Knowing why you want to use social media to benefit your business is the first key step in figuring out what the most effective and efficient social media strategy will be. Would you like to primarily gain more customers? Would you like to use social media to drive traffic to your website or online shop? Is there a more broad vision you’re attempting to create with a community of followers? Once you can define your goal, you can start tackling the strategy. There are over 4.6 billion active social media users, nearly 60% of the world’s population, which is a shocking statistic that should drive you to want to harness social media’s power in the way that fits your business best.
Who is your target audience?
If you run a business, you need to know your customer like the back of your hand. What are their primary needs and what do they come to your business for? In a nutshell, you are going to be distilling this answer and repeating it over and over again through social media posts. Some of the basics that are helpful to know are: age, gender, occupation, income and interests of your audience. These can be directly selected if you ever decide to run paid advertisements through social media, as well as a good reminder to you that these factors should affect the development of your content. You want to show you can solve their problems with your business so know the problem!
Plan your content
Once you have a good idea of the type of customer you will be appealing to through social media, creating and planning how to distribute the content is the next logical step. Having fresh, continually-posted content is the #1 most important part of having a social media presence as a business. If someone searches for your business on social media and you have outdated information or look inactive, there is no bigger turn off. To avoid this trap, follow these steps:
Create content themes
Brainstorm a couple of categories that your business can focus on with posts. For example, if you own a clothing shop, you will want to have posts that pertain to sales, discounts, coupons, promotions and your operating hours. You may also post outfit ideas using some of your items for sale. Then, you may also have a category where you post clothing staples for each season of the year or ways to add accessories to outfits you already own. Once you have narrowed down the types of posts that would behoove your business well, you can write posts pertaining to each category.
Create a content calendar
Take note of important holidays, shopping days or any time-relevant information that would make the time or day you post the content most beneficial to your business. Understand your high and low seasons of selling and figure out what content would be better posted in either time. Once you see the big picture of what makes sense to post at certain times of the year, and researching what time of day is best to post for each platform for each type of content, then you can make a year-long plan.
Schedule the content to post
Take your year-long plan and schedule it to automatically post! This takes the headache out of remembering to post (the #1 pitfall is forgetting to post!). As well, scheduling ensures that you are posting at the best time of day for your business and helps you keep on track with the calendar you took the time to research and create. It is putting action to planning!
Focus on the right channels
Which social media site is best for you? Answering this question is essential to making sure that the content you post is actually useful to your business. Once you choose a channel or a couple of channels, this can also help you tailor your content themes, too. For example, TikTok you will need short form videos and to keep up with rapidly changing trends, Facebook can handle more well-written blog posts, and Twitter needs quips and curated graphics. This article has a great list of pros and cons of each social media channel that can help you make the right determination.
Keep your competitors in mind
When it comes to running a successful business, knowing your competition is an unfortunate reality in order to help differentiate yourself. This is no different when it comes to a social media strategy, where you can see what your competition does well and mimicking it in your own way can benefit you. If you see that your competition gets a lot of return business by consistently posting about sales, that is a good indicator that it would work well for your strategy, too. However, social media gives you an opportunity to make a unique stamp on your target audience. Notice what your competition markets about themselves and make sure to adapt your content to show your competitive differences.
Measure results and pivot
Simply having a social media strategy means nothing if you can’t tell whether it’s a good strategy or not. Measuring your tangible results is the only way to see if putting in the time and effort to social media content is even effective or meeting your initial goals for your business. There are a couple ways you can do this quickly: built-in analytics tools for the social media platforms, like Facebook’s Page Insights or LinkedIn’s Visitor Analytics, or website analytics for your website if your primary goal was to drive traffic to that site, or if your business’ overall sales have increased since the implementation of your strategy. Remember that having too difficult of a way to measure your success could deter you from measuring success at all. That being said, looking at more complicated metrics like comments, likes, shares, saves, and views, especially in comparison to the type of content you are competing with on social media, can give you more in-depth information on whether your content is performing at the level it can be. If you determine that your strategy is not effective or producing the correct results, there is nothing worse you could do than forget to “pivot”. If the strategy is unsuccessful, yet you continue on that path, it is a waste of your precious time and money. It may be beneficial to reach out to a marketing agency or social media content specialist that can help you think of different solutions.
Neglecting to take advantage of the primary way that Internet users use the Internet nowadays would be an opportunity wasted for your business. Developing a social media strategy makes sure that when you create a page and post, you are not simply shooting a shot in the dark hoping to grow your business or earn new customers.