Social Media Day - how to create the best social media strategy for your business
Today is Social Media Day. Far from being a vessel for political ‘debate’, cat photos and updates from your auntie (although it is all of these things too), social media can be the most valuable weapon in a marketer’s arsenal. Rachel Ryan, our Senior Associate for Digital, writes more...
Social media marketing uses social media channels, such as Facebook and Instagram, to promote or sell a brand, product or service. It gives you a space to talk about yourself in your own words, and to your own audience. So how can you make the most of your social media, and amplify your brand message?
Set yourself goals
It’s important to know what your main goals are, and how they align with your business objectives. Do you want to gain brand recognition? Sell a product or service? Or promote a cause? All three?
Remember the marketing funnel, awareness comes first - you can’t jump straight to selling. You need to gain your audience’s attention and turn it into interest in your brand, nurturing this so they give consideration to your offering, and eventually leading through to them taking an action, such as purchasing your product. Always think “why would people want to follow us?”
With this in mind, set yourself goals, and try to make them SMART. These could be ‘1000 followers in six months’, or ‘increase engagement rate each month’. Don’t jump straight to ‘sell more products’, but work your way up using meaningful and measurable metrics.
Define your target audience
You’ll want to have a think about who your audience is too. Try creating a handful of audience personas from your knowledge of your followers’ habits , and put yourself in their shoes. Which social media channels do they use? Which influencers do they follow? What times are they likely to be online? Align your activity with your audience. There’s no sense in using Facebook to speak to teens, or posting when your main customers are likely to be busy at work. Try not to make assumptions, however, there’s plenty of research out there which can help you to build your personas.
Monitor your competitors with social listening
One of the most valuable pieces of research you can do is competitor analysis. What are your main competitors doing on social media, what’s working well for them and what isn’t? Don’t copy them, but do keep an eye on what they’re doing and learn from them. Social listening in general is hugely important, not only for monitoring competitors, but for learning what people are saying about your brand or the sphere you work in. Although most social listening tools are paid, you can still learn a lot from following key hashtags and related accounts.
Know the platforms
If you’ve researched your audience, you’ll know which social media platforms they use. But how should you be using those platforms? It is far better to use one or two meaningfully than spreading yourself thinly across all of them, particularly if your audience mostly uses one over another. Although platforms like Pinterest and TikTok can be extremely useful and have dedicated audiences, for the purposes of this blog we’re going to focus on the main three - Twitter, Facebook and Instagram,
Twitter - this is where you can have a conversation with your audience. Due to its rolling news format, this is the channel to use if you have multiple messages you want to publish in a day, and trending topics can change on an hourly basis. It’s also where you’ll find journalists, so it’s worth following key writers and news outlets for opportunities to promote your brand. Twitter is also really important for customer service, so be prepared to get queries from your customers. And for social listening, it’s great as the copy is searchable as well as hashtags.
Facebook - your second website. In a recent survey, UK consumers said they follow more brands on Facebook than on any other platform, so make sure you’ve properly filled out your business profile with all the vital ‘about us’ information that a customer would expect to find on your main site. Facebook organic reach can be poor, however, with posts only being served to a small number of your followers. One option to increase reach is to pay to promote your posts. Another is to make use of Facebook Groups, as the newsfeed algorithm prioritises groups that people are active members of over pages they like.
Instagram - this is the place where you can be discovered and show off your visual identity, whether it’s through beautiful photography or eye-catching graphics. Grid posts should be no more frequent than one a day, but feel free to experiment with Stories and Reels and post those more regularly. Think of your grid as your catalogue and Stories as the place you can have fun with your customers.
Create inspiring content
You’ve researched your audience and your competitors, you’ve decided which channels to use and you’ve set up your profiles. But it doesn’t end there. You’ll need to be creating regular content for each of the platforms you decide to use.
Try not to fall into the habit of using the exact same content across each channel. There are some obvious practical reasons for not doing this - Twitter’s character limit, Instagram’s inability to add a link in the caption - but there other reasons too, the main one being why should someone follow all your channels and see duplicated content when they could just follow one? Tailor your content for each channel, whether that’s saving the best imagery for Instagram or putting out news updates on Twitter.
User Generated Content is also a valuable mine of content, so regularly check your mentions and tagged posts, and always ask for permission to share someone’s posts first. Not only does this provide additional content for your channels, but it increases brand loyalty from your audience who feel valued and seen when you show that you appreciate them.
And remember to check the performance of your posts. If one particular type or theme of post is consistently underperforming, then try something else. Which brings us onto...
Evaluate your performance
Creating engaging content is meaningless without a way to measure it. Looking back at the SMART goals you set at the beginning of this process, decide which measurements are most important to you and your brand so you know which ones to give most consideration to when creating your content. Remember that success might look different depending on the channel, and make-up of followers. Brands with large numbers of paid-for followers are likely to have a proportionately lower engagement rate. Twitter has a low average engagement rate as a channel, so what will be considered successful there will be different than the rate on Instagram.
Finally, put what you’ve learned from your evaluation into practice. Maybe Facebook’s audience insights tool has shown you that your audience there is different from who you’d been ‘speaking to’ in your posts. Or perhaps Friday posts always generate more engagement. Take everything into account and implement your learnings in your ongoing strategy. That way you’ll keep your content fresh, relevant and as engaging as possible.
If you want to know more about how SPEY can help your organisation to improve its social media strategy, then get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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