Creating a Social Media Strategy: Step-by-Step Guide
With the amazing power of social media, it is more important than ever to have an online presence for your business.
But not every platform will be worth your time.
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You need to have goals and a definitive social media strategy. You can’t just wait around for something to go viral, or hope that a post will get a lot of traffic.
You need to have a plan.
Without goals, you won’t have anything to gauge your progress or success on; without a plan you will struggle with what to post, and you will waste your time.
This is where your social media strategy comes in.
As you probably already know, social media has a ton of benefits. Whether you are a blogger or a business, you can capitalize on properly using your social media channels.
Here are just a few ways that proper use of social media can benefit you:
- Increase exposure
- Develop a loyal community
- Increase traffic
- Low marketing expenses
- Build your brand
- Networking opportunities
When thinking about growing your blog or business, you want to focus on the concept of creating a community.
You need to view social media as a tool you can use to extend your reach.
One of your main goals needs should be focusing on providing your audience with value. In order to do that, you can't have a social media feed that is only filled with your content.
I am sure you do not post about every single topic that interests your audience, so you need to post other relevant content.
This is really important.
A lot of bloggers make the mistake of only promoting their own content. If your audience only wanted to read your stuff then they could just go to your blog.
Your social media accounts need to have a healthy mix of posts for your audience.
Every point of contact you make offers the opportunity to create a positive impression for your brand.
Each source that brings traffic to your blog is unique and different.
This is especially true when it comes to social media. If you currently use Facebook, Twitter, or even Instagram, then you know how different each one is.
Having a separate strategy, or plan, for each one is extremely beneficial. You need to view social media as a tool you can use to extend your reach, not as work just to grow your numbers.
Having a social media strategy will help you develop a plan and a purpose to reach your goals.
You do not want to be wasting valuable time without seeing the benefits of using a particular platform.
Below, you will find my tips for creating a social media strategy, and different ways to apply them to your own business.
One of the first aspects of creating a social media strategy is identifying your audience.
Not only should you have a detailed outline of the demographics of your website, but you need to consider where they are spending the majority of their time online, so that you know where to put the majority of your efforts.
Keep in mind that everyone is NOT your ideal reader.
You need to stay focused, and build your social media channel with people who are interested in what you have to offer.
Just because you may like Twitter best doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s what your audience likes best. You want to focus the bulk of your time where you know it will be the most beneficial.
In the action plan section below, you will find out how I have obtained this information.
- How can you help them?
- What need will you fill?
- Why should they follow you?
- Where are they spending their time?
Having clear goals will help you to plan what you need to do on your social media channels.
What do you want to achieve?
Define your what, how and when.
Try starting with a limited amount of goals and solely focus on accomplishing each one.
What is your end goal?
Is it to sell a product?
Is it to drive traffic to a blog post?
Is it to build a relationship?
You need to be intentional and post with purpose. Having clear goals will help you to plan what you need to do on your social media channels.
Now, go back to your what, how and when, and let’s look at how to focus in on one goal at a time.
For example, your goal may be to increase your email subscribers by X amount by the end of the month.
Now you will need to create an action plan on how you are going to achieve that particular goal.
Take the time to write out your most important goals. Although increasing your following on each social media channel is important, it should not be your entire focus.
When writing out your goals, I recommend using the SMART criteria. It will help you to be as specific as possible.
- What message do you want to convey?
- What is your end goal when you post?
Keep your brand consistent throughout all of your social media channels.
Part of your social media strategy needs to focus on being consistent.
You can’t just post on your Facebook account for a week straight and then decide to stop.
Create a posting schedule and stick to it.
You may end up adjusting your schedule, but try to be consistent until you can track your results.
How many times a day will you post on each channel?
Your accounts need to match your blog and your brand. This includes your:
You don’t want to only be on one platform.
Don’t put all of your eggs in 1 basket. Consider sharing your content on several social media channels.
I recommend trying to master one platform before moving on to the next. You don’t want to get overwhelmed by posting on every single social media channel that you have.
Also, consider using a scheduling service to help save time. I use (this is my affilaite link) BoardBooster and Buffer.
Types of Posts
Share different types of content on your social media accounts. This can be your own posts or other people’s content, including:
Keep in mind the platform that you are on. Some are more visual than others. Pay attention to what works with each.
This can be called the 70/30 or 80/20 rule, but the point is that you need to provide value to your audience 80% of the time and only have 20% of it be promotional.
The key to building trust and getting your readers to engage with you is to provide them with value.
Educate and entertain your audience. Don’t make your feeds all about what you have on your blog.
If you are truly focused on helping your audience, then you will be providing links to their blogs and to websites that they are interested in.
You need to be personable with your readers; engaging and actually being social is key.
You need to engage by commenting, answering questions, and interacting with your followers.
Try to keep the conversation going, whether it is on your blog or on your Facebook page.
If someone leaves a comment, then comment back and be social. This means you need to be available.
You can’t just schedule to all of your accounts and then forget about them.
Analytics & Stats
Check out your analytics and insights to see what is and is not working.
Social media is always changing, so it is important that you adapt and change your techniques. Tweak what you are doing based upon your results.
It is all trial-and-error.
Try to post timely items, and see what is trending to boost engagement. Figure out ways to add more value by including industry trends or current events.
Now that you know your audience and have set your goals, it is time to create a plan of attack.
One of the best ways to do this is to be as detailed and organized as possible. Figure out the steps you need to take to accomplish the goals you listed above.
- Which social media channels will you use?
- How will you engage with your readers?
Write down a list of the tasks you will be completing in order to reach your social media goals.
Here are a few examples:
Conduct a reader survey – a great way to find out where your audience is spending the majority of their time online is by asking them. In the past, I have done a short reader survey to acquire this information.
Content to share on each channel – make a list of what you want to share on each social media channel. I like to have a separate spreadsheet for each. I keep track of which posts do better on my social media platforms.
Engage readers/fans – think of different ways that you can keep your social pages interesting. How will you get your readers or customers to engage with you? An example could be hosting a giveaway or offering incentives.
Weekly & Daily Tasks – How many times a day will you post on each channel? Since each platform is unique from the others, you may be posting more on Facebook than you would Instagram or vice versa. Consider which types of content work better on each channel: video, posts, pictures, etc.
Your social media strategy should also include other tasks, like commenting, following, pinning, tweeting, liking, etc.
Like I mentioned already, your readers do not want to only see your content all the time.
Find relevant information and include those within your strategy as well.
Your social media strategy will definitely change and develop over time.
But having one in place will help you to stay focused and motivated.
You need to be intentional, so take the time to figure out what is best for your audience.
A huge part of this is determining the amount of time and effort you are able to dedicate to social media.
I have learned that social media is a huge part of both of my blogs and has helped me to build my communities.
I put a huge emphasis on my social media strategy, and I am constantly making changes when I figure out what is working and what is not working.
Overall, your social media strategy will help you to have a plan of action and maintain a consistent brand message while allowing you to stay relevant.
What are some key factors in your social media strategy?