You can’t enter a battle without a strategy, so you can’t expect to outshine your competition on social media channels without one either. Many businesses create social media accounts and post on them from time to time without a solid plan. If you haven’t started with social media marketing yet, or already have accounts on social networks but aren’t sure what to do with them, you can develop your own social strategy in five simple steps.
Determine Your Goals
Knowing what you want to achieve with your social media campaign is the first step to creating an effective strategy. Different businesses have different social media goals, but there are four general categories:
- Going Viral – Social networks are great places to post news, articles, or anything you’d like to go viral, fast.
- Listening to Feedback – You can gain a lot of information about the market through social media. Many people voice out their opinions on social networks, and there are tools you can use to track what they say about you or your business.
- Providing Customer Service – Social media has paved the way for faster, more personalized customer service. You can answer customer queries or address their issues faster through social networks, and your customers can even help each other out.
- Communicating with Your Audience – Social networks are great if you want your advertisements to reach a more specific audience, and if you want to incorporate more social elements into them.
Identify Your Audience
To connect with your audience, you have to figure out who they are. Social media users often fall under the following categories:
- Creators – These users publish their own content on websites, blogs, and social sharing sites like YouTube.
- Conversationalists – These users like to start up or participate in conversations using tweets, status updates, and other social network postings.
- Collectors – These users often use their accounts to vote on websites and tag photos.
- Critics – These users like to comment on blog posts and social media updates, and review or rate products often.
- Joiners – These users create accounts on multiple social networks.
- Spectators – These users check their social feeds, read blogs and forum posts, or watch videos online without participating in discussions.
Finding out what type of social media user you’re targeting can help you figure out what type of approach to take when developing your strategy. For example, you can do more surveys or voting contests if your audience is mostly composed of collectors or critics.
Choose Your Venue
Knowing your goals and identifying your audience helps you choose which social network to focus on and avoid stretching your campaign out too thin. Choosing the right social venue makes it easier to establish a relationship with your target audience in a network they’re already comfortable with.
Find Your Voice
Socializing with your audience involves humanizing your brand. Give your brand a distinct voice and personality that people will enjoy communicating with. Posting stiff news updates or copy-pasted excerpts of your blog posts is not the way to go. Develop your brand’s personality based on what your audience is interested in and what gets their dialogues going.
Select Your Tools
You need the right tools to implement and monitor your social media campaigns effectively. The first and most important thing you need is a content calendar. A calendar allows you to assign who will post what on which social network on specific dates and times. Planning your social media posts ahead of time keeps things organized and helps you stay focused on your goals.
Choose the right social media management and tracking software to make sure your campaign is on the right track, and keep an eye on what your audience is saying about you. You also need social media add-ons or scripts that add social sharing buttons to your website or blog.
Establishing your social marketing strategy is simple when you follow these five steps, but you have to make sure to follow-through. Stick to your initial strategy and observe its results. Remember that social networks and their users will always continue evolving, so staying on top of any updates, trends, or changes will help you adjust your strategies accordingly.