Social media offers a wealth of connections and communication. Catch up with old friends, connect with family members from across the globe or simply keep an eye on your favourite artists and brands.
It is both the bane and the highlight of existence for some people and an addiction for others, while some individuals have managed to utilise it to share their personal creations and grow their own businesses. Social media is a huge part of digital marketing services, with agencies helping businesses create their own social media schedules and strategies to grow their customer base and boost potential future profit.
In a nutshell, a social media strategy is how a business plans to effectively use social platforms to promote their services, brand or products. At its most basic level, it can be broken down into the following processes.
How Do You Currently Use Social Media?
Look at how the business currently uses social media. Is there anything that works effectively at the moment? Has the page experienced recent growth/stagnation/reduction and is there fresh, regular content being shared? Does the organisation’s page engage with their customers? If so, what sort of communication is being carried out?
By summarising these points and looking at what already works, a plan can be put in place to change anything that doesn’t work effectively and maintain practices that are successful. Take a look at what has been getting customers engaging and put more of this in place to encourage further communication between the brand and their customers.
Take a look at your competitors and what seems to be working for them. Considering your target market is going to be similar, you can get a good idea of the sort of thing that works well with their current followers. Are they putting out large numbers of calls-to-action or do they tend to use it as more of a social account, engaging with customers one-on-one? Do they talk to other brands on the platform?
There are some brilliant instances of brands communicating with each other on Twitter which have gained a huge number of engagements and netted the brands in question an increased following.
Know Your Customer Base
Like any good business plan, the company will want to put together a description of their target customer or audience and the sorts of things that would get them engaging. With this knowledge in hand, you might want to swap the social media platform in use, depending on where your audience is.
Targeting a younger audience? Tumblr and Instagram hold the lion’s share of younger users – up to 59% on both platforms for users under 24 – while the under 35s share the majority of their time between Instagram and Pinterest. Unsurprisingly, Facebook is the leader for audiences above 35, however, YouTube is also a popular platform for all audiences, including the older crowd.
Set Targets and Goals
While this seems like an obvious process, some businesses fall down by not planning what they want to get out of their social media use. Are you looking to increase your follows, increase conversion rates, grow your overall reach or simply grow your impressions, comments and engagements? Each end-goal will benefit the organisation in different ways and knowing exactly what you hope to achieve can assist in narrowing down methods to use.
Getting engagements is the best place to start when it comes to online marketing – once the conversation starts, the door opens for conversions. That being said, getting engagements can be a bit of a game while finding out what works for your audience.
As a general rule, images will almost always do better than words-only posts. Use photos that are relevant and interesting, whether they are designed to get a laugh or encourage conversation. For a step up from photos, using animated gifs is a brilliant way to catch the user’s eye, particularly on fast-moving feeds such as Twitter. If you are considering using gifs, it's worth keeping in mind the fact that gifs have a colour-restriction – they are best custom-made when compared to making a gif out of your favourite movie moment.
Videos are also an excellent way to market to online users. However, keep in mind the length and content of your videos, as statistics suggest that 85% of users watch Facebook videos with no sound and Instagram photos generate 36% more engagements than videos. The social platform you use and the types of users you are targeting will play heavily into the type of content you post.
Start Putting the Plan into Action
Once you’ve worked out what has been effective in the past, what to drop for the future and the target audience you want to attract, it’s time to put your social media plan into action. Post regular, fresh and interesting content for your followers, engage with more potential customers and keep an eye on your metrics. Anything that doesn’t work can be removed from the plan and more ideas added every day. Your followers can even help with your content - get your audience involved with polls, questions and surveys to find out the type of thing they want to see.
When it comes to posting frequency, daily content is optimal - ideally twice a day. You should also aim for something fresh, too. If you’ve ever come across a social media brand or user who had set up the same content to post and repost every other day, it gets boring quickly and your followers won’t be eagerly awaiting your posts. Pictures, polls, gifs and infographics are great for daily content, whereas videos, links to external sources (i.e. blog posts and news feeds) and pure advertisements should be kept to once or twice a week.
Once you’ve established a social media strategy and begun to roll it out, you’ll want to follow it strictly unless your engagements and follows start to drop. If this happens, you may need to revisit the plan. Otherwise, keep an eye on your analytics and you should start to see progress towards your goals in no time!
Quality is always better than quantity, so, if you can only post a strong, fresh social media post every other day or a few times a week, you are already ahead of many brands that recycle content constantly.
If you would like some assistance planning your business' social media strategy, don't hesitate to get in touch with our team on 01733 890836 for a chat about the digital marketing services we can offer.