How to create an effective social media strategy

Social media is not just about pretty pictures and hashtags. There is a lot more to it and the benefits to businesses of all sizes are significant. Social media marketing doesn’t require a huge amount of your budget, yet still has the ability to help to build your brand and find new business opportunities. To read more about some of the most significant benefits, have a look at our recent post 20 benefits of social media for small businesses.

Focus is often on social marketing tactics – the content you share, the people to connect with, the keywords you use…but you wouldn’t start building a house without a plan and you shouldn’t spend time and money on social media without a strategy. Here are a few of our tips on getting started:

1. Set your objectives

Look at the bigger picture and set your social media goals to align with your overall business’ goals. In case the nature and the setup of your business goals can’t be impacted by social media, focus on aligning your social media and marketing objectives. You could consider the following:

  • Lead generation
  • Website traffic
  • Brand awareness and engagement
  • Revenue growth
  • Social listening
  • Community building

2. Define your unique value proposition

Differentiate yourself and make your business stand out for all the good reasons! With every communication, keep your value proposition in mind and link back to the uniqueness of your brand through content that is of high quality, adds value to your followers and is visually attractive. Having a unique hashtag or using specific keywords can be a great reminder with your social media updates and any communication with your followers.

3. Profile your ideal customer

Be clear on who are you marketing to. Demographics are key, but that doesn’t mean you should exclude those who are not on your top list. Create your potential buyer personas and analyse how they behave and communicate. Define search words that they would use on their social media profiles and hashtags they use so you can tailor your communication accordingly. Look at your best performing content and keywords to define what is it that they are looking for or are interested in.

4. Pick the right social media networks

Not all the channels work for everyone. Think as your potential clients – consider which platforms would you prefer to use and what content would you be interested in. It’s better to focus on fewer networks but pick the ones that are the most effective, depending on the nature of your business and clients’ preference. The best way to find out what works is to test different campaigns via different channels and compare. If you are not sure on which social media platforms could work for your small business, have a look at our recent post How to pick the right social media networks for your business.

5. Craft your digital story

Social media networks are the ideal platforms for digital storytelling. Using visual and written content and having a consistent, unique story that you can share with your followers is an effective way to generate and maintain your audience’s interest. Craft your story, focused on relevant keywords and visuals before you start looking at the tactics. Share your journey with your followers – tell them about how your products are created, who are the people behind them, what makes them unique…To read more about storytelling in business, have a look at our post Storytelling tips for small businesses.

6. Create a tactical plan

Once you are clear on the bigger picture, create a tactical plan with defined social media channels, type of content, estimated timings and roles. Set yourself some realistic goals to achieve on weekly, monthly or quarterly basis and keep track of progress. Create a visual calendar with a simple table using as many weeks as you need and list all the social media activities you have planned. The visual demonstration will make it easier to spot gaps and errors. It’s important that your social media marketing activities are regular, even if not too frequent.

7. Schedule a regular audit

A social media audit is an effective way of reflecting on what is working best in terms of return on investment. The audit will give you a good idea about which post types are most popular and are driving website traffic, as well as best times to post, hashtags and most effective social networks that are working for your small business. And you can then focus on doing more of what works best!

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