How to Create a Social Media Strategy (Plus, a Free Template!)
By Jenn Clark
Struggle no more…this is how to create a social media strategy.
By now, you may realize the importance of social media for business growth. At least, we hope you do. However, one of the biggest challenges with social media is knowing when and what to post. Or, conversely, perhaps you feel you have a good grip on what to post for your industry, but you just aren’t seeing anticipated results. If you can relate and are still struggling with social media, it sounds like you need a social media strategy (or to revamp your current plan).
Running a successful social media page is no easy task. Blindly posting without a strategy in place will no longer cut it and hasn’t for a few years now. But, if you’ve never made one for your social platforms, this may be a challenge for you. Luckily, we’re here to help. Not only have we compiled these six quick tips on how to create a social media strategy, we put together a free downloadable workbook for you too.
Tip #1: Know your audience.
For any marketing strategy, you’ll have a targeted consumer or demographic in mind. Your social media strategy should be no different. What does your ideal customer need from you? What would they like to know about your industry? What are their biggest pain points? What are their interests? Tools like Google Analytics can help give you an idea of who is searching for you online, but your audience may differ on each social platform. To find out who they are, you can use other insight tools for social media. For instance, Facebook and Twitter both have their own analytical tools, but you can use third-party resources like Simply Measured or Instagram’s Iconosquare to learn more about your audience.
Additionally, it may be helpful to develop a mock customer (or two) based on your ideal consumer. Give them a name, a job, and what they need from you. If you still struggle with this, think about your current clientele and go from there.
Tip #2: Have an objective for each social media platform you use.
Just because a social media channel exists does not mean you should use it. What platforms make sense to your business to use? So, while Pinterest may draw a lot of attention to your e-commerce store, Snapchat may only cost you time and energy that does not end up benefitting your business. Know who tends to hang out on each platform. To give you an idea, you can review this research by Pew Research Center or see our summary below.
As you begin to state your objectives, use the SMART (Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) method as a guideline. Remember to be as specific as possible. Some questions to also ask yourself when determining which platforms you should use include:
- Is your audience primarily older or younger or a mix?
- Would different age groups benefit from the different products or services you offer?
- Would it make sense to promote specific products and/or services on different sites?
Don’t cause yourself more work if it doesn’t make sense for your goals or strategy by adding on more social media sites to manage than you need.
Tip #3: Review all your existing platforms.
It’s important to conduct audits on your the social media sites you currently use to see where you may need to improve or which ones may actually need removing. Ask yourself the following:
- Are my accounts on brand? (Logos, cover photos, messaging, website links, etc.)
- Do they align with my objectives?
- Are there any repeat accounts that need shut down or merged?
- Are there any accounts no longer in use (with no plans to continue to use) that need to be deleted?
Tip #4: Create a social media calendar.
Developing a social media calendar is helpful in defining your content. Once you have your objectives clearly stated, audits conducted, and audience determined, you can start deciding what you’ll post. Posting daily can be challenging, mostly because it can be hard to find the inspiration of what to post each week. To combat this, we suggest assigning daily themes for your posts. For example, you might share an inspirational quote or company blog post every Monday, while Tuesdays are dedicated to tips or behind-the-scenes videos.
You certainly do not have to follow these themes to a T, but it will help on those days you feel particularly lost on what to post.
Tip #5: Set a monthly budget.
We hope you’ve incorporated online advertising into your marketing plan, and while social media accounts are generally free, you would likely benefit from paying for sponsored content. Set a monthly budget for your social media ads aside from your typical advertising costs. Whether it is $50 or $500 on social ads, know how much you will spend each month for this type of marketing, and pre-determine what those ads will be at the beginning of each month.
Tip #6: Rinse and repeat.
With your strategy in place, the next step is to analyze your efforts. The same tools we mentioned above (Facebook and Twitter Insights, Simply Measured, Iconosquare, etc.) will show you how well your posts are doing, what times are best for you to share content, some demographics, and location information about your followers, and so on. You should check on these regularly, and do a full evaluation at the end of each quarter to see where changes need to be made. Once a campaign has run its course, start the process all over again.
Social media, when used correctly and strategically, can be a powerful tool for your business. It’s an excellent way to share your brand and company voice online while developing relationships with customers. One of the biggest things to also keep in mind with this marketing tool, though, is to engage with your followers and to post compelling content.
Now that you have an idea on how to create a social media strategy (or how you can improve yours), you can use our worksheet to put yours to work. Simply sign up for our email list below to get a free copy.
How is your social media marketing strategy coming along? Comment below with any questions you may have!