How to Create a Social Media Strategy
Social media is here to stay. Gone are the days when businesses thought Facebook and other social media platforms are for kids trying to kill time. Today, businesses have to see social media platforms as ‘markets’ where they can showcase their wares. Think about it; these are ‘markets’ that have in excess of 2 billion people so overlooking this number is naïve to say the least.
Unfortunately, if they (the businesses) don’t do anything about impressing those who frequent this large market, it is highly unlikely that they will attract any customers in the process. However, going into this overly populated market is very likely to result to lots of frustration because as you well know, every area, industry, and market has its ins and outs. Additionally, there are many other businesses out there trying to get your audience’s attention. So if you don’t plan on how to learn the ins and outs of your ‘market’, you probably are likely to end up jeopardizing your chances of success. That’s where planning comes in.
If you are new to social media as a business and have been trying to find ways of attracting a large audience, then perhaps you need to come up with a social media strategy to guide you through everything you need to succeed. So what is it you should do to have a powerful social media strategy? Let’s discuss this in 5 simple steps:
Step 1: Know And Research Your Audience
Determining your target audience is central to creating a social media marketing strategy. You cannot create an effective marketing plan if you cannot identify your target audience.
Start by researching your audience; know what they like, hate, what they find interesting, and the information they are looking for. Once you understand this, tailor your engagement around your target user needs and wants. When you have this data, you can easily come up with a strategy that works.
Additionally, find out which social media platform your target audience uses most. For instance, most LinkedIn users are primarily male while Facebook’s primary audience is women between the ages of 18-29.
Social media is all about engagements. Your campaign and in retrospect, your plan must cater for continuous input from your audience. If you are using social media to market a service, designate one of your staff to be a social media manager. This manager has to be a social media capable.
Look at your competition and analyze their plan. Competitor analysis is central to a marketing plan, social media or otherwise. Like all other forms of marketing, analyzing your competition will give you a feel of what strategies they are using, the kind of content they offer and how they coin their content. You can then use this information and integrate what is working for them into your overall marketing strategy.
Social media marketing is not about researching your competition and throwing in a few bits and pieces of your own thinking in there. It is about creating value for your intended audience. While the status update and tweets play a role in social media marketing, it does not stop there. Real success in social media marketing is when you can offer your audience real value without overselling or over promoting your services or products. Ideally, offer a solution or answers to frequently asked questions. The solution, or answer, should be tailor made, informative, educational, and easy to read, as well as engaging.
Unlike traditional methods of marketing where you can hard sell, social media users hate it when you do that. They value engagements (quality over quantity); they do not appreciate over saturation with content. As such, your marketing plan must aim to strike a balance if it is to have any success.
The best way to get this right is the trial and error method. Your social media marketing plan must have a calendar timeline of what, when, and where. This calendar should contain topics you will address at specific times, how frequent those postings will be, and which social media marketing platform they should go.
Irrespective of what you have planned on how to unleash your social media strategy, your social media marketing plan must be flexible to newer methods of marketing and audience feedback. If you are posting frequently and losing followers or audiences while doing so, tone it down a notch and see what happens. On the other hand, if your audience are gobbling down the content and asking for more, it is time to scale up your content production.
After going through each of the steps above, reflect upon your success, root out what is not working, and tweak what is working.
You should set a feasible time to test out your strategy (a couple of months is ok). During this time, implement the strategy you have chosen and don’t be tempted to change midway before seeing any results; otherwise, you will mess everything up.
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