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Social media is a vital marketing tool for all types of businesses, on all sizes of scale. However, for many, social media can just be a spur of the moment thing, rather than a well thought out process. But, truth is, a well thought out social media marketing strategy has the ability to skyrocket your business if done well.
What is a Social Media Marketing Strategy?
A social media marketing strategy is essentially a summary of what actions you plan to take regarding all things social media. As well as the level of success you would like to achieve on social media. It should help to clear your mind and create a focused vision of what your social media is currently, and what it needs to be.
It’ll outline the actions you need to take to make your social media marketing more effective. However, keep it simple and concise. Creating a complicated marketing strategy will prove to be difficult to manage. Not only that, it will be hard to measure future results.
Therefore, we have put together a simple five-step action plan. With the intention of helping you to create and maintain a successful social media presence.
Choose Social Networks
There are so many social media platforms available that thinking and planning for them all individually will take up a lot of your time. Maybe even too much. That’s why the first step to creating a social media marketing strategy is choosing the networks that are relevant to you.
But how do you do that? Consider these important factors:
You could easily spend a whole day looking through various social media platforms, sourcing content ideas and learning the best ways to use them all. However, question how much time you want to actually be spending online as this will affect how many platforms is a suitable number.
Crucially, what is your current audience? Or, who do you want your audience to be? Different platforms have different demographics. Therefore, knowing your target audience and researching which platform has what demographic is an important process. An example of how to do this is by using YouGov Profiles. By typing in the social network you require, the site will tell you facts about the demographic. For instance, gender, age, annual income. As well as other information such as what their favorite movies and music are.
Different social media networks emphasize different content. So ask yourself, what skills do you, or the people you work with, have? For instance, if using Pinterest or Instagram, high-quality images or videos is a must. Whereas, if you opt for platforms such as Facebook, quality content will work more efficiently.
Set up Profiles
Having a smart looking profile page can automatically put you ahead of the rest, and is therefore crucial.
Here are the aspects of your profile you should take particular care with and why:
Consistency is key when it comes to profile and cover photos. Having the same, or similar, photos across all of your social media profiles will show your page visitors that you’re a serious, professional business.
Furthermore, remember that not all platforms are designed in the same way. Therefore, it is extremely likely that you will need different sized versions of your photos. Resizing photos is an easy task that can be done on Preview if on Mac, or Paint if on Microsoft. Alternatively, there are also useful websites online that will provide you with the suitable templates, making your job easier. One example of this being Canva.
Although, make sure to choose a photo that is relevant to your business. Whether it be your logo, an example of a product you sell, or an example of work you have done.
Next is to include bio/any information you are providing your visitors about your business. Most of the time, finding the right bio is difficult. Especially when you have limited characters, such as on Twitter.
So, be quick. Don’t waste characters writing out your whole résumé. Simply write in punchy bullet-points and make sure to include relevant keywords in order to optimize your profile.
On the other hand, where limited characters isn’t a problem there is more flexibility in what you could include. A suitable length for a bio is between 150 and 300 words. It should highlight who you intend to cater to and how you are going to provide services.
Create Engaging Content
“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet” – Bill Gates
Before you can start seeing the benefits of having a strong social media presence, you are going to need content which is sure to engage your page visitors. Exciting and informative content is bound to be shared around a number of people.
It can inform or require audience participation, just think of the blue or gold dress, or the recent Laurel or Yanny for instance. These posts went viral as people were sharing what they believed to be correct. Whilst others were trying to explain why.
However, it is important not to be swept along into the mainstream viral content, and only post what coincides with your mission statement. Some examples of content you could create include: images, blog posts, videos, exciting company news and infographics.
Workout a Posting Strategy
Once you have created the engaging content, you need to work out when is best to post them.
There are two main categories to consider when creating a posting strategy. Where and how.
When is the Best Time to be posting?
Once you have built up your following, many social media platforms give you the tools to see when your followers are likely to be online each day. Both days and time can be highlighted to you. This can help you to know when to post your best content that is likely to get the most engagement. As well as when to post your less quality content.
However, until you are at the point where you have a large enough number of followers to merit effective peak times, there is information available that shows when on average, people are using each social media platform.
Furthermore, if the majority of your audience ends up being in a different time zone to you, there are many post scheduling platforms that can post for you. This allows you to ensure there is something posted in peak times every day. They can also be an easy way to manage your social media accounts in general. By simply dedicating a few hours to creating content, you can then add the content to the scheduling platform. This way, you will only need to make social media a task once every other week, or even longer.
How often should you be posting?
There are many different opinions surrounding the question of how much posting is too much? Some may say that posting over ten times a day is standard, whereas others may recommend only one or two. It all depends on the type of content you are posting. For instance, if mainly promoting products you don’t want to be posting too often as every time you show a new product, the previous will become diluted. Alternatively, if your engagement comes from funny cat videos, posting multiple times a day is a great idea. Because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love lots of cat videos?
Once you have come up with and implemented a social media marketing strategy, it is essential to analyze how it has worked. If starting from scratch this may be difficult. However, if the implemented strategy is to improve an already existing social media presence, make a note of your insights and engagements from before. This way you will clearly be able to see what is and what isn’t working.
As time progresses you should gain a clearer understanding of what your audience enjoy most as well as what they really don’t like. Use this to your advantage and gear your content around the more successful content.