How to Plan a Social Media Strategy

Social media strategy.  I am going to be very transparent here.  When I first started out, I was completely overwhelmed by that phrase!  A social media strategy sounded BIGGER than me.  But, I figured out how to break it down into easy to execute steps and I can’t wait to share those steps with you.  Keep reading if you are interested in how to plan a social media strategy.

 

STEP #1 – What’s Your Plan???

The first part of building a strategy is to define your social media goals.  Determine the social media goals you can focus on that support your overall marketing plan and the annual plan for your business.  

Spoiler alert!!!  If you don’t have an annual plan for your business or a marketing plan for your business, your social media efforts will fail.  Seriously!  YOU WILL FAIL at social media for your business without a business plan or marketing plan in place.  Afterall, how can you create a strategy for something you haven’t set a goal or plan for?  You need to know what you’re aiming for in order to create a social media strategy for it.  It’s just common sense!

 

STEP #2  – GOALS

Assuming you have set a business plan and a marketing plan for your business, now it’s time for you to determine how social media is going to work for you to help you hit those overall goals.  Some social media goals you may want to focus on to help you get there include:

  • Brand awareness
  • Audience engagement
  • Website/landing page traffic/”click throughs”
  • Email list sign ups
  • Impactful collaborations
  • Downloads
  • Subscribers
  • Reach (the total number of people who see your content)
  • Email list growth

When selecting goals from the list above, it’s important to take some time to ensure they are sound goals for your business.  To do that, I recommend using the SMART goal system.  A SMART goal is not only an acronym but it is also a good gauge for you to determine how sound your goal is. 

  • SMART stands for 
    • S – Specific
    • M – Measurable
    • A – Achievable 
    • R – Relevant
    • T – Time Bound

 

If you can answer those 5 things for the social media goal you have selected, you will be on your way to achieving what you set out for your social media account.

 

STEP 3 – Get Focused

In this section we are going to cover details to help you get on the right track and begin creating the best message for your audience.

Identify Your Channel.  

Start slow.  You can always run later!  Pick one social media platform to concentrate on.  It should be the one that your target audience spends the most time on.  Chances are, your target audience is a lot like you so focus there first.  What is your favorite platform to hang out on?  Get to know that platform really well and dominate the platform – becoming the go-to expert in your field for that platform.  

 

Account Focus.

You need to decide on an overall focus for your account.  To define a focus you determine the problem you will be solving for your audience….What is it that you do that makes your audience thrive or another way to look at it is, what is the pain pill you offer to make their life easier or better.

Create a Target:

Determine who your target is and get to know them intimately.  This will help you create the best content for your audience.  Once you have clearly defined who your target audience is, go ahead and stalk them!  Seriously!  I give you permission to stalk their feeds.  Learn what they struggle with, what their interests are, and start making a list of how you can help them through the voice of your business.

 

Brand Voice:  

Next determine your social media brand voice.  To build your brand voice, consider things like:

  • Defining what makes you and your business unique?  
  • What does your business do that makes you stand out from your competition and others in your industry?

 

Then consider how you will talk to your audience and get your message across while providing a ton of value at the same time.  Will it be through:

  • Education – where you teach people how to do something through DIY trainings or How-Tos
  • Entertainment – will you be using storytelling, humor, and engaging content to connect with your audience?
  • Inspiration – will you use inspirational ideas, pep talks, and quotes that relate to your brand, products or services to get your messages across?
  • Reward – will you create value-rich rewards to compel your audience to use your products or services
  • Or, will it be a combination of all of the above?  I vote for the combination approach IF and ONLY IF it works for your brand.  For example.  If you choose to entertain your audience through humor, the worst thing you can do is force humor when you have to work hard at being funny.  Your audience will know in an instant if your content/voice isn’t authentic which will cause them to tune out and unfollow.

What mediums will you use?

The way you convey your message to your audience also contributes to your brand voice.  Which avenues will you and your brand make?  Will it be…

  • Post feeds
  • Video
  • Stories

 

My suggestion is to use a combination of ALL OF THE THINGS!  Every feature the social media platform offers is the best way to get your message across.  Here’s why:

  • It makes your account interesting and diversified
  • Each audience member has their own preferences when it comes to consuming content.  Some like to scroll the feed, while others love the spontaneity of stories, and others love a good live broadcast.
  • ALGORITHMS LOVE when you use all the features of a platform.  It makes you a POWER USER.  Power users usually have the best reach because they are using all of the vehicles within the app available to them.  Think about your favorite content creator.  How are they using the platform?  I bet they have a good mix of all the features which makes them super compelling and interesting to follow!

Define Frequency:

Take the time to determine how frequently you will post on social media.  Be realistic.  The goal for frequency is not to necessarily post every single day, multiple times a day.  The goal is to figure out what a realistic schedule is that will allow you to:

  • Post high-quality, value-rich content instead of posting just for the sake of posting
  • Use all of the social platform’s features and determine a schedule for:
    • Feed Posts
    • Live Broadcasts
    • Stories
    • Pre-recorded video like IGTV

As you can see, creating content with a well diversified strategy in mind can be very time consuming.  That’s why you need to create and define a realistic schedule that has you remaining consistent while posting with purpose versus posting for posting sake. 

 

Best Time to Post:

Let’s be honest about when you need to post your content.  The absolute best time to post is when your audience is ONLINE!  But, how do you know when that is?  In a word… ANALYTICS!  They will tell you SO MUCH about your audience!  Take the time to visit your analytics and see when your audience is online and then create a schedule to help you show up for them on a consistent basis!

Check Out The Competition:

You can learn a lot about your audience, what their struggles are, what they respond to and what type of content you should be creating by checking out the competition.  Here are some things you can ask yourself during the process:

  • Who are your closest competitors?
  • Which social channels are they using to connect with their audience?
  • Who are their audience members and how can you connect and engage with them?
  • What are they doing well and not so well?
  • What content are they producing and how is it performing?
  • Where do they need to improve on social media?

 

An important thing to note when using the competition to craft your strategy is this…NEVER copy the competition.  Instead, put your own creative twist on things that allow you to stand out and make a unique mark in the marketplace.  

Nurture Your Audience OFF social media

Yes!  Take your audience off social media and go deeper with them.  Create opportunities for them to have conversations with you through

  • Discovery calls
  • Emails
  • Workshops
  • Coaching

Remember, social media is a networking opportunity, not a sales opportuning.  If you approach from a sales mindset, you will most likely fail.  If you approach social media through a relationship building mindset, you will win every time.  I’ve said this before and I will continue saying it, social media is a marathon, not a sprint.  If you are expecting to sell your widget just by slapping something up on a social media wall somewhere, you will be extremely disappointed!  If you understand that you are building a network, brand awareness, and a community around your business, you will win through:

  • A posse of loyal and raving brand fans
  • By word of mouth marketing – the more people who authentically share your business the more you will succeed!
  • Defining yourself as a thought leader and an authority in your niche

 

When you can do all of those things first, the sales will come.  That’s how it has worked for me.

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