Social Media Strategy: Starting with the Basics

How many times do you check social media? In 2016, we know that three-quarters of Facebook users and half of Instagram users check each site daily¹ and 80% of time spent on social media platforms happens on mobile².

You can’t afford to bypass this on-the-move audience when you’re building your marketing plan. You should always have a strategy for social media, not just a bunch of posts.

Here are some steps to building social success:

Create Social Media Goals & Objectives
Social media goals can vary but they’re good to have in place so that you can determine if your social media strategy is successful. It’s important to ensure that these goals align with the overall goals of your marketing campaigns and the business.

Social media goals may include:
– General awareness
– Establishing the company as a thought leader
– Driving the audience to take action (i.e. download, register or share)
– Targeted awareness to a specific audience (invest in paid advertising)
– Elevated brand awareness (increasing trust)
– Customer testimonials
– Influencer marketing

Identify the Audience You Want to Reach
As with all marketing strategies, designate the target audience for your social strategy so you can determine which channels are best for achieving your goals. For instance, you may find that you have an entirely different audience on Twitter than LinkedIn.

Conduct a Social Media Audit
Take a look at all your social media channels to determine what kind of traffic, audience make-up and engagement you have on each channel.

Here’s a brief overview of the basics you should include in your social media audit checklist:
– Profile information (name and URL)
– Posting frequency
– Follower count
– Referral traffic
– Channel specific metrics

Sometimes part of your social strategy may just be building a larger audience on one of your channels and that’s ok. Hootsuite has a great social media audit template that you can follow, access it here.

Don’t Make It So Sales-y
A pitfall that many companies fall into is making their social channels all about them. Your strategy should not be solely focused on pushing your products but instead on pulling your target audience into your channels and having them continue coming back for more.

A couple examples of companies that excel at this are:
– The Benjamin Moore Facebook page posts an impressive variety of content, including paint colors and trends, design and decorating ideas and channel cross-promotion.
– Pampers (diapers) focuses on the emotion and love behind holding and caring for a newborn which adds an emotional appeal to Pampers’ social media campaigns instead of adding to the noise with overtly sales-y messages.

Content Marketing Plan and Social Media Content Plan
Make sure your social media content plan mirrors your content plan for other channels so that you are delivering consistent messaging to the market. Your plan should include strategies for content creation and content curation, as well as a content calendar.

In order to engage and build audiences, be sure you are appropriately tagging individuals and companies, encouraging your audience to “follow us” and creating and using hashtags.

Hashtag Basics
– If you’re using hashtags for their intended purpose (categorization and discovery), don’t string too many words together with a single hashtag.
– On most networks, if you use a hashtag on a public account, anyone who does a search for that hashtag can find your post.
– Don’t #spam #with #hashtags. Avoid over-tagging a single post or adding them to every word.
– Encourage your audience to use the hashtag and promote it on other channels