Your social media marketing strategy is the summary of everything you plan on doing and the goals you have on social media. It’s used as a guide, as it lets you calibrate your actions and enables you to see whether you’re succeeding or failing. With that said, the more detailed a plan is, the better. However, you also want to keep it clean and concise – after all, you will be using it to measure your performance, so it shouldn’t be too broad and unspecific.
As you might have already noticed, creating a social media strategy is not as easy and breezy as it sounds. In fact, it takes both knowledge and experience to make one that actually helps your business in reality and is not just another unusable document that you spent time writing.
In order to help you on your journey to creating an ideal social media strategy for your company, we’ve compiled 10 must-follow steps that will make the process a lot easier for you. In the article below, you will be able to read through a breakdown of each of those 10 steps. You will also get some essential tips and tricks from us that will further improve your strategy.
Creating a Social Media Strategy in 10 Easy Steps
If you’re a bit skeptical, you might be thinking, “Creating an entire strategy with only 10 steps? Yeah, right.” Well, you will have to believe us when we say that it’s possible, and we know this from personal experience. Keep reading and let us convince you that you can create your own social media strategy in just 10 easy steps.
Choose Your Goals and Align Them With Your Business Objectives
When creating your social media strategy, your first task is to write down your goals and objectives. Without knowing them, it will be impossible to measure your success and see what kind of return on investment you’re getting. A good practice here is to use the so-called “S.M.A.R.T. goals,” which have to be
This is what the S.M.A.R.T. framework consists of, and it’s used to ensure that your actions are leading you to actual results that you can measure and see. An excellent example of a S.M.A.R.T. goal would be: “We will use TikTok to gain brand recognition, and we want to get at least 1 million views on our videos within the next six months.”
Once you have the goals set, you need to start tracking metrics that actually matter. The so-called “vanity” metrics, such as the number of likes and followers, are easy to see, but it’s hard to show their actual value. That’s why it’s a better idea to focus on conversion rate, engagement, and click-throughs. Along with that, it’s vital to remember that you need to track different metrics for different social media platforms, as your goals with each one would likely be different. For example, you wouldn’t be using TikTok for customer service or LinkedIn to get people to visit your website, which is why it wouldn’t make sense to measure click-throughs. However, if you’re using Instagram to drive brand awareness, tracking your IG story views might be of value. If you run ads on Facebook, the cost-per-click is considered an essential metric to track.
Your goals with social media must be directly tied to a particular business objective. That way, even non-marketing employees and directors will see the value of your work and fight to get your boss’s buy-in. A great example of a connection between a social media goal and a business objective is
- Driving leads and sales (business objective) and conversions (social media goal)
When creating your social media strategy, make sure you have at least three goals for each platform you plan to use and that your goals are directly tied to specific business objectives.
Be Knowledgeable About Your Audience
Learning everything about your audience is a must. Knowing who it consists of and what they want to watch/see on social media is extremely valuable, as it will enable you to create content that they will interact with in a multitude of ways – by liking, commenting, and sharing. It’s extremely critical, especially if you hope to turn your followers into customers.
When creating your target customer, you should consider
- Average Income
Online you can find a ton of templates for creating a buyer persona, and you can use them in this step of creating your social media strategy. When you start thinking about your potential customers and followers as actual people with normal wants and needs, you will quickly figure out how to target and engage them on every type of social media platform.
With that said, you shouldn’t base your target customer on your assumptions. Do your best to use data where you have it available and easily accessible. Social media analytics have a ton of valuable information about your followers – it can give you their age range, location, and insight as to how they interact with your brand on that particular platform. Over time, this information will enable you to improve your content and target your audience more successfully.
Learn More About Your Competitors
Knowing who you are up against is vital. It’s a good idea to take a look at your competitors and see how they’re using social media to boost their business. It’s likely that you will be able to pick off one or two best practices that you can also implement.
Along with that, conducting a competitive analysis is a must. It will enable you to understand the competition and how they’re doing. You will be able to figure out what they do well and what they don’t, as well as gather some perspective on what is expected in your industry, and that information will allow you to set reasonable targets for your brand. However, the best thing about doing such an analysis is that it will give you the chance to spot opportunities that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. It may turn out that one of your competitors is dominating Instagram but isn’t putting any effort into their TikTok. This will indicate that you should focus on the social media platform where your audience lacks the wanted content rather than trying to win over followers in a dominated network.
An excellent way to keep an eye on your competitors is through social media listening, a process that includes doing searches of the competitor’s company name, and looking at their accounts and other relevant keywords on social media. That way, you can spy on what they’re posting and also see what the audience is saying about them and their content. The longer you do this, the more you will notice how the way your competitors operate on social media changes. This will help you see new and exciting trends and see campaigns that are truly remarkable and can serve as an inspiration for your future ones.
Perform a Social Media Audit
If you already have social media profiles, then take a look at how they’re doing as of now. Try and find the answers to the following questions:
- What’s working? What’s not?
- Are people engaging with you? If yes, then whom does that audience consist of?
- Which networks are most used by members of your target audience?
- How are you performing when compared to your competitors?
Once you have that information, you can start thinking about what you need to improve and how you can do it. The main idea behind this audit is to give you a clear idea of the purpose of each of your social media platforms. If, after it, you’re not certain about why you’re using a particular network (say Twitter), then you have to consider removing it and not wasting efforts on being active there.
If you’re struggling to decide, then ask yourself these questions:
- Are members of my target audience present there?
- If yes, then why are they on this platform? How are they using it?
- Can my presence on this network help me achieve any of my pre-determined goals?
Even though these questions are not easy to answer, they will help give you clarity and refine your social media presence.
Along with that, as you do the audit, you may find that there are fake accounts that use the name of your company or its products. These faux accounts can be harmful to your business, as they’re capturing followers that could potentially be yours while also spreading information that might not be correct. In this scenario, the best thing you can do is report them and try to get your account verified so that everyone knows that’s the real brand profile.
Create Accounts and Improve Existing Profiles
Once you know your target audience, you need to decide which social media platforms to use for your strategy. Then you will also have to create a separate strategy for each one of them since each one serves its own particular purpose and is used to target a specific audience. Additionally, you can even use different formats within each network. For example, on Instagram you can post product announcements and engaging infographics, while on TikTok, you can show people how to use your product and also demonstrate a more fun side of your business. A great tip here is to write down a mission statement for each platform – this should be a simple sentence that reminds you of your end goal. If you’re struggling to come up with such a statement for a particular social media network, then it might be a sign that it’s not worth wasting your time and efforts on it.
After you’ve determined which social media platforms you will use, it’s time to create your accounts on them. Or, if you already have existing ones, you can improve them so that they fit in with your newly established goals and strategy. Some best practices you can follow here include:
- Making sure all the profile fields are filled out.
- Ensuring your accounts have keywords in them that allow people to search for your brand.
- Being consistent with your branding (logos, images, etc.) so that your company is easily recognizable across the board
Additionally, you need to use high-quality imagery with the recommended dimensions for each network. Remember not to take this list too literally – you don’t need to have an account on every social media platform possible. Overall, it’s better to focus on one or two networks and put the proper focus on them instead of spreading yourself thin trying to be everywhere, all at once.
Look for Inspiration
Marketers love to talk about being one of a kind, standing out, and creating unique content. While that’s absolutely vital, it doesn’t mean that you can’t draw inspiration from other areas of life or other companies. A great place to look for ideas is social media success stories that brands share on their websites. You can check out whether your competitors have such stories and analyze what made them stand out and impress the target audience. This way, you can get valuable insight as to what you need to do for your own social media strategy.
Social media platforms also give annual awards to the best campaigns (in their opinion), and you can draw inspiration from the winners. If you want to have a bit of fun while getting inspired, take a look at Hootsuite’s bi-weekly awards that showcase brands doing fun and creative content on social media.
If you have brands that you simply love and admire for their marketing prowess, then checking out what they’re doing on social media might inspire a new campaign for your own brand. Some great examples of incredible social media work can be seen from companies like National Geographic (who combine fantastic imagery with engaging captions) and Lush Cosmetics (whose customer service work on Twitter is inspirational). If you take a good look at those profiles, you will see that they’re incredibly consistent with their tone, voice, and the style of their writing. Following those examples is a must, as being consistent gives people a reason to follow you, as they know what to expect from your content.
Lastly, if you’re totally stuck, you can always ask your customers what they want to see on social media. The only thing you need to make sure of in this scenario is that you deliver on your promise and give them what they asked for.
Have a Social Media Content Calendar
Creating incredible content is essential, but it’s as necessary to have a plan that showcases how often and what type of content you will share so that your social media presence is as effective as possible. Along with that, your social media calendar should also show how much time you plan to spend interacting with your audience.
The first thing you need to create here is a posting schedule. Your calendar should have set dates and times at which you plan to publish content for each channel. It’s the place to plan all your social media activities: from resharing customer content to posting blogs, reels, images, and so on. It can and should include your daily social media posts as well as ones that are related to a particular social media campaign.
The main idea behind your calendar is to help your team create and plan content, as well as to ensure that all the posts are properly spaced out and published at the best possible times.
Once you’re done with this initial step, you can move on to the next one, which is determining the kind of content you will post. Here, it’s vital to remember that your mission statement is reflected in your posts and content strategy. Additionally, each channel you choose to use has to have its own unique mission statement and content that’s tailored to it.
Here, you can decide that
- 50% of your content will be dedicated to getting traffic to the website.
- 25% of the content will aim to create brand awareness.
- 20% of the content will aim for lead generation.
- 5% of the content will share more information about your organization and the culture in it.
Having all these different post types will ensure that your content has the perfect mix for your goals. However, if you’re just starting out and struggling to make up the right mix, then you can simply follow the so-called 80/20 rule:
- 80% of your posts should educate, entertain or inform the audience.
- 20% can be aimed toward promotion.
If this one doesn’t work, then you can switch things up and try the so-called rule of thirds:
- ⅓ of your content is used to promote the company and generate profit.
- ⅓ is used to share insights and stories from industry leaders within your company.
- ⅓ is dedicated to personal interactions with the audience.
Another big question that often pops up when marketers start to create a social media content calendar is, “How often should we post?” The answer is not too much, but not too little. You need to find the right balance, which at the beginning when you have no statistics to analyze, can be challenging to gauge. That’s why you can follow these standard rules:
- Instagram (posts): three to seven times per week
- Facebook: Once or twice a day
- Twitter: one to five times a day
- TikTok: one to three times a day
If you see that this posting frequency isn’t working for you, then you can switch it up and try something different based on the data you get from analytics.
Create Engaging Content
This step probably seems fairly obvious for most of you, but you will see that it’s harder to do than you imagined. Take a look at the mission statements you wrote down in a previous step. Well, it’s time to review them and start thinking of the type of content you want to create that is aligned with each mission for each social media platform.
If you’re completely lost about what to post, revert back to looking for inspiration to get started. Remember, here the idea is to
- Keep the content aligned with the purpose of each social media platform.
- Show the stakeholder what kind of content you plan to post on each network.
This last step is vital in larger teams, as it will tell your colleagues why you haven’t posted their content on Instagram yet. In an ideal situation, the content you create will be specific to both the network and the reason you’re using it. For example, you don’t want to post brand awareness videos on Twitter if you want to use that platform mainly as a tool for interacting with your customer base. On the other hand, you wouldn’t want to post ultra-professional videos on TikTok, as the audience there expects shorter, lighter and fun content.
It might take you a while to understand what kind of content works best for what platform, so be prepared to update this section frequently.
Use the Right Tools to Manage Your Efforts
The market now has a wide variety of marketing tools that all claim to make your life easier and your work more efficient. Choosing which ones to use is a challenging task. Our advice is to look for a platform that allows you to manage multiple social media accounts from one dashboard and also has the right tools to enable you to create a posting schedule and export different reports. Luckily for all of us, most platforms do offer a trial period, so you can test out a few before making your final choice.
Track Your Performance and Adjust When Needed
If this is the first social media content strategy you’ve ever written, then the chances that you will get it right on the first try are extremely slim. Thus, as you start implementing your plan, you should track your results. That way, you will know which of your ideas are working and which aren’t. It’s often the case that the strategies you thought would work great flop, and the ones you believed weren’t as good actually perform beyond your wildest expectations.
In order for you to be able to make such an analysis, you need to not only look at the analytics tab of each social media platform, but you should also pay attention to the UTM parameters that track visitors as they browse your website – this will enable you to see which of your efforts drive the most traffic back to your site.
Once you have data, you should consistently re-evaluate, test, and start all over. Your social media strategy has to constantly get updates so that it can remain relevant over time. Along with that, this information you’re getting from analytics can be used to test out different marketing campaigns, strategies, and posts against one another. By constantly trying, you will understand what works and what doesn’t, so you don’t have to refine your plan in real-time.
A good thing to keep in mind is to check the performance of all your social media platforms at least once a week and to track how your growth is going over time. Surveys are another great way to get feedback on your social media strategy. Ask your email list, followers, and even website visitors what they like and dislike about your social media presence. You can also let them tell you what they want to see more of and their expectations.
When You Reach the Finish Line
Well, unfortunately for all of us, there’s no finish line – the efforts continue and have to be consistent. Social media, like everything else in our lives, moves fast. New platforms emerge, new trends arise; some networks go through demographic shifts, and through all that, you must work to remain relevant. Along with that, your company will also go through changes.
All of this leads us to this: your social media strategy is a “living” document, one that should be consistently updated, reviewed, and adjusted. Use it to stay on track with your goals, but don’t be scared to make the necessary changes once you see that your old approach is not bringing results anymore. Additionally, if you work with a large marketing team, you need to ensure that all of its members have their say in the social media strategy and are aware of all its latest updates. That way, you will all be working towards reaching the same goals.