Many companies create social media accounts and GIVE UP when they don’t see immediate results. Well, don’t give up! Social media is important to businesses because it places them directly in the path of consumers. You may have been posting to social channels in the hopes of closing a sale, but what planning have you done? Planning has everything to do with success in this case. Here’s some helpful tips and steps to take before you jump back into social media mode for your brand.
Assess your starting point
Assessing where you are in your social media marketing activities is the very first thing to do. Before you come up with a proper social media strategy, take a closer look at your own profiles as well as those of your competitors. This will help you identify what works and what doesn’t. Here is what we recommend before you start planning a social media campaign:
- Prepare a SWOT analysis to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your business as well as the opportunities and threats it faces from the external business environment. For an example of a SWOT analysis, check out A List of Must-Haves for Your Marketing Strategy.
- Research your competitors as well as your industry and find out how your business can stand out from them to be unique.
- Conduct a social media audit to check how and where you have been communicating. Then analyze the results. This will allow you to assess growth, opportunities, and anything that can be done to improve your social presence.
Who are you targeting?
Understanding your audience is crucial to a successful social media marketing plan. After all, you should be creating content from scratch or reusing curated content that your target group likes, comments on, and shares. Luckily, there are a few ways to get to know your audience.
- First, check out who your content resonates the most with and see whether this group matches the ideal audience for your brand – with qualified leads you will convert your audience to customers in no time.
- Get familiar with relevant surveys, reports, and statistics to gain more insights.
- Come up with a few personas to represent that ideal audience. This will basically be a detailed description of specific people, with real wants and needs, who you want to turn into your fans and followers. Knowing your average follower’s persona will allow you to adjust your social media campaigns according to your real audience’s expectations.
Know your competition
Take some time to get to know your competition. Find your competitors through local business directories, your Chamber of Commerce, existing ads, trade fairs, questionnaires, internet search, and word of mouth of your customers.
There is much you can learn from them! Pay attention to their statistics such as reach and engagement rates. What kinds of content are they publishing, what tone are they using, and how often are they posting? These will be good indicators of how much potential there is for you to break into the market.
It is easy to know where you’re going when you have clear objectives. The important thing here is to have smart goals instead of vague ones. SMART stands for:
Specific – sensible, significant, and simple
Measurable – meaningful and motivating
Achievable – agreed and attainable
Relevant – reasonable, realistic, results-based, and resourced
Time-bound – time-based, time-limited, and time/cost limited
A SMART goal must be achievable and attainable. This will help you figure out ways you can realize that goal and work towards it. The achievability of the goal should be stretched to make you feel challenged, but defined well enough that you can actually achieve it. Ask yourself:
- Do I have the resources and capabilities to achieve the goal? If not, what am I missing?
- Have others done it successfully before?
- Establish your expectations and specific goals derived from a social media marketing plan. What would you like to achieve through your social media presence? Do these goals line up with the overall marketing strategy for your brand?
- Set relevant social media Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, that should accompany your social media marketing strategy at all times.
- Make sure you will be able to achieve those objectives.
Examples of SMART objectives:
- To recruit three new people to the marketing team by the beginning of January.
- To generate 20% revenue from online sales before December 31.
- To achieve a 15% net profit by March 31.
Pick the right channels
Each social media platform has traits that weigh heavily on the success of your businesses posts. When choosing the best platforms for your business, you should look at the benefits of each. Your aim should be to choose the social networks that are used by your target audience the most and best suit your brand’s image.
- Be where your target group is. That doesn’t necessarily have to be Facebook or Instagram – you can find your target audience on other social networks as well. Others include Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok or even Quora.
- Get familiar with the requirements and unique features of each platform. For example, some social networks offer live video streaming options, while others let you make good use of groups.
- Make a small plan for each platform you choose, so you can keep track of your progress.
Choose the right social media management tool
If you are in charge of even two different platform’s posts, you should consider a social media management tool. It will help you manage your team as well as posts that go out. Specify your goals and priorities for posting first. Do your research to see which tool meets all of your needs. Don’t be afraid to test out several tools, like Loomly and Later, to see if you like the feel of them.
Organize your content
Having a content calendar is a great way to keep track of all holidays, events and other important dates. In fact, social campaigns based on specific events tend to attract more attention. It’s not the only perk of having a proper social media calendar, though. You can easily plan and schedule your posts as outlined in your social media content strategy, and ensure that you’re maintaining your brand voice across various social networks.
- Take advantage of your social media management tool. Most likely, the tool you’ve chosen allows you to create your own content calendar. Make good use of this feature.
- Plan your content wisely. Choose the optimal times and frequency that work for your target audience best.
- Always plan content in advance, and keep an open eye for current trends and viral events online that could suit your business – posting about trending content with popular hashtags will allow you to stand out even more.
Do’s and don’ts of content
Want to lose social media followers fast? Talk about yourself all the time!
The same principle is true for brands. No one wants to follow an account that ONLY shares its own content. We’re talking about SOCIAL media here, after all.
Avoid this trap by building content curation into your plan:
- Put together a list of 2 dozen blogs and news sources related to your industry.
- Mix curated content into your content calendar.
- Follow the 5:3:2 rule for social media. Out of every 10 posts, 5 should be curated from other sources, 3 should be your own created content, and 2 should be fun messages.
Track, analyze, optimize
This may be the most important step when it comes to succeeding on social media. Even the best social media marketers rely on trial and error. It might seem basic, but tracking your results, analyzing the data and then making tweaks to optimize them is crucial.
Each previous step should be re-evaluated after you have had time to analyze the results of your marketing efforts. Let the data drive you. If it is telling you Facebook or Twitter is your most effective channel, consider doubling down.
A great social media strategy is never set in stone. It is a constant work in progress that changes when necessary. So get out there, create a strategy and start optimizing it as you continue to grow and learn more about your business and your audience.
Building an effective strategy for social media takes time. But it’s time well spent! In a nutshell, a social media plan helps you:
- Maintain consistent posting schedules across all your social channels
- Avoid last-minute rushing to find content to share
- Stop missing out on trending topics due to poor planning
Not to mention all of these things reduce stress, cut down on your time commitment, and improve the quality of your social presence! If you need someone to do all the planning for you, you’ve come to the right place! Vervocity’s expert Social Media Specialist will work with you to reach your target audiences.