The only social media strategy you'll need in 2021

With half of the world’s population now on social media, it’s rare you’ll find a brand or business not using it to grow their following, generate leads and increase sales. 

Navigating the world of social media can be overwhelming, which is why we’re sharing our tips to developing a social media strategy that’ll help you identify your social goals, engage your audience and optimise your strategy for results.

1. Establish your goals

Your first point of call is to evaluate what your goals are: what do you want to get out of social media? Each of your social media strategy goals should be SMART and align with your overall marketing objectives. These could include: 

  • Generating leads and sales
  • Increasing traffic to your website or a specific section of your website
  • Growing your brand audience
  • Increasing followers
  • Improving social media engagement

2. Define your target audience

Once you’ve established your goals, it’s time to look into your audience.  Creating buyer personas will enable you to know exactly who your audience is and what they want to see. That way you can create content that they will engage with. This is essential if you want to turn social media followers into customers for your business. The key points you should know are:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Job title or industry
  • Interests

3. Choose your social media platform

Once you’ve defined your audience, you’ll have a better insight into which platforms you’ll be most likely to reach them on. This is particularly important: whilst your audience may be on Facebook, if you are selling a B2B service, consider whether people are likely to convert on work related content on their personal platforms, outside of work hours. Is LinkedIn a better platform? This will also enable you to start mapping out your strategy for each network.

4. Research your competitors

Get a head start and delve in to what your competitors are doing on social media. Chances are they’re already on there, so have a good look and take tips and ideas from what they’re doing. Things to take note on:

  • What content do they share?
  • How often do they post?
  • What times or days do they post?
  • How often do they engage with others?
  • What industry hashtags do they use?

Conducting a competitor analysis allows you to discover your competitors on social media and what it is they do well. Learn from their mistakes!

5. Determine your posting game plan

Now you’ve gathered all of your data, you’ve reached the fun part! This is the stage you can actually start to think about what you’re going to post, when you’re going to post it and let your creative juices flow. Here is our overall process alongside any relevant tactics:

Come up with a content theme

It can be very challenging (and not to mention time consuming) to come up with new content to post on a daily basis. Creating a theme gives your social content a weekly structure and gives you the ability to utilise your existing resources. Your theme could be based around the topic of a blog post you have coming out, a new campaign, upcoming events, industry news, product launches ... The list is endless!

Create a social media content calendar 

With multiple channels to think about, it’s easy to lose track of what’s meant to go out, and things can slip through the cracks. Planning content for weeks in advance can also feel overwhelming, which is why a content calendar is your saving grace! You can use tools such as Trello or Sprout Social, or create good old trusty spreadsheets on Excel. We use ours to: 

  • Determine our social schedule timings, following research regarding the optimal days and times to post on each platform. 
  • Plot in the content themes we’ve come up with which will inform our posts for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for upcoming weeks.
  • Plan customised posts for each channel - cross posting across networks is bad practice. Make sure your posts are customised and optimised for individual platforms, not just copy and pasted!
  • Plan our content objectives. We post a mixture of educational/curated and promotional content.
  • Keep track of blog posts, articles and other resources we’ve posted to avoid reposting

Create and curate engaging content

Now you’ve established your themes and have your content calendar armed and ready, it should be easy for you to begin creating and curating content. If you’re starting from scratch and you’re not sure what sort of content to post, there are 2 social media rules you can follow to inform your decision:

The rule of thirds

  • ⅓ of your posts promote your business
  • ⅓ are posts of ideas from influencers in your industry
  • ⅓ are posts of personal stories to build your brand

The 80/20 rule

  • 80% of your posts should inform, educate, or entertain your audience
  • 20% can directly promote your brand.

The content you create should first and foremost be high quality, engaging and relevant to your audience. New, quality content will keep your audience informed and interested, which means they’re more likely to engage with your posts. A few examples of content you could create are:

  1. Videos - video is dominating the digital landscape right now, which means you’re missing a huge trick if you’re not using it!
  2. Images - office culture photos, product images, pictures from company events. These all help in humanising your brand. Use high quality images that follow the size specifications for each platform.
  3. Company news - share exciting news such as new job positions or new employees on your social media feeds. But make sure to personalise it!
  4. Blog posts - If you have a company blog, share the articles to your social media feeds where you can. Use employee amplification to widen your audience further.
  5. Free resources - because who doesn’t love something for free? Whether it’s an e-book or an infographic, your audience will appreciate a free resource.

6. Invest in social media management software

Investing in a good social media management tool is a life saver when it comes to managing multiple social media accounts. The right software - such as HubSpot - will allow you to enhance your social media planning and schedule posts ahead of time, monitor your social mentions so you never miss out on the people that engage with you, and analyse your results so you can begin to know what your audience engages with.

7. Assess and adjust your strategy

This is probably the most important step when it comes to doing well on social media. Even the best social media marketers rely on trial and error, and unfortunately you can’t always get it right the first time.

Once you’ve started tracking your results and analysing the data, use it to reassess your strategy. Regular re-evaluation of your data will allow you to understand what does and doesn’t work, and therefore test different posts, campaigns and strategies. 

A great social media strategy is a constant work in progress and should change with emerging trends, but with these tips you can give your social campaigns a strong foundation from the beginning.

If you’d like to find out more about how ESM Inbound can help you implement a social media strategy, speak to one of our content experts.

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