In this blog post I will share with you the first three steps that I you need to make in order to develop a winning social media strategy for your business if you are an entrepreneur, or a winning social media strategy for your clients if you are a marketer.
I run a digital marketing agency and over the last three years I have developed over 100 social media strategies for clients. Even though every social media strategy is different and you cannot use a cookie cutter approach when developing strategy there are three fundamental steps that are always start with when working on social media strategy for my clients.
STEP 1: Define Social Media Strategy Goals
The first step in the social media development process is to define your goals for social media. Brands have three goals when it comes to social media: to drive awareness, to develop a community and to drive sales. So now let’s dive into each one of them.
Drive awareness is about creating awareness for your brand on social media and helping people find out about the products and services that your business offers. If this goal is important to you, you should focus on the reach metric for your posts. Identify the posts that have achieved the biggest reach in the past. Then create more posts that are similar to the posts with the best reach.
Develop community is about creating an engaged community for your brand on social media. This goal has two dimensions. First, this goal is about creating engaging content that will provoke many comments and likes. Second, this goal is about engaging with other people and businesses on social media. If this goal is important to you, you should engage with people and business in your target audience by commenting and liking their posts. Some of them will reciprocate that and engage with your content in return.
This goal is very hard to quantify and it is the most time consuming goal for social media. However, I think that this is a very important goal. One of the primary purposes of social media is to create communities of like-minded people.
The last goal that I want to discuss today is the “drive sales” goal. There is a reason why I decided to talk about this goal last. Many brands like to use social media for driving sales. However, in my opinion social media is not the best channel for driving sales. When people want to buy something they Google it, they don’t search for it on Facebook! Therefore Google is a much better channel for driving sales. While, social media is a much better channel for driving awareness and developing community communities.
If driving sales from social media is important to you, then the best option is to run paid ads. Also, you should work with influencers and micro-influencers too. They can promote your products and services on their profiles for some compensation.
Based on my experience, these three goals are the most common goals that brands have for social media. As a first step in your social media strategy development process you should decide how important each one of those goals is to you. Then, you should decide how much time and money you want to allocate towards each one of them.
STEP 2: Define Content Categories For Social Media
The second step in the social media development process is to to define your content categories. Before you start creating content for social media you should think strategically about your presence on social media and outline your content categories.
Some common content categories include:
- Motivational/Inspirational posts with quotes
- Funny posts
- Posts with interesting questions for your audience
- “Behind the scenes” posts from your team
- Posts highlighting the features of your products of services
- Posts with interesting information about your industry
The content categories will be different for every brand. A fitness coach might have a “short workout videos” category, an architect might have a “beautiful buildings” category, and a clothing brand might have a “recommended daily look” category.
Also, you should align the content categories to your social media goals discussed in Step 1. Ask yourself how each content category will help you achieve each social media goal.
You should measure the results achieved by each content category over time and replace the low-performing content categories with new content categories. For example, if one of your categories is “questions” but you see that nobody answers your questions you should replace the “questions” category with anther category that will resonate better with your audience.
STEP 3: Select Social Media Networks
The third step in the social media strategy development process is to select the social media networks that you are going to focus on. I recommend that you start by focusing on three social media networks. Many brands want to develop a presence on all social media networks in parallel. This is a mistake. Don’t stretch yourself too thin! You need to have enough time and resources for each network. If you try to develop presence on as many social media networks as possible you will find it difficult to develop a following on any of them.
To select the best social media networks for you brand you should take into consideration the format of the content (photos or videos) that you already have or plan to create and the user demographics of each network.
If you plan to focus on photos you should consider Instagram and Facebook as your top candidates. If you plan to focus on videos you should consider TikTok and YouTube as your top candidates.
Every social media network attracts users from different demographics. As part of your social media development process you should select the social media networks that attract users with similar demographic characteristics as your target audience.