Social media is the most obsessively consumed form of media worldwide, with over 4.26 billion global users – and counting. Gone are the days where afternoons were spent poring over the glossy pages of magazines; in 2022, the majority are simply found scrolling on their smart phones. Whether you are a self-professed ‘dinosaur’, or a social media socialite, it goes without saying that you’d be missing a trick if your business didn’t capitalize on this mass form of public consumption.
It is no secret that businesses across all industries utilize social media as a core part of their digital marketing. However, it is important to cultivate your social media presence with care: a social media strategy, therefore, is key. So, here are our 10 top tips for a successful social media strategy – starting at the very beginning.
1. Know Who and Where You Are
This may sound obvious, but it is surprising how many businesses simply dive straight into the world of social media marketing without establishing who they are as a brand, nor recognising what stage of the Marketing Funnel they are currently at. Both these factors are fundamental in beginning to plan your social media strategy. So, firstly, ensure you have a clear idea of your brand identity: your brand’s voice, values and, importantly, your USP (Unique Selling Point).
In terms of clarifying where you are, you should refer to the Marketing Funnel, as the stage that your business is currently at dictates the way you should be marketing your business. For example, if you are still at the brand awareness stage, you will be right at the very beginning of your journey, and your social media content should reflect this. You need to brainstorm how best to introduce your brand and its offerings to your target audience – and make that all-important first impression, while simultaneously beginning to build your following. In contrast, you may well be already making your way down the funnel: from interest, to consideration, and finally, to purchase – where your social media engagement translates to paying customers, otherwise known as ‘conversions’.
Whether you are starting accounts from scratch, or strategizing how best to grow and sustain your existing accounts, it is crucial that you are clear on both who you are as a company, and where you are in your marketing journey.
2. Set clear goals
This will then lead you onto the planning of your long-term and short-term goals as a business, which will also heavily dictate the direction of your social media strategy. Your goals will be informed by which stage of the marketing funnel you are at: for example, you may wish to increase brand awareness by reaching that follower count milestone, or to hone in on one particular platform, or to drive sales and traffic to your website.
Whatever your goals are, you should then break these down into manageable objectives. Your social media strategy should revolve around achieving these objectives – but how do you achieve this, you may ask? This is where the real research begins.
3. Know your audience
As with any strategy, you must be well informed in order to execute it – this goes without saying. In order to implement a successful social media strategy, it is imperative that you know your target audience. Why? Because the entire purpose of social media is interacting with your audience, with the attempt to build a community of loyal customers.
There are a range of helpful marketing models, such as STP marketing, which guide you in performing the necessary analysis of the demographic you are targeting. It is important that you know, for example, the age range of your target audience segment, as this will inform which social channels you focus on as part of each social media campaign. Different age groups tend to gravitate more to different social media channels: an older audience is more likely to respond to activity on Facebook and LinkedIn, whereas younger generations respond better to short form video content on platforms such as Instagram or Tiktok.
If you want to learn more about which social media platform best reaches your target market, check out our blog here.
4. Know your competitors
In the same vein, it’s vital that you undergo competitor research to inform your social media strategy. Which companies in your industry rank first on Google? And who is your local competition? Once you have accumulated a list of at least five main competitors, go through their social channels and analyse the type of content they post, and which content performs the best. Put simply, which types of content (e.g. video content, polls, articles) have the most engagement?
We are not saying, by any means, that you should create content that is a carbon copy of your competitors’. However, being in the know about what you’re up against will help you to a) emulate the types of content that appear to be resonating with your target audience, and b) establish your own Unique Selling Point! You want to be strategic, while simultaneously standing out from the crowd.
5. Use the appropriate channels… appropriately!
The above research will inform which social media channels your strategy will focus on. When creating your content plan, it is also important that you repurpose every post for each channel – with any necessary tweaks. For example, when using Instagram, make sure you utilize Instagram Stories and Reels, whereas professional platform LinkedIn is better suited to longer captions and article reshares. Also – don’t forget that all-important character limit on Twitter!
While your content should be amended appropriately for each platform, make sure your brand voice is consistent.
6. Plan interesting content
On that note, the most integral part of your social media strategy is the content itself. To be blunt, people aren’t going to engage with boring, bland content! Spark the interest of your audience. Plan a diverse range of content: this should consist of updates from your business – remember, people love to meet the faces behind the brand! – and informative, inspiring, educational content based on current trends within your industry. When planning out your social media strategy, always guarantee that you are creating content that positions your business as experts in your industry – whether you are just starting out, or seasoned players, you need your target audience to believe in you.
Stuck for new ideas? You can always repurpose old content that resonated particularly well with your audience.
7. Be consistent
Consistency is key, across the board. There are a variety of social media management platforms available to help you plan and schedule posts in advance – which will ensure that you post consistently. We would advise posting several times per week: not only is it important to stay on your audience’s radar, social media algorithms can also work against accounts that post irregularly. If you haven’t posted for a few months, for example, your post is less likely to make it to the top of people’s feeds. Also, experiment with posting at different times of the day, to gage which times receive the most engagement. Just think – when would your audience be most likely to check their phones? Don’t waste a high quality post at 1 in the morning!
There are also other types of consistency that are equally important. For example, if you are still in the brand awareness stage, you must keep on top of measuring your audience’s response to your content; this can be achieved through consistently checking your impressions and reach, or even ‘brand recall’.
8. Engage, engage, engage!
We cannot stress enough how crucial social media engagement is! It’s one thing to create a batch of incredible content, but this is rendered almost pointless if you don’t interact with the audience that is receiving it. This is another example of consistency being key: you need to keep on top of responding to comments and DMs, as these are the first steps to creating an online community, while simultaneously encouraging more engagement on your posts. Another great way of interacting with your followers is by creating interactive Instagram stories, such as questions and polls.
To address the elephant in the room… sometimes, you will be faced with those dreaded negative comments or reviews. But don’t fret! Just have a browse of our expert guide on Negative Comments: How and Why You Should Respond.
9. Keep an eye on industry trends
Real-time marketing is on the rise. This essentially means that, as a business, you need to be reactive to the world around you. If you want to position yourselves as industry leaders, you need to be aware of any hot topics and trends. Why? Because you should subsequently incorporate commentary on these industry trends into your social media posts, and share your insight with your followers.
Use platforms such as BuzzSumo to keep ahead of the curve!
10. Get help from the experts
Does this all sound a tad overwhelming? Don’t worry – there are a host of social media experts out there who would be more than happy to help. Agencies like us will do all the hard work for you: social media strategies are our bread and butter!
Social Chameleon are a full-suite digital marketing agency, specialising in social media. Get in touch today for your free consultation, and step by step, we can craft and implement a highly successful social media strategy for your business.