One of the biggest challenges in implementing an effective social media marketing strategy is time.
When I ask people about their social media strategy for their business, I often get responses like:
- “Oh yeah we have a Facebook account but we don’t really post on it.”
- “I think we created an Instagram account last year?”
- “We created an account and started posting, but then no one had time to post anymore.”
If you have a similar answer, you’re definitely not alone. That being said, implementing an effective social media strategy may be more simple, and less time consuming, than you think.
It comes down to efficiency, and breaking it down step-by-step.
In this post, I'll outline nine key steps you need to follow to ensure you're covering your bases, and maximizing your social media marketing effort.
Step 1: "Do you even need social media?"
"What? Everyone needs social media, right?"
I hear things like this all the time - “Well, I know we need to be on social media, we just haven’t gotten around to it.”
Take a step back and look at the bigger picture. What are your business goals for one year, three years, five years from now? What’s the marketing and sales plan to get you there? What resources can you dedicate to getting you there? What tactics will you implement to get you there? Will social media be one of those tactics?
If you have limited resources, and your clients aren’t in the mindset to buy your product or service when they are on said social media platform, it would be wise to invest those resources in more lucrative channels.
Step 2: What Channels do you need to be on?
You need to evaluate who your target audience is, and where they're spending their time.
In which groups to they participate? What platforms are they using? And crucially, where they conduct their research before making a purchase?
Step 3: Set a goal (and write it down)
So many people skip this step and jump right into posting.
I’m a big believer that you shouldn’t start any marketing project without having a goal or outcome in mind. For this, you need to consider what you’re using each social platform for.
Are you looking to increase brand awareness? Improve your lead generation efforts? How are you going to measure the relative success said brand awareness or lead generation process?
Step 4: Create a Strategy
Now that you have a goal, or goals, in mind, how are you going to reach it/them?
How are you going to get people to engage with your brand on social media?
You need to create a plan for the types of content you're going to post, when you’re going to post, copy guidelines, image guidelines, etc. etc.
Write down each of these elements too.
Step 5: Delegate
You’ve done the heavy lifting - establishing goals and developing a strategy outline is so important - and so underestimated. Having a strategy document is like a North Star that you can keep coming back to, and/or direct people with.
The next step is to put someone in charge of implementing that strategy.
Here’s where you can get creative with your resources. Sure, you could outsource to another company, but honestly, the content isn’t going to be as genuine and honest as it is when it's being posted from someone who's part of your day-to-day business operations.
If you have the ability to hire a marketing representative, great - but you don't necessarily need to do that either. If you have someone strictly follow the next steps, you should be able to implement an effective social media strategy in just a few hours a week- and that would include time for daily engagement.
Step 6: Create a library of content
I suggest doing this once a month. Whoever is in charge of implementing the social strategy should also be responsible for gathering content.
Photos are everything. You need intriguing, quality image and (ideally) video assets to have any semblance of an engaging strategy on social media.
If you have a professional photographer who takes photos for your product or service, have them gather their photos in one place to pull from. If not, have someone spend a day or two gathering photos/videos to add to the library.
In addition to photos, gather all of your written content assets. Ideally, the majority of this will be content you have created, but you can also utilize content from around the web that’s relevant to your brand.
Step 7: Plan it out
I suggest planning out two weeks of content at a time - sit down for an hour or so to map out the different visuals, content and captions you're going to share over the next few weeks.
Ensure you’re adhering to the guidelines you've now established. Once yuor content is created (and approved if need be), you can schedule the two weeks worth of content out via a tool like Buffer or Hootsuite.
Step 8: Take 15 minutes a day
Once your content is planned out for two weeks, the person in charge of implementing your social media strategy will be free to engage daily in real-time.
This is important. Your guidelines for engaging with your contacts should also be outlined in your strategy. Have your social person spend 15 minutes or so a day looking for contacts to actively engage with.
Step 9: Evaluate
Goals are great, but if you’re not measuring whether or not you’re meeting them, what’s the point?
Ensure that your social media person is creating monthly reports which pinpoint highlights, lowlights and metrics which can help to measure your progress towards your goal/s.
It really is that easy.
The most important thing to remember about creating a social media strategy is to always be genuine. Social media is, in name and nature, 'social' - it's a medium that people use to connect with one another. It’s a place to be real, raw and honest. It's not a place to push your company agenda or use overly aggressive promotion tactics.
As humans we make decisions based on feelings, and in order to evoke feelings, you need to be real. I can’t stress this enough.
If you can do that, then following these steps should be easy. It comes down to getting organized, creating a structure and delegating.