It’s no secret that having a social media presence is essential for businesses in today's world. Every day, businesses are getting discovered and bringing in new customers, sometimes lifetime customers. As audiences value organic, authentic interactions more and more, brands need to make themselves accessible and human. Social media is a great place to interact with customers and achieve new business goals.
However, with so much noise online, this is easier said than done. It’s important to implement a social media strategy to make the most of your digital marketing efforts on social platforms. Being intentional about your posting can yield massive results, so we’re here to walk you through the 8 steps to creating a social media strategy that converts.
Outline your goals
The first step in creating an effective social media strategy is to outline why you’re implementing one in the first place. Decide what your goals are and what you hope to achieve through social media. Take the time to write down your broad goals, such as increasing sales, and funnel them down to your smaller goals that will help you achieve that ultimate goal, such as increasing awareness of your company. Once you’re clear on your purpose, you can use that to guide your social media decisions to be more intentional and effective.
Competitive analysis and differentiation
An important element of any successful campaign is knowing what your audience is currently seeing and what their other options for purchase are. You should look up your competitor's accounts as well as other accounts in the industry or that your audience would be interested in. Take note of the type of content they post, how often they post, or other elements that make their social accounts unique. Consider what tactics they implement that your audience responds well to and that you could also utilize with your unique positioning.
Now that you know what your competitors are doing, you should clarify what makes your business unique. Why would your audience purchase from you rather than others in the industry? These differences are key to emphasize through your social media so that your audience can value your business and be encouraged to follow and purchase.
Analyze current analytics
In order to improve your current social media presence, it’s important to take note of what’s currently working for you and what isn’t. Each of your social platforms has an analytics section, where you can see your followers, reach, engagement, and other similar metrics. How do you know which metrics you should pay attention to? Consider the goals you outlined in the first step. Certain analytics translate to certain goals. For example, if you’re looking to increase brand awareness, reach shows you how many people saw your content, so it would serve as a good indicator of your progress.
You should pay attention to which posts have performed best in the past, looking at your key metrics as well as the time you posted, the content format, and what the post was about. Write down any similarities you noticed, and utilize that in the next step.
Create content pillars around your audience
Now that you know what your audience has responded to in the past, you have a base for your content strategy. Content strategy is different from a social media strategy, encompassing everything that you are posting but not other technical elements and long-term goals. To create a content strategy, you need to be clear on your content pillars. These pillars are 3-5 main ideas that you will talk about in your content. For example, a hotel could talk about its amenities, the local city’s attractions/events, special event spaces in the hotel, and its in-house restaurant. Everything you post about should then fall into one of those pillars, although sometimes there may be overlap.
When nailing down your content pillars, you also need to consider which social platforms your audience is using. Showing up on a platform that they are already on is the best way to utilize your time and energy. It’s also a good practice to consider what different segments of your audience would be interested in which pillars. Consider the demographics, interests, and budgets of each audience segment within each pillar, and you will have a clear direction to take when coming up with content ideas that will be relevant to your audience.
Establish a sustainable posting schedule
While quality will always trump quantity in marketing, it’s still important to get in front of your audience and a new potential audience as much as possible. Many social platforms even take your posting frequency into account when recommending your page to new people. In general, posting as often as possible, while still maintaining your quality content, is the best practice. The time that you post is also relevant to your feed rank, so it’s important to experiment with your posting times. Utilize the insights you gained from your top-performing posts to give you a strong starting point. Remember to also be consistent.
Consider what frequency is sustainable for your business in the long run so that you can avoid burnout and keep showing up. Many businesses start off posting just 3 times a week and then increase the frequency as their capabilities grow. Having a consistent schedule also allows your audience to know when they can expect to hear from you, which is important to your followers so that they know what they’re signing up for when they subscribe to your content.
Optimize your bio
Many businesses will simply use their slogan or other business mantras in their social media biographies. While this messaging can be important and used in other areas of your social media, it’s important to utilize the bio section to the best of its abilities. Your bio is the first thing that people see when they click on your profile. As such, it’s their first impression. New audience members are looking for a quick summary that catches their attention, covering who you are and what you can do for them.
One tactic that many businesses utilize to ensure they are using a bio effectively is writing a “We help” statement. Talk about who you help and what you help them do, and then mention what makes you unique from your competitors. Generally, you should use as many characters as the platform allows, while still keeping it simple and skimmable.
Another element of your bio to consider is adding keywords. Biographies on social media are important for SEO purposes and are used when recommending your account to new followers. Try to incorporate keywords into your “we help” statement as much as possible, while still making it informational and attractive. Keep first impressions in mind as you customize each platform to encourage new audience members to follow and purchase from you.
Engage with your audience
You have your goals set, an outline for content ideas, and a strong profile base, so you’re ready to post. It’s important to avoid “posting and ghosting”, in other words, just hitting the post button and then leaving the platform. You should participate in conversations and engage with your audience, after all, it’s called SOCIAL media. Staying true to your brand voice and tone will be important in establishing brand loyalty and creating relationships with your audience. Your followers love getting to know your business’ personality.
Comment on relevant posts, respond to your own comments and direct messages and cultivate a community of people with similar interests on your page. This community satisfies a craving that audiences have been searching for ever since the COVID-19 pandemic. Connection creates loyalty, which generates more sales and word-of-mouth growth.
Discover content idea sources
While it will be easy to come up with content ideas when you’re starting out, there will come a point where you start to run out of fresh ideas. This is why it’s important to consider sources for new inspiration, such as other accounts in the industry (without copying), trending references, blogs, or utilizing user-generated content. You can even ask your followers what they want to see from you or answer FAQs. Some accounts start weekly series, such as “Fun Fact Friday” or “Wallpaper Wednesday.” Finding a system that works for you will allow your business to remain consistent as you grow your business online.
Continue to adapt
You should also check out how your posts perform as you are posting. Continue to check your analytics reports and evaluate what content your audience is engaging with the most. This will allow you to continue to provide value to your audience and evolve with their changing needs. A long-lasting social media strategy is one that is flexible, as the online world and each individual platform is constantly changing. At 97 Switch, our curiosity allows us to stay ahead of the curve and provide the best services possible to our partners.