With the world going digital, social media has become one of the most powerful tools you should have in your marketing arsenal. If used correctly, you can create a strong personal connection with your prospective customers.
When it comes to social media, diving in without a clear plan can lead to a PR disaster. To make the most of social media, and benefit from it, you need to build a clear strategy that takes into account what you’re trying to achieve, who your customers are and what your competition is doing.
Here are tips to help you get started:
1. Understand your goals
As with any journey, the first step in creating a social-media marketing strategy is to understand where you want to go. What is the purpose of your social media marketing efforts? Do you want to create or raise awareness of your brand? Are you looking to increase sales, or website traffic, or both? Is your goal to build customer loyalty and increase retention
These These goals aren’t mutually exclusive, but you should focus on one or two: If you spread yourself too thin, you’re not going to accomplish anything.
2. Know your customers
A successful social-media strategy is all about targeting the right people with the right messages. To do this, you need to understand your audience. For instance, there’s no point in targeting everyone in the 18 to 35 age group if you really want to get to upwardly mobile young professionals who are technology enthusiasts.
The best way to do this is to sit down and create a detailed profile of your ideal customer. Start by giving them a name. How old are they? What is their income? Do they have children? What do they like or dislike? What motivates them? And so on. If you have more than one ideal customer, create a persona for each.
3. Look at the competition
When it comes to social media, your competition can tell you a lot about what works and what doesn’t. After all, they’re targeting the same customers you are. If you ignore your competition, you’re giving up a fantastic opportunity to learn from their successes and mistakes.
To research your competitors, start by picking three or four of the top ones. Find out which social networks they’re active on, and study their content. Is it funny or serious? What kind of cultural references do they use? Do they talk about their product primarily, or do they focus on other things?
4. Develop your messages
Now you have a handle on your ideal customers and your competition, it’s time to start building your messages. This isn’t detailed content; rather it’s a set of key messages that you think will resonate with your customers based on the personas you have created.
There’s nothing wrong with adopting some of your competitors’ successful messaging ideas but also try to create original messages that set you apart. This will help you to create a unique brand voice. Don’t be afraid to get creative as your social media presence should be exciting, not boring.
5. Choose your channels
Not all social media platforms are the same. You need to choose the right ones for the products or services you’re selling.
For example, LinkedIn is a good platform to target for business-to-business sales while Instagram may be better if you’re in the fashion business. Some of these channels will become obvious when you look at your competitors but see if any relevant channels were overlooked.
You should also identify influencers who can reach your target audience. Good bloggers command high levels of trust in their readers and are indispensable in creating buzz around your brand. Take the time to target the most appropriate bloggers.
6. Build a content plan
Finally, you need to develop a strong content plan that will deliver engaging material. The content needs to align with your overall messaging and be appropriate for the channels you’re using. This is more than just product information – think about how you can deliver real value to your audience.
Don’t just stick to one type of media – a mix of videos, guides, infographics and other styles will engage your potential customers more effectively. Also, don’t think of content as something you post once. You need to have an ongoing presence on social media, and that includes delivering fresh content on a regular basis.
What else do you do to build a solid social media strategy?