It seems like nearly everyone is on social media (well, 4.9 billion of us, that is), so making a few business accounts for your brand shouldn’t be that hard, right? Just post some pics, tag some products, and answer any direct questions from your followers…
Sorry, but this way of working will get your brand nowhere. If you’re simply throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what “sticks,” you’re wasting precious time, energy, and money that could be yielding much more profitable results. When it comes to social media, brands need STRATEGY.
A strategy is a plan of action designed to help you achieve a goal. It takes preparation, implementation, and consistent fine-tuning to garner success. But once you see your plan put into action (and witness the results), you’ll wonder why you never had one in the first place.
8 Steps to Creating Your Social Media Strategy
At Media À La Carte, strategy is our specialty. Here are our 8 steps to creating your own social media strategy.
1. Define your goals.
Before you set up your accounts and start posting away, ask yourself, What is the point of our brand utilizing social media? (Hint: Your answer should NOT be “Because everyone else is doing it.”). Here are some ideas for those “big picture” goals:
Build brand awareness
Direct traffic to your website
Grow a loyal following
Shape public perception of your brand
Convert followers into customers
Enhance your customer experience
Now, with each “big idea” in mind, create a set of SMART goals, that is:
Specific → Choose outcomes that are quantifiable.
Measurable → Track your progress/success.
Attainable → Balance your ambition and realism.
Relevant → Understand how your goals fit in with your larger mission/purpose.
Time-bound → Set a deadline and make it happen!
2. Understand your audience.
Getting a handle on your target audience will be key for your social media strategy since certain social media platforms, hashtags, tones of voice, etc. can cater to specific populations. Break down your target audience(s) by noting both their:
Demographics: age, gender, location, job, education
Psychographics: values, interests, behaviors, beliefs
Use these analyses to create “personas” (i.e. the archetype of your target customer). Making personas can help you better understand each audience’s unique wants and needs.
3. Assess the competition.
Besides a social networking platform, social media is a tool for you to easily stalk what your competitors are doing. What do their profiles look like? Pay attention to their aesthetic, tone of voice, posting schedule, hashtags and keywords, etc. Take a look at our blog post all about researching (and learning from) your competition. And while taking note of your competitors’ social strategies can help you design your own, try to steer clear from constantly comparing yourself. Once you get up and running, we say to keep the stalking to a minimum!
4. Audit your current social media.
If you already have social media accounts on various platforms, assess what’s working (and what’s not). What platforms resonate the best with your target audience? Revisit our blog all about the different social media platforms your business might need. What kind of content garners the most engagement, leads, or traffic to your website? How is each account helping your brand achieve its goals? Hootsuite offers a great social media audit template to guide you through the process. And PS, if something’s not working, trying to “fix” it might now always be the best option. There are MANY social media platforms and each requires a lot of resources. If you’re a smaller business, don’t feel pressured to be everywhere all at once. Making a strategic impact in a few niche spaces will give you a greater ROI than spreading yourself too thin.
5. Set up (or revamp) your social media accounts.
Again, your business—especially your brand new baby business—doesn’t need every social media platform right away. Figure out what makes sense for your brand, your audience, and your goals. For example, if your target audience is predominantly Gen Z, you definitely want to have a presence on TikTok since people aged 16-25 tend to search TikTok even before turning to Google. In our blog about social media strategy, we broke down an ideal master plan for each social media platform.
6. Create a content calendar.
The purpose of a content calendar is to see the WHOLE picture and design how each singular post, caption, and story supports your bigger goals and objectives. Work backwards from a key date or deadline and plan out your content in reverse to find out an ideal posting schedule and starting date. Set a posting schedule that is manageable for your team (FYI management programs like Planoly allow you to schedule posts in advance) and divide up your content so you’ve got a balanced mix of educational, emotional, and engaging content. Here’s more about why planning ahead can transform your relationship with social media.
EVERY post should have a purpose and maybe 90% should also include a call to action (CTA—aka what you want the viewer to do—to “order now,” “subscribe,” or “click the link”). Hootsuite recommends that your social media content marketing follow the “Rule of Thirds:”
⅓ of your content should promote your business (and contribute to sales)
⅓ of your content should share ideas about your industry
⅓ of your content should feature personal interactions with your audience (reviews, user-generated content, shared posts, etc.)
If everything is just a push for sales, you’re not really taking advantage of what social media is; you’re just advertising. Social media allows brands to connect with their customers on a deeper level…Analytics and algorithms help us to understand our audiences better. Networking tools like direct messaging, commenting, and liking enable us to hear from and speak directly to our customers. And trends, hashtags, and shares afford more opportunities for discovery, awareness, and connection. Social media is more than just an advertising tool—so be sure to utilize all that it has to offer.
Need more inspo or direction as you plan? Subscribe to Media À La Carte’s Content Calendar Club. If you’re sick of feeling ‘behind-the-curve’ when it comes to new social trends and techniques, the Content Calendar Club provides you with templates, prompts, guides, eBooks, and personalized group support to make the most of your brand’s social media strategy.
7. Curate a content archive.
Compile a library of content for your social media posts. This should be everything from brand photoshoots (speaking of, have you scheduled your next shoot with Studio À La Carte?), customer reviews, video footage (behind-the-scenes, tour of your space, how-to’s, user-generated content, etc.), and approved brand copy and aesthetics (fonts, colors, language, etc.). The more options you have to pull from, the less you’ll have to scramble at the last minute. So, the more content, the better—just make sure everything is organized into folders and titled appropriately so it’s easy to find!
8. Analyze performance.
Social media strategy is a never-ending process. After you’ve followed through with your content calendar for a few weeks, check out those platform analytics (pro tip: When you create a “business account,” you’ll get to see even more detailed data). Interpret and try to make sense of as much as you can. When was the best time to post? What kinds of content prompted the most engagement, website traffic, or new followers? What other insights can you pick up about your target audience? In your next go-around prepping your social media content calendar, try to implement what you learned from your performance analysis. As you keep up this process of creating, posting, analyzing, and creating again, you’ll magically start to see your stats increase (leads, traffic, click-thru-rate, new followers, shares, etc.).
We’ll say it again, here at Media À La Carte, strategy is our speciality. If you need support, we can work with you at any or all steps of the social media process. Schedule a discovery call and see what we’re all about.