A social media strategy is a summary of the plans and actions that you try and get done on social media. It is a guide for those plans and gives stats about your wins and losses in it. A specific,concise plan is very effective and should not be overloaded with information to make it lofty and so broad that it becomes a burden to achieve.
These are the steps to create a social media strategy:--
1.SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING GOALS MUST ALIGN WITH BUSINESS OBJECTIVES- Set S.M.A.R.T goals::
The first thing to creating a winning strategy is to establish the objectives and goals. Without goals a company has no way to measure its performance and success and return on investment(ROI). Each of the goals should be----S-Specific, M-Measurable, A-Attainable, R-Relevant, T-Time-bound.
It is the S.M.A.R.T goal framework. It will guide your actions to make sure they give real business results.
TRACK MEANINGFUL METRICS-
Certain vanity metrics like number of followers and likes can be easy to track but the task of proving their real value can be hard. Things on which the focus should be are engagement, click-through, conversion rates. One may track different goals for different networks or different uses for each network. For e.g, if we use LinkedIn to drive traffic to your website, we will measure click-throughs. If Instagram is for brand awareness we may track the number of Instagram story views. And if we advertise on Facebook, cost-per-click(CPC) is a common success metric. The social media goal should align with your overall marketing objective. It makes it easier to show the value of your work.
2.LEARN EVERYTHING ABOUT YOUR AUDIENCE-
The key to good business outcomes is knowing about your audience and their needs and wants on social media. Because then you can create content that the audience will like, comment on and share. It’s also useful if you want to turn social media followers into customers for your business. When it comes to knowing about your target customer, a business should know things like age, location, average income, typical job title or industry, interests etc. A company should get to know their fans, followers and customers as real people with real wants and needs and they should also know how to engage them on social media.
A company should not make assumptions. Social media analytics can give a ton of valuable information about who the company’s followers are, where they live and how they interact with the brand on social media. These insights allow them to refine the strategy and target the audience. For e.g, Jugnoo an Uber-like service for auto-rickshaws used Facebook Analytics to learn that 90%of their users who referred other customers were between 18 and 34 year old and 65%of that group was using Android. They used that information to target their ads resulting in a 40%lower cost per referral.
3.KNOW YOUR COUNTERPART AND RESULTING COMPETITION-
It may be that your competitors are using social media before you which means you can learn from what they are doing.
CONDUCTING A COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS-
A competitive analysis allows us to know who the competition is and why are they doing well or not. One will get a good sense of what’s to be done in the industry which will help us set our own social media targets. It also helps to spot opportunities. It maybe possible that one of our competitors is more dominant on Facebook, but has put little effort into Twitter and Instagram.
USE SOCIAL MEDIA LISTENING-
Social listening is also a way to keep an eye on potential competitors. One should engage in searches of the company’s name, account handles and other relevant keywords on social media.
4.A SOCIAL MEDIA AUDIT IS REQUIRED-
If a company is already using social media it can take stock of its activities and ask----what all is working and what is not?
Who is your engagement?
What network is used by your target ?
Where does your social media presence stand in relation to the competitor’s?
The audit should give us a clear picture of the purpose of each of our social accounts. If the purpose of an account is not clear then we can think of these questions like----Is my audience here?
If yes, how are they using this platform?
Can I use this account to help achieve my goals?
Sometimes during the audit one may discover fake accounts being used in the name of your business or the names of your products. These imposters can be harmful to your brand. So report them.
5.SET UP ACCOUNTS AND IMPROVE THE PROFILES-DECIDE THE NETWORKS TO USE-When you decide which social networks to use you will also be needed to define your strategy for each. A mission statement should be written for each network which is going to be a one-sentence declaration to help us keep us focused on a particular goal.
SET UP THE PROFILES
When it has been decided about the networks to focus on then comes the time to create profiles. Or the existing ones must be improved so that they align with the strategy. Some points to keep in mind are---
1.Make sure to fill out all profile fields.
2.Include keywords people would use to search for your business.
3.Consistent branding must be used like logos, images etc across networks so that your profiles are easily identified. High quality images must be used for each network.
6.FIND INSPIRATION-Though it’s important that your brand be unique but taking some inspiration from other businesses won’t harm anyone.
SOCIAL MEDIA SUCCESS STORIES
These can be found on the business section of the social network’s website.
AWARD-WINNING ACCOUNTS AND CAMPAIGNS
A company should look out for brands at the top of their social media game.
ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE BRANDS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Some questions that come up are why do you enjoy social media. What compels people to engage and share their content. Consistency also helps keep your content on-brand even if you have many people on your social media team.
ASK YOUR FOLLOWERS
Consumers can give inspiration to social media. Some questions that come up are your target customers and what they are talking about. What can be learnt about their wants and needs? On existing social channels a company can ask it’s followers about their wants.
7.A SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT CALENDAR HAS TO BE CREATED
It’s very important to have a plan in place for the time when the company will share content to get the maximum impact. Your social media content calendar needs to have a track of the time you spent interacting with the audience.
A RIGHT POSTING SCHEDULE HAS TO BE MADE
The social media content calendar lists the dates and times at which you will publish the different types of content on each channel. It’s a perfect place to plan all the social media activities from images and link sharing to blog posts and videos. The calendar ensures the posts are spaced out appropriately and published at the right time.
THE RIGHT CONTENT MIX
The calendar should reflect the mission statement so that everything being posted should support business goals. The things that have to be decided are-
50%of content should drive traffic back to your website
25%of content should be curated from other sources.
20% of content will support lead-generation goals like newsletter signups, e-book downloads etc.
5%of content will be about your company culture.
Putting these different post types in the content calendar will make sure that the right mix is maintained. If a company is starting from scratch and it is not sure about the types of content to post, it can try the 80-20 rule---80%of the posts should inform, educate, entertain the audience.
20% can directly promote the brand.
The social media rule of thirds must be tried according to which----⅓rd of the content promotes the business, converts readers, generates traffic.
⅓ rd of the content shares ideas and stories from thought leaders in the industry or like-minded businesses.
⅓ rd of the content is personal interactions with the audience. Once you have a set calendar a scheduling tool can be used to prepare messages in advance rather than updating constantly throughout the day.
8.ADJUSTMENT OF STRATEGY AND EVALUATION SHOULD BE DONE
The social media strategy is a very important document for a business and it can’t be got right on the first try. When we start implementing our plan and track the result, we may find some strategies that don’t work as well as your expectation while some may work better than anticipated.
THE PERFORMANCE METRICS
Along with analytics in each social network UTM parameters can be used to track social visitors as they move around your website enabling you to see exactly which social posts drive the most traffic to your website.
RE-EVALUATE,TEST AND DO IT ALL AGAIN
As the data starts to come in it can be used to re-evaluate the strategy regularly. This info can also be used to test different posts, campaigns and strategies against each other. Constant testing allows us to understand what works and what doesn't so that the strategy can be refined.
Surveys are also a great way to find out the working of strategies. The company may ask it’s followers, email lists, website visitors whether they are meeting the needs and expectations of the audience and how can they update their standards. Social media moves and works fast and new networks emerge allowing businesses to go through periods of change as well.
The social media strategy is like a living document that can be reviewed and adjusted as required. It can be referred to stay on track. When we update our social strategy it should be made known to everyone on the team.