How to plan a successful social media strategy

Most people are guilty of being a little half-assed when it comes to their social media strategy, myself included. I think part of the reason for this is that it seems like adding an extra task to our already busy schedule and a lot of people think that social media is a doddle.

Unfortunately, that last statement is far from correct. However, a social media strategy does make it easier. So let’s knuckle down and do this thang…..

Plus as an added incentive there’s a freebie for you at the end of the post 🙂

Here are the questions you need to be asking yourself

What are your goals?

Your entire social media strategy depends on what you are trying to achieve.

Are you trying to achieve more traffic to your website? Is your goal to build brand awareness? Are you trying to get links or get on the radar of potential investors? Any of these goals are a great place to start.

Pick the ones that make the most sense to you and your business and focus all social energy on that. Understanding your goals is the first step to making your social media efforts successful.

Once these goals are defined you can create clear objectives. Keep this simple and focus on the S.M.A.R.T strategy which means making your goals; specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based.

An example of this would be if you were focusing on brand awareness you might choose to try and increase your brand mentions on social media by 25% in a month.

Don’t pick unrealistic goals like gaining 100,000 followers on Twitter in 3 months, it will only make you feel crappy when you don’t reach it.

Who are your audience?

Who do you want to reach? Are you trying to reach your current customers? Potential customers? Influencers? Or maybe you’re trying to go after a new market that you haven’t broken ground on yet.

Once you’ve figured that out, you can figure out which social channels will work best for your ideal audience. There are of course the obvious ones; Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest. However, have you given any thought to the smaller ones?

Do some research to find out if your audience is hanging out on StumbleUpon, Tumblr, Flickr or Periscope. You could also go on the hunt for some hyper focused and relevant forums to get involved in.

If your audience is there then you should be too.

What are your competitors up to?

Your competitors can tell you a lot about what’s working in your industry and what’s not. They’ll be targeting the same people and it can be a useful learning opportunity, so don’t ignore them.

Pick your top five competitors and start by finding out which social channels they are using. Next study their content, what’s the tone like? How much do they talk about their products? How often do they post?

What will you be posting?

Now that you’ve got info on your ideal customer and what your competitors are doing, you can start building your message.  Choose a few key messages that you think will resonate with your audience based on the research you’ve done.

Next, you’ll need to create an epic social content plan. The content will need to align with your overall branding and the key messages that you have chosen.

At this point, it’s important to really think about what would provide your audience with the most value but don’t just stick to one media type. Explore infographics, gifs, videos, guides to name a few and don’t just post content once, that’s just wasteful!

Take inspiration from what’s working for your competitors but remember to make it as unique as possible. And have fun with it!

Small business owner

What next?

Schedule it

Now that you’ve got all your content ready to go why not make it easy on yourself. Put aside an hour at the beginning of the week and schedule all your posts for the next 7 days. It takes a bit of pressure off you as once it’s done you don’t have worry about it every day.

We use Buffer as it’s free and easy to use.

Measure it

Once everything is in place you’ll need to measure whether your strategy is actually working and achieving the goals you set out earlier.

You can track everything from likes and shares to link clicks and impressions. I would recommend using a blend of both in-house analytics such as the ones on Facebook and Twitter as well as the data on your Google analytics.

Experiment

Once you get your metrics you’ll be able to see which types of posts are going really well and which ones duds. From this point, you can start tweaking, using your data to improve interaction and learn exactly what works for your channels.

Just don’t forget to try new things as the world of social is constantly changing and your social media strategy should be too. It needs to accommodate new features and changes within your brand and audience.

I hope this has been helpful for you, let me know in the comments if you’ve got any tips you’d like to share. And if you liked this why not check out social media tips section. Oh and don’t forget your freebie!

Hashtag list for entrepreneurs