Success on social media means investing time and energy into building a social media strategy. A social media strategy is a plan outlining goals, tactics for accomplishing the goals, and how to measure success and performance. The more active and engaged you are, the higher your chance of seeing successful results. A large volume of work goes into building a reputable presence on social media; prepare with planning and forward-thinking to be as successful as possible.
The average person spends nearly 2.5 hours per day on social media. Given the amount of time that people spend on these sites, it is clear that social platforms still present a huge opportunity for brand-building and marketing. The good news is approximately 4.74 billion people are using social media consistently. The bad news is over 90% of marketers use social media. In other words, the people you want to reach (your audience) are on social media, but so are your competitors. To be successful, you have to be compelling to your audience with relevant, high-quality, engaging content that is different from your competition.
A generic, throw something on the wall and hope it sticks approach to social doesn’t work anymore. Content and strategy should be tailored to your audience and their needs while standing out from your competition. Without dedicating time and effort to it as a marketing tool, it’ll be hard to meet your goals set for social. Here are things to remember when planning your social media strategy.
Get the most out of social media by setting actionable goals. This will help drive your approach in every aspect of your strategy. Make sure the goals you set align with your larger marketing strategy. Common goals include increased brand awareness, website traffic, engagement, and conversions. Be sure to set targets across a specific time, such as gaining X new followers in X amount of time or increasing website traffic by X by X date. Once you have goals you can tailor the rest of your strategy toward achieving them.
Know where your audience is
Different platforms elicit different audiences and results. Instagram, YouTube, and Tik Tok are the top social networks among Millennials and Gen Z. LinkedIn is the top platform for B2B social media marketing; it is the most effective channel for professional networking and reaching business clients. Facebook and YouTube continue to be the best platforms for advertising due to the consistently high number of users.
Gone are the days when you can (or should) post the same content on five different channels. Invest time and energy in the right platforms. Conduct research and find where your audience is and the type of content that fits those platforms.
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Stick to your brand
Your social media accounts should have a seamless connection and be an overall reflection of your brand. At a basic level, profile images should be the same across all platforms, and bios similar (these can and should be optimized depending on the platform), so users recognize your brand identity. When creating content, be consistent with colors, fonts, styles, and voice across all platforms so your audience will become familiar with your look and brand. The level of brand recognition you want to aim for through social media is for your audience to identify your posts and content without seeing your name or logo.
Create high-quality content
It should go without saying that high-quality content is key to a successful social media strategy. It can position your brand as a leader in your space and help build long-term and strong relationships with your audience. Remember: what you post is a direct reflection of your business and brand and can establish your online reputation. A well-thought-out content strategy should tell a consistent and cohesive story about your brand and capture and retain your audience’s attention–making them want to come back for more.
Stay active, consistent and patient
Social media success rarely happens overnight. You must regularly post and monitor your platforms. You want to maintain an active presence on your chosen platforms and give your audience a reason to engage with your content. You’ll need to stay on top of testing and monitoring the type of content and frequency of posts. Some businesses post multiple times a day while others a few times per week and both can still be successful. This process may seem daunting, but there are tools and techniques you can adopt to make staying active easier. These include creating an editorial calendar, incorporating a scheduling tool, and prioritizing the platforms you are on. Consistent posting and interaction show your audience that you are engaged and have an active presence.
Engage with your audience
View social media as a two-way street. Posting is one aspect of communicating with your audience, but it’s also important to engage directly with them too. Interact by replying to comments and responding to posts you are tagged in. This will help your audience feel recognized, heard, and connected to your brand and help with brand loyalty.
Many social media platforms allow for other audience participation tools such as polls, Q&A, and quizzes. These encourage your audience to participate, and you can also gain knowledge and understanding related to what your audience is thinking and what they want to see. Take advantage of the opportunity to have and create meaningful connections with your audience.
Understand current trends
It’s ok to get topical. Understanding the current social media landscape and what is hot and trending at any given time can help your brand’s relevancy. Ensure that a trend fits within your brand identity, messaging, and brand strategy. You should ask yourself if you can add value to a topic and if your audience is interested in it. If not, it may make sense to sit it out; you do not want to isolate, confuse or turn off your audience by trend-jacking. If something timely does fit, it can be an opportunity to generate a burst of traffic and engagement.
Monitor results and make changes
Social media isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it type of marketing; it’s in real-time. If you want to grow your business with social media you’ll need to post regularly, stay on top of engagement, monitor new trends, and maintain active, accurate profiles. What worked at one point may not work in the future and that’s okay. That’s the power and beauty of social media: it’s adaptable. Audit your accounts from time to time to ensure your content and images continue to fit within your brand identity and voice. Look at what is and isn’t resonating with your audience and adjust as needed. Keep track of progress and monitor metrics to ensure you’re accomplishing the set goals and make changes as needed.
Follow these suggestions over time and your social media efforts will increasingly pay dividends.