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Quick start guide to creating your Social Media Communication Strategy

What is a Social Media Strategy?

A Social Media Strategy is a plan of action (set of actionable steps) that focuses on the objectives and goals you want to achieve for your business through the use of social media, how you will go about executing them and how you will measure the results.

The key to a successful strategy is being very specific as to what you want to achieve and maximizing the benefits that social media has to offer in order to effectively reach your objectives.

So, let’s take a look at the steps you need to focus on when creating your Social Media Communications Strategy:


Planning


ask-blackboard-356079What is your Brand’s message?
What are your goals & objectives?
What do you offer?
What makes you unique?

Determine your purpose, objectives and unique proposition.

Define your brand needs and how Social Media can help you achieve your objectives.

Outline specific goals and how you will go about achieving them. Set KPI’s you want to track, based on your objectives, which will help you evaluate the effectiveness of your strategy (ex. reach, leads, views, mentions, shares, etc.).

Differentiation is key to your social media success, as such you should focus and leverage on what sets you apart in your area of expertise.


Research

blur-close-up-conceptual-1194775Examine the social media networks you are using and any additional ones that are in line with and beneficial to your brand and goals.

Specifically, look into which platforms your audience is actively engaging in. Moreover, do some competitive research and review which platforms your competitors are utilizing to engage, what communication strategy they are implementing and how effectively they are communicating their message (content strategy).

Some of the social media networks you should consider that can benefit your strategy are:

Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc.

Be where your audience is!


Be recognizable and consistent

Be easy to find and distinguishable on Social Media.

Design and build your online presence (handles, profiles, descriptions, taglines and links, cover images, tone, visuals, etc.) keeping in mind a consistent look and feel throughout all platforms in order to be identifiable.

Furthermore, prepare a plan as to the clarity and consistency of your brand message, voice (tone) and presentation.

To get you started I am sharing articles by Hootsuite and by Sprout Social comprising all the image and video dimensions for the different social media networks (which includes header, profile, in-stream, etc.) that way you can prepare your material according to the set requirements of each platform.

Resources:

HootSuite: Social Media Image Sizes, Nick Zarzycki https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-image-sizes-guide/

Sprout Social: Social Media Video Specs & Ad Sizes Per Network, Alex York https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-video-specs-guide/

Social Listening

Monitor and gather insights

With the use of Social Listening tools you can monitor and gather insights as to what people are saying about your brand, the competition, industry, influencers, topics and what your audience’s needs and preferences are.

planYou can determine how your brand can leverage on the gathered information towards building a relationship with your audience, creating value for them and structuring your general strategy.

Social Listening tools are your gateway to insights that ultimately allow you to define and refine your brand strategy, offer higher quality products and services, and deliver optimum and valuable customer service and content to your audience/consumers


Quality Customer Service

Additionally, Social Listening allows for immediate presence and a great opportunity for you to offer prompt and quality customer service.

You can elevate the quality of your customer support by getting notified when your brand, products, special (branded) hashtags, etc. are mentioned and customer support requests are made, that way you can assist within a timely and efficient manner.

Social Listening not only will get you started but will also carry you through your journey as it is an ongoing process.

Some Social Listening Tools that you can use are found below. There are plenty more out there that also offer you a lot of features, it all depends on which one works best for you and your needs.

Resources:

Connecting


Connect with your target audience

The first step to interacting with your audience.

Pin point your targeted audience, follow them and start building relationship momentum.

Communicate and engage with your targeted audience by following conversations and determining key pain points and shortlist those for which you (your brand) can offer focused, unique and essential support.

Remember your main purpose should be to serve your audience and consumers. To do so, you need to first understand them and what they need. Build trust. Be genuine, helpful and generous.

Start offering value!

Creating


Create captivating interactive and engaging content

chart-content-flow-chart-900108Make a content calendar and start creating and releasing captivating, interactive and engaging content and material around the specific needs that your audience has or topics they are interested in.

Focus on responsiveness so that you attract, offer value, establish relatability and trust as well as become their go to source which in turn will help you establish authority and solidify the relationship.


Research, evaluate, asses and track

Research the different requirements each social media platform has and determine what and how you will publish based on the type of content your audience consumes most and is most responsive to.

Evaluate the competition by looking into the frequency and type of content they publish, the amount and quality of the engagement it creates, how active their following is, etc.

Assess what times are best to publish your content and how frequently you should be posting, and then schedule accordingly.

Optimize your landing pages and track which of your posts generate most engagement, sharing and leads.

Publish and repurpose

Publish content that effectively speaks to your audience by presenting information in a reader friendly manner, displays interactive material, triggers your call-to-action, is engaging, and captures your audience’s attention.

Repurpose your content to increase momentum and reach, maximize your results as well as effectively adapt to the needs of each targeted platform and your audience.

accounts-applications-apps-267350Some of the different types of content that you can use are: Blog Posts, Infographics, Images, Posts with GIFs & Memes, Video, Live Streaming, eBooks, Podcasts, Tutorials & Guides, etc.

To give you an idea of how important it is to strategically determine the type of content you should use for your social media strategy, it is important to consider that research shows:

87 percent of people working in marketing use social media for content delivery.” (CMI)

Source: 30 Content Marketing Statistics, Trends & Data for Your 2018 Strategy,
HigherVisibility  https://www.highervisibility.com/blog/30-content-marketing-statistics-trends-data-strategy

elephants-hand-lady-88476 As seen from research, online video has demonstrated to be a highly adopted content delivery method as it results in increased engagement (shares, views, etc.) and conversions in comparison to other types of content.

    • 74% of all traffic is video.
    • Video is expected to get 80% of online traffic by 2019
    • 13% of online traffic will have Live Video as a source by 2021
  • 90% of customers find videos helpful when making buying decisions.

Source: “The State of Video Marketing in 2018” Digital Information World http://www.digitalinformationworld.com/2018/03/the-state-of-video-marketing-in-2018.html


“1 minute of Video Content equals to 1.8 million words!”
James McQuivey (Forrester Research) Source

Some Content Management and Planning tools you can use are:

Resources:

Interacting


Be present, engaged, interested and invested

A simple click of the “Like” button does not a relationship make. It is a metric that speaks as to the acceptance or recognition of a specific message but, to turn followers into supporters you need to take it a step further and be present, engaged, interested and invested.

As such, you need to keep the momentum going before, during and after. Make your audience feel they are being heard.

Comment, respond, establish conversations, follow up, and offer stellar customer service by being actively supportive via social media.


Don’t broadcast

“46% of people will unfollow a brand on social for posting too many promotional messages.”

Source: 61 Social Media Statistics to Bookmark for 2018, Alex York https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-statistics

Do not follow a broadcast, self-promotional or “quick sell” scheme. You will lose your audience’s interest and consequently you will lose them.

Rather, invest in the consolidation of your relationship with your audience and in their future conversion and retention.

Be prompt, generous and helpful in your interactions!

“To be interesting, be interested” Dale Carnegie

Community Building

Focus on Community Building

Community Building may be in the form of:

  • Social Media based communities (such as Facebook Groups, Twitter Chats, etc.)
  • Online based communities (such as Forum Threads, Channels, etc. focusing on insights and discussions about topics relating to your industry, type of service, etc.)
  • Brand based (site hosted) communities (where your members can join and offer insights, feedback and support which helps elevate the customer experience and results in them advocating for your brand.)

All having a common purpose of bringing together individuals to share value around a brand, service, industry and serving a pivotal role in awareness.

Create a value based ecosystem

Create a well-structured and effective ecosystem around your community – create the path to turning your audience into becoming community members and successfully keeping them there by making it a value filled place

Collaborate

Reach out to and build collaborations with Influencers and industry people that align with your brand message and will effectively spread it, will complement your value adding purpose and will also expand your reach to a wider audience.


Analyzing Data

Monitor and Evaluate

I can’t emphasize this enough. It is imperative that you have a comprehensive understanding of your data.

Monitor, Analyze, Understand and Improve!

Track KPI delivery (traffic, engagement, views, shares, leads, conversions, etc.) and drill down on what your insights into your social media campaigns say and which attempts and approaches have rendered the best results so as to invest more in them – what I like to call define, refine and multiply.

Some Analytics Tools that you can use to track & analyze your data besides the native analytics tools offered by each social media platform (FB Analytics, Twitter Analytics, Instagram Insights, Youtube Analytics, etc.) are found below:

Resources:

  • Google Analytics
  • SproutSocial
  • Buffer
  • BrandWatch
  • Hootsuite

Turn your audience into your most devoted brand ambassadors!


Would love to hear your thoughts on this topic in the comment section!

Good vibes only and have a great day!
Natasha

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