How to create a social media strategy
Written by: Sophie Droysen Date: October 29, 2019
A well executed social media strategy is vital to a company’s success, that’s why it’s important to stick to a plan that includes budgets, goals (aka key performance indicators - KPIs) and objectives. It should also include a section dedicated to analysis, that will determine how regularly reports will be made and what to do if the results differ from desired results needed to reach a certain goal. The first step to think of when planning a social media strategy is the company’s budget, objectives and KPIs. Objectives define what you’re trying to achieve with a campaign. Do you want to drive traffic to a website? Make people aware of your brand or make them engage with you? They are broad goals and will determine what kind of campaign you’ll be running. KPI’s are key performance indicators, they are defined, smaller goals that will indicate how to work towards achieving your objective. A good way to think of which KPIs to use is the S.M.A.R.T strategy, which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. An example for a well defined KPI would be, “Gain 10 followers a week for the next quarter.” Or “Raise engagement by 20% until the end of the month.” The objective and KPIs should give you an idea on how to spend your budget, how many ads to run and how long to run them for. Make sure you allocate budget where it is needed. Don’t forget to plan for any outsourcing work you’ll need to pay for, like photographers, videographers or graphic designers to create content.
Target audience researchIf you already have existing social media accounts finding data on who your target audience is won’t be hard. Every social media platform offers analytics for your page. The statistics available give you insights into age, gender and location. If you’re starting from scratch you will need to think of who your potential customers are. Are they students or professionals? How much income do they have? What are they interested in? In this case it would be a good idea to create customer personas. Another idea on how to define your target audience is researching your competitors. Who are they marketing to? Who is engaging with them?
Competitor auditOne of the first steps before setting up your social media accounts is conducting a competitors research. There are a lot of questions you can ask for this step:
- Who are the leading companies in your field?
- Which companies are on your level? / Which companies are also fairly new? (If your company is just starting out)
- Which channels are they using?
- How do they interact with their followers?
- What kind of content are they posting?
Creating content that will engageIn our last article we went over branding [link to article] and took a look at creating a message for your brand that needs to be reinforced through adverts and social media content. This message determines what your content should look like. At this point you should already know your target audience well enough to be aware of which tone to use, which media formats and channels they will be most likely to engage with based on age, what their interests and needs are. These are things you’ll need to consider when planning your social media strategy. If you disregard what you know about your target audience when creating content for different channels you could make the mistake of focusing time and budget on platforms or content that your clients don’t interact with. Looking at trends and thinking of how they will develop will also help you decide which medium to use, for example videos have been steadily increasing in popularity across all platforms, so choosing a strategy that mixes moving and still images seems like the obvious way to go. Humans want to be understood when they’re talking to other people and the same goes for customers, they want to feel like a company has their best interest in mind and can provide some kind of value to them, whether that’s educational, personal or financial. Understanding this will help you create content that your customers will want to engage with. In conclusion, be aware of the following things when choosing your content:
- Brand message
- Target audience
- Content formats and platforms
- Customer value
AnalyticsOnce your strategy is in place and you have started implementing it, it is time to analyse if it is bringing you the desired results. Having set your objective and KPI’s at the beginning of your strategy, this is where they will be important again. Check in on whether or not you are working towards your objective and if you’re reaching your KPI’s. You will also need to define how often results should be analysed, whether that’s weekly, monthly or quarterly. However, the longer the period the more likely it is that a strategy that isn’t working will waste money and resources without getting results, which can damage your business. Frequent reports are recommended to constantly check on the performance of your strategy and tweak anything that needs to be tweaked. In your report you will need to state your objectives and KPI’s and determine whether or not they have been fulfilled by looking at the following data:
- Number of followers gained/lost
- Number of posts
- Number of comments/likes/shares
- Post reach
- Number of profile/page visits
- Number of clicks on any post links
- Number of story views
- Number of video views
- Top performing posts
- Number of conversions and leads
- Total revenue
- Total spent
- Social share of voice and sentiment