With 3.96 billion social media users, we can safely say that it is almost impossible for businesses to ignore the impact of social media. Customers want to connect with their favorite brands through social media channels.
Research reveals that 89% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand they follow on social media. It is no wonder over 70% of small businesses use social media to promote their business.
Social media is an effective platform for small businesses to connect with customers and prospects, earn a good reputation, and grow their business. However, to succeed on social media, you need a social media strategy.
A social media strategy is a plan that summarizes all you want to accomplish on social media. It outlines your goals, target audience, chosen social media platforms, type of content, when and how many times you intend to post, and how you intend to measure results.
It gives you a blueprint on how to make your brand successful through social media. Without a strategy, you won’t achieve sustained success even if you have good intentions.
So how do you create one? This article will guide you through 8 solid steps to create an effective social media strategy for your business.
1. Set SMART goals
Identifying your goals is the first step to achieving success with your social media strategy. What business goals do you want to accomplish on social media?
Make sure those goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based) goals. For example, if you want brand awareness for your business, you might want to set metrics that will help you measure that. It could be the number of followers or social shares.
2. Conduct a social media audit
If you have an existing social media account, this is an important step to take. A social media audit identifies strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities on a social media page. With this, you can know what is working and what is not on your page. It could be what type of content is more engaging, or how many likes and shares you get in a month. This valuable data will help you improve your social media strategy.
3. Know your target audience
Knowing your target audience is essential if you want to create an effective social media strategy. It determines what kind of content you post and on what social media channel to meet them. For example, if your target is an older age group of around 50-65 years, you are more likely to find them on Facebook and not on TikTok or Snapchat. So, you are less likely to get results if you channel your marketing efforts to TikTok or Snapchat.
Here are a few questions to help you identify your target audience:
- What is the age, occupation, gender, and location of your likely customer?
- What are their interests? Do they prefer educational content or humorous content?
- Why do they use social media?
- What is their online activity like?
4. Choose your social media platform
Choosing a social media platform is determined by who your target audience is, and the resources available. As a small business owner, it is always more effective to start with one social media platform and expand as you go. You want to earn a good reputation on one platform first rather than being an unknown on several platforms.
Different social media platforms come with their pros and cons. You want to pick one that resonates best with your business. Here are a few social media platforms popular in 2021: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Pinterest.
5. Conduct a competitor analysis
A competitive analysis is important for several reasons. It helps you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your competition. You can also identify the threats you might face, spot the opportunities, and see what works with your target audience.
You can carry out a competitor analysis by studying your competitors’ social media pages and analyzing what is working for them and what isn’t. There are also online tools that can help you spy on what your competitors are doing. Conducting a competitor analysis will help you leverage what works and craft a working social media strategy.
6. Create a social media content calendar
A social media content calendar is a document that helps you create and schedule social media posts you intend to use for days, weeks, or months. Creating a social media calendar creates consistency and saves time. A content calendar will typically revolve around activities happening in your company. It should also include special holidays and celebrations.
If you’re creating content on a large scale, a simple spreadsheet will get the job done. A typical calendar should contain columns for date, time of post, caption, image, and hashtag (if any). There are also scheduling sites and apps that can help you with this.
7. Implement your social media strategy
This is where all the action happens. Here are a few tips to make your implementation seamless:
- Get a social media strategy template
- Use social media management tools to schedule and monitor social media posts
- Be consistent with your communication and frequency of posts
- Measure your results
- Keep an eye on your social media goals
8. Keep track of your social media strategy
Tracking your social media strategy helps you measure performance. You can see what’s working for your audience and what isn’t. It also ensures you are getting a positive ROI (return on investment). Here are a few metrics to help you track your results:
- Impressions- This is how many times your post appears on peoples’ timelines.
- Reach- This is the number of potential views a post can have.
- Engagement- This is a total of likes, comments, and shares on your post.
- Click-through rate- This is the rate of people clicking through to your website.
- The number of followers- If your followers are increasing, you are on the right track. If you’re losing followers, you might want to do a page analysis to determine why.
Keeping track of your social media strategy will help you track your progress and ensure you meet your social media goals.
An effective social media strategy is essential to getting tangible results over time. One major key to success on social media is to pay attention to your audience and focus on constant improvements. There are several tools and templates available online to help you with the entire process of creating an effective social media strategy.