Establishing an effective social media strategy for your brand or business can be overwhelming, but you can simplify and improve your process by focusing on the key elements, and keeping them front of mind as you go about implementing your strategy.
In this post, we’ll go over seven key elements you need to consider to ensure you're keeping your social media strategy aligned with your broader business goals.
Without that alignment, you could easily end up wasting your time, focusing on the wrong metrics, or simply not gaining traction with your target audience.
Here are the seven key questions you need to ask when putting together your social media marketing strategy.
1. What are your goals?
The very first question you need to ask when creating a social media strategy is 'what are your goals'?
This question is important to answer, because figuring out your goals will help you develop an effective social media strategy, designed to facilitate them, and will determine and give you guidelines for your social media posts.
Remember SMART goals? If not follow these rule:
- Specific - Make your goals clear and specific so there is no confusion on what the end result should be.
- Measurable - Make your goals measurable, so you know if your efforts are working.
- Actionable - You’ll want to set up steps to reach your goal.
- Realistic - Set goals that make sense for your brand. You’re most likely not going to gain 1 million followers overnight.
- Time-bound - It’s important to set time boundaries for your goals, or else you might sit on them forever.
2. Who is your target audience?
Discovering who your audience is the second key component to creating a social media strategy, and all the content that goes along with it.
Figure out their demographics, and psychographics, including which competitors they follow, what publications and websites they’re into etc.
The more you know about who your audience is, the easier it will be to create content that bridges the gap between your brand/business and adding value to their lives.
3. What is the current state of your social media marketing?
Auditing where your current social media marketing strategy and presence stands is another important step in creating your social media strategy. With a clear picture of where you are, you’ll have a better idea of what gaps you need to fill, or where you want to go.
Pay attention to your engagement, what networks you’d like to be on (or drop), the quality of your content (images and videos), how consistent you are, etc.
Keep in mind, too, that your audience should dictate which platforms you use. If you have little interest in Snapchat, but all your target audience is active there, that's where you need to go.
4. What kind of content will you need to produce?
Once you’ve taken inventory of the current state of your social media marketing you can answer the next question – what kind of content will you need to reach your goals or take your social media strategy to the next level?
Take note of the kind of content you’re missing, what you may want your content to look like, and what planned initiatives you’ll need to create content around.
5. Do you have the necessary resources and/or budget?
Now we’re up to one of the scariest questions to answer before you create a social media strategy - do you have resources or the budget needed to create the content you want?
You’ll also want to think about how much of your budget you want to spend on social ads - and even if the answer is none, that doesn’t mean you can’t create wonderful content that your audience will love.
Which leads into the next question…
6. What tools will you need?
Now you can move on to figuring out which tools you’ll need to help you succeed.
Here’s where you can revisit your resources and budget, since there are a lot of free or low cost tools that can help you create the content you need.
A lot of the social media networks have built-in tools (Like Facebook Live and Instagram Stories) that make content creation easier. For starters I suggest finding a post management system - my favorites are Hootsuite and AgoraPulse, and Canva.com is great for free graphics.
7. How will you keep track?
Finally - and very importantly - the final question to ask before creating a social media strategy is 'how will you keep track of your progress?'
Make sure you figure out which metrics matter to you before you put your strategy in place so you can correctly assess whether or not your efforts are working. It’s also easier to keep track as you go, as opposed to getting three months down the line then trying to gather the information.
There are third-party tools to help you keep track, so take a look into those. I also tend to use network provided analytics, which I keep track of manually via Excel or Google Sheets.
Once you answer these seven questions, you’ll have a much clearer idea of what you need to build a social media strategy that works.Hopefully these notes will help you formulate your optimal social strategy.
A version of this post was first published on Dhariana Lozano's blog.