Updated: Jun 28, 2019
contributed by Constant Contact
A social media strategy is a detailed blueprint that answers the what, when, how, and why for all the content you post on your business’s social pages.
Yes, social media strategy isn’t just about posting tweets and liking photos. There needs to be a well-thought-out plan behind what you’re posting, and a goal that you want to achieve from it.
A social media marketing strategy, like a strategy for anything else, comes much before you start creating. It’s a plan, a mix of ideas, a purpose, and the path to a goal that you’re aiming to achieve.
Think about when you decided to create your own small business. You don’t just open shop the next day – there’s a lot of planning, and strategizing that went behind all of it, and it’s the same with every new step you take towards building your business.
So, what is a social media strategy, and how does it boost your marketing results?
A strategy is a key ingredient of social media marketing. It requires an understanding of your audience, what they’re looking for, how their needs align with your goals, and ultimately, how you can attract them with an offer that gets them get on board with your business.
Here are some questions to think about as you begin strategizing on potential social media campaigns:
Who is your audience?
How do you want your brand to be perceived?
What kind of content will you share?
What social platforms are you going to use?
What are the goals, or results you want to achieve?
An important thing to understand here is that you can have multiple social media goals. You could use various social media channels to generate more leads, share product information, increase brand awareness, expand your network, or just about anything that helps your business connect with consumers.
Additionally, you could build different strategies for different social media platforms, depending on the nature of the platform. For example, you could use Facebook for generating new leads, Instagram for sharing visually impactful content, and YouTube for informational videos.
Why every business today needs a social media strategy
Now that we understand what social media strategy is, you may be asking, “Why do I need it?”
Times have changed, and so have the ways we do business today. Social media platforms allow you to transcend boundaries and reach out to millions of people across the globe. If you’re a small business owner starting out with social media marketing, you need to be where your existing and potential customers are already looking for you.
Here’s what you can expect, and why you need to start thinking about a social media strategy:
Believe it or not, the majority of people today are on social media sites. They use it as a platform both to connect with friends and family, and to network with brands and businesses – social media networks increase communication around the world.
As a business, you have the chance to communicate with a wider audience. Research on social media usage states that some of the top reasons people go on social media is to research, socially connect, and shop.
With a number of social media tools, and detailed customer insights, you can offer a highly personalized experience to your existing, and potential customers. You can study your audience data for better targeting, use analytics to create powerful social campaigns, and influence purchase decisions with personalized offers for your audience.
Without a strategy you may find yourself actively posting on social channels, without any clear results. When you have chalked out a social media strategy, it becomes easier, and more effective, to align all your social activity with a single focused goal.
Creating a strong social media presence, with a powerful strategy in place, allows you to build transparency. You can’t control what people say about you on social media, but managing your social media reputation is a big part of understanding your audience, and learning from what people are saying. Interacting with your social media followers, and building transparent channels of communication, gives you better customer insights than any tool or data.
How to start building your social media strategy
When you start to use social media as a tool to boost your business, use this strategy framework:
Define business goals
Decide on one goal, or multiple goals that are directly related, and chalk out a strategy around what gets you there. The whole purpose of a social media strategy is to reach your goals, so it needs to be your starting point.
Select your target audience
Social media plans work best when you know your target audience, what they’re looking for, and where to find them. Then, it’s easier to create content that speaks directly to them.
Choose social platforms
Every social network functions differently. You need to start choosing the media channels that work best for your audience. Your audience should also decide the kind of content you create, and the products and services you offer.
The best way to know you’re on the right track, to see what strategies are working, is to measure your performance with specific social media analytics tools at every step of your campaign. Understanding customer behavior strengthens your strategy along the way.
For example, using Constant Contact for email marketing allows users to get a deeper insight into what email campaigns are working, how many people opened the email, how many took the desired action, and a lot of other information that can help create stronger emails.
Create the right social media content
Your social media plan must include the different types of content you’re planning to create. Do you post videos? Infographics? Share links to industry studies? Again, your target audience, and the platforms you choose, should help you make this decision.
How often do you plan to post on social media? What is the best time to post? What social media management tool will you use? It may not always be possible to stick to a calendar, but with the right tools, you can ensure that your social calendar is on autopilot. Creating a schedule helps you identify the gaps, so you can be better prepared to fill those in.
Start strategizing to get your small business busy on social
A social media strategy gives your marketing efforts a sense of purpose. Whether you’re creating new content, replying to someone, writing a caption, or creating a lead generation campaign, a well planned social media strategy guides you in the right direction.
You may need to tweak your strategy from time-to-time to keep up with the changing trends, but creating an effective social media strategy right in the beginning gives your marketing campaigns a strong foundation for boosting your business.
Author and Content Marketer @ConstantContact. Aastha believes that words strung into meaningful stories have the power to drive the...