The number of social media users is rising at an astonishing pace and is expected to jump to 2.77 billion by the end of 2019. So, to reach out to your target audience and spread the word about your brand, you need to be present on social, as well.
As your customers’ expectations are constantly growing, promoting your business this way doesn’t mean targeting your followers randomly and sharing a bunch of irrelevant posts, without any specific schedule.
On the contrary, it requires building a comprehensive plan. This means that your every post, like, comment, or share should be planned ahead, to bring you closer to reaching your business goals.
Let’s see what every powerful social media plan should include.
Set Clear Goals
To make sure everything goes as planned, you need to set clear goals you want to achieve. This way, you will know what to expect from your strategy, predict all potential problems on time, and react fast when the need arises. Logically, to support your business growth, your social media marketing objectives should be tailored to your overall digital marketing strategy.
Always set S.M.A.R.T. goals, meaning that they need to be:
Specific – How many followers do you want to attract? On what social networks? What’s the purpose of your social media strategy- to make more sales, generate more leads, boost people’s awareness of your brand?
Measurable – If you cannot measure the end results of your plan, this means it’s not specific enough. For example, you want to use Facebook as a customer service channel. So, how do you measure its effectiveness? Probably through the number of people’s messages, an increase in comments, more brand mentions, or fewer phone calls.
Attainable – Never punch above your weight. Your goals should be ambitious, and yet realistic. Relevant- The networks you use and the content you share need to contribute to a specific goal, be it
boosting traffic or building your mailing list.
Time-bound – Have a time frame and set strict deadlines to keep your activities on track.
Do your Research
Before you start building your social media strategy, you need to analyze your current social media campaigns and see how profitable they are. This means understanding who follows you, what social networks your target audience uses, which ones work for you and, most importantly, how your performance compares to your rivals. This form of research will help you eliminate pointless strategies and focus on what really matters.
Remember, it’s always better to focus on a few channels relevant to you rather than stretching yourself thin to be present everywhere.
First, segment your target audience and build your buyer personas. It’s paramount that you understand their demographics, interests, expectations, problems, and weaknesses to tailor your social media strategy to them.
To make the right decisions, you need to give your every social account a purpose. For example, use LinkedIn to write relevant statuses, share your latest content, and look for employees. On the other hand, Instagram is a great place to share motivational quotes, live videos, and behind-the-scenes photos to engage your customers.
Mind your style, tone, voice, and language, as well. Your goal is to build a recognizable brand and the only way to do so is to make your social media campaign consistent. For instance, will you use gifs and memes or not? What about emojis? What tone will you use- distant and official or friendly and playful?
Build a Strict Content Marketing Strategy and a Social Media Calendar
When building your content calendar, you need to know the following:
● What types of content you want to create and promote online.
● What your target audience for each of these forms of content is.
● Who will write these posts and who will share them?
● How and where you will promote them.
● Will you use tools like Buffer or Hootsuite or do so manually?
● How often will you share content?
When creating your social media content calendar, use Google Sheets, for instance. Include all the dates and times when you want to publish something on each of your social networks. Plan everything in advance, from your content curation to sharing your new blog posts. This gives you a chance to create consistent campaigns and boost people’s engagement spontaneously.
If all this is new to you, go with the tried and tested rule of thirds:
● One-third of your social efforts should be dedicated to promoting your business, convert your followers, and boost your ROI.
● One-third should focus on sharing the content created by the most authoritative people and businesses in the same niche.
● One-third should be based on your interactions with your customers.
Know what to Share
Your content creation strategy depends on your niche, goals, target audience, as well as the social media channels you’ve been using. Still, there are a few awesome rules that may work for you, irrespective of all these factors.
Mix offline and online marketing
Implement this holistic, omnichannel approach and merge your offline and online marketing efforts. For example, your hashtags, website address, or brand name can be added to the printed shirts, mugs, business cards and other promotional items. You could even add QR codes to them and take your target audience to your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter page immediately.
You can do the opposite, as well, by promoting your offline events on social networks. If you’ve invested in street art, share the photos. The same goes for organizing or participating in any forms of offline events, such as promotions, seminars, parties, flash mobs, etc.
Humanize your brand
Use Facebook and Instagram to show the human side of your company. Share the behind-the-scenes photos and videos to let your followers meet the people behind your brand. You could even make a live video, to give them a tour of your company. When making an explainer video, writing statuses, or answering their questions, make sure your language is relaxed and resembles the everyday conversation.
Experiment with the types of content
With the rise of VR and AR, your target audience has become more demanding. Today, writing a 500- word article is not enough to engage them. To set yourself apart from your competitors, you need to offer something unique and try to take their user experience to the next level.
Here are a few types of content that work astonishingly well on social networks:
● Facebook or Instagram Live
● Infographics and other forms of explanatory visualizations (charts, graphs, etc.)
● Inspirational, shareable quotes
● Custom gifs and memes
● Ephemeral content, such as Snapchat stories
● User-generated content
Monitor and Update your Social Media Campaigns Regularly
To harness all the power of your social accounts, you need to assess and update them regularly.
Start with something as simple as social listening. There are numerous awesome social media monitoring tools that will notify you every time someone mentions your brand or product on social channels. This way, you will see how people feel about your brand, give them real-time feedback, and be able to tailor your strategy to their expectations.
Monitor their engagement with your and your competitors’ content, too. By observing the content they share, like, and comment on, you will see what type of content works for them.
But, all these retweets and shares can sometimes be vanity metrics as they don’t tell you whether your content generates leads and conversions. So, to make objective, data-backed decisions, you should also analyze the following: referral traffic, the bounce rate, share of traffic driven, conversion rates, and the applause rates.
Now, your social media strategy will be constantly changing.
If a new network is born and your target audience uses it, you should use it, too. Once you notice that your content doesn’t engage, change your approach.
As your business grows, you need to rethink your goals and set new targets. You’ll have to hire more people to manage your networks or start adapting your social presence for different niches and regions. So, make sure you’re on top of all the trends and fluctuations that are going on and rewrite your social media strategy according to them. This is the only way to stay relevant to the people following you.