What does the word “strategy” mean to you? The usual response is that it’s a top-tier jargon word straight out of business school, i.e. scary as hell.
Truth is, a strategy is pretty important and helps give us purpose and achieve our business goals.
And guess what? For social media, it’s no different.
Diving into the constantly-moving, sometimes-completely-bonkers world of social media without giving any thought to what you’d like to achieve or how you want to engage your community is a recipe for many, MANY posts that don’t connect with your target audience and say a lot while saying nothing at all.
Not to mention a whole lot of frustration for you!
Strategy is key. So why does developing and implementing a social media strategy feel so difficult?
The “Daunting” World of Social Media Strategy
I think our aversion to developing strategies in any area of our work comes down to the word itself.
“Strategy” can feel like such a lofty term which many find daunting, and the mere mention of it can paralyse us into inaction – not a good look.
When in actual fact, all a strategy really boils down to is two questions:
- What do you want to achieve?
- What are the steps you’re going to take to make it happen?
That doesn’t sound so scary. Right?
Developing a Social Media Strategy
Ok, so maybe you’re not convinced and developing a social media strategy still feels impossible. Believe me, I hear you, and I understand.
Thankfully, empowering clients to write their own social media strategies is a big part of what I do and I’m here to guide you through developing your own strategy step-by-step.
The 6 Key Elements of an Effective Social Media Strategy
First of all, let’s break down what constitutes a social media strategy. After all, we can’t know the way forward unless we know the steps!
Your social media strategy should cover six key elements:
- Target Audience
- Competitor Analysis
- Social Media Audit
- Content Types
- Content Ideas
Sounds doable, so let’s dig into each one a little further and put you on the road to social media strategy success!
Whether you call it your goal, your business objective or your purpose, the key is to be clear on what you want to achieve from your social media channels.
- Do you want to increase your brand awareness?
- Start generating leads?
- Or maybe you want to build a community that will share your content?
Define your purpose for using social media, and you’re on your way.
Basically, who do you want to be communicating with on social media?
You should already have an idea of your target customers as this will usually be a part of your wider business plan.
Identifying this target audience gives you the focus you need to cater to them, guiding you toward which social channels you should be using and the types of content this audience engages with most.
For example, TikTok might seem like the shiny, super-trendy option that you MUST be on. But are your audience even there? If not, you might want to give lip-syncing* a side-step.
*P.S TikTok isn’t all lip-syncing, but that’s a conversation for another day!
Now, we’re not talking about this in a weird, carbon copy, “let’s do exactly as they do” way!
But you do need to be aware of what’s already on offer within your marketplace for two reasons.
Firstly, knowing what your competitors are up to on social media means you won’t be copying them (hopefully!). And secondly, you could end up spotting an opportunity to provide something that your competitors don’t.
And, I mean, who doesn’t love finding a niche thing?!
Social Media Audit
Now you’ve looked at your competitors and what they’re doing, it’s time to shift the spotlight to you.
Look at your existing social media channels and identify what has worked, and what hasn’t. Pop over to your insights for each channel and gather as much data as you can.
In particular, things like knowing when your audience is online and most likely to engage with your content, and the types of posts that have worked well in the past can help you make informed decisions about your future content.
There is a mountain of content types to choose from. Videos, lives, brand photography, stock images, infographics, testimonials, reviews – the sky’s the limit!
But not all content types will be relevant for your business or provide the best experience for your target audience.
For example, a podcast can sound like a fun idea. But if no one is going to listen, it’s wasted time, energy and cost. And no one wants that (unless you’re quite keen on just speaking to yourself every week).
So take a look at what’s worked well with your audience so far and keep them at the front of your mind when trying to figure out how you’ll most effectively get your message across.
And now that we’ve got all that done (well done you!), it’s on to the fun stuff.
Let’s start generating ideas!
I like to base content around four pillars: value, community, brand, and sell.
Value includes – you guessed it – value-adding content. Think how-to guides, explainers, FAQs, etc. Basically, any content that gives away value to your customers and teaches them something.
Community extends to your physical location (mine would be Aberdeen) and to your industry. Community is all about sharing the exciting things that people in your community are up to, as well as the lessons you’re learning from them.
Brand, in this sense, it doesn’t mean your logo. Instead, I’m talking team news, training, your experience, your company history – anything that tells the story of your brand, how you’ve got to where you are today and where you’re going next.
Sell is needed but should be used sparingly. I say that because if you’re constantly trying to sell your product or service to your audience, you can almost guarantee a drop off in engagement and (more importantly) their interest. So use it when you need to – as in you are running a business and you have a product or service to sell – but don’t prioritise it above the other more user-friendly pillars or think you have to do it every day.
Write these four headings down, start brainstorming and think big. You’re not planning out your content yet so don’t confine yourself to days and times at the moment. For the purpose of your strategy, just get the ideas out – planning and action can come later.
Ready to get started building your social media strategy?
Write down the six headings listed above and start jotting down some notes next to each one.
There is no obligatory length for a social media strategy. So please do not panic if your social media strategy document doesn’t make the table it’s sitting on groan under its weight. Your strategy could literally be written on a napkin, and as long as it clearly covers all six elements, you’re onto a winner.
Now I know a blog listing 6 steps reads way easier than the actual task, so if you’d like more help, I’m always up for a bit of social media strategising! And by some freakish coincidence *wink* I’m even hosting a 75-minute “Build your own social media strategy” online workshop on the 24th of November, and I would love to see you there.
Alternatively, pop me a DM on Instagram or contact me here to find out how I can help you write your own social media strategy that delivers your business objectives and doesn’t make you wince in fear.