Creating an Effective Social Media Strategy

social media strategy
Avoiding social media really isn’t much of an option anymore, and that means lazy content and haphazard posting simply won’t cut it. Just like with literally anything—business, personal goals, sports—you need a strategy. The good news? Creating that strategy isn’t as complicated as you might think. You just have to identify your specific marketing goals, create posts with value that align with those goals, and distribute that content on the right platforms at the right times. Easy, right? Then you collect your data, and adjust wherever you need to. And there you have it—a winning social media strategy at your fingertips. 
The catch? Your new social media strategy will take a lot of hands-on management, because one-size-fits-all strategies simply don’t work. 

First, Identify Your Goals

The first part of almost any plan should be goal-setting. You’ll have a much easier time figuring out your content later on if you have specific marketing goals to anchor yourself to. Ask yourself, “does this align with my goals?” and if it doesn’t, cut it. 
The most common social media strategy goal is brand awareness, but other common goals include generating leads, increasing community engagement, growing your audience or following, or increasing traffic to your website. The more specific you get with these goals, the easier planning your content will be. 
For example, if your goal is brand awareness focus your content on (duh) your brand! Let people know a little more about you in every post, do fun giveaways, and interact with the community to get your name out there. 

Plan Dynamite Content

After you’ve decided on and committed to your marketing goals, it’s time for a social media content audit (if you’re a new account, skip this part). Look at all the content you’ve created so far, and take plenty of detailed notes on which posts did well and which ones fell flat. Pay attention to engagement, likes, and shares, as well as the kinds of content or photos did the best. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest Business, and LinkedIn Business are all great about letting you easily export your post and page analytics directly from the platforms. 
The data you’re most concerned with should align directly with your marketing goals! If your goal is brand awareness, pay closer attention to your follower count on each platform, and figure out which posts resulted in more followers. If your goal is community engagement, look at the posts that got the most engagement and find the through line—what connects all of your most popular posts? Are they all pictures of food? Do they all have an engaging question in the caption? Find out what your followers like, and what they want more of. You can even ask them directly! Post a poll asking your audience what they want—this is a great way to not only engage people, but to make them feel heard. 
What you find during your content audit might surprise you. Posts that you loved may have fallen flat, or posts you weren’t crazy about performed well. Look at everything about each post—grammar and tone, photos, captions, dates, and times. Check the underperforming posts closely. Did you stray away from your brand’s authentic voice? Was the picture low quality? Did you post it at a weird time of day? It’s pretty rare that a post just flops for no reason, so it’s important to ask yourself a lot of questions and answer them honestly. 
The most common reason consumers unfollow brands is—drumroll, please—poor customer service! Social media is the perfect place to showcase your great customer service, because your audience doesn’t even have to set foot in your store or order something from you online. Not to mention, it’s public! When you respond to someone in your comments, everyone else can see it too—even if the original comment was negative, people appreciate thoughtful responses. That being said, make sure you respond to everything! 
The last bit of advice we have on creating dynamite content, is to not overwhelm yourself. It’s unrealistic to try to have a strong, engaging, inspiring presence on every social media platform, especially if you’re managing it yourself. Take a look at your marketing goals from the beginning, and figure out a few platforms that align best with those goals. 

Keep a Calendar

Organization is the key to avoiding lazy and haphazard content. Having a content calendar will help you maintain a big-picture view of your entire social media strategy. You can easily organize posts in a way that makes sense, and planning ahead of time makes publishing a breeze. For example, we keep our content calendar very colorful. Each step in the process (written, edited, sent for approval, approved, published, etc.) has a different color, so we know the status of every single blog post at a glance. 
When you’re planning out your posts, don’t be afraid to use the same content on multiple platforms—just tweak it to serve each platform the best, so your loyal fans aren’t seeing the exact same post throughout the day. Speaking of which, pay close attention to when you post where! There are tools that will help you out, like Sprout’s ViralPost feature. It collects data from your followers, and lets you know when your posts reach the most people. You can also do this manually, by testing out and tracking the results of posting at different times. 
Another great benefit to keeping a well-organized blog calendar, is the ease of collaboration. Other people in your organization are great resources for fresh content—they have insights and perspectives you may not have thought of. The more departments you can include in your strategy, the more well-rounded it will be. 

Get It Out There

Social media is so much more than just posting—in fact, planning and publishing is only a very small percentage of a successful social media strategy. After you’ve published your inspiring content, you have to actively distribute it. This means putting share buttons on all of your blogs, encouraging your audience to interact with your content via questions in your captions, or sharing a new post on your Instagram story. 
The more people share your content, the more social proof (pure gold) you’ll have for your brand. You can never over value the importance of your audience—whatever your marketing goals are, they require giving the right people what they want to see, when they want to see it. 

Tally Up the Results

The last step to crafting your social media strategy is to measure the results of all your hard work. Tracking things accurately and consistently is key to your success! You should be analyzing your content every month to keep track of what’s working and what’s not. Take a close look at how each post performed, and pay attention to three key things:
Awareness—the number of times your post was seen by people
Engagements—the number of comments, clicks, and shares
ROI—the number of conversions and referrals from external sources
Just like you did with your original content audit, relate these analytics back to your overarching marketing goals. Remember, your marketing goals are your anchor when it comes to all things social media presence! If you find your content straying from those goals, adjust the sails. After a few months of this strategy cycle, you’ll only have to make little tweaks here and there. Start with your goals, and end up with a well-oiled social media machine!
Need help getting started or managing your machine? Give us a call, we’d love to help.

About Luke

Luke is Uptick’s Director of Content Marketing. He earned his Master of Technical and Professional Communication from Auburn University and a bachelor’s in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has also been professionally copywriting for more than half a decade. In his role as Director of Content Marketing, Luke manages a team of copywriters and graphic designers, is heavily involved in client communication, strategizes content marketing for clients, and more. His copywriting focus includes writing for technical, industrial, and scientific clientele, but he’s also been known to throw his fair share of puns around.

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