For small and medium-sized businesses, the prospect of developing a comprehensive social media strategy is overwhelming. Which networks should you use? How do you keep up with conversations and engage your audience across half a dozen platforms? How often should you post updates? By following a few simple steps and creating a strategic plan, a perfect social media strategy is well within your reach.
Today, comprehensive social media strategies are implemented and some have even been around long enough for thorough evaluation. Each business model garners an appropriate social media strategy. For instance a retail business will have a commerce focus, while a non-profit organization may hone in on public support and donations. However your business decides to tackle its social media marketing efforts, there are five steps that set the foundation for a successful social marketing strategy regardless of your company’s makeup.
1. Define Your Goals
Before diving into the social media world, define your purpose. Is your goal to build brand awareness, provide customer service, or generate leads? Your goals will you guidance and keep you on track to completing those goals. Create concrete and measurable objectives for monitoring your progress and re-evaluating your strategy over time.
2. Identify Your Target Audience
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Who is your ideal customer? Create a profile of your target audience, including demographic information and other factors, such as location, profession, or interests.
3. Target the Appropriate Social Media Platforms
Selecting the best social media platforms for your business is the step that overwhelms many business owners. With so many networks to choose from, the idea of using them all regularly is a bit intimidating. The primary social networking platforms include:
The list of social networks is practically endless—in fact, some businesses use a social strategy that encompasses dozens of social sites, bookmarking sites, slide-sharing sites, and more. There’s a lot of information out there on the user demographics of the popular social networks—choose a few that closely match your target audience. Once your strategy is rolling out smoothly, expand to include second-tier and different types of networks.
4. Define Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and Core Topics
Your unique selling proposition is the defining feature or set of features that sets your company apart from the competition. Your USP should be relevant to your target audience and in-line with your social media goals. Using your USP, build a list of key phrases and topics and build your social media strategy around them. This keeps you focused and sets the stage for branding.
5. Create an Editorial Calendar
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Editorial calendars aren’t just for content creation. Social marketing requires great content, too, and an editorial calendar helps you define themes, identify marketing channels for the content you’re producing and reach your target audience with relevance and precision. Of course, all the marketing you’re doing requires a fast connection, so get set-up with a high-speed satellite internet plan for fewer connection hiccups.
Your editorial calendar includes information such as monthly themes, conversation-starters, and material from your content marketing strategy. Your editorial calendar acts as a guide to define what you’re discussing each week or month, where to share specific pieces of content and how much time you devote to each social platform. Use a variety of content formats, including blog posts, case studies, e-books, images, and videos.
Following these five steps results in a clearly defined and focused social media strategy. Once your plan is in place, it’s time to engage your audience, start building brand awareness and generating conversation. Social media plays a critical role in both content marketing and SEO, so continue measuring your results and refining your approach.