Social media has come a long way since Myspace or Friendster. What was once a way to unwind online and share your interests with existing and new friends, social media has become so much more.
While still a fun way to share and pass the time, social media has evolved to be an integral part of how we live. It’s where we get our news, where we form communities, get help for special causes, and more.
One thing that social media has also changed is the way we shop. With ads strewn across different platforms, we are able to find new brands, products, and reviews like never before. No more sifting through written reviews on websites or wondering if a brand is legit. Now, we’re able to find influencers who can give an on-hand experience or get to know a brand from the inside thanks to social media.
All of this is why making sure your brand has a social media presence is so important.
Social media statistics from 2019 show that there are 3.5 billion social media users worldwide, and this number is only growing. That equates to about 45% of the current population (Emarsys, 2019).
The numbers alone should be enough to convince any brand that social media is the place to be. However, there’s a lot to consider when making the move, the two most important things being: Which platforms work for you? How much time and/or money can you allot to the effort?
Once you’ve decided on those two things, it’s time to build out your strategy. But don’t be discouraged, a strategy does not have to be overwhelming and intricate to get started. Follow these 5 steps and you will be on your way to a successful social strategy in no time.
1. Identify Your Goals
There are many different reasons for your business to jump into social media; however, finding the right goals for you is important.
- Looking to generate more sales?
- Want to increase your brand awareness?
- Do you have an established community/following and need a way to increase engagement?
No matter the reason, a strategy without a goal will get you nowhere. In the end, it’s about tracking your progress, ROI, and effort. Therefore, you must know what you will be aiming for before even starting.
2. Research Your Competitors
Pull together a list of your top competitors and see what they are doing on social media. Odds are that they already have some success that you can learn from. A competitive analysis also shines a light on what is expected from your industry as a whole, allowing for better engagement with your targeted audience.
3. Establish Your Look/Voice
You’ve worked hard on branding your company and that look/voice should be reflected in all your social media efforts. Each marketing outlet is an extension of your brand and a customer should be able to distinguish your brand on any platform. If your brand is proud of being green, then that organic, sustainable message should reflect in your posts. The same goes for a company that promotes a modern lifestyle; think clean lines and classic colors when posting.
The point is to give your brand a presence that followers will remember and relate to your products and brand easily.
4. Create a Calendar
At this point in the strategy creation, you should be ready to make a social media calendar. Not only will this keep your efforts organized but it will help you support your goals with a better vision.
- Start by creating a posting schedule for each platform. Make sure that your posts are spaced out well as not to overflood your followers’ feeds.
- Get creative on ways to Promote, Convert, and Entertain. Your calendar should be a mix of content.
- Research optimal times to post for each platform to make the most out of your posts.
- Create a visual for each post for maximum engagement.
5. Sign-Up for Tools/Sites
A big help when executing your social media calendar is scheduling. Companies like Hootsuite or Planoly are great for keeping track of your posts, and using a scheduler allows you time to craft the message that best represents the post and your brand.
If your marketing team is on the smaller side, some sites to look into are Canva for creatives and free image sites like Unsplash, Pexels, Pikwizard, or Chamber of Commerce.org with their Find a Photo site.
73% of marketers believe that their efforts through social media marketing have been “somewhat effective” or “very effective” for their business (Buffer).
When all is said and done, the key to any great strategy is to test, test, and test some more. Knowing what is working and what is not will help you improve your efforts and make sure you are on top of trends, staying relevant.
Just keep in mind that social media marketing takes time. Start yourself off with reachable goals, keep your strategy simple, and you will be sure to gain the following you want with the right engagement.