How To Develop Your Social Media Strategy In 5 Steps
Developing and implementing a social media strategy for your business can feel both exciting and so freaking overwhelming. There's a new platform becoming popular every second (exaggeration but that's kinda how it feels for most people) , and most solopeneurs are unsure where they should dedicate their limited time and money. Should you be on snapchat? What about Instagram? Facebook? YouTube? Periscope? Tumblr? And then after you finally decide (or think you have a clue), which platform - almost immediately, you may ask yourself, "what should I even post?". Trust me, you're not alone. To help, here are 5 actionable steps you can take to determine which social media channels you should dedicate your time and resources, and what to post on them.
1. Define your business goal.
You may be saying to yourself, I know I need to be on social media because that's what everyone is saying or because you know that's where your target audience is. But before jumping into the pool of social media marketing, write down your business goals. Social media for businesses is just like any other channel of marketing. It is a vehicle in which you can connect with your target audience to reach your business goals. Sure the content may be different, but social media should be viewed as part of your overall marketing strategy.
This begins with establishing the business goal you are looking to address with social. So ask yourself, "What are you looking to accomplish as a business?". For example, your business goal for the year may be to bring on 6 new clients. As you start mapping out your dream clients journey to saying yes, you may realize that that most people head to your blog to read a tips and then head to your testimonial page, then sign up for your email list and then a few weeks later, they sign up for a sales conversation. With the business goal of sales in mind, your social media strategy may be to drive traffic to your blog since that's typically where your clients start or it could be to get them on your email list since that's when they really connect with you and then sign up. The beautiful thing is you get to choose. So think about your goals and what would really make a difference for your business. Then set that intention for your social presence. Here are some goals you may have in mind.
- Brand Awareness
- Traffic to Your Website or Blog
- Grow Your Email List or Community
2. Have a strong understanding of your target audience.
Having a strong understanding of your target audience or as I like to call it your dream client is one of the most important pieces of information needed to determine which social media platforms you should be on. For starters you should know:
- Where they spend their time (on and offline)
- What content is of interest to them
- What influences them
- Where do they want to (or not mind) hearing from you
- What are they challenged with
- What are their dreams
- Why they love you or would be interested in hearing from you
With the information above, you can begin to weed out what platforms don't make sense for your product or service. For example, if your dream client is 34 years old and is looking to loose those last 10 pounds, LinkedIn may not be top of your list. The more you know about your target audience, the easier it will be for you to determine where you should and shouldn't be focusing your social media efforts. Once you know where your dream client would most likely want to hear from you - think about the platforms on that list. Are there any that make the most sense for your brand or that you are most excited about? Choose those first!
3. List what content you have (and can make) then choose 1 - 2 platforms and get started.
Out of the many platforms out there, from LinkedIn to Snapchat and beyond, you could feasibly make a profile for your business on all of them. But given time and resources, try choosing 1 - 2 platforms to start. Steps 1 and 2 are designed to help you prioritize your list. Let's say your business goals are customer engagement and lead generation and your target audience are women 25 - 35 who love to cook. You may consider Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube. But which should you choose? To help you choose ask yourself the following questions.
- What assets do you have or the ability to create new assets?
- In what quantity?
- Do you have enough content to post 5 a week? 10 a week? 15 a month?
- You may find that your target audience spends a lot of time on Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook but you may not have enough content to post on Snapchat.
- Which platform am I most excited to and committed to?
- As I mentioned at the end of step 2. Your brand plays a role in this decision. If you're debating between Facebook and Instagram and either could make a difference for your dream client but you LOVE LOVE LOVE Insta. Then by all means - focus on that platform first.
4. Post Consistently.
One of the biggest challenges with creating a social media platform is posting consistently. That's why it's important to strategically choose the channels you engage. Try not to create a game that you cannot when. If you do not have enough content to post on a channel regularly, then prioritize another channel at first.
How much should you be posting?
- If you're just getting started, we recommend posting to channels like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Snapchat once a day Monday - Friday.
- For Pinterest, I recommend creating 8 - 10 boards and then posting to some of the boards weekly trying to keep about 20% of the content driving to your site.
- Twitter, tweet 5+ times a day everyday. But the good news is you should repurpose content throughout the week. Not everyone will see your posts right when you publish it.
- YouTube & Blogs - set a cadence and stick to it. Just try to keep a min of at least 3-4 a month.
5. Test and learn from posting content on the platform(s) you choose. Then add another platform when you're ready.
Once you've picked a platform or two. Get started. Keep your business goals, target audience, and available content in mind as you build out your editorial calendar. You may be wondering when you should post and what content? These are valuable in terms of getting started, but only you can determine what works best for your business. Try testing the following:
- Time of day to post
- Type of content creative (photo, infographic, etc.)
- Topic or subject of content (how to, cute puppies, product shots, etc.)
- What content performs best on which channel or platform
Just remember to keep your target audience in mind. Something you post on Twitter probably will not work well on Facebook.
Bonus Tip: Test paid ads as well. With about $5/day you can test and learn from promoting your social media content. The social media landscape is cluttered and putting a bit of money behind your social media posts (especially on Facebook) helps your content get in front of your desired audience.