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  • Writer's pictureClaire Elbrow

How to... write a winning social media strategy.

Updated: Jun 4, 2023

Are you a panic poster? So many of us are, but there are some downfalls to posting in a panic!

  1. It’s stressful

  2. Your content will lack purpose

  3. Your content can be inconsistent and sporadic

  4. Its blooming time consuming!

  5. It might not hit your idea audience.

If this sounds familiar? Firstly, you are not alone and it's simple to fix. Secondly, write yourself a social media strategy.

Having a strategy in place gives you and essential tool which will help you streamline your processes, save time and allow you to be more purposeful about the content you are posting.

Taking a little time to create and then follow (keyword right here - follow!) your social media strategy has a heap of advantages as you will be able to set goals for your business and create a clear map of how to achieve them.

Here’s what your social media strategy needs to include:

- Your ideal client - Your goals - The ideal platforms to use - Your content (content review / content pillars / content creation) - Your benchmarks and KPIs - A basic competitor analysis - Influencer marketing - Engagement rates - Dates to review your success So, to break them down in more details, let's look at each point in turn.

Your ideal client You probably already have a good idea of who buys your products or service and if so, that’s great. But, for greater success you need to go beyond these basic demographics and understand what really makes them tick. Consider how your product or service improves their life, what problems does it solve, what kind of language do they use when talking about themselves and their lifestyle.

Look back at your customer reviews and testimonials, plus the comments on your own social content - it can be a great source of inspiration and information. Really understanding your customers is a key tool to building your social media strategy.

Your goals If you own a small business, there’s really no point in posting on social media just for the sake of it. The constantly changing algorithms are so tough these days that often only a tiny percentage of your followers will see your posts. So, setting yourself some basic goals will help you focus your time better. To give you some examples, if your goal is to grow the reach or awareness of your business, then you will need to create posts which garner more engagement. This content will need to incentivise or inspire your followers to make a comment, like your posts or share the posts.

If you want to grow your followers, you will need to include some time in your strategy for what we call outbound engagement. This means you will need to actively comment on other people's content as well as responding to comments on your own.

If you want to sell more stuff, you will need to mesh your social media strategy with your sales or business development strategy - and make it easy for people to purchase simply from your content. Setting up a Facebook or Instagram shop correctly and efficiently is a key component of this goal. This is a slightly more complex strategy in some ways as there are more elements to it but it is social selling can be really powerful so if this is your goal, then do a little research in how best to optimise your output.

Which platform or platforms should you use? Smart advice here is to start with one or two platforms – you really don’t need to be everywhere and your audience is unlikely to be everywhere.

The most important factors to consider when choosing your platforms are: Are your ideal clients there? There’s no use wasting hours on Twitter if your ideal customers are hanging out on Facebook or TikTok.

Consider if you like the platform as well? It can be soul-destroying to spend time posting to a platform you hate. A great solution for these platforms is to outsource your social media marketing to someone who does love it! The results will be far better.

Do you have the right content? For example Instagram is an image-led sites and TikTok is video-led. If you haven’t got great photos or cannot grab videos quickly, or have a business which does not lend itself to being visual, you’re going to run out of steam quickly. Business service providers come to mind here as they tend not to have heaps of 'in the moment' images which are of interest to viewers. It does not mean you cannot use Instagram as a service business owner as it can be the perfect platform, but just think through how you will create your visuals and what you will share.

Your content How often do you review whether the content you’re currently putting out is working? Sometimes? Never?

When you make friends with your platform analytics, you are able to see which content resonates with your customers and do more of that. Start by looking for content with lots of likes, shares and comments.

You can also simplify your content creation by defining your content pillars. This is a set of five or six themes that form your content plan. These themes that make up your content plan, and they can be anything from specific products or services to broader industry topics.

For example, a yoga studio might have content pillars that include yoga classes, motivational memes, and member testimonials. A B2B business might look at aspirational content, educational content, informational content and cultural content. So, to recap, your content pillars are the broader themes around which your content is structured. I think of pillars as topics or categories—a subject where you have a lot to say and plan to do many pieces of content. Each content pillar should have a pillar piece or page which relates to that tope or category —a robust article, ebook, video, or other piece of foundational content that serves as the centre for that pillar. The other pieces of content (blogs, podcasts, social media posts, emails, etc.) under that pillar then point to the pillar page as a reference

Social Media Strategy: A Benchmark and KPIs Your strategy should include an overview of your current social media position e.g. number of followers / average engagement rates, and your KPIs – key performance indicators. This can be a little confusing to start with as each platform offers you a different set of stats and will measure in different ways. However, all you need to do is be consistent and track the same stats which are important to you and so you can track your success as you put your strategy into action.

Social Media Strategy: Competitor Analysis Knowing what your competitors are up to creates loads of opportunities for you online. If you have direct competitors, have a look at the type of content they are sharing and whether it’s generating engagement. Adding ‘Pages to watch’ in your Facebook Insights is a good way to get a quick overview of your competitors’ best-performing posts without even following their page. Use their successful content as inspiration for your own content (don’t copy it though!) and look through comments and reviews for ideas you can build on. Don't get too hung up on this though as over a period of time you will find there are certain months your business is steaming ahead and the next month, your competitor will be top of the list.

Social Media Strategy: Influencer marketing Will you be working with influencers to promote your business? If yes, your strategy is the place to determine who you’d like to work with and how you will build that relationship. You will want to look at all levels of influencers to decide who best to work with.

Social Media Strategy: Engagement Engagement is a non-negotiable part of social media. You really can’t just post and ghost! Your strategy is an opportunity for you to set in stone your engagement goals and decide how long you will spend engaging every day. Engagement includes: - Replying to comments on posts - Replying to DMs - Commenting on and sharing your customers’ posts - Commenting on and sharing influencers’ posts

Social Media Strategy: A review date There’s no point in creating a strategy if it’s just going to gather dust! Your strategy should include a date when you will sit down and review your progress. I usually suggest an initial six-month review date.

There are some key things to consider in your review include: - Have you or your team followed the strategy? - What has worked well? Pinpoint some highlights - What hasn’t worked? - An update of your benchmarks - New goals or tactics to achieve your original one

By following these tips, you'll have a solid social media strategy that can help you achieve your business goals and grow your brand.

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