For all businesses, creating a consistent social media strategy is a must. Social media is an enormous market for growing the awareness and customer loyalty to your brand, increasing conversions, and ultimately giving your brand a voice that connects with your customers in no other way.
There is a lot of importance behind creating a great content strategy online, but just as important is sharing your content on the right social media platforms – but knowing where to begin and how to start building a strategy can feel like a complex topic to tackle in the beginning!
In this post, we’re going to take you through why social media can be a total game changer for any company, and provide a step-by-step beginner’s guide to setting up your social media strategy and successfully growing your business with it.
Many businesses fail to investigate how to build a social media strategy. They simply don’t think investing time and effort into these channels is worth it.
However, while a newer form of marketing, social media is here to stay.
Facebook alone currently has over 2 billion users per year, and the number is still growing. YouTube is just behind at over 1.5 billion users, and Instagram with a rising figure of 700 million users.
Not using social media effectively for your company is failing to tap into an enormous market of potential consumers spending several hours every single day looking at similar posts from other brands and, worst of all, your competitors.
Marketing has changed exponentially because of social media and won’t be looking back anytime soon. The statistics speak for themselves.
So we know that social media is a treasure trove just waiting to be opened by your business, but what can it actually do for you? Here are a few of the key ways social media can massively benefit your business:
An effective social media strategy will propel your brand name out into the world, with valuable, engaging posts meaning the people who see your brand also connect with it.
Connecting with your audience and customers on social media creates a far more personal connection than simply inviting them to your website, and will seriously increase the loyalty your existing and new customers have to your brand.
Social media provides an insight into your customers like nothing else. You can see what your customers are interested in, who they are engaging with, the questions they’re asking and more.
Bigger Audience Reach
With over 2 billion users on Facebook alone, social media gives your brand a far bigger audience reach than solely relying on SEO and organic web traffic will. Social media can direct people to your website instantly, while steadily rising in search engine results can take years.
Social media provides a huge audience that you can target. But if you post occasionally, when you get the time, you will not get you the results you want. A social media strategy takes your audience into account, as well as the channels you are operating on and the content you are publishing.
To get the most out of your social media efforts – and make sure you’re not wasting your time – our 8-step beginner’s guide to building a social media strategy starts now:
Choose Your Platforms
First things first: you need to choose the social media platforms you’re going to operate on.
You could have accounts for every platform out there, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, StumbleUpon, MySpace…you name it! But focus: choose two or three to start.
To do this, you need to know your target audience. Not everyone spends an equal amount of time on every social media site, so you need to know where you are most likely to find your audience, and where they are most likely to engage with your posts.
As an example, Facebook and Twitter are generally acknowledged to be useful in marketing terms. However, if your company has a lot of visual material to offer, consider building your strategy on Instagram as well.
Likewise, if your content could be expanded to videos in the form of tours, how-tos, and even vlogs, YouTube could be a phenomenal space to grow your audience.
Create Killer Profiles
Once you have decided your target market and the platforms you’re going to base your social media strategy around, you need to create killer, consistent profiles .
Set up business accounts for every platform you will be operating on. A business account will operate exactly the same as a normal account from the outside but will give you a valuable insight into the performance of your posts, growth, and engagement across the channels you’re using.
A few key things to remember when setting up your accounts:
- Use a clear, easily-identifiable logo as your profile photo
- Your cover photo should be equally clear and immediately identify your brand
- Write a clear, friendly (yet professional) description that outlines what your company does
- Use the profile to outline your mission values and aims
- Keep it informal and friendly, but always remember this is a company account, not your personal one.
Choose a Social Media Scheduler
A social media scheduler will make your strategy far more efficient and much easier to stick to! Schedulers enable you to schedule your social media posts days, weeks, or even months in advance, meaning you’ll always be posting consistently without having to put in the work every single day.
Consistency is key so these tools can really be a lifesaver!
Popular social media schedulers include Buffer, Hootsuite, CoSchedule and SocialOomph, with many of these services providing both a free and a paid version. Look around and decide what will work best for your needs.
Find Optimal Posting Times
Publishing one post across all of your social media platforms at 9am every day is consistent, but it won’t get you the best results. People are active on different social media platforms at different times, and when you’re competing with so many other people and companies, you want to be publishing your content at the optimal time for it to be seen and engaged with.
Take a look at this great blog post from CoSchedule, which looks at the best times to post on a number of different social media platforms. A few results include:
- Facebook: Best times to post are 9am, 1pm and 3pm.
- Twitter: Best times to post are 12pm, 3pm, 5-6pm.
- Pinterest: Best times to post are 2pm, 9pm, and 2am.
Using a content scheduler is great because you can find the best times to post on each platform. (Looking at your own analytics for each platform is also a good idea for this reason.)
Armed with this data, you can consistently schedule the posts in advance, saving you a lot of time – especially if the best time for you to post also happens to be the time you wake up or need to commute home!
Do bear in mind, however, that there may be a lot of fluctuation with the best times to post your content. For example, if you have an international audience, time zones are always going to mean that some people miss your posts – so posting multiple times a day (without spamming your followers) is a good idea for tackling this problem.
Tailor Your Posts
Next, you need to tailor your posts to each platform you’re using. Sending out the same post to every single account isn’t going to sound genuine, and will not help your chances of people connecting with your posts.
- On Twitter, so you need a short, snappy, and witty ways of grabbing attention
- On Facebook and LinkedIn, you have much more room to play with, so alter your copy and give your audience a post they’ll want to read
- On Instagram, your image is the first thing that will grab your audience’s attention – so make that great, and find an engaging caption to match.
Asking questions is a great way to tailor your posts and encourage your audience to engage with your posts. So is making your social media posts more personal – remember, social media allows you to be less corporate, so humanise your company and connect with your audience on an emotional level if you can.
Engage and Connect
Social media is a two-way street, and engaging with your audience is just as important as them engaging with you.
Don’t be a faceless account that never responds and gets involved in discussions. Make sure you’re responding to comments, getting involved in debates (keeping things neutral of course!), and connecting with your followers on a personal, but professional, level.
If you followed the advice in the previous point and asked questions on your social media posts, be sure to look at the answers and respond. Even better, look at the answers and think about how you could create more content around those subjects and engage with your audience even more!
Success with social media lies in providing valuable content to your audience. If you’re posting the same thing day-in and day-out without getting involved, your engagement will remain low. However, if you give your company a face, engage with your audience and make yourself relatable, you’ll soon see the enormous difference providing value can bring.
Measure Your Results
An essential part of any social media strategy is measurement. This is particularly important if you are putting money into ads on social media platforms. You need to avoid wasting money on ads that don’t work.
Each month, take a look at your analytics on each social media platform; if you have a business account, this is normally a built-in feature. Look at the posts that worked, and pick out the ones that got you high engagement and click-throughs. Look at the posts that simply fell flat.
You may see a pattern. It could be the content, the writing style, or the publishing schedule.
Measuring your results is the only way you will be able to identify what works for your specific audience and adjust your strategy accordingly.
With every good social media strategy, consistency is key.
You will not see overnight growth when you start out unless a post goes viral. But posting consistently across your platforms every day, engaging with your audience, and providing valuable content, can do wonders for your brand over the next months and years.
That scheduler we mentioned earlier is really the glue that holds it all together. Planning ahead sounds like a lot of work – and it can be, in the beginning – but the rewards are limitless if you build your strategy well and stick with it.
If your business doesn’t have the time to dedicate to an effective social media strategy, social media managers are perfect for this exact reason. They’ll have the expertise needed to identify the platforms you should be using, set up your content scheduler and profiles, and ensure your social media platforms see the most effective growth possible with well-crafted posts as often as you need them.
Here’s the Most Important Thing You Need to Do
Social media has no magic recipe that will see your platforms grow astronomically overnight, but building a strong social media strategy is the number one way of guaranteeing steady, sustainable growth in the long-term.
Above all else, focus on providing high-quality content to your audience and engaging with them on a personal level – and you’ll soon see the rewards putting effort into your social media channels can bring.