Framework is an ideal structure to help form your objectives. Consider these alongside your buyer persona.

Perform an audit

If you already have social media accounts for your business, you’ll need to review each platform and assess how well they’re currently working for you.

Go through them with a fine comb and note down what works and what could be improved or removed. Also, use any metrics that you have gathered to make your decisions.

HootSuite has a great in-depth guide to performing the ultimate social media audit.

Establish platforms

The social media platforms you use will depend on your company and demographic, as each one caters to specific needs.

Facebook and Twitter are favourites across all industries, though others that are suitable for commercial use include LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. Each one has a certain tone, for example, Facebook has a more mature tone compared to Twitter.

You might make more work for yourself if you sign up to all of them. Focus on a few key platforms rather than setting up multiple accounts. As a small business, maintaining a great social media presence across multiple channels is down to time and capacity, which you need to use more wisely.

Management system

Schedule your content ahead of time by signing up to a social media management platform such as HootSuite or Buffer.

These management systems do not give you more free time, they also make it incredibly easy to observe content and track metrics. You can assign various platforms to it, and schedule content far into the future.

Reputable social media management systems will offer data statistics across your content so you can see which posts gain the most attention and which ones didn’t. This can help you to make important business decisions later.

Plan content

Writing clear, informative copy that’s short enough to engage your audience is key.

The content you publish on your chosen social media platforms is ultimately about creating a dialogue between you and your customers. Remember that you are writing for human beings who want entertainment and information, not a marketing and sales pitch.

Creating content that balances out these two can be achieved, though it might take some practice. Split test your content to see which works best. If you want more writing tips, check out this essential copywriting advice.

Creating fresh content for your website will not only give you more promotional material, but it’s great for your SEO, too. Blogging is ideal as you can create content whenever you wish.

Attach media

Whether it’s stock photos, GIFs, infographics or memes, social media posts with images or videos are more likely to get noticed.

2017 has been hailed the year of visual content, and it’s not hard to see why. From 2015 to 2016, the use of media by marketers went up by 130% overall, and that has only increased in 2017.

Our visual senses play a huge part in how we convey and receive messages, so visual content is important. Companies who make the most of the latest visual formats will have higher rates of engagement and return.

A growing trend in social media is live video, which platforms like Facebook offer their users.

Time it right

The time and day will impact the success of your social media strategy. Scheduling content to go out randomly isn’t advised, as you want to give your content the best chance of attracting your audience.

Check out this study from Spout Social, which shows you what times are best to post content on certain platforms.

Results

You’ll need to review your social media strategy and analyse the data once you’ve implemented the above.

Retweets and likes are not enough to count your social media campaign a success. Observe the metrics and consider the leads generated, web referrals and conversion rates, to name a few. Use KPIs (key performance indicators) to track the success of your campaign to see whether a goal is being met or not.

Use your new data to optimise what works and scrap what doesn’t.

There’s more than one way to get your business noticed. Sign up for your free business directory listing and start earning rewards at HubFind.

 

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