If you want to capture the minds and hearts of social media users, you have to invest sufficiently in social media strategy planning. Running a social media channel is not easy at all. Each social media platform follows a set of ever-changing, sophisticated algorithms that make it difficult for businesses to reach their goals. That’s why social media strategy planning has currently taken on special significance over the past years. A well-defined strategy will help you determine the right path to your business objectives. In this post, we will provide you with a concise, step-by-step guide to building a helpful strategy.
Table of Contents
Define Your Business Goals
The first step you need to take for social media strategy planning is to define your business goals. Social media services pursue different goals. You need to determine what exactly you expect from your social media activity. Do you intend to sell a product or service this way? Do you just want your brand’s voice to be heard? Are you looking for customer feedback? Do you plan to monitor competitors’ activity on social media? The specific goal you define at first will considerably affect the whole process of social media strategy planning.
Actually, every move you take on social media has a different purpose. For instance, if you are trying to sell a product or service, you should usually attract users who are willing to make a purchase. If you want to perceive the consumers’ feedback on what you offer, you need to focus on your loyal customers. Social media strategy is different for each group of users. To devise an effective strategy for reaching each of the goals, consider the following:
- Building Brand Awareness: In this case, you’d better avoid publishing promotional messages and instead, rely only on creating quality content.
- Developing Sales Funnel: Introduce your products or services to users. To do so, your content must include the advantages of your brand over competitors.
- Increasing the Number of Customers: You should formulate strategies to attract more followers. Using specific hashtags and keywords, and responding quickly and empathetically to user comments contributes greatly to this.
- Getting User Feedback: To find out what users think about a brand, you need to publish content that invites users to comment or offer feedback.
- Driving Web Traffic: Advertising posts, using stories to publish URLs, and placing site links on social media pages all have a huge impact on redirecting users to site pages.
Research Your Target Audience
Identifying the target audience is the next key step in social media strategy planning. Relying on assumptions and estimates is a risky game for social media marketers. You need to consider the facts, not the unrealistic and untested assumptions that may lead you astray. Luckily, social media monitoring tools have currently made it much easier for everyone running a social media channel. Thanks to these tools, you can get insights into your social media users.
Once you know who your target audience is and what their needs and preferences are, you can better go through your social media strategy planning. It’s crucial to use demographics on these platforms. Information about your users’ age, gender, location, occupation, etc. tells you what kind of content you should generate to keep them engaged and convert them into loyal customers.
On Pinterest, for instance, women outnumber men. For Instagram, impressive visual content has a greater potential to attract followers and engage them with a higher volume of shares, likes, and comments. On Facebook and YouTube, platforms apt for advertising, creating informative, engaging content is what drives a page’s popularity. And finally, LinkedIn is a platform for highly-educated professionals to publish in-depth content for various industries and businesses. You need to consider all this diversity in your social media strategy planning.
Set Your Main KPIs
Any business, irrespective of size and industry, can operate well on social media, provided it focuses sufficiently on the most appropriate social media KPIs. These KPIs help brands understand how well their campaigns are performing and whether they might need to make changes to their strategy or not. Let’s see what some of these determining social media metrics are:
Each social media platform utilizes specific algorithms to increase the number of visits, shares, and likes. So, if you get more likes, comments, or sharing for the content you’ve published, it denotes that you have performed well under that social platform’s Reach criteria.
Another significant social media KPI is the number of clicks users make on content, company name, or logo. This metric is crucial for understanding how users move through the marketing funnel.
Impressions tell you how many times your post appeared in a user’s newsfeed or timeline, either because they are already following you or someone they know has shared or liked the post. This actually doesn’t mean that for every impression a user noticed your post, though they had a chance to.
This major KPI shows what percentage of the traffic to your website is directed from your social media channels. By using a number of social media publishing tools like Hootsuite or SproutSocial, you can easily identify this number.
Monitor Your Competitors
Much of social media strategy planning involves watching what your competitors do on social platforms. You need to carefully examine your rival businesses’ strategies before you start generating content. When you use analytics tools to monitor your competitors’ performance on social media, you can predict how your target audience will react to some of your content later. You can also create a more realistic strategy for your promotional content. This analysis helps you benefit from content that has stood the test of time and can lead you a great step closer to your ultimate goal.
Of course, we do not mean to plagiarize or copy your competitors’ ideas. Rather, it involves a thorough analysis of their performance on social media. You can wakefully monitor what they do and analyze the strategy that has worked for them. Then, you may compare the results with your own to optimize your social media campaigns.
You can do a simple Google search to find your competitors. Just type and search for the main keywords related to your business; Google identifies a wide range of domestic and international brands within your industry.
Create Engaging Content
Engaging content is the central focus of any social media strategy planning. You need to make a list of useful and interesting topics that are relevant to your business goal and brand identity. You must articulate your brand identity in a meaningful and influential way while conveying helpful information to your target audience. Storytelling is a great tool to help you achieve this.
Right now, a big challenge facing most campaign managers on social media is generating content that can easily go viral. According to Venngage.com (the free online visual design tool), one-third of digital marketers have currently turned to video content to seize the chance of going viral.
This seriously underscores the importance of visual content. Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Facebook lay heavy emphasis on this. Publishing high-quality, impressive graphics on Instagram helps you get widely noticed in the users’ Feeds after a short while. That’s why most businesses today hire creative artists and illustrators to help them craft a coherent visual content strategy.
Alongside the visual content, you should also focus seriously on the caption. Writing a compelling, informative, image-related, yet concise caption is incredibly important. Captions add context to your images and videos and shape your voice. You can also encourage engagement by incorporating calls-to-action (CTAs) into your caption. For instance, you can include questions in captions to invite comments or tag users involved with the content.
Schedule Your Posts
No social media manager can determine what time users are online on various social media platforms. So, it’s up to you to publish relevant content at user-defined times. You should accurately check when your users are active on each channel; then publish the content at the most appropriate time.
For instance, as a toy seller, your target audience includes mostly housewives who start their social media activity at 9 am. However, they may be busy with cooking or household chores in the mid-day or at sunset. So, they may not get a chance to go online and hang out on social media then. But when it comes to suits, your audience is mainly men. This group finds it more convenient to log onto social media in the evening or at night following a long day’s work.
You can use social media monitoring tools to tell you when and what time most of your followers are online. The correct timing prevents your quality content from getting lost under a huge pile of posts published every second on users’ feeds. There are also some online services that help you automate your post publishing on different channels at the pre-planned time.
Refine Your Strategy
Your social media strategy planning will be quite ineffective without a clear perception of your performance on each specific channel. You must constantly modify your strategy in line with the latest changes in customer expectations. Without continual evaluation, you cannot fully grasp the impact and outcomes of your campaigns. Moreover, social media platforms are constantly optimizing their algorithms to provide users with more targeted content. Changes in the algorithms may slow down your performance over time. However, when you regularly evaluate your performance on social media, you can instantly adapt to every small change.
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