Starting a business has become a trend, and many people are giving entrepreneurship a shot. As the pandemic rolled in and people were left to find new ways to earn a living, businesses, especially online businesses, became a way to make it happen. A component of your business’s success lies in how influential your social media reach can be, and it’s not something that happens with just a snap of your fingers.
A social media strategy is a comprehensive plan of all the content, collaborations, and engagements you plan on making relative to your business. It helps entrepreneurs effectively promote their products and services to prospects through social media, and they are the key to ensuring that your brand penetrates your target audience.
This is why, in this post, I’ll show you eight steps to create the perfect social media strategy for your business. While it may not be the same for every business, a social media strategy following these steps will surely help you establish your brand in both the digital and physical markets.
It’s important to note, though, that besides following these steps, you need to get creative with your social media strategies. Something as simple as using Instagram to hold a contest and give away free samples of your products could be the difference between a successful campaign and one that is dead on the water, even if you follow all the steps below.
Step 1: Define the goals and objectives of your social media strategy.
Goals are the long-term aspirations of your business that you want to achieve in the future. A way to realize these goals is by establishing objectives, which are more specific and short-termed targets that you can achieve within a week or month.
Begin by asking yourself, “what do I want my business to achieve in the next 5 years?” Do you want your social media accounts to have a million followers by then? Do you want to land on exclusive brand collaborations with more prominent brands? These are the goals that you want to achieve for your business’s social media, and from here, you can set more specific objectives.
When setting marketing goals and objectives, they should always be S.M.A.R.T.–Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. For instance, if you want your accounts’ followers to reach a million in 5 years, one objective could be generating a thousand followers in a week and reaching 10,000 people through boosted advertisements. It’s equally important that your specific objectives align with your goals to achieve them simultaneously.
Step 2: Conduct thorough research on your target audience.
Market research is essential in establishing a business, and it is just as important, maybe even more, when creating a social media strategy. To get to know your audience, you need to segment it based on several parameters like age, gender, interest, income, or other factors that may help you understand your buyer persona.
The market research process might get tedious as it involves a great deal of data analysis. Still, it will save you time and money, especially when utilizing social media tools like Facebook and Google advertising. These tools are paid and designed to create advertisements that reach out to your designated audience, so having a good understanding of your market will help you manage your advertising funds properly while also getting the most out of these marketing tools. You can also do it directly through your business’ social media accounts, as they also have built-in social media analytics that allows you to see which people are interested in your content based on specific parameters.
Step 3: Create content based on trends and market research.
The importance of market research extends to the type of content you plan on publishing on your social media. If there is a disconnection between the content you post and the people you want to reach out to for support, the attempt becomes futile and will only waste time and resources.
It is also necessary to know what the current trends are in content creation. That means knowing which fonts are ideal for posting, which color palettes are best for your product, and which video assets you can use to ensure your product gets marketed promptly and follows current trends.
You should also develop or adopt a theme that you can follow from the first time you publish your very first content up to the posts that you are about to make in the future. Consistency is key when creating content, and having a theme you can own can help establish brand awareness for your product or service.
Step 4: Get to know your competitors.
Similar to market research, competitive analysis is also necessary to gain an advantage over your competitors and understand the market behavior relative to other businesses that operate within the industry.
Conducting a SWOT analysis is one way to do this, where you can assess your business’s Strengths and Weaknesses and the environment’s Opportunities and Threats relative to your competitors and the industry you are trying to penetrate.
Through this, you can determine what your competitors have been doing to stay relevant in the industry, what your brand can offer as an edge over the others, the opportunities that may arise from entering the business, and what threats you might encounter as you traverse through your enterprise.
Competitive analysis can be used to heighten your social media strategy, find loopholes it hasn’t addressed, and identify which strategies you can keep on implementing to assert dominance over the industry.
Step 5: Create your accounts and set up your profiles.
You will not employ any social media strategy if you don’t have a social media account for your business. So, once you have laid out your strategies, it’s time to start creating those profiles.
You can set up accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, or any other social networking platform your target audience frequently uses.
Setting up a profile for your business varies with each platform, but the standard information you’ll need includes your business’s name, logo, banner, and contact information. Some sites might need you to fill in more fields to make a profile successfully, so make sure to have these sorted out.
While there are a lot of social media networks that you can use for your strategy, it’s not a good idea to set up an account in all of them. This is especially true if you don’t have the time or resources to monitor and pay attention to each one.
Set up profiles in social media that you think would give you the necessary engagements you need, and you can start employing your social media strategies from there.
Step 6: Conduct a pilot testing of your social media strategy.
If you already have your social media strategy all worked out, you can run a pilot campaign to feel the waters and check if it is a feasible strategy that has the potential to meet your objectives and goals.
You can run a pilot test either through your business’s real social media accounts or you can try it on your personal account. Set up a publication based on your desired theme, create content through sites such as Canva and Figma, and publish it through your accounts.
You can set a specific timeline to monitor engagement for this test campaign, like a day or two, and check if it has reached enough people to continue implementing it. If it happens that it did not meet your expectations, feel free to make necessary tweaks based on the analytics and try once more until you get the right mix of content ideas that will capture the interest of your target audience.
Don’t be afraid to make several corrections as you run a pilot test of your social media strategies. It only allows for a careful assessment of the content you publish and how effective they are in attracting prospects. Until you feel satisfied with the engagement you are getting from your content, you can always make changes before launching the actual plan.
Step 7: Get a social media manager or assistant who can answer questions in real time.
Let’s say you launched your first real social media campaign, and your content is generating engagement and likes. But what about your customer service? Customers support a brand online and on social media based on how responsive they are to their questions.
Hiring a social media manager who can reply to your audience quickly and effectively would be advisable if you’re getting dozens or even hundreds of comments on your posts. If customers feel like they are properly tended to with their questions and concerns, they are most likely to follow and interact with your future content, stabilizing engagements and gaining long-term support along the way.
The best thing about hiring a social media manager is that you don’t even need them to be physically present at your office. You can hire freelancers from anywhere in the world, and you can find them on freelance job boards that focus on remote jobs like Upwork.
Step 8: Create a calendar for your social media content.
Once your social media pages have taken off and you have surpassed the testing stage of your content creation and publishing, it is time to set up a calendar to manage your publications. You can use several tools to do this, such as Google Calendar, which allows you to set up a schedule for when and how often you will post your content and on which platforms it will be available.You can also use social media management tools to schedule and post automatically.
Canva also has the same features. It is a handy tool for many social media managers as it allows them to make content and publish it to social media sites at a designated date and time of the day.
Calendars are an often overlooked tool for more effective social media strategy implementation. Still, they are essential in ensuring that you are organized and do not miss targets, as it may eventually lead to your objectives failing. Especially when you handle several social media accounts and have gained a considerable amount of engagement from each account, having a calendar that helps you organize the content you publish is a must.
Step 9: Create your templates.
Templates are considered lifesavers in content creation and are the key to publishing content without delay. Canva offers many premade templates; however, if you are a brand that fully functions for profit, it may create problems related to usage rights.
You can either make some changes to these templates so they will still look customized, or you can start creating your templates from scratch before publishing.
You will also need to create templates suitable for different occasions, such as Christmas, Halloween, or Thanksgiving. These are events where most businesses usually have custom-made content to emphasize the celebration and a promo they are holding in line with it, so you can make templates ahead of time and not worry when the time comes for this content to be needed.
The bottom line
Developing a social media strategy for your business is one of the many important steps you need to make your business flourish. In the current economic context where people are driven to make a living out of business, the challenge lies in establishing a social media presence that is felt by the market and gains numerous engagements to solidify your business’ brand awareness. By employing a carefully planned social media strategy that takes into consideration the short-term and long-term aspirations of the business, it will be much easier to penetrate the already congested general market and ultimately have the support of the people you want to be purchasing your product or service.