Social media is already too much of a competition to do on an ad-hoc basis. Being randomly available to your audience just doesn’t cut it. Hence, the same way your business and other marketing collaterals benefit from a strategy so does social media.
As of January 2021, there are 4.66 billion active internet users worldwide. Out of these, over 3.78 billion are expected to use social media. This represents a continuously available audience and a digital market that is ripe for the taking.
Social media strategy is creating a comprehensive plan to reach your audience and ultimately connecting with them to fulfil all your company goals. It works as a specific roadmap that can be referred to should you ever get lost in the unending wave of social media trends.
Now, there are social media services in London that take care of everything in a rather robust manner. Nevertheless, with your brand at stake, you should know what goes into making the winning strategy.
Here is a definitive framework to help you ace the social media game in five steps.
1. Define Your Goals (and align them with the business objectives)
The first step to paving the road the success is knowing where the destination is. Setting clear goals helps you draw a scale to all your efforts and measure the progress on a real-time basis. It also sets the pace for your Return on Investment (ROI).
But, your goals can’t be as vague as – “I want more sales.” However, that can be a starting point. If sales are your business objective, find out how social media can support it. Boil it down to a measurable number and a specific channel along with a feasible timeline to discover your S.M.A.R.T goal.
For example – “We will increase our sales by 20%, using Instagram for lead generation by the end of next quarter.”
That’s specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. This being said, once you have the goal in mind, next comes the execution strategy to ensure that you achieve it.
2. Understand Your Audience
The first step in perceiving your audience is knowing who is your target buyer. All that you do on social media shall be leveraged to reach this section of people most likely to interact with your brand and messaging.
A buyer persona is a fictional design of your ideal customer. It concentrates on the pain points and their decision matrix to comprehend how your product or service can be pushed forward as a solution. There can be multiple buyer personas for different criteria that beget a different strategy.
The process is fairly simple. You need to conduct in-depth research into –
- Personal Information
- Professional Status
- Values and Fears
- Goals and Challenges
Once you understand these factors, the right audience can be found by deducting the ones that do not fit your bill.
To know your customer base and form a buyer persona, you’ll need a wide array of data. While demographic and location information usually available via social media, you can dive in further by using the analytical tools to get behavioural insights and other interests. Google Analytics and Facebook Insights with Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn Analytics let you track everything, including content consumption, custom personas, engagement and conversion ratios.
3. Competitor Research
The best part about social media is that you never have to start from scratch. By looking into the wins and losses of your competitors, you can get a fair idea of what works and what doesn’t. It also helps set a baseline of expectations for your social media targets.
Remember, competitor research is not about trying to outdo your contemporaries; it’s about filling the gaps they missed. Ask yourself these questions, to begin with.
- Which social media platforms are they dominant on?
- What strategies are being implemented?
- How does the audience respond to their content?
- Which pain point is not being covered?
Once you answer these, use the information to create your own strategy that makes good on their fallouts.
4. Devise a Content Strategy
Content is the livelihood of your strategy. It is the pillar that everything rests upon. But, as said earlier, inconsistently sharing random and bizarre content is doubtful to get you anywhere.
To maximize your reach and potential, map out the content that your audience shall grab onto. Start by creating a content mix that is both informational and promotional. The best blend is said to be around the 80-20 border, where 80% of the posts inform, educate and entertain, while 20% are direct sales pitches for your brand.
Once you have the content in place, create a social media calendar that dives into the dates, times and platforms for publishing. By studying your ideal consumer’s most active times, work around an optimal timeline that fetches the highest engagement.
It is imperative to note that you don’t need to post daily, just regularly.
5. Test, Measure and Evaluate
With all your ducks in a line find out the ones that have been shot and the ones that need to be aimed at. Plan and track the metrics to know where you stand.
Look at the numbers that actually matter, like Impressions, Engagement, Link Clicks and Brand Image. Each of these parameters can help you understand how your company is perceived in the larger picture. It further highlights the parts of the strategy that were a dud and allows you to re-optimize their implementation for better results.
Social Media Marketing is a never-ending process. There is no finish line you can stand at and say – “I’ve won it all.”
Therefore, the only things that matter are the goals you set for yourself and by how far you exceed them. Using a social media strategy allows you to focus on your objectives without losing sight of your unique voice, tone and values.