Imagine you’re on a road trip to visit a friend. You wouldn’t want to start it without some idea of how to get to your friend’s house--at least not if you wanted to do it without getting lost. A social media strategy is like a GPS for your business. It keeps you on the road to success, without timely and costly detours. And even if you get a flat tire or some other catastrophe along the way, at least you still know where you’re headed and how to get there. This article will show you how to develop a great “road map” to keep your business headed towards social media success.
1. Get Your Goals Down on Paper
The first step in developing a strategy for your business’s social media is to figure out your goal. What do you want this strategy to achieve? Once you figure that out, you’ll already have an idea of what you need to do to reach that goal. Do you want to increase your follower count by 25%? Boost post engagement? Up sales? Whatever your goals are, write them down. But keep it narrow and focused--if you try to achieve too many goals at the same towards, you’ll end up reaching none of them.
Action step: Think about your business’s needs and what you would like to achieve for it. Write down two objectives that you can take concrete steps towards.
2. Choose the Right Tools
Now that you have your goals, you can start taking steps to achieve them. Start by picking out the right tools to make your life that much easier. There are analytics and tracking tools for pretty much anything about your business’s social media presence that you could possibly want to track. There are also social media manager tools that can schedule posts for you, measure traffic, etc. Some helpful tools are HootSuite, Google Analytics, eClincher, and Sumall, but there are many, many more out there.
Finding the right tools even includes figuring out which social media sites are right for you and your business. It’s easy to spread yourself too thin, especially if your business is on the smaller side. It’s better to focus on becoming part of a community on a few sites than to superficially engage on many.
Action step: Start making a list of helpful sites and tools to make your social media strategizing a breeze.
There are a lot of people in the world and if you try to reach all of them, you’ll end up reaching none of them. But figuring out your target audience will help you focus your message and tailor your content so that you’re providing them with the most relevant and helpful information--and that will keep them coming back for more. Once you know your target audience, you can start doing research on where they spend their time, what their interests are, and what the conversations they’re having are. And then you’ll know how to streamline your content so you can better relate to and engage with your fans.
Action step: Start research who is engaging with your posts so you can get a better idea of who you’re reaching.
Providing relevant and interesting content is key to a good social media strategy. You want to avoid too much self-promotion, or repeating the same kinds of posts over and over again. The first step for creating good content is finding your voice--what kind of tone do you want your posts to have? Are you going for witty? Funny? Reliable and informative? Decide now on your voice, and then make sure all of your content is consistent with that.
Next, look at other brands to see what kind of content they provide. Even ones that aren’t in your brand--you can still learn from their successes by adapting them to your own brand. Birdsong Analytics offers a service that analyzes competitors Facebook and gives you charts showing which posts have been most successful, which words show up again and again in their posts, and a host of other helpful insights.
Action step: Make a list of three blog post topics you can write addressing questions or issues in your field. Make them engaging, informative, and in tune with your voice.
5. Learn From Your Results
One of the great things about social media is how you can track an almost endless variety of things. Using social media manager tools like the ones mentioned above, you can see how much traffic each of your posts is getting, how people are responding to your posts, and keep track of trends. With this information, you can spot problem areas in your strategy, what’s working and what isn’t, when you should be posting, and a whole host of other useful info that will help build a rock-solid social media strategy.
Some things to track include the number of followers you’ve gained, what time of day your followers are most active, which posts are getting the most engagement, which fans are mentioning you, or commenting on your posts, and which demographics are interacting with your posts on a regular basis.
Action step: Choose several metrics to track. At the end of the month, make a report mapping out your results and detailing some strategies for the coming month.