So now that we know what social media is and how crucial it is to business, how can you capitalize on the fastest growing industry? How do you decide which channels will give you the best results and what content will be effective?
Whether you are new to social media or just need to step up your social media game, the initial starting point is a strategy. To help develop your company's social media strategy, we developed a 7 step process to follow.
1. Social Media Audit
Before we can start making a strategy we need to take stock of where we are in this moment. Make a spreadsheet showing your current social media use. What channels, followers, posting frequency, views, click through rates, etc... Map out exactly where you stand.
Quick tip, analyze your current performance using metric offered by the various channel providers. If you don't have a social media presence, jump to the next step.
2. Check out the Competition
Don't re-invent the wheel. Check out what your competition is doing, what's working and what's not. Take a look at the type of posts they are doing and the engagement with their followers. Is there a certain technique they seem to be using that is increasing interaction. Are they using inducements or selling directly through social media channels? What times of day they post and how frequent. How many followers so they have and what's their penetration with engagement (likes/links/mentions)? What content is in their most engaging posts?
Compile all the information and refer back to it as you are building your own strategy. This can help you sidestep a few of the social landmines.
3. Set General Overall Goals
It's time to start defining your overall Social Media Strategy goals. These goals help guide your social media actions and track the success of these actions.
These goals should centre around what do you want from your social media strategy? What are your objectives? Here are some ideas of possible goals:
- Brand Awareness
- Brand Loyalty
- Global or Regional Reach
- Increase Leads
- Engage new and existing customers
- Build relationships
Make sure the goals match up with your overall marketing goals.
4. Select Social Media Channels
Now that you have developed some general goals, it's time to refer back to your ideal customer, the Buyer Persona. These are ultimately the ideal people you are trying to attract, connect and build relationships with.
When you created the buyer persona, a section was dedicated to the persona's online preferences. We know what platforms they use, how often they use them, what time of day they use them, their contact preferences, the content they find valuable, their generational category.
Each Social Media platform has it's own characteristics. Compare your buyer persona's preferences to the channel characteristics. Concentrate on the ones that have the best fit. At the beginning, just select one or two channels. You don't want to overwhelm yourself with the maintenance of too many social media platforms.
We have developed a condensed version of main social media demographics for you to use and also created a crucial facts sheet on selecting the right social media. Feel free to download them and compare to your persona to help find the right fit for your social media channel selection.
5. Define Quantifiable Goals
Now we know what we want out of our social media and the channels that fits with our ideal client, it's time to define some specific quantifiable goals. Making goals measurable will help to make sure that we are getting the most out of our social media efforts.
Start by taking the general goals defined earlier and adding meat to those bones. Here are a few ideas on the type of goals that should be set:
- Be Specific and Make them Measurable - how will you measure goals? Use numerical metrics like % of new followers, number of new website visitors, $ increase online sales, % of new global or regional followers, % increase in likes or mentions etc...)
- Indicate Time Period - over what specific time frame do you expect to achieve these goals. Start out with 1-2 months at first and once you see how you are doing, make any alterations. Then move the time frame out again.
6. General Tactics to Carry out Goals
So you have set the goals and know what you want to achieve but how do you reach those goals? What tactics can you use to capitalize on your social media channels? What content should you put on your social media?
Basically, companies need to focus on creating a social media "brand image". Who you want to be seen as on social media. This image must be in tune with your their brand and in line with overall inbound marketing strategies. When deciding on an image, try thinking about your social media image as a person. What is your brand image's personality? Figuring out the personality of your brand will help determine the tone your company will use on social media posts.
Now take a look at company content and repurpose it to fit with the social media brand image and the channel specifics. You would be surprised at how you can take one blog post and repurpose it into a video, infographic, photo, tweet etc...
Decisions must also be made on posting frequencies and times. Being consistent is a key to success. Make sure to sprinkle in proven techniques that help increase engagement. Start a conversation with users, ask questions, do polls, run contests, promotions. Encourage and offer incentives for user engagement.
Finally, make sure your content is of value to your followers. Choose quality over frequency and make every post, tweet, video, comment count. Don't be afraid to test thing out on social media and make tweaks to maximize engagement.
7. Use those Metrics!
Each channel offers their variation of performance and usage data. Make use of them! These metrics contain valuable information and are free, so use them to evaluate and to fine tune your social media strategy.
Stay tuned.... as we enter the stages of an Inbound Marketing Strategy, Engage, Delight and Repeat.
LINKS TO OUR BLOG POSTS
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|THE POWER OF INBOUND MARKETING|
|WHY BUYER PERSONAS ARE A VALUABLE RESOURCE TO YOUR COMPANY!|
|HOW TO CAPITALIZE ON THE ATTRACT STAGE OF INBOUND MARKETING|