You already know social media is a critical component of your marketing strategy, so let’s get down to it! Your business is on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram – all the major social media players. You post to them as frequently as you can, maybe even daily. All that hard work has to be paying off, right? You are certainly working harder at social than your competitors. But, are you working smarter? This strategy of posting as much as possible to all of the most visible platforms may have worked in the past, but the social media landscape is steadily changing. And, that means that your strategy should be too.
Take a note from The Art of War by Sun Tzu – “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” The world of social media can certainly be overwhelming, but get it right, and you stand to reap some hefty rewards. Pushing out content merely for the sake of a daily post is far less effective than focusing on the creation and distribution of valuable content for your target audience. So, think of this as your wake-up call, your opportunity in the midst of social media chaos to work smarter and see your efforts blossom.
Developing a Social Media Battle Plan (A.K.A. - Goals & Objectives)
First, let’s look at what you want to achieve with your social media efforts. Whether you’re planning a big advertising campaign or general strategy for your business’s presence, it’s important to consider not only your short-term goals, but what you want to achieve in the long run as well. While it’s easy to focus on the here and now with social media, success requires more of a big picture overview.
Begin by setting clearly defined and obtainable goals. Do you want to grow brand awareness? Increase sales volume? Maybe you just want to create a loyal fan base. Whatever the case, decide on your ultimate goals and record them. Take note of where you are currently and where you hope to be. This will serve not only as a benchmark for progress, but it will also enhance your probability of success. According to some fancy statistics on the internet, those who write down their goals are 42 percent more likely to achieve them. (See what I mean here, people?)
Identify Your Social Media Artillery (A.K.A. - Platforms/Networks)
Now that you have outlined your goals you can take a detailed dive into your current state of affairs. In this process, you are taking stock of the platforms you utilize, the content you share, and the success you have won so far. Define your business’s personas (target consumers) and identify the platforms they are using on a day-to-day basis.
What does all this mean? Well, if your audience isn’t on Instagram or LinkedIn, do you really need to spend valuable time and energy posting to that social network every day? Obviously not. Instead, choose the networks that align with both your goals and your audience based on their demographics and behaviors. Although it is tempting and can give you a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out), avoid using all the available networks and further complicating your goals. Just remember, less is more, particularly when it is done in the right place and at the right time.
Execution of a Social Media Plan (A.K.A. - Content Plan)
I won’t lie to you; developing a plan for social media content is a critical component in your strategy, but it isn’t always easy. To begin, focus on creating content that aligns well with your brand or business’s identity. Then, develop a social media calendar with a plan for where and when this content will be shared in order to ensure that your posts are both relevant and timely.
If you have an agency or in-house person that is in charge of social media marketing, examine the strategy that is currently in place, and identify ways you can make adjustments or improvements. Consider which days of the week and times of day are best to post your content on each specific platform, and use that information to maximize your audience reach.
So, what’s your next step? Take action, and begin putting the above strategies into place. Social media is ever evolving, and it is critical to not allow your approach to become stagnant. Always keep your audience in mind, and implement new networks into your plan if they work for you. Set new goals, develop a plan, and make necessary adjustments as changes arise within your business, your audience, or the platforms themselves.