How do I create a social media strategy for my business?
A social media marketing strategy is essential to social media success for your business. It should provide a framework for all your social media efforts and encapsulate what you want to achieve and how you’re going to do it.
What’s your social media objective?
The first step is to actually figure out why you’re using social media and what you wish to achieve.
Typical objectives include:
Increasing brand awareness
Generating repeat sales / create loyal customers
Build a community around your brand
Once you’ve defined why you’re doing this thing (and there might be more than one reason) you should look at your existing metrics (sales, engagement, website hits etc) so you have a basis on which to measure whether your social media marketing efforts are working down the track.
Who is your audience and where do they hang out?
It’s important to spend time figuring out who your audience is. You might create the best social media content out there, but if you’re posting on Twitter and all your audience hangs out on Facebook, then you’ll miss out. Likewise, understand when they are online and what their typical day looks like. For example, if you’re looking to reach city based professionals think about posting during the morning or evening commute – what are all those public transport users doing??
Spend time to understand your audience’s interests. People want to do business with those that they like, know and trust so if you can share content with your audience that makes their lives a little better then you’ll be showing them that you know them and what they’re interested in.
If you’ve already got your social media platforms in place, analytics tools such as Facebook’s Insights will tell you a tonne about your audience.
Review your website
Make sure your website looks great, is easy to navigate and has plenty of content that you can share with your audience. A blog is essential as you can constantly add new content to share with your audience.
Take the post you’re reading for example, it serves the following purposes:
I’ll share it to my Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter feeds so that those who have already found my business will see it and learn a little more about my services.
It provides a source of content that you can revisit and repost time and again, each time extracting a different piece of content or angle to use as your social media post.
A blog post, being much longer than a social media post, allows you expand on a particular topic, thereby building trust with your audience.
It supports search engine optimisation. By posting this piece, I’m showing Google that my website is up to date and full of informative, key word targeted content that (hopefully!) will offer value to my audience.
You should also check the following on your website:
Does it load quickly? People won’t wait!
Does it contain any dead links or out of date information?
Are your contact details and social links prominently displayed?
Your business voice
If your business was a person, what would it sound like? What are the words you’ll use to describe your business, your product and / or services? What about your customers? Are they using the same language? Chances are your audience talks about your product not in terms of the product itself but rather than problem it solves.
Let’s say you’re a Management Consultant (that’s what it says on your card). To your clients you might be the person that “helps with their business structure” or “helps them improve their business processes”. Talking in terms familiar to your audience helps build rapport and understanding.
Develop a content strategy
A content strategy defines the type of content you’ll post, where you’ll find it, where you’ll post it and what it will look like. I like to break it down into four categories:
Have a think about the key messages you’ll want to convey, ie. what do you actually want to say to your audience? This is your core messaging and the stuff you really want people to see. Usually it will contain some sort of call to action, e.g. make a booking, attend our event, buy our product. This content should always point back to your website.
Non core messages.
This should also be about your business and point back to your website, but is more about helping people build an understanding of your business (remember – like / know / trust?). It might be about your team, your values, why your business was started.
Other informative content.
This is the content that shows your customers that you understand them and their interests. This should always come from other social media channels or website, ie. not your own. For example, if you’re a fashion brand, you might share content that talks about latest trends, the coming season’s colours, how to wear or care for certain fabrics, etc. A note of caution here – always, always (like always) check out where the content comes from. Make sure the organisation is reputable, reliable and one that you’d be happy to have associated with your organisation. Sharing their content carries with it an implied endorsement.
Colour and movement.
This is your chance to show off a bit of personality. You might share a meme, an inspirational quote or a photo. Perhaps a funny video or a piece of music. Anything really that shows there’s real people who like real people things behind the business name.
Once you’ve determined the nature of your content, you’ll want to develop a content calendar to frame your social media efforts for the year. In my next blog post we’ll look at what this looks like.