How to build a social media strategy

Over the last few years, social media has revolutionised communication for people and businesses alike. Most businesses now use social media to share content and provide a hub for customers to make contact but not all have a social media strategy and are failing to leverage its full potential.

A well thought-out social media strategy is fundamental to social media success. Failure to develop a strategy can result in a scattergun approach to posting content, wrong channel selection or failure to link to wider business goals.

1. Social media audit

The first step to defining your strategy is to audit your current approach and capture a snapshot of where you are now. This involves looking at your social media channels and recording:

• Followers/likes/connections

• Post engagement – RT’s, shares, likes, favourites & comments

• Google Analytics – visitor acquisition from social channels, blog visits and behaviour of visitors per social channel.

2. Setting your social media goals

Your social media strategy must be guided by goals that directly contribute to the larger business objectives of your company.

It’s common that a business goal to increase sales will be supported by a marketing goal to increase web visitors, which in turn can be supported by a social media goal to:

Generate 100 website visitors per month from social channels over the next 6 months

It’s important that your goals are SMART to enable you to measure whether you’ve achieved them.

SMART goals are:

➢ Specific

➢ Measurable

➢ Achievable

➢ Realistic

➢ Time based

3. Defining your brand voice

Maintain consistency in your communications by establishing the characteristics of your brand voice.

What are the adjectives that define your brand? Are you authoritative, lively, cynical, serious, fun or quirky? Are there brands with a similar personality to you?

As you work on nailing down your voice, it’s helpful to know who you’re talking to—beyond your audiences’ basic demographics. Pick one person from each of your target audiences and think about what they want from your brand, what interests them and excites them and what their problems are that you can help with.

4. Who is responsible for social media?

It’s important to establish who is going to manage the social media and what their responsibilities are. You’ll also need to develop a social media policy which includes guidance on how to handle certain scenarios like negative customer posts or inappropriate posts by someone in your team.

5. Which social channels are most appropriate?

Best practice dictates that 2-3 social media platforms are chosen and focused on. It is better to channel resources at the most relevant platforms, where most of your customers are ‘hanging out’ than spread resources too thin by trying to engage across lots of platforms.

Think quality, not quantity – it’s far better to build a targeted follower or fan base than spread yourself too thin across multiple social channels.

6. Growing your audience

A strong community of engaged customers, interested prospects and excited brand advocates can go a long way in growing the success of your business. This part of your strategy looks at how you’ll build your audience and which tactics you’ll employ on each of the social channels.

Example tactics:

➢ Following and un-following

➢ Engaging daily to increase brand awareness

➢ Social competitions

Paid advertising

➢ Lead generation process on Linked In **

Putting together a content game plan**

You’ll need engaging content to share across your social channels. This content—whether a video, article, tip sheet or simple Tweet—should all feed into your social goals.

Your content should encompass your own original content and web-sourced content that you can curate to add your own opinions.

8. Measurement

The final stage of your social media strategy is to define what you will measure, who will do it and how often. We advise to have a structured approach to measurement where you’re updating a spreadsheet with your follower & fan numbers and engagement metrics once a month.