With more than 92.1% of companies now using social media to reach their target audiences, the competition to create killer content has never been more fierce. Nowadays, companies can no longer get away with simply posting haphazardly to their social media channels – they need to have a strategy.
Creating an effective social media strategy doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does require some careful thought and consideration. In this guide, we’ll show you how to create a social media strategy that will help you achieve your marketing goals.
What Is a Social Media Strategy?
Before we dive into how to create a social media strategy, let’s first take a step back and define what we’re talking about. A social media strategy is simply a plan of action for using social media to achieve specific business goals.
Specifically, your social media strategy should include:
- Objectives: What do you hope to achieve with social media?
- Target Audience: Who are you trying to reach with your content?
- Channels: Which social media platforms will you use to reach your target audience?
- Content: What kind of content will you create and share on social media?
- Frequency: How often will you post on social media?
- Measurement: How will you track your progress and measure your success?
In other words, your social media strategy should be an extension of your overall marketing strategy. It should be closely aligned with your business goals and objectives, and it should be something that you regularly revisit and adjust as needed.
How to Craft an Effective Social Media Strategy
Now, let’s take a look at how you can craft an effective social media strategy of your own.
1. Answer the “Why”
The first step in creating an effective social media strategy is to answer the question, “why do you want to use social media in the first place?”
Your answer to this question will be your guiding light – it will inform every decision you make about your social media presence going forward. So, take some time to really think about it.
Are you looking to use social media as a way to generate more leads and sales? Are you hoping to build deeper relationships with your existing customers? Do you want to use social media as a platform for thought leadership and brand building? Or do you have some other goal in mind?
Here are some examples of social media objectives to get you started:
- Generate more leads
- Build deeper relationships with customers
- Increase brand awareness
- Drive traffic to your website
- Grow your email list
- Boost sales and revenue
- Provide customer support
- Listen to and engage with customers
It’s worth mentioning that you don’t necessarily need to have a singular, all-encompassing goal for your social media presence. In fact, it’s often helpful to have multiple objectives that you’re looking to achieve. Just be sure that whatever goals you choose are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (i.e., SMART goals).
2. Pinpoint Your Target Audience
The next step is to identify your target audience. Who are the people that you’re trying to reach with your social media content? The more detailed you can be here, the better–because it’ll help you later with deciding on what, where, and when to share your content.
Try to create buyer personas for the different types of people that you’re hoping to reach, and think about:
- What are their demographics (e.g., age, gender, location)?
- What are their interests and hobbies?
- What are their pain points and challenges?
- How can you help them?
- What kind of content do they respond to best?
- Where do they hang out online?
- How do they like to consume content (e.g., text, video, audio)?
Once you have a good understanding of your target audience, you’ll be in a much better position to create content that resonates with them.
Pro Tip: You probably already know who your target audience is from your overall marketing efforts, but it can’t hurt to do a little extra research here. Check out your competitors’ social media accounts and see who they’re talking to. Also, consider using social media listening tools to see what topics and hashtags are being talked about most in your industry.
3. Pick the Channels That Will Work Best for You
Now that you know who you’re trying to reach and what you’re hoping to achieve, it’s time to choose the social media channels that will work best for your business.
There are a ton of different social media platforms out there, but not all of them will be a good fit for your particular business, so don’t feel like you need to be on every single one. In fact, it’s often better to focus your efforts on a handful of channels that you can really excel at rather than spreading yourself thin trying to maintain a presence on everything.
To help you decide which channels to use, consider:
- Where your target audience hangs out online
- What kind of content they respond to best
- The resources you have available for creating and sharing content
- Your overall marketing goals
For instance, if you’re trying to reach millennials with your content, then you might want to focus on TikTok and Instagram, but you’ll also need to consider whether you have sufficient resources to create videos that perform well on those platforms.
On the other hand, if you’re hoping to use social media for thought leadership and brand building, then LinkedIn might be a better bet, but you’ll need to be prepared to write long-form articles and create other types of content for that platform.
This should be your trail of thought as you decide which social media channels to focus on.
4. Develop Your Content Strategy
Yes, another strategy! But trust us, this one is worth it. Your content strategy will take all of your goals, target audience, and chosen channels into account to help you determine the best way to reach your desired outcome.
This is where you’ll start to really hone in on what exactly you want to share on social media. Ideally, your content strategy should include a mix of different types of content, including:
- Visual content (e.g., images, infographics, videos)
- Written content (e.g., blog posts, articles, social media posts)
- Interactive content (e.g., polls, quizzes, contests)
- User-generated content (i.e., content created by your fans and followers)
The specific mix of content types will vary depending on your goals, target audience, and chosen channels, but it’s important to have a variety of content types in your strategy so that you can experiment and see what works best for you.
You should also have a handful of themes to focus on with your content strategy. These themes could be related to your industry, product or service, company culture, or anything else that you think would interest your target audience.
For example, if you’re a fitness company, some possible themes for your content strategy could be healthy eating, exercise tips, wellness and self-care, fitness fashion, and company news.
Having a few themes to focus on will help you stay focused on your content creation and ensure that all of your social media posts tie back to your larger marketing goals. But remember to factor in what your target audience wants to see from you as well—don’t just post about whatever you think is interesting.
5. Create a Social Media Calendar
Now that you have your content strategy in place, it’s time to start thinking about how often you’ll be posting and what kind of schedule you’ll need to stick to in order to achieve your goals. This is where a social media calendar comes in.
A social media calendar is basically a tool that helps you plan out your content in advance so that you can make sure you’re always sharing fresh, relevant, and engaging content with your audience. This is especially important if you’re posting multiple times per day or week, as it can be easy to run out of ideas or start repeating yourself if you don’t have a plan in place.
As you might expect, a social media calendar should include all of the essential details about your content, including:
- The type of content you’ll be sharing
- The date and time you’ll be sharing it (as you choose when to post, be sure to consider what times your target audience is most active on each platform)
- Any relevant hashtags or links
- Which channels you’ll be sharing it on
- A brief description of the content
You can use a simple spreadsheet to create your social media calendar, or you can invest in a more robust tool like Buffer or HootSuite. These tools allow you to schedule your exact posts in advance and even track your performance over time, which can be helpful for understanding what’s working well and where you need to make changes.
Pro Tip: While it’s important to post consistently, resist the urge to post too often. If you’re bombarding your audience with content, they’re likely to tune out or even unfollow you. A good rule of thumb is to post 3 times per week, and if you want to post more often than that, then once or twice per day is probably the maximum you should go for.
6. Set Your KPIs
Finally, before you launch your social media strategy, it’s important to set some clear KPIs (key performance indicators) so that you can track your progress and measure your success.
Some common social media KPIs include things like:
- Number of followers/fans/subscribers
- Number of likes, comments, and shares
- Click-through rate
- Engagement rate
- Leads generated
- Sales generated
- Website traffic
You’ll want to choose KPIs that are relevant to your specific goals so that you can get a good idea of whether or not you’re on track to achieving them. For instance, if your initial goal from social media was to generate more website traffic, then you’ll want to make sure that you’re tracking how much traffic is coming from each social platform.
Once you have your KPIs in place, you can start tracking them on a regular basis and making adjustments to your strategy as needed. If you’re not seeing the results you want, don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of content or frequency of posting.
The important thing is to keep track of your progress and keep tweaking your strategy until you find what works best for you.
Now that you know how to create a social media strategy, it’s time to start putting one together for your business! By following the steps outlined in this post, you’ll be setting yourself up for social media success in no time.
Do you have any questions about how to create a social media strategy or need help getting started? Our team at ShiftWeb can help with everything from content creation to social media management. Contact us today to learn more!