Social media strategy management at any given time can feel overwhelming, frustrating, and confusing. The platforms people connect on are constantly changing, with updates to algorithms, post types, and social norms and expectations. That can be a lot to handle, particularly if your social media strategy team consists of just one or two people.
However, social media is also a place for great opportunities. You can connect quickly with your audience in a way that brands of the past have been unable to. You can speak directly to your customers, share large or small pieces of information and updates, and create an online community centered around your small business.
Today, let’s dive into the building blocks of a social media strategy. What are some key elements you should be incorporating? How can you better engage with customers? And what key performance indicators (KPI) should you be measuring over time? That’s what we will be exploring.
What is a Social Media Strategy?
Most, if not all, brands have some sort of social media presence. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they also have a social media strategy. Some businesses will create posts entirely on an ad-hoc basis, or on a rigid, unwavering schedule with little overlap. Some create a piece of content for one social platform and use a word-for-word copy on every platform. And some will have images and videos that do not properly portray their brand image, creating a sense of inconsistency between platforms and the company’s website.
While these practices may be common, they aren’t necessarily the most strategic.
A social media strategy is a process through which a business will create content and optimize it for views and engagements individually on each platform. It typically requires quite a bit of planning ahead of time, while also allowing for moments of genuine interaction and spontaneity.
Building a strategy involves knowing your audience and understanding that they will expect some degree of uniqueness, depending on which platform they are engaging with you on.
Still, for as much variety each post should bring, there should also be a clear consistency in your brand voice and graphics. People should know that the post came from you without seeing your profile information. This helps build a sense of trust and an expectation for what engagements look like from your business.
And if all of this seems overwhelming, don’t worry. The biggest part about creating a social media strategy is finding out what is both most useful and most doable for your business. Large companies have big social media teams that are constantly pumping out content, but that doesn’t mean that small businesses with a passionate voice who know their customers can’t out-compete them. This is where the strategy aspect comes into play.
Social Media Strategy: The Building Blocks
For the sake of visualization, let’s break down the key components of a social media strategy and some ways that they can be implemented.
Know Your Audience
Do some research to know more about what your customers expect from you on each platform. What types of posts have worked well for you in the past? What’s working for your competitors that you could put your own unique spin on? Use polls and surveys to directly ask what your audience wants to see more of. By getting direct answers from the people within and around your online community, you can take some of the guesswork out of building social media content. Plus, what you put out will be more impactful.
Create Content That Resonates
Once you know what your audience is looking for, do your best to give it to them. Use compelling words and visuals in order to grab attention and make your voice heard. Things like infographics and short videos can be especially eye-catching for people scrolling through their feed. Try to understand what would make people stop, think, and want to explore your brand information further.
Always be sure to put your unique spin on the content and make sure it is relevant to your audience. You could have a stunning post, but if your customers don’t care about the content, it probably won’t perform very well.
Have Clear and Defined Goals
What are you hoping to accomplish by publishing a certain piece of content? How would you like to see it perform? By answering these questions in a way that is SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely), you’ll have a clearer idea of where you currently stand and where you want to go. You’ll be able to track your growth overtime and expand your strategy to meet developing goals and expectations.
Plus, having goals means that everyone on your team (large or small) will be on the same page. You’ll all have something to be striving for and know how each person can contribute in order to meet those goals.
Create a Social Media Plan Ahead of Time
A certain amount of planning should go into your posts. This includes knowing which days of the week and times your audience will be looking at your channels. That information will help boost your engagement numbers. There are many statistics proving the best times to post, but it’s most important to be in touch with your audience’s habits and behaviors.
And while it’s necessary to have a plan ahead of time, be sure to block out some time to post fun updates, for instance, on your Instagram or Facebook story. This type of content is particularly engaging and, when done thoughtfully, can create an overall more positive sentiment surrounding your brand.
Focus on Engagement
Having followers on social media is important, and there’s no doubt about that. However, if you have hundreds of thousands of followers and are only getting a few likes per post, it shows that your audience isn’t as engaged as the brand with a modest amount of followers who receive a strong percentage of likes.
You want people to be actively engaging with your content rather than being passive bystanders. It’s the best way to get your message out and keep loyal customers consistently coming back.
Tweak Your Messaging For Each Platform
Each social media platform is different. A message that resonates well on Instagram may not have the same reach on LinkedIn. Still, it’s necessary to try to post across channels when sharing news and updates. Therefore, when you’re creating a message for one platform, always try to change it to best fit your audience on your other platforms.
This could mean you’re more professional and articulate on LinkedIn, but snappier and shorter on Twitter. You may focus more of your link-based content on Facebook, but your visual information on Instagram or Pinterest. Do your research, and don’t be afraid to experiment, especially if you’re just starting out.
However you decide to adjust your message, just be sure to stick with the tone your company typically uses. This will help avoid any confusion later on.
Adjust As Necessary
As your audience grows and your goals change, don’t be afraid to pivot your strategy. Even if what you’ve been doing has worked in the past, social media platforms are notorious for changing algorithms and even cultures. Don’t let yourself fall behind. Be sure to reevaluate your strategy over time, and make adjustments that will allow you to continuously reach your audience and stay ahead of any social media updates.
Building a social media strategy might seem intimidating, particularly if you’re focused on the big brands with hundreds of thousands of followers. Being responsible for creating content that reaches your audience is an incredibly vulnerable position to be in, and a little apprehension is normal. Still, you need to take the time to map out your strategy if you want to engage and delight customers, as well as build up your brand.
At Vervology, we specialize in personalized strategies in order to help small businesses reach their online goals. Contact us for more information, or to schedule a meeting. Your first consultation is free.