Knowing exactly where to start when it comes to creating a social media strategy for your business can be tricky. In fact, there’s a lot of information out there trying to help, but it can be difficult to know where to start. We’ve decided to give you the pillars of a successful strategy to help you on your way.
Social media strategy for business
There are four, essential cornerstones that form the foundation of your social strategy. If you maintain a solid grasp of these areas, you won’t go too far wrong.
You’ll hear this time and time and again but you absolutely must know what your business is trying to achieve when it comes to social media marketing. There are so many things you can achieve, it’s important to know what your primary goals are or you’ll procrastinate and end up achieving very little.
Do you need web traffic? What about warmed leads from Twitter or LinkedIn? Do you need to maximise reach or impressions amongst your target audience? Each of these would result in a different course of action and focus on each social network.
Once you’re decided on the objectives of your social media marketing activity, get to work analysing your audience. You need to know their demographics, their interests and where they spend time online. Try and be as specific as possible, maybe even create your perfect customer and define what makes them, them!
Everything you know about the members of your target audience can give you a clue as to how best to advertise to them. This will translate into custom audiences on Facebook, the kinds of Twitter accounts you should interact with and the kind of hashtags you need to use on Instagram! As a B2B business, you’ll find it easy to find prospects on LinkedIn.
Based on where your audience likes to spend time online, you should have a good idea where you need to put your brand! Each social network requires a unique approach to content sharing and how you engage your audience. With some networks you’ll be able to apply some fundamental marketing strategy, with others, you’ll need to really research what does and doesn’t work.
As we’ve mentioned, LinkedIn will be the network of choice for the B2B marketer. Instagram and Facebook tend to work much better for consumer brands whilst Twitter yields results for all kinds of businesses provided it’s used correctly. I recommend sticking with the mainstream platforms because it’s easier to manage a few profiles and that’s where your audience is most likely to be.
The final piece of the puzzle is the content you produce. Let’s be clear. This is everything your company shares over social media and its blog – copy, images, and video. This content is the way you engage with your audience and generate buy-in to your brand and business.
In the first instance, your content must look to build a rapport with your target market and you’ll achieve this through entertaining and informing them. Only then will you be able to start selling to them.
[UPDATE July 2017]
We’d like to thank an anonymous reader who suggested we expanded on goal-setting and how to work towards achieving them.
Effective goal-setting for social media
As we mentioned above, having those clear KPIs in place is super-important in order to set the goals for your campaign. However, having that target in sight is just one factor of your strategy formation.
As usual, it’s always recommended to use a framework like SMART for goal-setting; stating they should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. If you’ve chosen the right goals in the first place, they should be relevant and, depending on which goals, they should be specific and measurable. All this means is that you can put a tangible figure on them.
For example – “increase brand awareness” is neither specific or measurable in terms of goal-setting because there is no metric in place and ‘brand awareness’ is too much of a broad term. Increase by how much?
An example of a SMART goal would be:
Increase monthly web traffic from Twitter by 50% by the end of September.
It’s specific, measurable (using Google Analytics, for example), achievable (because it’s not an astronomical improvement and the current level could be low), relevant to your business and it is time-framed.
For most brands, there should be one primary goal for the campaign, and subgoals, perhaps for each channel or sub-campaign. If you have too many goals, it can be difficult to stay focused on all of them.
As you combine your experience of what does and doesn’t work for your brand, you’ll continue to improve on your strategy and work toward achieving your goals. Good luck!