How to create a social media strategy
Social media is a key element of a brand’s marketing strategy. With billions of people using social media platforms, it makes communication and exposure much easier and more accessible worldwide than ever before. Social media allows for direct access to consumers, opening up an opportunity to develop a relationship with your existing clients and potential new ones. It is crucial to have a strong social media strategy that will allow you to protect your brand by having control over your image and monitor your online reputation, deliver your marketing messages, keep an eye on competitors and make yourself stand out, which will boost sales.
Creating an effective social media strategy
How do you create an effective social media strategy? First, you have to decide which social networks make sense to use for your brand, then decide on a budget to spend on ads, followed by building an asset library with enough content to plan ahead, develop an internal social media process and finally, write out your strategy.
Decide which networks to use
No two brands will have the same social media strategy because no two brands are the same. This includes the choice of which platform to be on. It is a common misconception for brands that are creating social media strategies that they need to immediately be on all platforms at once. You first need to understand who your public is, who are the people you want to communicate with and where they are located. For example, if you are a B2B company providing services, your primary audience are businesses and your goal is to generate leads, not make direct sales. In this case, the first platform to look at is LinkedIn because it is mainly business oriented. Instagram on the other hand, would not be as relevant because it is geared towards a different public and type of content.
Once you know this, you can start by being present on 1 or 2 networks, see how that works, then expand to others you think could make sense. It is important to keep in mind that social media needs a lot of nurturing. You cannot simply create an account, post a few things and forget about it. This is why it is better to have fewer accounts that get a lot of attention than several that aren’t.
Assign a budget to ad spend
This step is about deciding whether you would want to allocate a budget to your social media strategy. Organic content is necessary as it relays an authentic message to your public. Paid ads can be an effective way to complement your organic strategy as you can reach a specific audience by refining the targeting options.
There are different ways to advertise on social media. You can boost posts, which means that you use existing organic social content and transform it into an ad or you can also create ads using other assets such as videos, images, gifs, carousels. The ad format should be chosen according to what fits best with the ad content. For example, if you sell multiple products, you could do a carousel showcasing some of them, or if you offer services maybe a short video about them would be more effective.
Build an asset library
Once you know what messages you want to communicate to your audience, you need to define what your feed will look like. If, for example, Instagram is your main social media network, it is a highly visual platform so the feed must look coherent to what your brand represents. You should also define the mix between images, videos, carousels, gifs and how often you can post them to maintain consistency in your posts. Plus always ensure the assets’ dimensions are formatted for the platform you are sharing on. We recommend gathering content in advance so that you can schedule posts ahead of time so that you don’t run into any last minute issues of having nothing to post.
Work out your processes
Having followed the previous steps, it is now time to look into community management. There should be at least one person dedicated to overlooking the social media process for your company. Someone needs to be responsible for writing the copy and publishing the content, defining the times when the posts should be shared, how quickly you will reply to messages, how often you will be doing community management and you can also decide if you would like to use a social media tool to schedule your content ahead of time. Optimal posting times can vary across different channels and will not necessarily be the same for all brands. It all depends on when the majority of your audience is present on social media and depending on where your audience is located you have to adapt to different time zones. The best way to define these times is to begin with trial and error, then use the accounts insights once you have been posting for a couple of weeks to find the optimal posting times.
Write out your strategy
When the process is well defined, write it all down and create a social media strategy document that you can revisit and be used by the entire social media and marketing departments to ensure that the whole team is on the same page. Having your strategy written down will also make it easier for new team members and other departments that help with social media marketing in your organisation to quickly get up to speed with your process.