Creating a social media strategy has become more challenging with the plethora of mainstream and niche social networks that have emerged within the last few years. From Pinterest to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. along with the massive amounts of tools referenced as “the best” with social media analytics and updating, it’s no wonder businesses have a tough time figuring out where to start.
To that end, here are six ways to help build your social media strategy:
Begin with laying out clear objectives
Tying your social media strategy to business goals is key to working towards a meaningful ROI. Lay out milestones and goals you want to accomplish along the way will help you stay on the path you want for your business. More importantly, have an overall achievement in mind, e.g. grow revenue by “x” percent, build brand awareness, generate leads, etc. You also want to think shorter-term to begin with rather than trying to plan out the next five years, let alone one year. I recommend taking it month by month and then extending to six months as the max. Why? Because so much can change during that time – from market dynamics to shifts in your business model and even market penetration strategy. Don’t put yourself in a position where it’ll be hard to adapt to changes.
Implement a social media and content audit
The easiest place to first look is within Google Analytics for your referral traffic. This will give you an idea of which source/social network is generating the most website traffic.
You can also create advanced segments within Google Analytics to see how social media traffic compares to the other channels you may be working within as well. From there, here are a few more things you should do as recommended by BufferApp:
Examine your social media profiles
- Locate and document all your social media profiles, official and unofficial
- Check for completion of all details on these profiles and for consistency in imagery and message
- Find 4 to 8 niche influencers and examine how they manage their brand on social media
- Observe imagery and branding on each of their profiles
Look at the competitive landscape
What are your top competitors doing? What’s working well? What can you do better? For each social network, you’ll want to note a few key pieces of intelligence:
- Number of fans/followers
- Frequency of posting
- What kind of content is published
- How much content is their own, original content, versus how much is sourced
- Use of network features
- Fan/follower engagement
Featured on KissMetrics, here are a few tools you can use right now to start monitoring your competition:
- Google Alerts – An easy-to-use tool that will send reports right to your inbox. If you want to know every single time your competitor is mentioned online, whether as a link or simply a mention, you’ll get that report. You can monitor keywords as well.
- SocialMention – You enter in a search term, either a keyword or a company, and the tool will tell you what’s being said about that term across blogs and social platforms.
- Topsy – You can look up your competitors’ tweets and get free information when you type in a site.
Mix up your content approach
Research the most shared content. A tool like BuzzSumo will help get you started by looking at different content topics and which social networks they were shared on most. Also look at different content types you can publish. Here are a few you can implement that will help foster the efforts of driving traffic to your website as well as engagement through social channels:
It takes a little money to make a lot
Be ready to test out social media advertising with the following networks and tools:
- Facebook Ads – their custom audience ads are easy to help you create audience similar to those you have on your email subscriber list and even target in on specific buyer personas, e.g. by age, gender, relationship status, etc. Additionally, with the relaunch of Atlas to help marketers better measure conversions, this is an avenue worth testing to see if it works for you.
- LinkedIn Self Serve Ads is a great place to start on a low budget.
- Twitter’s advertising – there are three different ways to implement advertising on Twitter: promoted tweets, promoted accounts and promoted trends. I recommend looking into all three and testing on a small budget. That way, you’ll be able to see which is most effective for your needs.
- Retargeting will play a large role. Leverage AdRoll for this. AdRoll also enables you to retarget via Facebook and Twitter.
Measure your progress
Use a data-driven approach with making improvements where needed and also testing out different ways to connect with your target audience. Here are a few analytical social media tools to check out:
Have more suggestions? Add them in the comments section below.