Whether you are an established company, startup, nonprofit, or any other organization, you need social media to stay relevant. It’s tough to navigate the different platforms, decide what type of content you want to create, and who you want to target. It is also crucial for your Ning network.
Check out our guide before you dive in. We have your back from beginning to end, and give you a detailed social media strategy plan.
Know your goal
Are you trying to sell, or just increase your customer base? Do you want more views to raise awareness of your site, or more visitors so you can convert them into customers?
Know what your main goal is from the beginning. Very similar companies often create social media accounts for very different purposes. Brand awareness is very different from sales.
Your end goal can also heavily influence the type of content you create. If all you care about is more people knowing about your company, then the type of person that sees your posts might not really matter. If you are trying to sell your product, then you are much better off targeting a specific demographic of people.
Have objectives and define success
You’ll hear this time and time again whenever someone is talking about improvement. Before you set off and blindly set of for “success”, know what it actually is. This goes to back to above: your type of success is going to depend on what your overall strategy is.
Once you know what you are looking for, set numeric milestones along your way. If you’re looking for leads one of your milestones could be “100 visitors going to my landing page a day from Facebook”. If you just want to expand your brand, then one of your goals might look like “20,000 followers on Instagram”
Whatever it is, make sure it’s a number. Quantitative goals are much easier to chase after, and if you don’t hit them, you’ll have hard data on how much you missed them by. It’s much easier to track your progress, and you’ll know how close you are to getting there.
Look at your competitors and companies with similar goals
Remember that not even Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook 100% from scratch. If he did it, don’t be afraid to copy be inspired by your competitors as well. If you see that their strategy is working and getting lots of social media interaction — go out of your way to replicate it.
Sure, you’re going to have to come up with your own good ideas if you want to pull ahead of them. But following their lead can close the gap if they have had a head start over you in the social media world.
Also look at people in your industry who are way ahead of you. Even if they aren’t competitors because they have 1000 times more clients than you do, that doesn’t mean their strategies might not work for you too. Especially if they sell similar products, their social media marketing strategy could help you overcome a lot of your problems.
Know your target market
Okay. So now you know exactly what you want, but now — who do you want? Is your content targeting just people who would buy your product, or anyone at all? Do you want viewers or quality leads to sell to?
Depending on what your purpose is, the people you are looking for can be completely different. Make sure you can think of the person you want to discover your content, or buy your services or product.
As soon as you know that person, think about them. What is it that they want? What do they want to buy? What is interesting for them? What would make them stop reading everything else in their social media feed just to click on your content?
These questions are going to make the difference between high quality content and stuff that’s just another boring post in their feed. If you really know your target market, this will take some time, but it won’t be impossible. Just think of everything that they need and write stuff that is completely written with them in mind. Forget about your own preferences and whatever is fun for you. Be customer focused.
How are you going to set yourself apart
Is this going to be through creating viral content? You can create simple lists that are entertaining to anyone who clicks on them. “12 times we felt like X” “Only people who do Y will understand this Z!” Can be fun and increase your total audience.
Or are you going to be extremely specific? You could also create content that is really only going to be understood by a limited group of people. It’s in depth enough to provide really good information, but you limit your possible audience. If this is your target demographic, you could be extremely successful nonetheless. Just know who you are going to be targeting.
For a unique social media strategy example, think of the Old Spice Man. The commercials are hilarious, and completely unserious. Yet it’s been one of the most effective campaigns in modern times.
Specialize in certain platforms
Sure, everyone knows the big ones: Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. These are all important, but remember your content might be much more effective on one or the other. Products and services that are image heavy are going to do best on Instagram. More social products will be better off on Facebook. You’d be surprised at the niches and special communities that have developed in Twitter.
One of the best ways to have a successful social media strategy is by playing to your existing strengths. Know what your customer base wants, where it is, and it’ll be much easier for you to deliver content to them.
Remember: there are a lot of underused social media platforms out there. If all your competition is just focused on the big three, then you can have maximum impact somewhere else. Look for blogs that are in your niche, or websites that are already popular. Reach out to these, and see if you can be featured and add value to them.
Like one of the greatest advertisers of all time said “Test! Test! Test!”.
Create different content and see how people respond. What you thought was going to be the least popular- might end up being loved by thousands of people. Go out of your way to create different content, upload it during similar conditions (same weekday, same time) and see how it does. If some posts are doing way better than others, you’ll know what’s going to bring you a bigger audience.
There are tons of different variables you can test. Try different topics, different types of pictures, different times of the day, and anything else you can think of. The more content you try out, the more effective your strategy will be.
Don’t get comfortable
Today, more than ever, the business landscape is ever-changing. New groundbreaking technologies are coming out every year. Even if you achieve success early, don’t get complacent. Always be looking for more effective ways to deliver content and better ways to reach your audience.
Stay on top of current trends. People love whatever is “new” and “trending”. If you can tie your product into some current news story or topic of discussion, you can be even more successful. Create a website with Ning – we know how to keep up with the times.