Write a social media strategy that works
Having a strategy in place for any marketing activity will vastly improve the results of your effort. But, if you’ve never had to write a social media strategy before, it can be quite daunting to know where to begin.
It’s always good to keep things simple. The way I like to start any strategy by looking at the ‘why’, ‘what’, and ‘how’. The ‘what’ and ‘why’ will be discovered by reflection and research, and the ‘how’ is all the things you will do to achieve your goals.
So, where do you start? Well, that one’s easy – you start with the end result. Let me explain.
1. Work out your goals and objectives
What do you hope to achieve with your social media marketing? Your strategy will be built around what you want to gain from using social media in conjunction with your overall business goals.
Examples of social media objectives
- Increase brand awareness
- Create a new channel for brand content distribution
- Addition of another channel for customer support
- Increase sales or leads
Examples of social media goals
- To have 500 followers by the end of the quarter
- Increase traffic to the company website by 5% by the end of the year
- Increase blog subscribers to 2,000 within six months
Without objectives, you can lose sight of what you’re doing. Without goals, you won’t be able to tell if you’re winning.
2. Take stock of what you have
If you already have social media accounts for your business, how can you better them, what do you feel is missing? Who is your audience and/or who would you like it to be? Are there any social media channels you would like to add this year?
If your business is entirely new to social media marketing, look at which channels you think will work for your brand. What resources will you need to create and manage content?
In either case, the simplest way to review what is required is to carry out a SWOT analysis. It’s important to remember to look at internal and external factors.
Items on your SWOT analysis could look like some of the following.
- Strong brand USP
- Loyal customers (high repeat business)
- Products photograph well (visual content suited to social media)
- Trustworthy reputation
- Limited in-house resource
- Low Twitter engagement/poor quality content
- Low company understanding of social media marketing
- Increase the size of the audience
- Customers are already talking about the brand on social networks
- Direct access to customer pain points
- No competitors on Instagram
- Competition – they are more established on social media
- Social network algorithms
- Unintentional copyright infringement
- Significant competition
3. Take stock of what others have
If you intend to use social media marketing for conversion, it’s crucial to complete some form of competitor analysis or research.
The purpose of competitor research is to benchmark and inspire rather than to replicate and will provide insight into what has worked well, or not so well, for your competitors
There are many paid tools to make compiling an audit quick and easy such as Social Bakers or Sprout Social. If the marketing budget does not allow for paid tools, or you merely want a DIY option, here’s a few examples of what you could research.
- Identify the competition
- Check which social channels competitors use
- Gather data such as follower count, engagement rates,
- Make notes on tactics, hashtags used, and the frequency of posts
- Try to look for gaps that your social media marketing could fill
You could run a complete SWOT analysis of your main competitors – if time and resource allow, I would recommend this as it will give you a much clearer picture of what may work well for your brand.
4. Decide on tactics
A common mistake to make when creating any marketing plan is to confuse strategy with tactics.
- The strategy is the overarching vision for your marketing activity (the goals you created in step 1);
- The tactics are the day-to-day things you will do to turn the strategy into reality.
This all seems straightforward enough – until you throw some pesky marketing variables into the process. Social media platforms change over time with algorithm updates, the addition of new features, and media limitations. To keep up, you’ll need to take a quick audit of what’s possible for each platform you intend to use and continue to monitor changes.
Perhaps the most critical social media tactic for your arsenal is to master the art of storytelling. People want to feel a connection with the content, and if they don’t, they will scroll on. Today’s savvy social media audience understand when they are being targeted, and they don’t like it. Great storytelling is a way to overcome this.
The easiest way to start your journey into brand storytelling is to ditch the idea of B2C and B2C. Today’s marketing should be B2H – business to human.
5. Get into the detail & set KPIs
What else do we need to write a social media strategy? That will depend on what you decided in steps 1-4, but step 5 will almost certainly include the following.
- Creating content pillars
- Working out what resources are available
- Writing a content plan
- Looking at how your social media marketing will integrate with existing digital channels
- Setting key performance indicators
6. Measurement & reporting
Take a look at the KPIs from step 5, then think about how you want to report on the effectiveness of your overall plan. You can choose to create a report monthly, quarterly, annually, or all three, it really does depend on how often you (or your superiors) want to keep tabs on activity.
When looking at reporting requirements, you’ll want to have a think about the following.
- Metrics to be reported on, such as follower count, engagement rate, and website traffic referred from your social channels
- Who will read the report and what will they expect to see?
- The report style – how many pages will it have, does it need to be branded and fancy, or will a simple excel sheet cut it?
- Will you separate out marketing campaigns from business as usual content?
Over to you
Do you have anything to add to this guide? Did you write a social media strategy completely differently to this? Let me know in the comments below.
If you still have no idea what the heck you’re doing, get in touch to see how I can help you create a winning social media strategy.