To craft a successful social media strategy, you will first need to determine your target audience and goals. Once you have established these elements, you will need to select the right platforms, most impactful imagery, and select hashtags that will amplify your campaign to your target audiences. Before starting any campaign, we recommend identifying each element clearly before getting started so that it’s easier to show progress, identify issues, and make changes along the way.
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Identify your personal goals as a social media manager, the client goals, and agency goals. Your personal goals should be simple and easy to earn – but they are essential nonetheless as you should constantly challenge yourself. The client goals are generally straightforward as well. Are they selling a product, providing a service, or looking to drive brand awareness? This will determine what kind of content you provide to your audience. As for your agency goals, this generally has to do with agency reporting for the client. What did the agency offer the client in terms of deliverables for the campaign, and how do you plan to report on meeting those agency goals?
An excellent social strategy needs its content to be appealing to the desired target audience. While you think it might, your intuition may not always be enough. Do your homework, look at successful content of the past and content that gets high engagement. The quality of the content you post and its alignment with your audience’s interests is more important than how frequently you post.
Your viewer determines the imagery, tone, and subject matter of your content. You will likely have more than one target market, and you may find the demographic that you initially expected is not the one you have. This could require some experimentation, tweaking, and even starting from scratch.
Identify your content pillars once you have identified your target audience. These are the categories of content you will share with your audience, and they will guide your presence across all media platforms. You can start with general categories such as blogs, company news, and graphics. Then, create more specific categories from these buckets of content. For example, if you create graphics using customer testimonials and graphics with inspirational quotes, these are subcategories of your larger content type.
Additionally, don’t forget to make use of amazing user-generated content that consumers are posting. Posting user-generated content is a great way to acknowledge and engage with your audience, and it does some of the work for you in creating relevant content.
Besides reposting follower content, a great way to increase engagement is giveaways and promotions. Encourage users to post images and tag your brand for a chance to win a product, a voucher, an experience, or branded merchandise. This increases brand visibility and is a fun way for your audience to participate.
Selecting the right platforms will depend on the brand you’re working with, their needs, and their target audience. You’ll need to research your target audience to see what platform they spend most of their time on, for starters.
Currently, Pinterest dominates Gen X women with more than 400 million users; 78% are women 30-50 years old (Sprout Social, 2021). By the end of 2021, TikTok’s Gen Z user base is expected to top Instagram’s (eMarketer, 2021). These types of statistics will help you find where your target audience spends a majority of their time and better determine where you should spend your time placing content.
If you have the bandwidth to produce quality content, it is generally beneficial to engage on as many social platforms as your target audience is active. Even if the platform you’re initially gaining the most engagement on isn’t your top target, it may surprise you what leads to conversions. As for cadence, it is beneficial to post at least once a week, if not more.
The tone of your brand copy, or “voice,” is one of the main ways in which you define your relationship with your audience. Identify three to five adjectives that you want to convey in your brand voice. For example, a set of words that may describe your desired brand voice is “professional, confident, reliable.”
When you are addressing multiple audiences for different reasons, your brand voice can change based on the purpose of your communication. For example, you may sound more formal when addressing other experts in your field but more casual when addressing direct consumers.
Keep it clean. Clean design is key to user engagement and loyalty. While some people may love digging for that hidden treasure in the racks of some discount store – Target has become a household name for its clear message, clean design, and excellent branding. Most users respond to consistency and clean, visible graphics – text should be easy to read, the imagery should make sense, and the message should be clear. Developing design templates will help your audience feel more comfortable, familiar with the brand, and know what to expect.
Consumer-facing brands will likely require a significant amount of lead-time preparation to build visual content. That said, relevant and high-quality images can significantly impact other types of organizations as well. Strong images can communicate professionalism, expertise, and a bevy of other attributes and can help position brands as they would like in their field.
A consumer brand may constantly update its social team on new products or innovative ways to show its brand. A B2B company may use stock images that reflect the people and operations they serve.
To stay visible, make sure you use hashtags, but choose them carefully as too much repetition can inadvertently harm visibility. Invest a few hours each week researching the latest hashtag trends. Don’t spam non-target audiences as this will decrease brand credibility and can be annoying to viewers that search for unrelated content. Constantly check for trends in the industry by looking at competitors and similar brands. Trending hashtags change monthly and weekly, so be on the lookout.
Call to Action
This is going to look different for every brand. Defining a clear call to action in every post reminds audiences that we want them to do something. It could be “shop now,” “learn more,” or “visit us in-store.” Calls to action will change depending on the purpose of the post. A call to action can also be a question or a survey that engages with an audience to discover what interests the followers. Don’t shy away from a poll – and sometimes, the more simple, the better.
Planning & Insights
A planning tool must be used to manage a brand’s social channels properly. Ideally, you should plan out content at least a few weeks in advance to allow for unexpected news or changes. Many platforms offer a collaborative process, which can be very useful, especially if there are many people on the team that need to approve content.
Insights within each social platform provide a better view of your audience. On Instagram, you can view data directly from your user base to find out when your unique followers are online, as well as their demographics – so you know what to post as well as when. Keeping track of performance is essential to understanding which types of content work best. For example, a higher engagement rate on infographic posts could direct your future efforts.
Sprout Social, Later, Hootsuite, and Loomly are all excellent tools for managing and analyzing data from your social media efforts. Several of these services offer free planning, with limitations for new, small businesses. With more advanced packages, you can access larger-scale comparative insights, such as data on a competitor’s content.
At Segal Communications, we know that a successful presence on social media requires a few things: consistency, dedication, and creativity. Although it will not be accomplished overnight, following these guidelines will help you make progress as quickly as possible while reaching your target audience. Remember, social media is not a mathematical equation with one correct answer – it is a recipe that needs to be constantly remastered.
Download our free Social Media Strategy Checklist!