In a previous post, Measure What Matters: Marketing Metrics and Why They Matter, we discussed the importance of social media digital marketing and how to measure the metrics that matter based on your goals.
Today, let’s expand upon that topic and move into the subject of creating a social media strategy.
What is a Social Media Strategy?
A social media strategy is a summary of how you plan to use your social media to digitally market your business. It defines the goals, platforms, target audience, and content for achieving your goals.
This can be a bit intimidating, so we boiled it down to 5 Steps to Create a Social Media Strategy:
- Define Your Social Media Goal
- Determine Your Target Audience
- Determine What Platforms to Use
- Build a Content Creation Plan
- Evaluate the Progress
How To Create a Social Media Strategy
1. Define Your Social Media Goal
A good goal for your social media strategy should align with your business objectives. Without that alignment, you won’t know what to measure. Because measuring what matters is the only way to move the needle and see the results you are seeking.
When writing out your goal, try to use the SMART goal outline to clearly define it. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. This outline will help you stay away from vanity goals like specific follow counts.
To help you get started, here are four broad social media goal buckets with an example to go along with them:
- Awareness: current and potential audience.(ex: Is it to grow awareness so that more people within a certain demographic know about your brand?)
- Engagement: how audiences are interacting with your content. (ex: Is it for your audience to ask questions and engage in conversations with you?)
- Conversion: effectiveness of your social engagement.(ex: Is it to get audience members to convert into paying customers?)
- Consumer: how active customers think and feel about your brand. – Source (ex: Is it to build trust with your current consumers and let them talk about your business for you?)
Helpful Tip: Don’t get too stuck here! While all of these options sound amazing, don’t aim for all of them at once. If you are starting from ground zero, start with awareness and build up to the other goals. If you already have a huge following, focus on engagement or conversion.
Try this Fill-in-the-Blank Exercise we like from Gartner:
“Through our efforts to engage (A) on (B) using content like (C), we will be able to (D) which will be indicated by a change in (E).”
A – Insert Your Ideal Customer
B – Insert Chosen Social Media Platform
C – Insert Type of Content
D – Insert Desired Outcome
E – Insert Metrics
Examples of this exercise are:
For a Brick and Mortar Retail Store:
Through our efforts to engage in women, 35-65 that live in the central Ohio area on Instagram using content like videos showcasing new products, we will be able to increase awareness which will be indicated by a change in our reach, impressions, and in-person traffic.
For an Online Store store that sells mushroom coffee:
Through our efforts to engage women 25-45 on Tik Tok using content like videos that show that our product will decrease belly bloat, we will be able to increase our sales which will be indicated by a change in our conversion rates.
For inspiration on narrowing down your goals, check out some of our previous posts about finding clarity and alignment in your business, ways to streamline your marketing, and how to establish new goals.
2. Determine Your Target Audience
Next, determine your target audience or your ideal customer.
When looking at businesses that have a lot of resources, especially to market researchers, this can get really involved and lead to creating avatars or personas that help businesses to niche down their target demographic.
However, if you are a small business or freelancer, we recommend keeping it simple.
Focus on the basic demographic information that you have about your customer and then spend your time getting to know them as people. Remember that social media is about engaging socially, so wants, needs, and emotions all resonate more when you treat your followers like the people they are.
3. Determine What Platforms You Want to Use
Based on your goals of social media and after determining your target audience, it’s time to decide which platforms to use. To start, choose 1-3 platforms that:
- Your Target Audience is using.
- You know you can regularly engage on.
Attempting to interact on all the platforms is a recipe for burnout and disappointment. Choose the 1-3 platforms that you can be really engaged on and devote your energy to connecting with that audience base.
What platforms does your target audience use and engage with? The answer to that question informs which platform(s) to focus on.
Here are some of the possible platforms that you could use:
Facebook: While Facebook doesn’t get the hype that it used to, it is still the most-used social media platform, currently with about 3 billion global, active users. Maintaining a Facebook Business Page Profile with all the relevant details might be a great place to start.
Pro: Good at building relationships with current audiences.
Con: Limited reach to attract new audiences.
Instagram: Instagram is another commonly used platform, with a slightly younger demographic. It works great for visual-based businesses. Your reach can be wider on Instagram than on Facebook, so it is a great way to develop new leads.
Pro: Great for lead generation
Con: Hard to keep up with trends
Pinterest: Pinterest is used more as a search engine than any other social media platform. If you are going to use Pinterest, we recommend making sure the quality of your photos is top-notch, as that is the main appeal to the audience on Pinterest.
Pro: Could increase lead generation
Con: Attracts a narrow demographic
TikTok: TikTok has taken the world by storm with its use of quick, snappy videos to get its audience’s attention. While it is mostly used by a younger demographic, older demographics can still sometimes find success.
Pro: Builds brand loyalty
Con: Attracts a very specific demographic
YouTube: YouTube is great for “How To,” instructional videos that give the audience a clue into your expertise.
Pro: Used by a wide range of demographics
Con: Lots of competition with other content
LinkedIn: Best used for professional and educational networking. Whatever you post on LinkedIn, keep it clean and professional.
Pro: Great for networking with other businesses
Con: Limited interactions
4. Build a Content Creation Strategy
Being able to tell your story as a business owner is an important part of marketing your business.
It helps potential clients know where you came from, where you’re going, and how you can help them.
So, now that we know what your goals are for using social media, you can focus on creating content to fulfill that goal. Content can be repurposed across different platforms, or you can use your chosen platforms to achieve different goals. Some businesses use Twitter for customer support while using Instagram to promote new products. The content supports your goals.
Remember that your content should be unique to your brand but, of course, look to other creators, competitors, and your followers for inspiration for content that will resonate with your target audience.
5. Evaluate the Progress
While there are a lot of social media metrics that can be tracked, we are going to cover the most helpful ones and define which goal category they help track.
Helpful tip: As you read through these, you might ask, “Where am I supposed to get these numbers and statistics from?” Don’t sweat it. You do not have to personally generate these statistics yourself. #There’sAnAppForThat. Most social media platforms have business metrics integrated, so they actually do it all for you. Go to the platforms settings and there should be a section that lists your analytics. Plus! If the integrated analytics just aren’t enough, you can always use a supplemental analytics app to get all your numbers.
- Audience Growth Rate
- Engagement Rate
- Amplification Rate
- Virality Rate
- Video Views
- Video Completion Rate
- Click-Through Rate
- Conversion Rate
- Cost per thousand impressions
- Social Share of Voice
- Social Sentiment
To find the definition and average percentages of each of these metrics, click here.
Looking to build your business through social media marketing?
Let Haven help.
Want to know another great way to tell your story as a business owner? Join a coworking space, like Haven Collective!
By joining a coworking space, you will have access to lots of resources that can help you develop your story and keep them coming. Whether it’s picking the brains of other business owners or connecting with a marketing professional, there are tons of opportunities to help you focus on this important aspect of your business.
At Haven, we have curated a diverse, supportive, and successful community of business owners, freelancers, and solopreneurs.
Through Monthly Signature Events, Peer Mastermind Groups, and flexible memberships, connecting with other like-minded people has never been easier at Haven Collective.
If you are looking to build your business AND increase customer engagement, click below to see if Haven Collective is the next step for you!