7 Steps to Creating a Comprehensive Social Media Strategy for Your Brand
Of course, your business is on social media! That’s what brands do, right? Having a Facebook page – maybe an Instagram and a Twitter account, too – is an essential part of any marketing strategy but simply being on social media isn’t enough if you don’t know how to make it work for your brand. Do you know if you’re making the right choices? Are you reaching the right people with the right message? How can you tell?
This is why your brand needs a comprehensive social media strategy.
I promise it’s not as daunting as it sounds. Regardless of your level of experience, ability, or budget, I’m going to help you shake that analysis paralysis and figure out how to utilize social media marketing to its maximum potential in seven steps.
Step 1: Consider your goals
Your very first step is to consider your overall business goals and how social media can help you achieve them.
Each of these goals vary considerably and require a different approach when it comes to marketing. Identifying clearly defined SMART business goals will create an unshakable foundation for your entire social media strategy as we move forward. This is a step that you absolutely should not skip.
Step 2: Consider your target audience
Who are you trying to reach? If your answer is as vague as “Well, everyone!”, then your next step is to identify and segment your target audiences. You’ll want to learn as much about them as possible, from their demographics to their psychographics, to determine where they are spending their time online, and what type of content they like to engage with. The takeaway here is that understanding who you are trying to reach is the key to actually reaching them.
Step 3: Consider your social networks
Now that you have a better idea of who your target audience is, it’s time to figure out where and how to reach them! Articles such as this have done the hard work of compiling well-researched user data for popular social networks. With this information, you can compare your audience demographics with the user demographics for each social site to decide which networks you’ll be using. When it’s time to create your profiles, make sure you’re following best practices for profile optimization.
And, what about content formats? This article can help you decide which types of content work best for each network, and how you can use these to get the word out on your brand!
Step 4: Consider what success looks like to you
Before you start creating content to post, you’ll need to determine your KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators to measure the success of your efforts. These are metrics that you can monitor through analytics to track your performance. The trick here is to determine which metrics align with your goals.
With your KPIs set, you can then make SMART goals for your social media performance. When it comes time for reporting, you’ll see if your efforts are working or if they aren’t, and can tweak your strategy, accordingly.
Step 5: Consider your competitors
This is a good time to check out the competition. Compile a list of your peers and the leaders in your industry and complete a competitive analysis. Look for the answer to questions like:
With your results, you can compare your social media strategy, measure your success against theirs, and make it a goal to surpass them. While you should never directly copy what your competitors are doing, you can take inspiration from them, provided you make it your own and make it authentic to your brand’s story.
Step 6: Consider your messaging
So, what is your brand’s story? You’ll want to choose 3-5 core messages that align with your goals and repeat them, consistently. These messages will act as your content pillars, informing all content you share.
And what about that content? How will you know what to post? You’ll want to look at what you’ve done in the past that your audience has responded well to, as well as the latest trends and resources like this and this for ideas and how-tos.
To help you plan for and keep track of all of the fabulous content you’ll be posting, you’ll want to create a monthly content calendar. My favorite calendars are created in Google Sheets as a live document, where you can plot your content by date and time you wish to post, document the content pillars and topic for each post as well as the media you’ll be sharing, and you can write your copy directly in the spreadsheet!
Step 7: Consider your capabilities
The last but not certainly not least important step when developing your social media strategy is to plan for your capabilities. Do you have a full marketing team or are you a company of one? If your situation is closer to the latter, consider the 80/20 rule, in which you dedicate 20% of your time to social media and community management.
What’s your budget? Can you invest in paid social? Organic SMM is a marathon, not a sprint because it takes time to build your audience with consistent, quality content, but the strategic use of paid SMM can give you a quick boost. Running ads and promoting posts will help you reach more of your target audience, fast. Depending on your budget, you may want to run paid ads at all times, or a select few times per year.
That’s it! In seven steps, you’ve developed a comprehensive social media strategy for your brand and are ready to meet your goals.
If you have any questions about social media or marketing your business, m5 is here to help. Get in touch with us at any of our offices across Atlantic Canada at m5.ca.
Anna is m5’s social media expert, breathing new life into social channels with a blend of strategy, creativity, and that oh-so-needed human touch. With a decade of experience in marketing and communications, including an award-winning stint in radio, she’s made a career of connecting with the public. During her time in digital marketing, Anna has worked on campaigns for government agencies, private businesses, non-profits, international corporations, and beyond.
Social Media Manager