If you want to be successful on social media, it’s not enough just to start posting fun gifs and links to your website. You need a strategy. Unfortunately, many companies neglect this step, and are confused about what they should be posting. Or, they start publishing content, but aren’t getting any likes or comments. Without a strategy, you can’t be sure that what you’re posting is resonating with your audience or communicating the right ideas.

So you know you need a strategy. But where do you begin? Follow our two-part guide to create a strategy for your social media platforms. When you start with a plan, you can grow your channels more easily and reach more customers – which is why you’re on social media in the first place, right?

  1. Determine Your Goals

A successful social media strategy starts with goals and objectives. You need to know why you are on social media and what you are hoping to achieve. As with any goal, they need to be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Do you want to build an online community of people talking about your product? Do you want to bring more people to your website? Do you want to find new customers? All of these should be specifically communicated via your goals.

It’s important to remember that while it may feel good to get likes on your posts, if they aren’t translating to conversions.  Focus instead on targets such as leads generated, web referrals, and conversion rate. You may want to track different goals for different channels, or even different uses of each channel.

Your goal could be, “We will grow our Instagram following by 50 new followers per week.”

Make sure to align your social media goals with your overall marketing strategy.

2. Research Your Audience

Knowing your audience and how they behave online is crucial to creating content that they will want to engage with.

Start by creating audience personas – a specific description of your ideal customer. It can’t be “women and men 18-65.” You might want your product to reach that many people, but it’s just not realistic, not is it helpful when creating your strategy. Get specific and describe this person’s age, location, interests, job, etc.

If you already have an audience on social media pages, use the insights to learn more about them.

3. Research the Competition

If your competitors are already on social media, you need to check out their pages. Maybe they’re doing great, or maybe they need help too. All of this is valuable information.

This analysis will help you spot opportunities. For example, maybe one of your competitors is dominant on Facebook, but doesn’t have much presence on Twitter or Instagram.

4. Conduct a Social Media Audit

If your business is already on social media, you need to take a step back and evaluate how it’s going. Ask yourself these questions about each of your social media platforms:

  • What’s working, and what’s not?
  • Who is connecting with you on social?
  • Which social media sites does your target market use?
  • How does your social media presence compare to that of your competitors?

Through this audit, you should be able to analyze which platform works best for what conversion. While you’re looking at your accounts, as these questions:

  1. Is my audience here?
  2. If so, how are they using this platform?
  3. Can I use this account to help achieve meaningful business goals

Figure out what posts people seem to engage with, and which sit silently on your feed. Note any patterns you discover, or any outliers. Did you get a tone of likes on a random video of a funny dog? That’s helpful to know.

 

Stay tuned for Part Two on our guide to creating a social media strategy.