Use these steps to create a social media strategy. As social media and the social channels have grown in influencing buying decision, so too have the reasons to create a social an effective social media strategy. Using content, articles, video or online advertising, companies can potentially reach millions of buyers or potential consumers. It’s exciting to think that for any business it is now possible to reach people in different countries and markets. But this doesn’t mean that it is easy to connect with these people, reaching and connecting are two very different social media strategies. It is an important difference that many social media marketing campaigns fail to understand.
A social media strategy is more than marketing or likes, it should include digital selling, social selling, social reach, buyer or customer engagement, customer service and reputation.
While the main social platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram) have a combined audience base of nearly 3.0 billion users, only a small fraction of them will be open to receiving your messages, with less again willing to connect with your business. The reality is that most people will know nothing about your business or your brand. This is the reason why it’s has become vital to create a social media strategy that you can execute against a clear purpose and goals.
The success of any social media strategy is rooted in the plan and messaging. But success is never instant, so it’s essential to stick to the plan to allow it to take hold. To help create a social media strategy we have listed some steps below.
Create your social media marketing plan before you start any activity
Don’t get caught in the trap of “random acts of social marketing”, it is surprising the number of companies who just jump into social media with no other plan other to see what works. They post a few comments, a few special offers or maybe a few articles. Then they get disappointed with the results. Just no point doing that, social media marketing is just like gardening, you reap what you sow but you must work hard to grow your audience and nurture relationships with them.
So, he first step is to create a SMART goals list for your social media activity.
Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Time-bound
Using this methodology will make it easy to track progress and allow you to easily see what needs to be refined along the way. An example using LinkedIn, a SMART goal could be to “increase our connections with IT buyers in Ireland by 100 during Q1. In this one sentence, you have communicated a specific goal, one that is measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. SMART goals work best when you can convey the objective in a short sentence or two.
Choosing which social media platforms to focus on
Depending on whether you are B2B or B2C you need to select which social media platforms you will focus on. Selecting which platforms is often overlooked when creating a social media strategy. Take the time to review your Ideal Customer Profile or Buyer Persona and then research where you are most likely to get engagement. The general thinking in random acts of social is if there are over 300 million profiles on LinkedIn, then surely the likelihood of some form of engagement happening is on. While that is not entirely incorrect, it’s not the right approach to consistent social reach for your business.
Let your SMART goals be the guiding factor in determining what is it you want to achieve. You need to understand who you want to target, with what, when, and what type of engagement you want to have with them. Once these questions have been answered, then you decide which platforms will help you achieve your goals.
Have a social purpose and a clearly defined identity
Buyers today interact with companies whom they feel an affinity and a connection with. One of the most effective ways to create this connection is for your business to have a social purpose. This social purpose should form the basis of your marketing content, articles and social media activity. Can you help educate, inform, help, donate, entertain etc. as part social purpose. Consumers are becoming blind to naked sales and marketing pitches
Implement the 3×33 rule of Social Media
This point related back to your social purpose. While the goal of any business is to acquire and maintain profitably customers, when it comes to social media, remember that givers gain. To drive engagement, followers and connections, you must be seen as a useful or even valuable source of information. This means having a mix of content which is not self-generated or focused your brand.
- 33% of your social media content is stories and case studies to engage your target audience.
- 33% of your content is sharing ideas, insights, article and stories from thought leaders or experts in your industry.
- 33% of your social content should be about social purpose and personal insights to expand your social reach.
The above 3×33 rule will help you accomplish a couple things. Firstly, by sharing content other than your own, you’re showing that the interest of your audience comes above the interest you have in selling something and you are more than just blasting your followers with your own content. Just like in real life, we avoid people who can only talk about themselves and what they do. Well the same is true for social media, this is why givers gain most.
If you fail to be seen as useful and valuable, then your social reach will be limited as people will not be attracted to your profile plus they are unlikely to engage or make a connect with you. To become a trusted adviser, your social accounts and social selling activity need to post educational and informative materials while subtly blending in details about company.
While I hope you find these social media marketing strategy guidelines someway helpful, they won’t guarantee your success in social. However, by creating SMART goals, doing the research into your customer profiles and social platforms to use, having a social purpose, and following the 3 x 33 rule of social media content, you’ll expand your social reach to engage with your target audience.