Your Guide to a Thorough Social Strategy - Part One

social strategy guide

By Will Hockin,

Social media forms such a significant part of our day-to-day lives now that many people simply take it for granted. It’s almost a given that businesses and brands will be active on social media, and the pressure to do so is perhaps stronger now than ever before. But ‘social media’ is such a broad term, and the areas within in it so large, that you can’t simply just ‘do it’. You need a strategy.

A thorough social media strategy will mean that the time you’re on social for your business is well-spent and effective. No more just shouting random messages into the echo chamber – we’re talking about being focussed, targeted and specific about everything you do. Whilst at the same time remembering to set goals and constantly monitoring your performance against them.

Now that all sounds great. But pulling together a strategy from scratch when you’ve not got much to go on can be downright terrifying, or daunting at the very least. But fear not – we’re here to help with this handy guide to making your own social strategy.

Let’s Set Some Goals

The first place to start is to ask yourself why you’re on social media. You can’t effectively plan an approach if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve.  Goal setting should be part of your wider marketing and business strategies, and there’s every reason to include social media in this too.

A well thought-out set of goals makes sure that everything you do is for the right reasons and you’re not wasting any effort. How will you know if your social media strategy is working if you don’t have goals to measure it against?

To get you started, here are some of the most common social media goals:

  • Increase website traffic
  • Raise brand awareness
  • Build brand loyalty
  • Drive sales (online or in-store)
  • Connect with your target audience

The above goals shouldn’t be taken as they are though. They’re far too vague to be truly effective. Heard of the SMART anacronym? Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Sensitive.

For example, a SMART version of one of the above goals might be: Increase website traffic to the blog page by 50% over the next 6 months. It’s more specific, we’re talking about the blog page now, rather than the website as a whole. It’s measurable as we’ve given ourselves a 50% target, which is attainable and realistic within the 6 month time frame.

Complete a Social Media Audit

An important part of being able to measure your progress is to understand where you are starting from. Unless you’re a brand new business with brand new social media accounts, taking stock of what you already have is essential.

An audit should take into account what has and hasn’t been working well on your accounts. Take a look back through the insights that each platform offers – they’ll be able to show you your best performing posts. Consider the type of posts that work well – is it videos, or do blogs resonate better with your audience? Take a note of the times of your posts as well – have your morning posts been getting little engagement but your evening posts proving popular?

Do all of your accounts post with a consistent tone of voice? And does this match your brand’s tone of voice? If not, then changing that should be part of your strategy.

Try, as much as possible, to avoid focussing purely on vanity metrics here, such as Reach or Impressions. Look instead at engagements – how often people are interacting with you online. Likes, Comments especially, and Mentions are all meaningful.

Finding Your Social Media Audience

There is absolutely no need for you to be active on every social media platform. In fact, we’d actively discourage it.

There is little value to be found in spreading yourself thinly across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc etc. You’re far better off concentrating your efforts on two or three and doing them really well. But also, your ideal customer is incredibly unlikely to be active across all of them, so why should you be?

If you haven’t written some Buyer Personas for your brand yet – now’s a good time. Once you know what your audience looks like, it’s time to do some research into what social platforms they’re spending their time on.

79% of adults spend time on Facebook, but if you’re a B2B company, LinkedIn may be more appropriate and effective for your brand. If your target audience are homeowners and those above the age of 40, Snapchat could be a waste of effort. Take the time to do some research – it’s worth it. Most of the hard work has been done for you as well – there’s loads of information out there.

Getting these initial steps done will take you a bit of time, but once you’ve completed them you’re in a great place to get started. You’ll understand your goals, your purpose on social media and who and where your audience are.

In part two, next week, we’ll look at forming your strategy around this, looking at social listening and building your content strategy (and other stuff too!).

For now, without drowning you in information, this should be a pretty good starting point. Keep your eyes peeled for part two next week and if you have any questions, drop us a line on social media, or get in touch with us here.