Sitting down to create a social media presence may seem pretty easy at first right? Anyone can go build a Facebook business page or create a Twitter handle. The reality is that building a full scale social media strategy takes a lot of discipline, structure, and a good amount of planning.
While serving in the Army I learned that no mission can come together without first building a plan of action. I'm going to share with you my 10 step action plan to building your social media marketing strategy.
1. Let’s start with research.
Do you know what social networks your customer or client uses? Where do they spend their time? Are they scrolling through Instagram pics for hours each day? Are they using Snap Chat’s flower crown feature? If so, that is where you want to be.
2. Determine the best platform to showcase your service or product.
Think about what type of content you share and make sure that you are using the social media platform(s) that match up the best with your content.
If you use video content then you want to be using YouTube and Facebook Live. Instagram now has a “Story” feature that works similar to Facebook Live. You can even send notifications to your followers when you “go live” so that they can tune in.
For visually stimulating content, as in a photography business, you’ll want to use Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.
If your content is more business focused then you’ll want to use LinkedIn or Google+.
3. Determine the platform that is most appropriate for your industry.
Not sure which platform is right for you? While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, there is a simple way to determine what’s appropriate for you. Take a look at your business and the product or service that you provide. How can you best position your company, make connections, and demonstrate value?
4. Align your goals and your channels with your target audience.
When you spread yourself thin and speak to everyone, you really aren’t speaking to anyone. Make sure to put your brand message where it will be heard. Make sure that you have identified your specific goals. In today’s market it takes research, empathy, and the understanding that social media is much more about psychology than it is about technology.
First thing should be gaining an understanding of the specific needs of your customer/client. Next, you want to build a rapport with them. That helps to build trust. Then you want to become an invaluable source of information for them. And finally, provide them with solutions to any problems.
5. Determine your goal.
Do you want to increase brand awareness? Expand your reach? Drive traffic to your website? Increase your ranking? Determine your goal and then build your strategy around that.
6. Get Visual.
In 2015 Cisco predicted that 80% of all internet traffic will be streaming video content by 2019, up from 64% in 2014.
63% of all social media content includes an image.
Content with an image receives over 94% more views.
60% of people interact with an organization whose images appear within search.
It’s time for your business to get on the visual bandwagon.
7. Put your plan into action.
The only way to build a solid social media following is to stay in the conversation. Create a schedule to consistently share and engage on a daily basis. Determine the what, how, and where of your social media strategy.
How will you share?
What will you share?
Where will you share?
Break this down into a content calendar with a separate column for each channel you’ll be using.
8. Choose your scheduling tools.
There are a myriad of tools out there that make scheduling social media posts easier and less time consuming. I suggest that you go try a few and see which one best suits you. Hootsuite, Buffer, Sprout Social are a few. Click here for a more comprehensive list.
9. Track, Measure, Adjust.
Measuring the impact of your social media efforts can help you:
Set the right goals
Determine what’s really working/ what needs adjustment
Determine your ROI
Don’t put a lot of weight on typical metrics, such as the number of likes, shares, and comments. Instead, focus on the metrics that matter to you and track them daily. (e.g. traffic, shares, conversions)
10. Follow the Golden Rule.
Social media might still feel like the wild-wild west where anything goes, but there are some golden rules you still need to follow:
Listen – Social media is an excellent listening tool. Pay attention to your fans and followers and offer solutions to their problems. You can listen through Google Alerts, keyword research and other online tools such as Social Mention.
Tell Your Story – Share the magic that makes you, YOU.
Stay Consistent – It’s not enough to hop on social media and push out content every once in a while. You need to post and write often and with purpose.
Maintain Focus – It’s easy to get caught up in “shiny object syndrome” when it comes to the newest, latest and greatest social media tool or strategy. Just say no to the new and stay focused on what you’re building. Work your strategy with diligence.
Create an Experience – It’s no longer just about the process. Today it’s about creating an integrated (and seamless) experience across all channels — and devices.
Be Social – Do I need to explain this one? Get social, stay social, be social. Let's get social!!!