So, you might be wondering if a social media strategy is even necessary. After all, don’t you just post and wait for the orders to come in and your following to grow?
In an ideal world, that’s how things might be. But in reality, when not done correctly, your social media marketing campaigns can have many unintended consequences. These can range from reduced visitor traffic to your website and damaged brand reputation. In extreme cases, they can even result in legal issues and a negative impact on the business’s bottom line as a whole.
That makes a pretty strong case for developing the best social media strategy possible for your business.
Why is a Social Media Strategy So Important?
A social media strategy is essential because it puts into practice all you know about the industry, the target audience, and how best to connect with them via social channels. What’s more, a well-developed strategy will make it much easier for you to take advantage of online opportunities as they present themselves.
Eight Step Social Media Strategy
Step 1 – Business Goals
The first step towards developing a robust digital marketing strategy is by looking at the overall goals of your business. It might be a 25% increase in revenue, improving customer satisfaction, or growth in social media following.
As part of this process, you should also consider budget planning. Many businesses see social media as something that is done for free. They assume that there’s no need to allocate a budget for it and instead do things on the fly as and when required. However, they do need to consider how much time is taken up by such activity and how much manpower it takes to plan, execute and monitor the success of a social media campaign.
With this data, you will then be able to assess costs against the revenue generated through each social media platform.
Step 2 – Understand Your Audience
The next step is to gain a thorough understanding of your target audience and what this group wants from you. Once that is done, you can determine how best they can be reached online, based on their behaviors and motivations.
Having a social media strategy in place will also help you ensure consistency in your marketing efforts across all platforms. That makes measuring R.O.I. for each channel and the entire social media campaign easier.
Consistency in content is also essential, and that’s because if people begin seeing too many contradictions in posts between different platforms, distrust develops, and that will lose potential customers.
Step 3 – Competitor Analysis
There are probably many other businesses online that offer similar services to your target customers. They will also be using social media, so it makes sense to learn about their strategies. Identify what’s working and what isn’t, and that will give you a distinct advantage over them. Simply promote your business better than they do!
Competitor analysis enables you to learn more about the strategies they employ on each platform so that when it comes time for you to develop your own social media strategy, these ideas can be integrated into your campaign. You can also get inspiration from seeing which tools and apps they use to improve content creation quality across all channels. This way, you can ensure that your business is not left behind.
Step 4 – Train Your Team
Once you have developed your social media strategy, it is vital to get everyone on board. There should be no exceptions; your entire team needs to understand the goals of the campaign and their role in achieving these goals.
This also means that they need to know what types of content should be posted to each channel, as well as having procedures for how and when comments are responded to.
Step 5 – Commitment & Consistency
You can come up with all kinds of ideas for posts, but things will never get done correctly unless you stick to a plan. Be sure that everyone involved in carrying out various aspects of your social media strategy knows what they have been assigned to do and when they are expected to complete the task
This then leads to having a social media posting schedule. This ensures that posts are made at optimum times for engagement and don’t get forgotten during busy times.
Step 6 – Quality Content
At the same time, don’t just post whatever comes to mind at whatever time you find convenient. It’s crucial that you create content that has value for your followers. That way they will want to engage with it by commenting or sharing it through other channels.
When you then get the organic sharing of posts, then you can be sure that their friends will see this activity too, through this, the power of word-of-mouth advertising kicks in. This guarantees more exposure for free!
Step 7 – Measure & Analyze
Last but not least, track all engagement metrics carefully throughout the entire duration of your social media strategy. This way, any necessary changes can be identified quickly and the necessary steps taken towards improving engagement. Monitoring tools like Hootsuite or Buffer are well worth considering because they provide digital marketers with insights into response rates and real-time trends.
Step 8 – Review and Re-strategize
An effective social media strategy is one that you constantly review and revise, just as you would any other business plan. You need to stay on top of changes in audience preferences, what’s trending, and current events.
Your brand always has opportunities to enhance its customer engagement by capitalizing on emerging hashtags, memes, or other user-generated content themes.
Constant monitoring of these developments will keep your marketing efforts cutting edge and ensure they continue to yield optimal returns on investment (R.O.I.). By staying ahead of the curve, you can more readily accommodate changes instead of making reactive moves once things have already gone sour.
What happens when you don’t have a strategy?
You only get effective marketing outcomes if you know what precisely what you’re aiming towards, to begin with. If you make decisions on things like budget without having a clear idea of the desired outcome, your campaign may not be as successful as it could have been.
Muddled use of social media platforms and an unfocussed posting history could at best result in little traction, but at worst, it could actually cause reputational damage.
It can be tempting to leap in and start posting, but we urge you to show restraint. Instead, follow our eight steps for social media strategy success and then sit back and watch as your followers grow and your sales increase!
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