The social media landscape is always changing, but we simplified the process of creating your social media strategy down to seven simple tips — or steps — to be on your way to a successful social campaign!
Building a strong social media strategy is imperative for any business today. If you’re not considering it, you’re already behind the competition.
But it’s not too late.
You’ll want to take advantage of social media marketing because it’s different than other marketing channels.
It provides a two-way conversation between brands and customers. You have the ability to add more of a human touch, helping you stand out among competitors.
Also, social media marketing allows your business to tell your brand’s story in an intimate way, building stronger connections with your target audience that can directly turn into sales or leads.
7 steps for creating your social media strategy
Developing a social media strategy can help to jump-start your service leads or product sales by reaching a new audience.
Purchasing decisions are influenced by social media, especially peer recommendations. Just think about how many times you’ve made a purchasing decision based on a friend’s recommendation. It spreads even wider via social media channels.
Your business can also distinguish itself with excellent and personalized customer service, responding to social media posts requesting further information or clarification. Your company will also have the ability to analyze key data to better target your existing and future customers.
We’ve made it easy for you, however, to form a social media strategy with seven easy steps:
1. Develop your social media marketing blueprint
The strategy phase is one of the most important steps in developing a strong social media campaign. You need to lay out a clear path for achieving your company’s objectives and goals.
But first you need to decide what your primary goals are, such as generating more leads, converting more leads into actual customers or simply increasing brand awareness.
Developing a brand voice and personality is also key in the way you want to engage with your audience. Do you want a serious tone, more conversation or perhaps attempt humor?
You’ll also need to clearly define your target audience. That can be done by leveraging data and analytics.
Your strategy will also need to include choosing the right platforms for your business, whether that’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or another social media site.
Once that’s finalized, you should create a plan for organic and paid content. You can use both, but one might be more effective for your business depending on whether you’re selling a product or service or if you have strong visuals to leverage with photos or even video.
You should wrap up your social media strategy session by auditing and optimizing your profiles, such as creating cohesive bios or updating business hours. Basically, make your profiles easy to read and efficient, clearly defining your business and its products and/or services.
2. Know your competition
One of the best ways to surpass your competition is to study them. Find out what makes your competition so successful. What are they doing well? Why do they have an advantage?
Conduct a thorough social media audit of your top three competitors and look at several aspects of their channels and content.
Focus on your competitions’ branding, popularity, frequency of posts, engagement and types of content they’re producing. Strong engagement with content, such as numerous comments, likes or retweets, is a clear sign that what they’re doing is getting noticed and working for them.
Here’s a pro tip: Review their “info and ads” on Facebook. And find a “hero” brand for inspiration.
3. Leverage video
When formulating your social media strategy and execution plan, keep this in mind: Video is king on every social media platform.
Keep this number in mind: Facebook generates 258% more engagement than link posts, according to Quintly.
Video performs better on every platform. You should be looking into creating your own video content, if possible. Also, include captions for your video posts since 85% of people watch videos without sound via social media.
However, be aware that quality video often requires a production team and can increase your digital marketing costs significantly. Of course, the payoff is almost always worth the investment.
4. Use story formats
A key element in connecting with your target audience is allowing them to get to know you. You should emphasize humanizing your brand as much as possible.
Sharing personal details about your business or yourself will help you connect with your audience in a more personal way. Think about that with your content. Stories feel real, immediate and intensely personal. Enable users to capture in-the-moment experiences.
This strategy doesn’t require a large digital marketing budget or expensive equipment, but it often performs and connects better in a raw format.
You can also take advantage of other ways to engage with your audience, such as polls or questions. Those are popular options on Facebook and Twitter and allows you to learn more about your audience while also building trust as you show them their opinions matter to you.
5. Utilize user-generated content
Another way to help relieve some social media budget constraints is taking advantage of user-generated content.
User-generated content can also add another level of trust with your customers, whether you’re running a brand ambassador program or pulling content from your branded hashtags.
User-generated content will help your business make customers feel appreciated and valued. It’s also an easy way to source content that doesn’t require heavy-lifting. Also, it often generates more engagement.
Know this: Customers are the best advocates. Their opinions carry a lot of weight with their peers and can really help drive more leads and generate brand loyalty.
6. Be transparent
Another important piece of your social media campaign should be transparency.
Transparency builds trust between you and your followers. Research shows that 86% of consumers prefer an authentic and honest personality on social networks.
Your business has many opportunities to display transparency. One of the best ways: If you make a mistake, admit it and share it.
If you’re responding to reviews, make sure you’re responding to both positive and negative ones and coming clean if you drop the ball and show that you want to make it right publicly.
Always give honest answers to customer questions and include upfront product/service pricing. Also, become advocates of your employees, sharing their content via your social media platforms.
How to show transparency:
- Admit mistakes
- Honest answers to a customer questions
- Product/service pricing
- Employee advocacy (share content from employees)
7. Stay responsive
Finally, be aware that the best social media accounts are the ones that stay responsive.
Consumers often reach out to brands via social media because they have questions. Sometimes they view it as a last resort after failing to get answers via your website or customer service department.
Your expected response time on social media should be 24 hours or less. Responsiveness increases brand loyalty and purchase intent.
Be sure to set up and personalize auto-responders in your messages to give an immediate response. Also, practice strong follow-up with your responses to make sure your customers receive satisfactory answers and don’t need any further assistance. That kind of follow-through will show all of your customers and audience that you care about their concerns. That builds trust within your social communities that can help retention or drive more leads.
Regardless, your brand will certainly become more respected because it’s responsive.
Want to share these tips with your team? Download: 5 Takeaways for Creating a Successful Social Media Strategy.
Looking to partner with a social media marketing agency? Contact Thrive today!