Not creating a social media strategy is one of the key mistakes people make when they start to do online marketing.
If you are an entrepreneur or a new blogger, you probably started posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. because you were already using it to connect with your friends and family.
But are you making the most of your posts?
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This post was originally published in 2017 but was updated in June 2021.
You are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, or you start posting on Facebook and are discouraged because one of your posts does so well and the next day there’s nothing (or it’s only your mum and dad liking your posts). Or you throw in the towel on Twitter because you have no followers and no engagement.
The worst is when you think about all the time you are spending on this and you see no progress, no growth, no sales…
But the thing is...
You can’t afford to pay to get social media done for you because you don’t have a budget or you think it’s going to take a lot of time for you to learn and do it yourself.
You have so many other jobs to do… So you do what you can, cross your fingers and hope your posts will go viral.
But that hardly ever happens and if it does, would you know how to do it again?
This can change when you plan a social media strategy that will work for you.
Let's have a look at how to create one!
What is a social media strategy?
A social media strategy is your plan or your blueprint for the things you want to do on social media and what you want to get out of it.
It's not enough to be posting to Facebook and Instagram willy nilly.
Because things have changed.
And it's a lot harder to get engagement and clicks to your website than it used to be.
Why is having a social media strategy important?
Everybody is on social media nowadays, so if you're not there, you're missing out on lots of opportunities to reach your audience.
But if you don't have a social media marketing strategy, it doesn't matter how many social media channels you use, you won't get the results you need.
Because your posts have to fit with what you're trying to do and what your objectives are.
Creating a social media strategy that fits your business is not that difficult.
There are 6 simple steps you can follow to create one yourself.
Step 1 of your social media strategy: Why?
Doing this is going to make the rest of the process easier:
There are many reasons why you need to be active on social media.
Here are some common ones:
- Everybody else is doing it.
- An expert told you to do it.
- You want to build your personal brand.
- You've seen your competitors online.
- You want to engage with your customers and provide better customer service.
- Will you be able to sell more products through social media?
- Can you get more traffic (online or otherwise to your business?
- You want to encourage customers to keep coming back to you.
- You want to create a community.
These are just some answers but you get the idea: you must have a reason why you're doing it, and most importantly, a goal (or more).
Once you have 1-3 goals, you can work through the next steps and plan everything you're going to do to reach them.
Step 2 of your social media strategy: Who?
Who is your ideal customer?
If you want to reach your customers on social media, you need to know who they are.
So, if you haven't already done so, you're going to need to create a customer or buyer persona.
What is a customer persona?
Simply put, a customer persona is a representation of all the characteristics and traits of your ideal customer or one of the segments in your audience.
It can be based on market research data you have, or you can also create a semi-fictional persona if you're starting out.
But it will help you reach the right people.
SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY TIP
You can have more than one customer persona, though it's best to start with 1-3.
Creating a customer persona to help you with your social media strategy plan
Another top social media strategy tip from marketing experts is this:
You can do this with a tool like Xtensio’s free user persona creator. But if you want something more basic, here are some things you should focus on:
Gender: This is important because some networks are more popular with female or male users. You will find some up-to-date stats and demographics for each social media network published by Omnicore Agency here.
What they do: Mums, dads, professionals, self-employed bloggers, students, hairdressers… You get the picture?
Interests: What do they like to do? What are they interested in? It doesn’t have to be related to your product or service, but it will help if some of them are.
Age: Use a range, but try to be as specific as you can.
Income: This is obvious.
Location: Is your business local or global?
Education: What is their level of education? You can be more specific and add what they studied depending on what your product is.
Values: Choose values that fit with your brand and business.
Their pain: What problem can you help them with? This is perhaps one of the most important issues because your product or service should help them to solve this problem they have.
What if they don’t have a pain? Then you look at their desires.
Other businesses/ products they might use: Use this to do some research about your ideal customer and what they like (or research your competitors and find out how they do things).
A 30-year-old stay-at-home mum with an interest in crochet, looking for cheap activities to do with the kids on a weekend does not behave in the same was as a single 50-year-old male cardiac surgeon that goes to the gym every day to stay in shape and likes to collect antique scalpels.
I know, I know, I didn’t go into as much detail as I ask you to do.
But my point is that they are not even going to hang around the same places online, the mum will likely use Facebook and Pinterest, while the 50-year-old surgeon might use Facebook but is more likely to be active on Twitter or Linkedin.
So now for the next step.
Step 3 of your social media strategy: Where?
Where do your customers hang out in social media?
This is quite important for creating your social media strategy because social media platforms are not the same. They don't work the same and people interact with them in different ways.
The keys here are to focus on one or two social media networks so you can be more efficient.
Focus on a network where your customers hang out and that suits what you do and that you enjoy using. #socialmedia
I will not go into detail now about which social media to choose and why.
That’s something for another post, but here is one tip to figure out whether Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. will work for you.
Are influencers in your field or well-established competitors using that network? Look them up on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.
- How many followers/fans do they have?
- Are they getting lots of engagement/views/retweets/pins?
People that have been using social media for a while know where to find their audience.
So if Facebook works for them, you can make it work for you too.
What if I don’t see any influencers in my field on Instagram?
Sometimes you will see that an influencer is either not there, or not very active in a social media network.
Here are some possible answers:
- They are not there because it doesn’t work. Have you ever seen a forensic accountant post photos on Instagram of what they do at work?
- They are focusing on a different network and haven’t got around it yet.
- They haven’t figured out how to use it “properly”. This happens, there are so many things to learn about each network that people prioritise the ones they understand.
This doesn’t mean that you should not try Facebook if there are no influencers from your niche using it. It might be an opportunity for you because you will be the only one.
It's worth trying it out!
Step 4 of your social media strategy: When?
The fourth step to create your social media strategy is to decide when to post.
How often to post on each social media platform
Here is what I recommend if you are doing things manually, or you are starting out.
And when are most of your followers online?
To find out the times you can:
Guess: When is a local mum going to be online? For global audiences, this will be when your largest market is online or there is an overlap.
Check your analytics: Check Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics, for example, to find out when most your users are online or when your posts perform better.
Experiment: Try different times for a few weeks and see what works for you.
So get yourself a schedule and follow it for a couple of months to see how it goes.
Step 5 of your social media strategy: What?
It’s not ALL about you.
You want to post your own content but you also want to post other things your fans will be interested in.
Creating a social media strategy that will work means you have to give your fans what they want and what they like.
Creating different types of posts
You can have a goal for your overall social media strategy and create posts that will help you achieve those goals.
So each post you use should have a purpose.
It doesn't have to be one of your overall goals.
But you could start with these categories:
- Informational or educational posts (about you or your niche)
- Engagement boosting posts (for fun)
- Promotional posts (sales)
Once you have these 3 categories you can go into a little more detail. Here are some ideas.
- Seasonal and holiday posts
- How-to guides
- Benefits of using your product
- Photos of what you do
- User generated content if you have any
- Your team (if you have one)
- Offers and sales
And don't forget the other stuff:
- Relevant magazines
- Relevant Twitter handles, Facebook Pages
- Relevant/complementary products
- Inspirational posts
Once you have those, you can start sharing 50% of your own posts and 50% of other stuff.
This can vary, depending on your niche and the social media platform you've chosen.
“Why would I want to share other people’s content?”
- You are building a relationship with your audience and are trying to build trust. Give them tips, share articles that might interest them, quotes that will inspire them…
- It makes you look good. Haven’t you heard that “sharing is caring”? Show them how you care about them by sharing useful stuff.
- It’s easier to fill your schedule when you don't have a lot of content.
- When your followers and fans engage with your posts, two things happen. One is that more people see your post. The second one is that they are also more likely to see your next post in their feeds because Facebook tries to give them more of what they like.
What if you still don't know what to post?
If you still struggle to come up with ideas and want an easier way to fill your social media calendar. You can get one that's already made for you.
Step 6 of your social media strategy: How?
Now it's time to plan and schedule your posts.
how often should i do my planning?
It's up to you if you want to plan your posts weekly or you want to do it every month or every couple of months.
It depends on how everything in your business or blog fits and how much detail you go into your planning about offers, sales and events you might be running.
The more details you already have, the easier it is to add them to your social media scheduler in advance, so you know they'll be posted when you need them.
Be more productive
You can go to each platform and schedule posts manually. This will take you too long to do for all your posts but is OK for live events, interacting with your followers or to make the most of trending topics.
But don’t spend the evening glued to your phone when you are supposed to be relaxing.
Everything else you should schedule in advance.
Use a social media scheduler so you can prepare your schedule once a month or every couple of months and forget about it.
This is something that you will not regret investing in.
Most scheduling tools are very inexpensive.
So creating a social media plan is not that complicated, is it?
There are many other things you could include in your social media strategy, like Ads and Retargeting, but it's best to keep things simple at the start.
Now you don’t have any excuses not to come up with your own social media strategy.
Just follow the steps in this blog post and that’s it.
Other content you'll love:
Creating a simple social media strategy for your small business will help you reach your ideal customers and achieve your goals.
Choosing the right social media platform and posting the right social media content for your ideal audience doesn't have to be difficult either.
If you spend a little bit of time planning things and follow the steps in this post, you'll soon see results!
What about you?
Let me know in the comments what social media platform is your favourite and why.