Social Media Fundamentals Part 2: Creating a Strategy
There's more to social media marketing than the occasional Instagram post. These procedures will ensure a well rounded and effective social plan.
In part one of this series, we touched on the very first step of your social media journey: auditing your current channels to get a baseline of what’s working, what isn’t, and what you need to do to tweak it.
At this point, you should have finished up your first audit and have a great overview of how your social media channels have been performing. So now it’s time to start busting out content right? Wrong. We’re still in the beginning phases here, so hold your horses ya eager beaver (but we will get there we promise).
You’re probably wondering what is the next step in this grand scheme? Well, really it should come as no surprise that we will now be taking all the information gathered from our audit and using it to create a comprehensive social media strategy more solid than Zac Efron’s rock hard abs.
Let’s get jiggy with it.
Step 1: Define Your Audience
During your audit, you got a sneak peek into the current demographics of your social channels to see who you were currently reaching, but is this your target demographic? Before you can decide what kind of content you’re going to be putting out on your social channels, you need to define the audience that you’re trying to reach by creating audience personas. Here are some things to consider:
Who are they?
A broad question, we know - but don’t worry, we’re not looking for social security numbers or the half-assed family tree project they made in the third grade. We’re just talking the basics here.
- Interests & Hobbies
Where do they hang out online?
Nope, not their oddly disturbing browsing history, we want strictly social profiles. Are they witty Twitter users who leap at the chance to tear apart Starbucks new “holiday” cups? Instagram baddies who post pictures of their morning lattes every day? Bored housewives, who pick fights with their Facebook friends over a clearly satirical Onion article? The list is endless and it’s your job to narrow it down to what platforms your audience frequents.
What are their content preferences?
Content, content, content. We live to consume content. Whether it be a Buzzfeed quiz on what kind of soup you are based off your dog preferences or an hour-long conspiracy video about pigeons actually being government-run robots - it’s out there and people are clicking on it. With so much possibility out there it’s important to ask yourself the following questions about your audience's content habits:
- What kind of content are they interested in seeing?
- Why do they want to consume this content?
- What form of media do they consume this content in?
Step 2: Choose Your Channels
Is everyone using social media as part of their marketing strategy? Yes. If all your friends jumped off a cliff would you also do it? Hopefully not (at least not without taking the proper precautions). Just because your company is active on social media, doesn’t mean you need to have a profile on every single platform. In fact, having a profile on every single platform can be damaging to your strategy. By choosing a few key social channels, you’ll be able to focus your efforts on creating more meaningful content.
If you’ve done thorough research on your target demographic, then you should already have a pretty good idea on where they are most active online. But, you should also take your strengths into consideration as well. If you’ve got a knack for creating dynamic videos, Youtube is a platform you should definitely consider. Is your brand best represented through visuals? Then Instagram is well worth your time.
Step 3: Set Your Goals
Before you start posting all willy nilly, you need to set specific goals for each of your key social channels so that you always have a motive behind each post. Here are a few things to measure for:
- Brand awareness
- Web traffic
- Lead generation
- Increased ROI
- Brand engagement
- Community building
- Customer service
This isn’t to say that you should only have one driver for each channel, you can mix and match as you please to fit the unique goals of your marketing strategy.
Step 4: Brainstorm Content
So. You’ve probably been thinking to yourself but what do I post? How do I spark the imaginative fire within?! A solid question, and one that everyone finds themselves asking when they’re in a creative rut. Here are some tips and tricks you can use to get those ideas flowing:
We understand that saying “get inspired” is extremely vague, but it’s the best place to start. Pour through social accounts that you enjoy and ask yourself why do I follow this account? What about their content is compelling to me? Look back on social campaigns that have sparked an interest in the past for their unique perspective. Heck, look through your competitor's social accounts and take note of what they’re doing!
Utilize your team
As they say: there’s no I in team. Your coworkers are there to help support your success and the company's success. Hold a brainstorm meeting to bounce around ideas and gain a new perspective. You’re bound to walk away with some fresh new content for the months to come.
Create relevant content
Look to your audience persona. What kind of content do they want to see? What are their interests? What do they want or need from your company? Not only should the content you post be relevant to your industry, but it should be relevant to your target demographic.
Who said content has to be one and done? There are many ways to reuse your content in meaningful and impactful ways. Whether it be using e-book excerpts as blog posts, updating old content with new information, or creating videos out of blog post content - you’ll be saving time and increasing efficiency.
Step 5: Create Your Content Calendar
Even the best of us have been there. It’s nearing the end of the workday. The clock is ticking menacingly in the background. You’re scouring the internet in a desperate attempt to find something even slightly relevant to post on your social channels. It’s stressful and it’s unnecessary. The last thing anyone wants is to be grasping at straws trying to whip up quality content on a very tight deadline. Planning out a monthly calendar will help you avoid this situation completely.
How you format your content calendar will vary depending on what channels you decide to focus on, but we’ve made a nice little template that serves as a good starting point.
Download it here
If you feel like whipping up your own creation from scratch, here are some things to consider including:
- Content description
- Post time
- Notes & comments
Additionally, if you have a company blog it may be helpful to include a list of all your blog topics into your social calendar as well. This is what we like to include:
- Blog title/subject
- Publish date
We’ve said it once and we’ll probably say it at least five more times. Maybe six if we’re feeling particularly spicy: having a plan is essential if you want your social media channels to succeed. By following these steps you’ll be well on your way to creating some kick-ass content that resonates with your followers and gets you some clout.