7 Step Social Media Strategy That Supports Your Business Goals
(Disclaimer: Many factors will be important in determining your actual results on social media and no guarantees are made that you will achieve results similar to ours from our ideas and techniques presented in our blogs or videos.)
When discussing social media marketing strategies, what’s the number 1 question that comes to most business owners’ minds? That’s right… it’s “How can we increase our following?” But what happens when we make that our priority? “Customers” turn into numbers and stop becoming people.
Let’s take a minute and think back for a second… Have you ever experienced a customer service situation where you felt more like a number or a dollar sign instead of a real person? Maybe it was at a brick & mortar retail store, or perhaps signing up for a new service? How did that make you feel?
For me, the experience that sticks out in my mind is when I needed a new cell phone and the service rep was trying to add on a bunch of other stuff I didn’t want or need, or even ask for. I consider myself a savvy shopper; I do my research ahead of time so I can just be in & out – I only needed them to switch over my plan to my new phone. I understand this rep was only trying to do his job, but he wasn’t listening to me, which told me that he didn’t care about my needs or wants as a customer, only to make that add-on sale to reach is sales goals. He just stuck to his sales scripts “I understand that you only need the basics, and I can help you with that, but if you upgrade to…” ugh… I *HATE* that, don’t you?! So much frustration *face palm*
In short, when a business’s only social media strategy is to increase the number of their followers, this is what their customers see and experience. The follower count is what we call a “vanity metric” – it helps you look good, but does nothing to further your business goals. Maybe this strategy worked back in the beginning days of social media, but it simply doesn’t work today, and if that is your strategy, you won’t see any conversions or sales from it. In fact, let’s throw out everything that used to be, and start fresh: today’s social media efforts live and die with building customer relationships and engagement – the post likes/comments/shares.
So, instead, let’s focus on the positive and talk about the 7 steps you can take today to create a more successful social media strategy that will further your business goals.
7 Steps to Create a Social Media Strategy that Furthers Your Business Goals
Step 1: What are your goals? What are you trying to accomplish with social media marketing?
Planning is key – and I like the example that it’s a lot like planning a recipe for your dinner guests. You need to know if your dinner guests have any food allergies or diet restrictions so it’ll help you plan a delicious meal that all your guests can enjoy.
Know the challenges your customers face so you can set social media goals that allow you to solve their problems! If you’re the only one who can solve their problem and you’re listening to your customers, guess what? You’re going to see real conversions into sales!
Be sure to set attainable, realistic goals so you are more likely to stick to the plan and not be frustrated down the road….oh, and write down your goals! Most people don’t have any goals, only about 14% have goals in their head, but the 3% who write down their goals are most successful! (Source: Sprout Social, 7 Steps in Creating a Winning Social Media Marketing Strategy in 2018, 2018)
Here are some examples to give you some inspiration:
- Increase Brand Awareness – but be careful not to post too much self-promotional content; instead post helpful & valuable content that will help solve your customer problems that at the same time allows your strong brand personality to come through.
- Higher Quality of Leads – Don’t post content & forget it. Be sure to read between the lines of customer’s comments & messages to find out their true needs, and follow relevant hashtags to be a part of conversations. Then you can keep the conversation going by asking them follow up questions, direct messages, and even better, take the relationship offline.
- Create a Loyal Fanbase – This is done primarily promoting user-generated content, sharing your customer’s posts (with permission!!!). This may take some time to achieve, but if you’re creating a positive, fun, valuable brand presence online, people will share their experiences on social media!
- Improve ROI – What business doesn’t want a return on their investment, but for social media it’s not easy to see an exact dollar exchange. So instead, for 1 year, keep track of your monthly analytics to give you a big picture of what’s working & not working; this audit will let you know if you’re seeing a good return – if you see more positives & increases, congratulations! You have improved your ROI on social media!
Step 2: Know Your Audience – because if you don’t know who you’re talking to, your message won’t be effective
Who is my ideal client? Be specific here – include demographic info from your social media analytics, but go beyond that to know what challenges your target audience faces? What are they searching for when looking for your product/service? Do they do their own research and just want you to be available when they need you? Or do they want you to walk them through the “buying process” each step of the way? What problems can you solve for your clients? How do you do that?
Step 3: Define Which Analytical Metrics Are Important to Your Business.
Vanity metrics like follower count & likes are always good to measure, but it doesn’t tell you the whole story of your brand on social media.
Engagement metrics can paint a better picture, because as we’ve mentioned many times before, building lasting relationships works on social media today.
What are “engagement metrics”?
- Reach. Post reach is the number of unique users who saw your post. How far is your content spreading across social? Is it actually reaching user’s feeds?
- Clicks. Link clicks are critical toward understanding how users move through your marketing funnel. Tracking clicks per campaign is essential to understand what drives curiosity or encourages people to buy.
- Engagement. The technical equation is: the total number of social interactions (likes/comments/shares) divided by number of impressions. For engagement, it’s about seeing who interacted and if it was a good ratio out of your total reach. This sheds light on how well your audience perceives you and their willingness to interact.
- Sentiment. This is the measurement of how users reacted to your content, brand or hashtag. Did customers find your recent campaign offensive? Did your posts or ads get hidden? Was it just the 1 post, or were all of your posts/ads hidden? And why did they hide your post/ad? Were they seeing it too many times? Or was it not relevant to them? Dig deeper to fully understand what’s going on.
Step 4: Research Your Competitors, but Don’t Copy Them!
It’s good to know who and what you’re up against so you can position your brand better in the minds of the consumers. First, define who your competitors are, then go to their pages to see what’s working & not working for them. Finally, figure out how to better position your brand: Will you beat them on price? Service? Superior product?
Be careful to not copy what they do!! You want your brand’s voice to stand out and reflect your own goals, and you can’t do that when you’re copying someone else’s strategy.
Step 5: Create a mix of your own created content and curated content.
It’s important to create your own branded content (blogs, videos, infographics, etc.) to mix in with curated content (other relevant articles on the internet, user-generated content, etc.) for maximum effectiveness.
Think about it – if you only share self-promotional content, your customers will think you are too wrapped up in yourself and making a sale. But if you mix in relevant and valuable content from others, it shows you care more about your customer’s needs being met.
I keep repeating myself here, but it’s something I think brands keep forgetting: treat others online like you would in real life. If you’re with someone and they interrupt your conversation with a story about themselves, or simply won’t let you get a word in edgewise because they keep talking about themselves, you’re going to walk away and not want to be around that person, right? It’s the same for social media. Solve your customer’s problems, ask them questions to get them talking, and you’re going to be much more successful!
But don’t forget your branding! Adding in your color schemes, logos, etc. on your created content will subtly remind your customers that what they’re seeing is coming from you.
Side note: For your created content, creating video is going to be the most important thing you can do for yourself. Social Media platforms have come right out said that if business pages post videos, video content gets a higher priority in the newsfeeds and increases the chances people will see your content! Videos will be shown more often than picture or link posts by far, so start incorporating video into your social media strategy today!
And if you’re scared to do video, you don’t like being on camera, or don’t have the tools in place, think about what you could lose if you don’t do video. Reach & engagement will be way down, and people won’t find your content as often. You can’t afford to *not* incorporate video in some way. Just find ways to add video that makes you comfortable; once the habit forms, it’ll get easier & easier, I promise!
Think about this: how many times have you gone to YouTube for instructional “how-to” videos? Maybe it was to cook a recipe, fix a car, or learn a new language. According to Forbes, approximately 90% of online shoppers believe product videos help them make a purchasing decision. Additionally, according to HubSpot, the average online video is completely watched end to end by 37% of viewers. Brands can reach users through Instagram Stories, Facebook Live and other in-the-moment media; there’s lots of ways to add video to your strategy!
Step 6: Don’t Ignore Your Audience – Actively Engage with Them!
Social media by nature is social, it’s a network, a connection, and your customers are looking for a brand to connect & identify with – why not be their brand of choice! Your brand’s social media pages are often the 1st impression your potential customer sees and if they comment on your post, or privately message your page, and you never respond, that’s equivalent to walking into an empty retail store and being forced to leave because there’s no one to help you or to answer your questions. We all hate that, right, not being able to find a real person to help answer our questions?
Plus, if you provide excellent customer service on social media and respond in a timely manner (within 1-4 hours) Facebook will notify your followers that you respond quickly, and, get this … show your posts more often in newsfeeds!! And this makes sense… why would Facebook want to show a business’s posts if they don’t respond to customer messages?
The best way to provide the most engagement is to know when to post. Use the platform’s analytical data to determine when the majority of your followers are online & post at that time – they’ll be more likely to comment during this time, giving you the best opportunity to build customer relationships through conversations (engagement)!
Social Media is *THE* best option to provide excellent customer service online. 85% of customers will seek out a business on social media *and* message their page to ask a question before they visit your website! If you’re not responding, you are most definitely missing a huge opportunity for brand awareness & customer satisfaction. And satisfied customers tell their friends & families about brands who have given them excellent service. Don’t just broadcast, engage with your customers and you’ll be super successful on social media!
Step 7: Track Your Performance & Constantly Improve Your Efforts
So, how well did you do on your social media marketing strategy? Without continuously analyzing your efforts, you’ll never know how one campaign did over another. Best practices dictate that you keep track of your efforts at the very least each quarter, but if you can keep track of your efforts on a yearly basis, it’ll provide you a more clearer picture; yearly tracking shows the cycles social media campaigns can bring seasonally, etc.
If your annual tracking shows improvements in the metrics/goals you’ve outline above in Step 1, you’ve done well! And if not, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed – well, maybe it does, haha! – But it now presents an opportunity to learn & grow and that’s valuable too. Learn from your mistakes so you can adjust your strategy and do better next time!
Sometimes when us business owners hear we need to create a social media strategy, our eyes glaze over and we immediately feel overwhelmed. Well, I hope this checklist of sorts will help you be more effective on social media – it’ll keep you focused, organized, and more productive, and that peace of mind in having a written social media strategy is priceless. These 7 steps are the template to get your creative juices flowing so you can now apply it to your business.
And if you still don’t want to “deal with this”, or you know you need social media but it just isn’t your “thing”, that’s what we’re here for!! Contact us today and we can help set up your social media strategy and manage your day-to-day social media tasks; we’ll help you Find Your Freedom Again!