How to Create a Simple Social Media Strategy
A strategy for your social media activity needn't be challenging, it's actually very simple! And in this article I will show you in a step by step guide what to do to create a strategy that you can stick to. Firstly - What is a Strategy? I think the dictionary definition sums it up nicely:
- 1.a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim.
For this guide I am going to assume that you have a website or a place that users can go to contact you or find out more information about your products or services. I would also recommend that you have analytics on your website, this way you can see what's working and what's not.
I would advise though that you be ready to change and adapt if your strategy is not working at all. Social media is not a one size fits all solution, you will need to use the platforms as your medium and your creativity to devise campaigns.
If used correctly social media can benefit anyone from local skip companies, hairdressers, consultants to financial advisers.
It is also important that you include social media within your overall marketing strategy. Meaning: normally using social media as a standalone tool isn't always best, having other avenues to back up your campaigns such as a great website, decent offers and promotions and some content of value will ensure you maximise your companies social media activity potential.
Remember there is no one size fits all strategy, a strategy is personal to your business and your goals.
So with that in mind let's begin with this simple social media strategy guide.
Write down your goal/s
What would you like to achieve overall in 2015 using social media? Is it to build a community, create brand awareness, build your own profile or is it simply a lead generation goal? Break your goals down,
What would you like to achieve in 1 month, 3 months or even 6 months from using social media?
Once you have established your goals, you can then work out how to reach them.
Profile your ideal customer
Are they 13 yr old girls who love cats? Or are they 40 year old management directors of large corporations? Deciding who your customers are/will be, will help you determine which social networks you use for your campaign.
Work out how to use your social networks of choice
Ask yourself these questions: How do these social networks work? What is the etiquette of my chosen social medium? is there any training out there for me?
By understanding how to use your networks of choice, you'll eliminate any time wasting or mistakes that may come later down the line.
Set up your profiles
When you feel confident that you know what you are doing (perhaps you've toyed with a dummy account or personal profile) you are ready to create your profiles.
For each social network normally you will have a cover image, some information about your business, any contact details and a profile image, to decide on whether to use a profile image or a company logo you'll need to decide on whether you tweet as an individual or company. Find your voice
Decide on your voice - will you be a faceless company or will you use social media as an individual? Or both? Content must be adapted to yours or your company voice.
Once you have set up your profiles and added your artwork and details, decided your voice and approach: Take a look around and start to listen to your target audience on social media, what do my audience talk about on social media and what are they interested in? Get to grips with the network this will help you to come up with great content or a brilliant campaign to generate leads from your ideal customers - if you listen first, you already know what they want and the knowledge they are looking for or missing.
Tip: By listening to your target audience, you will also discover blog and article content ideas which is a bonus!
How will you deal with interaction?
Here is good time to decide on how and when you will be responding to customers do you have a policy in place will you create one?
Create a content calendar A content calendar is just a simple calendar (use a hard calendar or an online calendar such as google calendar or ical) and make a note of what you are going to post and when. Always think about why you are creating this content and how it will add value to your target audience and how it will move them to take action or make decisions. Schedule and execute
Schedule your campaign up to 1 month in advance - allow for special holiday and interesting days and think about content that could work for this and for your audience. (For content ideas read my free ebook - 50 ideas for social media content)
Start networking and be ready to respond
Social media is SOCIAL! not promo media. So making connections, joining in with groups or communities and getting involved in twitter chats will help you to build a community and grow your trusted connections.
After a period of time be sure that you check your progress. Normally you'll get a good feel of whether you are doing the right things because your audience will begin to grow, you will have content shared and people will interact with you. If this is not happening then I would advise you to take a look again at the type of content you are posting, are you interacting with your audience? or are you just sending out promotional material? Remember it's a very empty promotion if no one is listening!
You can use tools such as hootsuite, the insights available from your chosen social outlet and google analytics to see what type of reach you are receiving and how many people are looking at your content.
And finally don't be scared or afraid to try new ideas! If you are a small business or freelancer and have the capability to change quickly and adapt! You can deviate from the plan at anytime and use quick wins if you need to! It's up to you and your gut feeling.
It's good to have a strategy and set goals for most aspects of your business! this way you can map out where you are going. But if the opportunity arises to just delve in and have a go at something, just do it! React quickly and be brave!
What do you think?
When will you get started?