Worldwide social media use is growing at a rapid pace. In fact, 88.9% of all internet users use social media each month – and an average of 2 million people sign up for social networks each day. This popularity and benefits of social media make it a vital strategy for your brand, no matter who you’re trying to reach, from teens on Instagram, to business owners on LinkedIn, to the wide range of audiences and ages who embrace Facebook.
Most of us use social media platforms multiple times a day, and those numbers have only grown during the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, 51% of people report increased usage on certain social media platforms.
As b2b companies evaluate their marketing and social media strategies in the midst of the pandemic, there has never been a better time to initiate or revisit your social media strategy. Here are 7 steps for setting your strategy in motion and moving forward successfully.
1. Set Goals
Before you start creating and distributing content, it’s important to step back, look at the big picture, and ask yourself: what is it I actually want from my social media plan?
Some companies want to focus on increasing brand awareness, while others want to generate leads and boost sales. Other common goals are increasing community engagement and bringing in more web traffic.
No matter what, your goals should be specific to your business and achievable. One way to ensure your goals are reachable is to utilize the popular “SMART” goal-setting structure.
Specific: Set social media goals that are clear and well-defined.
Measurable: Your goals should be tied to specific metrics, which we will discuss in step 3.
Achievable: Every goal you set should be something your organization can accomplish.
Realistic: Can you achieve your goals given your budget, resources and timeline?
Time-sensitive: Your goals should exist within a specific timeframe.
2. Research Your Target Audience
A successful social media strategy isn’t as simple as just getting a lot of followers. After all, it’s easy to buy followers, but they won’t engage with your content and lead to the results you want. That’s why it’s important to understand who your social media following is, or who you want it to be.
Think about your customer base and research how they spend their time on the internet. This will help you choose the best social media channels and reach the right people.
3. Establish Metrics
Now that you have your goals set and you know who you’re creating and curating content for, you’ll need to establish the metrics with which you’ll measure the success of your social media strategy. Common social media metrics include:
- Hashtag performance
- Organic and paid likes
Your sales and marketing partner can work with you to determine the metrics you should follow and how to measure them going forward.
4. Check Out Your Competitors
Take some time to evaluate your competitors’ presence on social media. What platforms are they using? What tone are they taking? What is their content mix? Consider their decisions when planning your strategy and differentiating your tone, style and content.
Not sure how to go about this, or don’t have the resources? Reach out to us, we have a competitive report that can give you a leg up on your competition in the social space.
5. Develop a Content Calendar and Timeline
Creating a content calendar will help you stay active and engaged on social media, while also actively working toward the goals you established earlier on. In determining the content for your calendar, consider your chosen social media platforms and audience, and establish the content mix you’d like to feature.
Many marketers recommend the 80/20 Rule for new social media strategies. In this case, 80% of your content informs, educates or entertains your audience, while 20% directly promotes your brand.
6. Create Content
Based on the mix of content types you feel works best for your brand or social media account, it’s time to create and curate content to share.
When creating your own content, you can establish an appealing visual style by choosing a color scheme, as well as an overall content theme that you can stick to going forward. This will help you keep your social media presence on brand and your audience’s experience consistent.
Some common types of social media content include:
- Thought leadership – Original written content that can add to a timely discussion and convey your expertise
- Photos and descriptions of your product or service
- User-generated content – Encouraging user-generated content gives your followers an incentive to interact with you. Produce great content and boost engagement.
- Timely content that isn’t built into your calendar but needs to be shared quickly in order to ensure its relevance
7. Continually engage and evaluate
Once you’ve gotten your social media strategy going, it’s important that you engage with your followers and respond on a regular basis, whether it’s answering questions, addressing concerns, or sharing user-generated content. Building a relationship with your followers will serve to expand your presence and increase brand awareness.
Remember that your strategy is a work in progress. As you review your performance metrics and feedback from user engagement, you can adjust your content ratio, topics, calendar and more to ensure your strategy stay in line with your goals.