Before diving headfirst into your social media strategy, try taking a step back and making sure you have a solid game plan in place. Building a great social strategy can make all the difference when it comes to your success. Taking the time to lay the building blocks of your social media strategy will ensure a smoother, more calculated experience for the social landscape and will help your social platforms reach their maximum potential.
Building Blocks of a Great Social Strategy
First thing’s first…
Know Who You’re Talking To
With almost 2 billion people on Facebook, 700 million on Instagram, and over 150 million on Pinterest, make no mistake that your ideal customer is hanging out on social. The tricky (and fun!) part is finding them.
If you haven’t already, putting together a few customer avatars is a great place to start. It can help you identify your audience and what their particular interests are. For example, does your avatar go to social to read articles, to engage with like-minded individuals, or to get intriguing new ideas for their favorite hobby? Answers to these questions will help inform what platform you should target first (Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) and what types of content the audience wants to engage with once there.
This is a critical part of your social plan because it lays the foundation for your entire social strategy— make sure it gets due time.
Content, Baby, CONTENT
So you know who you’re talking to — now you’ve got to figure out what kind of content hypes them up.
Remember that the content you share is a direct reflection of your brand and should tell the audience a little bit more about the business and its values. An easy way to make sure that your content is on-brand is to create content funnels.
Set up 3-5 categories that content will fall into.
For example, if you own an organic landscaping business your funnels might be:
- The Great Outdoors: content that celebrates nature
- Sustainability: content that champions sustainable practices
- Community: content that showcases happy customers and highlights local achievements
Take note that these funnels will be subject to change. Once you launch your social efforts, you may find that one category in particular gets the most traction. If that’s the case, don’t feel pinned down to the other content funnels. Modify your strategy as you go and listen to what the audience is responding to.
Picture this: your brand’s logo is taken away as well as any indication of its name—would your audience still know it was you?
For platforms like Instagram especially, brand recognition can make or break a social strategy. I’m not just talking about a killer logo. The composition of your photos, filters, brand lingo, company hashtags, and more all play a role in helping your content stand out.
Defining how your brand will identify itself creatively is a critical step in developing your social strategy. This may evolve over time, but getting these parameters defined as early as possible will help your audience learn to recognize and trust your brand further down the road.
To keep things varied and fresh, make sure you or an organized team member sets up a content calendar. I love using a shared Google Calendar for this and giving each content category an assigned color. That way, when you’re looking at the calendar from a monthly view, you get a nice visual of the content variation.
Another note on variation, make sure that you are switching up the actual format of the content you’re sharing. Too much of the same thing may result in a bland page feed and low user engagement.
Here’s a few ideas to keep things fresh: blogs, video, news articles, infographics, webinars, quizzes/surveys, photos, live stories, product features, customer reviews, etc.
When sharing to your social platforms, you’ll want to have a clear ratio of the salesy vs. helpful content you’ll share. In general, I like to post one sales or call-to-action piece for every 4-5 pieces of helpful, zero-agenda content. That way your audience doesn’t get turned off by you asking them to buy this or sign up for that 24/7.
Also keep in mind that your content should be a mix of curated (found) and original. If it’s feasible for your budget and time, err on the side of original content as much as possible.
Stay At It
Consistency is one of the pillars of a fantastic social strategy. Implementing an automated content scheduler can be a real lifesaver on days that you hit a creative block. I like Buffer or Hootsuite for their ease of use, but Facebook also has a native scheduler that makes consistent posting a breeze.
A strong word of advice: don’t put this step off. To hold yourself accountable, I recommend scheduling a weekly meeting with a colleague during which you can review, discuss, and edit the content. That way, your content stream will be right on track.
As a rule of thumb, I try to post at least 5 times a week on Facebook and daily (or at least 6 times a week) for both Instagram and Twitter.
Scope out the competition.
Make a list of your competitors and do a deep assessment of their social profiles. Take notes on the type of content they’re sharing, which content seems to get the most engagement, and which platform is getting the most engagement/following.
If you see that your most direct competitor isn’t on a social platform, or has low engagement on a specific platform, view this as an opportunity. Your target audience might be on that platform…and you have little to no competition in trying to reach them there.