When developing a social media strategy for a business it is important to establish a clear direction with both long and short term goals. It is important to take into account the goals of the business. Do you want to increase sales leads, build awareness, provide information, or a combination of the three?
However grand your plans for social media may be, a good foundation is always built by having a strong social media strategy. One can break down creating a social media strategy into 11 essential tasks:
1. Identify key social media networks that will benefit your brand.
Targeting key social media networks is the foundation for any social media strategy. With so many options, it is easy to get pulled in many directions, spreading one’s business thin online. Depending on the size of your social media team, it is best to target 3-5 social media networks to focus your efforts. For example, Foursquare is a great network to use when promoting restaurants and bars. It creates a customer loyalty plan that rewards customers for coming back to your business regularly.
No matter what route you decide to go, it is most important to keep each network up to date and with a separate content strategy to ensure a high follow rate.
2. Target demographics for each online channel.
Identify the target audience(s) your business needs to reach, and create a specific content strategy for each outlining when to post, and the type of content. You can even go the extra mile and identify sources for content if an in house social media manager is running your online marketing efforts.
When targeting social media demographics, it is important to think ‘Audience, Message and Channel’. This means to target your audience based on demographics, create a message with a clear call to action, and identify the social media channel the message will be posted on. This is important because you may use hashtags on Twitter, but not on Facebook.
3. Find credible information sources for content research.
Websites like Pinterest are great for finding credible information fast. Sign up for Google Alerts and set criteria based on your industry so you are sure to find fresh content daily to post about.
4. Develop a content posting matrix.
Identify the time of day, type of content and social media channel that you will post your content to weekly. Here you will identify a separate content strategy for each relevant channel to ensure that information does not over lap, and credibility is preserved.
5. Diversify content.
Never cut and paste when creating a social media post! Remember, the goal with social media is to create unique content that is worth sharing. Share industry news, relevant pictures and other items, but do so in a manner that ties it back to your business in 8 out of 10 posts.
6. Compile a list of links to share on social media networks.
One important aspect of any social media strategy is research. For convenience, create a list of links that include blogs, how to articles, engaging pictures, useful service links and general news sources. Create a new list each month, but don’t hesitate to rotate back to a previous list. The goal here is to build a library of useful information sources that rotates monthly.
7. Create a content theme based on day, time, month, and holiday.
Changing the theme of a social media profile based on holidays is a great way to increase the user experience. One goal with social media is to ‘humanize’ a brand, so keeping your social media pages festive is an effective way to keep users coming back.
8. Contract a third party social media manager.
There are many services out there to choose from, so look for a social media service that looks at the long term goals of your business. Social media managers can take the burden of content creation off the shoulders of the business owner, offering full management to your brand’s social media. Evolve offers is a service that offers social media management, along with full website integration and online marketing. They offer free social media audits, and are well respected within the industry.
9. Track everything as you go.
One of the benefits to having a social media service is the monthly analytics. Be sure to keep track of what strategy is used each month in order to narrow down what works best. A social media strategy is always evolving, and changes are necessary quite frequently.
10. Evaluate and adjust the social media campaign as needed.
It may be necessary to change your strategy in the middle of a campaign. This is normally necessary, so don’t worry. Keep track of content that engages users, has a high number of clicks and many shares across social media channels.
11. Subscribe to Facebook’s blog.
Sign up to get alerts from Facebook’s blog so you are always up to date with the most popular social platform. Facebook is constantly changing, so keeping up with the changes is necessary to effectively build a brand online.
Don’t be afraid to try an online service that offers social media management. Companies like Evolve are convenient and effective, as they offer social media management in addition to online marketing and advertising. It always helps to have professional assistance when creating a social media strategy for a business, and many offer free social media strategy consultations.