How to Create a Social Media Strategy That Works
Social media is one of the most powerful tools in your marketing either for creating awareness or publicizing. This week I happen to attend Social Media #Peacejam a collaboration in celebrating the World Peace Day at The East Africa Hub, Nairobi, Kenya. “If you use the social media correctly, you can create a strong connection with your prospective target market.” This was the message from the session. Driving into social media without a clear plan often lead to a stagnation in the process making people consider it as a waste of time. To fully utilize the social media, build a clear strategy that takes into account what you’re trying to achieve i.e your objectives, who your customers are and what your competitors are doing.
Here are some of the tips I consider helpful to get started:
Get to Understand your social media objectives
The initial step in creating a social media marketing strategy is to understand where you want to go. Answer the questions, what is the purpose of your social media platform that you have? What are the reasons for the social media marketing? Do you want to publicize,create or raising awareness of your brand? Are you looking to increase website traffic or sales, or both? Is your goal to build customer loyalty and increase retention? These goals aren’t mutually exclusive, but you may consider focusing on one or two.
Steps in creating objectives
In creating your objectives ensure to create measurable objectives. It is not of essence to set goals and fail to achieve them in the long run. The objectives set need to be clear based on your goals. Focus on having the S.M.A.R.T. strategy for setting your goal. Ensure that your objectives are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. In all cases, these objectives should be directly tied to the business goals, should be achievable and time limited. An example of a definite objective would be, achieving fifty percent growth in brand awareness within six months.
For example, if you own a business and you’re looking to increase brand awareness, you might decide that to create a unique social media brand image in your post, image choice, use of color and post strategically. Brand awareness also can be driven by increasing the number of times your brand is mentioned on social media by 50 percent.
Measuring your objectives after being set is the next step. Find the right tools to track and analyze each one, so that you can quantify your progress. The measure of your progress in social media strategy let you know when you have arrived at your objectives, it will also help you to spot problems early and adjust.
Characterize your customers
You need to understand your market that will constitute your customers. Success in social media strategy is all about targeting the right people with the right messages and in the right geographic location.
The best way to do this is by creating the buyer personas were you sit down and create a detailed profile of your ideal customer. You can be guided by the following questions, How old are they? What is their income? How do they consume your product or services? How do they get reach of your product or service, What do they like or dislike? What motivates them? And so on. Having more than one ideal customer will require you creating a persona for each.
Checking out the competitors
When it comes to social media, your competition can tell you a lot about what works and what doesn’t. As they are targeting the same customers that you are. Ignoring your competition is equivalent to giving up a fantastic opportunity to learn from their successes and mistakes. In checking out your competitors do not adopt their strategy in coping with the target audience as it might unexpected outcome.
To research and analyze your competitors, first, pick three or four of the top ranking. Find out which social media networks they’re active on, and study their content. What mood of content do they use? Do they talk about their product primarily, or do they focus on other things? What kind of cultural references do they use?
In the instance, if you are selling brand products, do your competitors talk about how their brand products are, or do they post amazing branded work photos with people using them ? You determine this by seeing how well each competitor is doing in terms of the level of engagement – comments, shares, likes. This enable you to determine which strategies work and those that will not.
Develop your message
After getting to know your ideal customers, and cross-checking with your competition together with your goals, then you start building on your messages. The Message will constitute the top level set of key messages that you think will resonate with your customers based on the personas you have created. This might not be a detailed content. Choose at most three messages, then break each one down another level creating a simple messaging hierarchy.
There’s nothing wrong with adopting some of your competitors’ successful messaging ideas but also try to create original messages that set you apart – this will help you to create a unique brand voice. Get creative as your social media presence should be exciting, not boring.
Build on your content
Your audience will continue to remain active on the content that you deliver once they are involving. Therefore, you need to develop a strong content plan that will deliver engaging material. The content needs to be appropriate and align with your overall messaging for the channels you’re using. It is important not to think of the content as something you post once. You need to have an ongoing presence on social media, and that includes delivering fresh content on a regular basis.
The content plan entails more than just product or service information as it requires you to think about how you can deliver real value to your audience. In the process avoid sticking to a single type of media; a mix of videos, infographics, and other styles will engage your potential customers more effectively.
Lastly select your media
With interaction will most social media platforms you will discover they are all not the same. You need to choose the right channel to be used to relay a message for the products or services you’re selling.
Facebook as one of social media platform has 1.71 billion monthly active users as of 2016. It is suitable for a wide range of business, LinkedIn is also a good platform to target for business-to-business sales. Twitter is a suitable platform for gaining feedback on your product or service while Pinterest may be better if you’re in the interior design, fashion or graphic design business.
Identifying influencers in the market is also important especially if they help reach your target market.
What is your Social Media Strategy and how effective has it been in targeting the right market? Let’s keep the conversation going.