Having a social media marketing strategy is a must for modern businesses that wish to connect with their audience on an emotional level. A social media presence is a must to build customer trust and loyalty and to start a conversation. Having a strategy is essential for ensuring that your customers are coming to you, not the competition.
If you haven’t started to formulate a social media marketing strategy for 2020, it’s not too late. Here are the detailed steps for how to build your social media strategy to boost your traffic and conversions this year.
Clarify Your Brand
Before you start choosing content to include in your social media strategy, you need to clarify both your brand and your audience. First, consider what you’re trying to convey when you post something on social media. To refine your brand, ask questions like:
- What does my business offer?
- What problem does my business solve?
- Why should my customer choose me?
- How can they make a purchase?
Outlining the answers to these questions will help you put together a unique selling proposition (USP) that frames your efforts on social media.
From there, consider how you want to be perceived by your customer. Think of how you’d describe or personify your brand. What tone does your brand use when addressing customers? Professional, educational, fun, casual? These subtle brand features should be present in each thing you post online. If it’s not in alignment with your brand, it likely shouldn’t be on your content calendar.
To streamline your future social media strategy planning efforts, create a brand guidelines document. This document will outline the tone you use, list the colors of your brand, and show acceptable variants of your logo.
Conducting a Social Media Content Audit
Once you’ve clarified your brand, use that framework to look at your various social media profiles. Conduct a social media audit to ensure that everything is in alignment with your brand. This is also your opportunity to take a look at your profiles and update any missing information.
On each profile, ensure the profile picture, header, descriptors, tone used, etc. are all in alignment with your brand. Take note of anything that needs to be fixed or updated to get in alignment. Consider how you’ll craft your future messaging to convey your brand values.
As a part of your social media content strategy audit, you’ll also want to look for imposter accounts. Some imposter accounts are made with negative intentions, used to scam your audience, and damaging your reputation as a result. Others are purely unintentional. You may find another business with the same name as you. If that’s the case, you’ll have to determine the reasonable course of action.
Clarify Your Audience
When clarifying your brand, you’ll simultaneously need to clarify your audience. After all, by creating a social media content strategy, you’re trying to find the best way to connect with your people. Knowing what these people want to hear is an essential part of the process.
Drill down into your analytics and demographics to determine who is following you already. Consider everything, including:
- geographic location
- income level
- education level
- employment status
Some of these demographics won’t play as important of a role as others. You may also identify other interests or lifestyle traits that do impact your customer relationships. These are just a starting point.
Create a Customer Avatar
Use these demographics to create an avatar of your ideal customer. Think of the person who is most likely to purchase your product. What demographic qualities do they offer? Start to piece these tidbits of information together to create a persona. Give it a name, a job, a dog— numerous personal features to make it more realistic.
As you move forward with your messaging, think of how your customer avatar would react. If it’s not something that would appeal to them, it’s probably not right for your social media.
Set Relevant Action-Based Goals
Once you have the framework of who your customers are and what your brand stands for, it’s time to set action-based goals. An action-based goal goes beyond what you hope will happen at the end and builds the stepping stones to get there. In other words, you focus on the moves you need to make every day rather than the finish line.
Create goals using the SMART framework. Each goal should be Specific, Measureable, Actionable, Realistic, and Timely. For example, a general social media content strategy goal would be to increase engagement on Facebook. A SMART goal would be to increase engagement on Facebook by 50% by the end of the next quarter by using quote posts that encourage likes and sharing.
Once you have SMART goals in place around your social media, reverse engineer them to create objectives. What are you going to do daily, weekly, and monthly to reach your goal?
Take the previous example of increasing your engagement by 50% by the end of the next quarter. Your daily tasks could be posted twice per day. Weekly tasks might include preparing and scheduling posts for the next week. Monthly tasks might include reviewing analytics and adjusting your tactics.
Reverse engineering your goals also makes the road ahead less overwhelming. Posting twice per day sounds a lot more manageable than posting 180 Facebook updates.
Set Performance Metrics for Your Social Media Content Strategy
Another key area to focus on before diving into the dirty work is to set performance metrics. Creating inbound marketing strategies is useless without metrics in place to evaluate your progress. Your performance metrics are the milestones that you need to reach en route to your goals. Otherwise, you won’t know that you’re off course until it’s too late.
The best social media performance metrics include:
- Follower count
With the right tools in place, you can also drill down into social media conversions, web traffic, share of voice, and cost per click. If you’re new to tracking, however, start with the basics and expand as you become more comfortable in your workflow.
Evaluate the Competition
To be successful with your campaign, you’ll need to evaluate the competition. Take time to look at what both your direct and indirect competitors are doing. What’s working for them? What’s falling on deaf ears? Where are they leaving an opportunity for you to swoop in and save the day? Do a complete competitive analysis so that you can work smarter, not harder.
Note that researching the competition isn’t so you can copy what they’re doing. You’re taking a strategic look to ensure that your offering is on par or better. When you clarify your brand and identify what makes you unique, it should carry over into how you shape your social media marketing strategy.
A lot of brands are innovators in social media and seem to hit the mark every time. This is because they took the time to understand their customers, clarify their brand, and set measurable goals.
Take some time to scroll through social media accounts of brands that you admire. These brands could be entirely unrelated to your business. In fact, that’s preferable. Note the visual components that stand out and appeal to you. What qualities make them appealing? Note how you feel when you read their posts and consider how you can convey those emotions to your audience.
Save inspiring accounts to create a vision board that will shape your social media content. You can also look at award winners for social media and digital marketing efforts to glean valuable insights about what makes a fantastic social media content strategy and campaign.
Evaluate Your Current Content
Just because your current content has been published or is no longer up to date, doesn’t mean that it lacks value. In fact, one of the most effective digital marketing strategies is to repurpose content over time. Not only does this save time and energy, but it ensures that your content reaches a wider audience.
Look at your current content to determine what can be refreshed and what can be archived. Some posts can probably be shared again as-is. On the other hand, some graphics might require updates to be in alignment with your brand. Some previously published content will be useless for your new strategy and can be set aside.
In addition to refreshing, you might also change how a piece of content is consumed. Social media marketing trends are changing every day. Video marketing, for example, has surged over the past year to become one of the top social media trends. Podcasts have also seen a significant increase in popularity. Thus, turning quips and quotes from old blog posts into audio or video clips is a fantastic way to create new content without reinventing the wheel.
Revisit Your Platforms
When businesses start building a social media presence, they tend to go one of two ways. You get the businesses that reserve their brand name for each social media platform and try to juggle them all from the get-go. On the other side of the equation, you get brands that start with Facebook or Twitter and never look beyond those opportunities.
Revisiting your platforms should be a key part of your annual social media marketing strategy. LinkedIn might not be the right platform to connect with your audience. You might be doing yourself a disservice by lacking an Instagram account. Take this opportunity to look at where your customers are and trim the fat so that you can invest in high-value efforts.
Create a Content Calendar
The next step in creating a stellar social media strategy for 2020 is to build your content calendar. This framework will help you identify how many posts you need to curate or create. It will also help you figure out how much time you’ll need to invest in scheduling, interacting with your audience, and adapting.
Start by identifying your posting schedule. How many posts per account will you post per day? What time will you be posting at? Having a social media scheduling tool for this purpose is well worth the investment and will save tremendous amounts of time.
Creating Your Mix
Once you’ve outlined your desired posting frequency, start to strategize your content mix. How much content will be new, and how much will be refreshed? What ratio of your own content will you post in relation to curated content from other sites?
While creating your mix, you’ll also want to consider the goals of each post. What percentage will be focused on increasing your reach? What percentage will be educational to build brand awareness? Finally, how many posts will be used to capture leads or create conversions?
There are endless approaches to create a social media mix. Many businesses subscribe to the 80:20 rule— 80% of the content is informative and fun, 20% is used to drive sales. You could split this into thirds, fifths— whatever works for your business.
Track, Analyze, and Adapt Your Social Media Content Strategy
Even with the best-laid plans, things don’t always work out as expected. Within a few weeks, you may find that the behavior you predicted when interacting with customers was off base. For example, you might have included quote blocks for sharing and interaction. Your audience might gravitate more toward your behind-the-scenes pictures instead.
There are a lot of reasons why this could happen. With social media algorithms, some content is prioritized over others. You might just be behind on the latest trends and need to tweak your approach.
This is where the performance metrics and reverse-engineered objectives come into play. Those mile markers are perfect for evaluating where you should be, where you are, and how to bridge the gap.
Set aside time each week to look at the numbers against the targets. Keep these tracked in a rolling document that allows you to show progress over time. While some subscription social media scheduling platforms offer this service, an Excel sheet will work just fine.
Identify any trends and anomalies that can shape your efforts going forward. Remember that the goal is continued progress, not perfection.
Planning a Social Media Content Strategy for Success
Once you have the framework for a strong social media content strategy in place, future planning gets easier. Use these steps to create an effective social media marketing strategy that will increase your reach and your conversions.
While some subscription social media scheduling platforms offer this service, an Excel sheet will work just fine. Alternatively, you can outsource your social media management to a company like Ampfluence which is one of the best Instagram growth services that also offers Pinterest and Twitter account management.
Wendy Dessler is a super-connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.