5 Key Steps To Create The Ultimate Social Media StrategyNov 02, 2021
In 2021 we all know the importance of connecting with our current and potential customers, and one of the most formidable channels of communication is social media.
With the average iPhone user spending nearly 145 minutes per day on social media, connecting with consumers has never been easier. But with millions of social media accounts, the challenge is how to stand out and keep customers wanting more.
As a brand, you can develop online communities, share exciting news and insights about your company, create a brand voice and interact with consumers on a human level. And the more consumers you have, the more people you connect with, the greater chance your brand will be successful.
So how do you create the ultimate social media strategy to grow your brand's following?
Here are our top 5 tips for creating an exceptional social growth strategy.
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1. Social Media Strategy 101 - Define your Why!
Before you can truly attack the social media space, you need a plan and at the basis of a great plan is a goal or objective. These goals are usually driven by the key overarching business goals.
The first thing you need to define is if your business is a B2B or B2C organisation. This differentiation will greatly impact your strategic plan.
For example, let’s take a look at 2 different businesses.
Business A is B2B - in other words, one business selling products or services to another business. They sell accounting and project management ERP software to construction companies globally.
Business B is B2C - in other words, one business selling products or services to an end-user. They sell women's clothing made from 100% linen and consciously sourced products.
Once you have defined this you will need to figure out who is your customer persona. It is quite normal for a brand to have a handful of target customers. For example, a customer persona template may look like the image below.
Now that you know your customer persona and how they interact with social media, you can define the goals of your social media activity. The following might be some of the objectives for their social media strategies:
Once the goals of the business are defined, you can then focus on making a plan. There are many things to consider such as:
Every business will have different answers to the questions and that’s okay. The most important thing is that they are all considered and assessed before spending time and money on pushing your businesses social media presence.
2. Assess your competition and choose your content types/pillars
Now is the time to check out what the competition is up to. What's working well? And what isn't working well?
Content is the golden nugget and core of any digital strategy, and the content strategy refers to the creation & management of any tangible media that you create and own: written, visual, audio, downloadable.
So a clever way to analyse the social media space, and decide your strategy is to analyse previous content performance, as well as assess what your competition is doing. What channels are they consistently present on? How many followers do they have? What content has the highest CTR?
It is important to analyse different types of content like social media posts (whether static images, videos or infographic style content), blog performance, video views and more to assess which content is performing well and which may be falling short. In this case, some key metrics you should be looking at are views or video views, likes, comments & shares.
From this analysis, you will also be able to determine what content type resonates the most amongst your target market. Whether that be video, imagery, infographics, memes, blogs and articles, case studies or podcasts.
In a practical sense, for B2B businesses, content pillars like testimonials, positive reviews and accolades (such as awards and customer milestones) are ideal as a form of social proof for building credibility and trust.
Whilst for the B2C fashion business example, creating a sense of ‘FOMO’ is desirable, so sharing images of influencers wearing the brand’s products, in beautiful locations will do the trick.
One thing will always be apparent - quality content achieves strong results (more on this in step 4).
3. Planning - How to create a rolling content calendar
Now that we know what works and what doesn’t, the content focus, the goals and the overarching plan, let’s dive into what exactly will need to be created and when.
A marketing year is broken into campaign periods - these can be monthly, quarterly, seasonal or set campaign periods depending on the business.
At the start of each campaign period, there will ordinarily be a strategic discussion about the direction or focus for the period ahead. This is where specific themes or offers for the campaign period are decided amongst the key decision-makers within the business - usually the marketing team, sales team, product team and operations manager.
Creating campaigns direction or focus’ combines both creativity and strategic thinking. Each campaign you create should relate back to your original goals and objectives. For example, the B2C company wants to increase brand awareness, so the campaign could be a competition requiring each person who enters to follow the brand on Instagram (increasing followers), re-share the brand's competition post in their story (increasing brand awareness) and to tag 5 friends in the post (increase page views).
Planning all the content within each campaign comes next. Based on the confirmed campaign theme, offer or focus, the content needs to be conceptualised, planned and & mapped out into a content calendar for the respective team members to then create - whether that be copywriters, graphic designers, videographers, photographers or web developers.
Most content calendars are slightly different and tailored to the businesses needs, but should always include: date / time of posting, which channel, what content pillar is being used, any necessary links, a copy of the video / image and a copy of the written content. You can also add hashtags, who should be tagged in the post, it is paid, earned or owned.
This calendar will be constantly added to by the digital marketing team as the months go on. It should be considered the bible for all the necessary content that needs to be created for a particular time period or campaign across all digital marketing channels.
It’s important to always focus on the content that is going to work the best for the brand (step 2).
Each of these pieces of content will then fall into the relevant buckets to be distributed across social channels within the greater digital strategy
4. Make amazing content
Digital marketing performance is heavily influenced by the quality of the creative content used. You cannot share a brands story, a brands offering, or how it will help the consumer without stand-out content.
Consider these factors when developing your content development briefs:
- Video - Videos work brilliantly in the top of the funnel brand awareness activity (whether on channels like FB, IG, Youtube, LinkedIn, TikTok) and they provide a great medium to showcase the brand from a high level - what it’s about, what it provides and how it helps a user overall.
- Photo / Image / Infographic /Memes - Valuable for interacting in a fun and eye-catching way with your target audience, showcasing particular products or conveying aspirational lifestyle visuals.
- Blogs - Long-form written blogs or articles are the perfect medium for traffic-driving campaigns, providing educational-based value and knowledge to your audience
- Big Rock Methodology - this is an extra long-form piece of written content that is often hosted as a downloadable resource on a businesses website - such as e-books or whitepapers. Most commonly used for service-based businesses. They are valuable sources for lead magnets and can be linked-to in initial outreach conversations with prospective clients, acting as an incredibly powerful tool to drive them back to a website to learn more
- Case Studies - This is the social proof you will need to get potential customers across the line. Focus on adding a human touch to your case studies by interviewing the client, getting video snippets, as well as a written case study in blog format and PDF for sharing via email.
- Podcasts - A content type that has become more and more valuable over recent years. Podcasts are all about knowledge-sharing in a convenient to listen to approach. Another strategic digital tactic to broaden brand reach and build a community.
Making the content is the most important part of the entire process. It will involve a combination of natural skills (creativity, attention to detail, visualisation) and learned skills (graphic design, video skills, photoshop, creative writing etc). But remember, a piece of creative content is only as good as its respective brief, so if you’re outsourcing the content creation, you will need to invest time in creating a clear, comprehensive brief.
Of course, if your business doesn’t have the luxury of large marketing budgets or internal team members to help with content creation, here are some tools that can help:
- Canva - simple graphic design platform
- Unsplash - free stock imagery
- Grammarly - spelling and grammar checker tool
5. Monitor the metrics. Assess. Pivot. Grow
Digital marketing attribution is the practice of evaluating the marketing touchpoints a consumer encounters on their path to purchase, and evaluating its effectiveness.
With more traditional forms of marketing like radio and television, it is difficult to attribute spending to actual results. With digital, however, we can explicitly state our objective for the marketing activity, drive traffic towards that objective, and have the ability to prove that the marketing activity drove conversion performance.
Some key content metrics to measure are:
- Audience growth rate
- Brand awareness
- Post Reach
- Website traffic rate
- Engagement rate
- Click-through rate
- New leads
- Email Subscription rate
Whether you’re a B2C or B2B brand, it is imperative that these metrics are measured and assessed, whether that be weekly, monthly or quarterly. They will prove that a campaign either worked well or it didn’t. If your content activity is not producing positive metrics, then you will need to assess your overall social media strategy and the content being produced.
The key takeaway?
Content creation and the task of social media growth is both challenging and exciting, so have fun with it!
Content will continually demonstrate who the business is, the expertise it brings to their respective industry and the value they add to their brand’s community. Without content, we can't execute the majority of a digital strategy.
Social media is the perfect channel to have a bit of fun with your brand’s community - create some funny memes, connect with viewers, ask direct questions & try doing polls - it’s ALL about generating engagement in this space.
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