If all you did this year across your social channels was send out a few tweets here and there or added to your Instagram story a few times a week, chances are you need to rethink your social media strategy. With so many businesses heading online because of the pandemic, it’s never been more important to nail your social media tactics to grow your following, generate leads and increase sales.
But where do you start? How do you set your goals? What platforms do you need to focus on? Take your learnings from 2021 and this social media strategy guide to find out how to engage your audience and reach your social goals next year.
Set new goals
As with any SMART social goal, the most crucial part is keeping your goals realistic. Trying to go from 100 to one million followers in the space of four months is probably a little farfetched, so set yourself smaller objectives in a timely fashion as you chip away at your bigger goal.
Need advice on some social goals you can set as part of your strategy? Here are some you can use to inspire your goals.
- Increase brand awareness: This goal is all about enhancing your brand. Don’t just shout about how great your brand is — share educational content and be reactive, so your personality shines through.
- Generate leads: This is a perfect goal if you have an eCommerce store. You can use your social media profiles to drive purchases through promotional offers, exclusive deals and integrating products into your profiles.
- Boost engagement: Followers are more likely to buy from brands they’re actively engaged with. Great engagement also helps brands stand out on social media, so experiment with your messaging and imagery tactics to grab and hold attention. For example, why not utilize user-generated content to make your followers feel even more special?
- Grow your audience: This is a typical goal many brands have every year — and for good reason. No social media marketer sits there and decides they’ve grown enough and won’t focus on getting more followers. You need to keep up to date with what matters most to your audience, doing the best social monitoring and listening so you can reach a wider audience much faster
- Drive traffic: If you want to drive traffic and generate leads towards your website, an effective social media marketing strategy can make it happen. Create engaging content, promote relevant ads, hone in on conversions, and see how your ROI improves
When you have a better idea of your social goals and priorities, it’ll give you more of an understanding of the platforms you should use. Try not to overthink your social media strategy, either. Keep it simple with a handful of realistic, impactful objectives to achieve team-wide buy-in. The more complicated it is, the more distractions you’ll have.
Define your audience
This is where you need to work closely with your marketing team to have a better idea of who your audience is. Who are you targeting? Have you got a clearly defined audience type? Ask your marketing team to hand over any personas so you can remove any guesswork when targeting people.
Having this to hand means you’ll know what your audience wants and what engages them. Then, use those insights to push relevant content you know they’ll pay attention to. It doesn’t need to be extensive. Age, location, the platforms they use, and their interests are enough to create a solid foundation.
Research your competitors
When you plan your next social media marketing strategy, first take a step back and audit your previous campaigns to see what did and didn’t work. Don’t stop there, either. Don’t be afraid to peek over the fence to see what the competition is doing. If some of them are getting great results, put their tactics under the microscope to see if there’s anything you can try that’s similar to achieving your social goals.
That doesn’t mean you need to swipe and deploy every tactic you see. Break it down and see what type of content they share, how often they push it out, the timings their posts go out, how they communicate with their followers, use of hashtags and trends, for example. Knowing what others are doing will either tell you that you need to switch your approach, or it’ll cement that you’re doing the same and are on the right track.
Select your social media platforms
It can feel a little weird neglecting a social media platform entirely. After all, ignoring one means that’s a vast section of people you’re missing out on. But your social media marketing strategy of choosing the right platform depends on your audience (which is why identifying your audience is essential).
It’s also critical to know the differences and who’s using what platform so you have a better idea of which network to hone in on and what you can afford to leave, depending on your brand offering and your audience type.
- Gen Z and Millennials are all over Instagram and YouTube, suggesting they love visual content that grabs attention and is full of personality
- Facebook and YouTube are great platforms to place your social ads due to their high-earning users
- People using LinkedIn are well-educated, making it an excellent choice for in-depth content that’s more niche than you’ll find on other social platforms
- Women outnumber men on Pinterest, with the former averaging higher order values when shopping
As you can see, it varies. It’s no good hedging your bets and trying every single social media platform, as you’re bound to see poor results in some places. Instead, laser focus on the platforms where your audience is waiting to consume your content and are most active.
That’s why there’s no traditional right or wrong answer when choosing a social media platform to focus your strategy on. However, there are pros and cons of each — along with keeping your audience in mind — which should make it easier to choose. For example, Facebook has a huge audience, but the ads are expensive.
Establish your metrics
Data needs to drive your social media marketing strategy, despite what your goals and objectives are. However, vanity metrics are irrelevant, and your focus needs to be on the numbers that matter. Some examples to work into your social media strategy include:
●Reach: How many users saw your post? How much content reaches your audience’s feed?
●Sentiment: How did your audience react to your content? How do people feel about your brand?
●Clicks: How many clicks did your account or content get? This figure will help you figure out how successful your campaigns are and what keeps your audience interested
●Likes: This shouldn’t be a standard like count. Break it down to paid and organic so you can budget for your ad spend smarter
●Engagement: This is your total number of impressions divided by the number of interactions. The engagement metric will show you how your audience is interacting with your brand. Figuring out what they engage with the most can help shape your content moving forward
Create engaging content
Your social media strategy is nothing without engaging content for your audience to consume. When you have your goals in mind, the metrics you’ll track, the platforms you’ll use and the audience you’ll target, you’ll be more confident with the type of content you’re creating and how it’ll be consumed.
First off, your content needs to be human and show off your personality. There are so many brands out there on social media that have crafted a unique voice for themselves that you don’t even need to see the account name to see who it’s from. Just look at the likes of Discord and Innocent as frontrunners. That’s what you need to aim for. You can’t afford to have your brand’s voice sound the same as thousands of others that it isn’t unique enough to keep your audience engaged.
It’s also essential you switch up the type of content you create. Think along the lines of stories, time-sensitive posts, reacting to trends and video content to really mix up your offering. Also, make it mobile-friendly. Then, analyze your content to see what type your audience engages with most so you can continue creating content that works.
Invest in specialist software
There’s a great deal of social media software to help keep your strategy aligned. Whether it’s for management, social listening, or anything else, it’s a good idea to see what can help you achieve your social goals.
- Later: Plan, schedule, publish and measure your posts’ results
- InShot: Cheap video editing software so your social posts always feature audio and video
- Canva: An intuitive design platform to create graphics, GIFs, and more without needing lots of design experience
- Feedly: A news aggregator application where you can source and organize third-party news quickly without scrolling endlessly through Google
Feel free to add your favourite tools to the stack, too. Make sure you use them regularly and build them into your strategy.
Creating a social media strategy for your brand doesn’t need to be challenging. Set yourself relevant goals and follow the steps above to ensure 2022 is a successful year for your brand.