What is a social media strategy? In a nutshell, a social media marketing strategy is a summary of everything you plan to do and hope to achieve using social media channels. The strategy will act as a guide for your brand’s awareness online. All engagement and content that you post should be pushing your brand towards the goals you laid out in your strategy. You will want to make your strategy specific, however, make sure that it is achievable and realistic as you can always go back and tweak your strategy if you want to attain more then you already have.
Define Your Goals and Objectives
This seems like a fairly easy thing to do right? The most important part of any social media strategy is to define your goals. This stage doesn’t need to take up 2 A4 pages of details but it should be clear so it may take some brainstorming. Luca’s Pizzeria is just about to create a social media strategy. Here are four key questions they need to consider; Why do you want to be on social media? Who is your target audience? Which channels do you want to use? How will you engage your audience?
The image above shows some sample goals and objectives that Luca’s Pizzeria plans to implement in their social media strategy. Looking at this you can see that Luca’s Pizzeria wants to generate more bookings and be noticed by the press. Luca’s Pizzeria wants to target men and women aged 21-60 and they plan to use Facebook, Instagram and Trip advisor to do this. They have decided they will be posting consistent content on social media and they also plan to repost customer content which is a good way to recognise, appreciate and interact with the restaurant’s customers.
Luca’s Pizzeria will now need to create a mission statement for each social media channel that they plan to use. This does not have to be paragraphs long, a few words or sentences will do. Example;
“We will use Facebook to advertise to our defined audience to help generate more bookings and increase our sales.”
Luca’s Pizzeria will also need to define the metrics and process that they will use to measure those results.
Content Strategy – Define Some More!
Every social media strategy goes hand in hand with a content strategy. You’ve decided how you will use social media to benefit your brand but now it is time to decide which types of content you will use on these channels, how and when you will distribute this content. Let’s be more specific, Luca’s Pizzeria has said that they want to post consistent content so they will need to define How often they will post this content and what types of content they will post.
Luca’s has decided they want to post daily content on Facebook and Instagram. Luca’s will post 4 times a day on Facebook and 4 times a day on Instagram. 3 of the Instagram posts will be images showing different daily dishes that have been prepared in Luca’s Pizzeria. The other image will be a customer repost image. 1 of the 4 Facebook posts will be a text post to include content such as reviews, recipes, promotions, updates, daily summaries and invites to special events. The other 3 posts will be visual posts, these could be behind the scenes shots, images of completed dishes, staff selfies, ingredient shots, restaurant shots or customer shots.
In your content strategy, you will also need to decide who will be responsible for creating the content? Will the content need to be proofread? You will also need to decide who will be responsible for posting the content. You may also want to define how the content will be posted for example; Dave will post the content manually at 8 am and 12 pm on Facebook and then Dave will schedule the rest of the content to be posted at 3 pm and 5:30 pm using a social media management tool such as Buffer. Your strategy needs to be descriptive, make sure there are no gaps.
Audit Your Social Media Presence
If you paid attention to the language in the visual above “Generate more bookings” “Target current customers” You should have guessed that Luca’s Pizzeria is not a new business so we would assume they may already have an online presence. The next step is to audit this presence, review what’s working, what’s failing and what can be improved upon. You’ll want to create a template to document your findings.
Improve Your Presence or Create Your Presence
Now you have completed your social media audit it is time to analyse your findings and asses how you will move forward. Did you find that the engagement on Twitter wasn’t representing the 6 hours per week you spent posting content? How will you change that? Perhaps you also found that your following on Instagram wasn’t very big and in fact, you will remove your brand from twitter and focus on building your brand across Instagram.
If you didn’t already have an online presence its time to create one. You should start by creating an account with the channels you defined in your social media strategy. When creating your accounts, you want to make sure that no field is left blank. Take advantage of the sections where you are allowed to write text and use this as an opportunity to use keywords to optimise your profile for search engine results.
Create a Social Media Calendar
Earlier you decided which social media channels you would use. It is now a good idea to create a social media calendar. Make sure that your social media calendar reflects the mission statement that you defined to each channel earlier in your strategy. A social media calendar is usually created in an excel document and it should display the dates and times that you wish to post content on each of your channels. The calendar should also describe which type of content you will be publishing. Look at the sample below for an idea of how your calendar should look.
Once you have created your calendar you should then invest some time in pre-scheduling some of your content on a social media management tool. This will allow you the opportunity to spend more time engaging with customer responses and free up your time for other tasks you may have, not to mention you won’t have a panic attack trying to find content to post at the last minute!
Strategies can be ever changing. In the start of the guide I told you to set your goals achievable and realistic, once you start hitting your targets you’ll want to set new targets to achieve. New networks come up all the time and you may want to add them to your plan. Your strategy will be evolving and you should make sure all these changes are implemented into your strategy. Trying to build a brand and raise awareness on social media without a defined strategy can be a total waste of time. You’ll have no direction or purpose other than posting for the sake of it. Hopefully, my guide has shown you exactly how to create your strategy in an easy manner and you will start to reap the benefits. Good luck and as always don’t forget to subscribe to The Digital HQ newsletter or tweet me at @TheDigital_HQ with your comments and questions.