Almost everyone around the globe is connected to social media. The number of people using social media is counting to billions, and you need to use that to your advantage. If you are starting a business or trying to promote your brand, you just can’t ignore the power of social media. In fact, your social media presence can make or break you. It can lead you to your success or hit you rock bottom.
Back in the advent of social media, it was fairly easy to use it. You use it connect with your friends and share your status updates and photos. But now the tides of social media have drastically changed, and you need to ride that wave or else you’ll be in danger of being left out!
You need to be smart about your social media performance, and making a strategy will greatly help you do just that.
But first, what is a social media strategy?
A social media strategy outlines your goals and the steps you need to take to achieve those goals. Your social media strategy must have specific objectives, and stating it in your plan will give you an idea on how to do it.
You must understand that your social media strategy must be brief, clear, time- bound and achievable. This will help you keep on track and not lose precious time and effort.
Your social media strategy will also help you identify the best tools that can boost your campaigns.
So, how do you create a social media strategy that works?
1. Outline your goals
You need to start with a goal in mind, or else you’ll be running around like a headless chicken and doing everything ad hoc. It will keep you grounded on what needs to be done and keeps you from getting your expectations blown out of proportion.
Here’s a nifty way that can help you outline your goals: using S.M.A.R.T
S: Specific – be spot on with your goals. Having a goal like “trend on Instagram or Twitter” won’t cut it. Asking the questions who, what, when, where, why and how will help you get the ball rolling.
M: Measurable – basically this is your gauge on how successful your strategy is. The questions how much or how many can help you outline it. For example, how many likes, clicks or leads do you need to achieve?
A: Attainable and R: Realistic – let’s merge these two qualities. Attainable and realistic goals will help you not get overwhelmed. It will also help you focus on what needs to be done.
You may be feeling pumped up and excited to start your social media strategy and see it soar. You then start setting goals that are beyond your capacity as of the moment. An example would be is “my goal is to have 100,000 Instagram and Twitter followers by the end of the month”. Although there isn’t anything wrong with that, you need to ask if you can actually do it. This is also a good time to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Do you have the right tools and the right team to execute it?
T: Timely – you need to know when your campaign should start and end. Think of it as giving yourself a deadline. Having a deadline will push and motivate you to achieve your goal. By the end of your deadline, you can assess how successful your strategy is or on what areas should you improve on.
2. Know your audience
Knowing your audience will help you with how you’ll construct your content. What groups of people do you want to reach? Teenagers? Moms? Professionals? You need to make the ideal content for your target audience and speak in a voice that appeals to them.
You need to be specific on who it is you want to reach. Let’s say you want to reach professionals, but what kind of professionals? Are they working in the medical field or the corporate world? One good way of knowing is trying to sketch a buyer persona. Imagine a real person who would be the ideal client for your business. What’s his/her name and what does he/she do? How old is he/she? What are their values, likes, and dislikes?
You can look at the social media profiles of your target audience and find out how you can package your content that can entice them to subscribe to you. What types of content do they usually share and have on their profile?
3. Research on who are successful with their social media performance
Try looking through the social media accounts of industry leaders and find out what are their best practices. You can also look at your competitors and identify their strengths and weaknesses. Which ones can you possibly adopt and which ones have potential where you can improve on?
4. Identify the social media channel that efficiently hits your target audience
Not all social media channels are built the same. Thus, each channel has a different result for you. There are some particular set of users you want to reach that are using a specific media channel. Some people prefer to use Instagram and rarely use Facebook or Twitter, and vice-versa. You need to know which tool to use to get the job done.
Another way of knowing is what the features of a specific media channel are. If your business is photo-intensive or you want to promote your products, Instagram or Facebook would be your best bet. If you want to share the benefits of your service, you can opt for a microblogging platform like Twitter. Remember, however, do not compromise the quality of your content by the social media channel you’ll use.
5. Create your content plan
The content plan is your guideline on what, when and how you’ll push your content to your target audience. Your content plan will help you build a system around your social media strategy. It will keep you from getting hay wired and let your team work efficiently with it.
What content should be made on particular dates? When should you schedule it for publishing and what social media channel will you be using? How can you sustain your online presence and your campaigns? Who is in charge of creating and publishing which content?
Also, don’t forget about organizational and collaborative tools that can help you with your content plan. Cloud drives, publishing and scheduler apps and software can immensely help so you won’t miss anything out.