HOW TO CREATE A SUCCESSFUL SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY
Are you inconsistent with social media? Are you unsure of which platforms are the right fit for your blog or business? Today I’m going to talk you through everything from choosing platforms through to consistent content sharing. In this post you’ll find questions to help you decide what you really want to get out of content marketing, plus social media tips and tricks for maximum impact.
Q1: HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU HAVE FOR SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT MARKETING?
You already know that social media requires great organisation skills and commitment, that’s probably why you haven’t perfected your strategy already. I totally agree with you that it can be overwhelming and hard to stick to – scary almost. I believe that one of the most important things to think about before diving into the social media ocean, is how much time you can really dedicate to producing and curating consistently quality content. If the answer is only a few minutes each day, you’ll want to avoid LinkedIn and Google+ where long-form posts do better and instead focus your time on quick-moving Twitter or visually-stimulating Pinterest.
DO IT! – A lot goes into creating and managing a successful social media strategy. It’s more than posting; it’s researching, engaging, maintenance and scheduling. I’d encourage you to realistically think about how much time you can give to each of those areas of social media before you move through this post.
Q2: WHO ARE YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE AND WHERE CAN YOU FIND THEM?
So you know how much time you can give to social media and you’re ready to get stuck in. You’ve got an idea of which platforms you’ll be able to manage regularly, but now you need to think about your audience. One thing I always ask my coaching clients to do is to define their target audience and their ideal reader. Once you’ve identified this person, you’ll be able to easily choose a social media platform or two to work on. If your ideal audience is all women then you’ll want to concentrate on Pinterest where 85% of its’ users are female (source), if they’re all working professionals then LinkedIn is your place. Maybe your target audience are a younger generation? Then Instagram is for you.
DO IT! – Spend some time focusing on your audience’s age, gender, occupation, social media usage, hobbies and interests as it will be really beneficial for you. Doing this now will save you time later when trying to connect with an audience that isn’t the right fit for your brand.
Q3: WHAT WILL YOU SHARE? WILL YOU COMBINE PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL?
So far we’ve only talked about finding the right platform for you and your audience. Now we’ve got to think past the stage of signing up and stepping it up from a personal account to an accurate representation of your brand. It’s important to think about how much personal content you want to continue sharing, and how much of it will be solely things that will benefit your audience. I only share about 10% personal Tweets, and 90% of others’ work and my own posts. By personal, I mean tweets about my day, what I’m up to, etc. I find that this works well for me as I like to use social media as a professional platform and as an extension of my blog.
Once you’ve decided how much of your life you’re going to share on social media, you can look at what other content is going to fulfil the account and make it one that your audience wants to engage with. Aiming to go for nothing more than 20% of self-promotional content is something we should all try to stick to. After all, our accounts are there to benefit our audience – not ourselves. We need them to feel like you’re providing content for them, supporting others, not just focusing on getting the word out about what you do/have done. Curating content is easy when you consume with intention. Rather than trying to open every link, picking the articles that you can relate to, that grab your attention and sharing the ones that really did teach you something or engage you will ensure that you’re putting out seriously quality content consistently. There’s plenty of places to find new content to share. I personally use Bloglovin, Buffer, Notey and Feedly alongside my main social platforms: Twitter and Pinterest.
DO IT! – Create a list of really great articles you’ve read recently ready to share. Be sure to include the username of the author or creator. Add to this list every time something sticks out to you. Don’t worry about scheduling for now.
Q4: WHAT IS YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA POSTING STRATEGY?
So you’ve set up your platforms and you’ve gathered your content to share. Now you need to think about how you’re going to share it and when. This is where your researching comes in as you need to spend some time looking into optimising the platform(s) you’re using. Optimum times and days, optimum image sizing, optimum post length and optimum hashtags are the areas you’ll want to know inside out (or at least have saved somewhere you can access it regularly).
Q5: WHAT TOOLS CAN HELP STREAMLINE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PROCESS?
While we rave about scheduling tools and automation possibilities, social media still takes a lot of time. It can take hours to curate and schedule content ready for it to be published while we’re out or busy. I’ve previously simplified top tools for social media in my posts, 15 Tools That Make Social Media Easy and 10 Tools That Make Analytics Easy.
DO IT! – Choose 2 or 3 tools to focus on. This will help you to streamline your process, but won’t leave you feeling like you’re juggling and switching constantly. If you only choose one, my recommendation would be Buffer – it combines Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and now Pinterest.
Q6: WHAT MAINTENANCE ARE YOU GOING TO DO, AND HOW OFTEN?
Any serious social media strategist won’t just have a publishing plan, they’ll have a maintenance plan too. Analysing your strategies is such an important part of any plan as there will always be room for improvement and changes in circumstances. Reflecting on what is working well, what could be improved and what simply doesn’t need to be continued can help you greatly when establishing yourself on social media. Within my maintenance plan, I look at these three things in great depth through quantitative (statistics) and qualitative methods (my own thoughts and others’ views). I also include things like having follower audits (I’d rather be following 5 quality accounts than 500 average accounts), changing passwords to make them more secure, updating profiles and revoking access to apps that no longer need my account details. My maintenance plan is revisited every 3 months to give any new strategies chance to produce sufficient results for analysis. You can use tables, checklists, flow-charts or create a document that details it all; however you decide to create your maintenance plan, it’s a really valuable tool for any blogger, creative or entrepreneur wanting to use social media for content marketing.
DO IT – Create a maintenance plan. It can be a draft or you can create it in full now in whatever means you will find it most useful. Mark it in your calendar for in 3 months time & 3 months after that.
HOW TO CREATE A SUCCESSFUL SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY:
1) Plan your time for each area of social media researching, scheduling and engaging.
2) Define your ideal audience, decide which platforms you will find them on.
3) Gather quality content from others to share.
4) Create an optimum resource for each platform: times, days, sizing, hashtags etc.
5) Create a chart or checklist with timings for each social media post.
6) Identify and consistently use tools to streamline the process.
7) Create a maintenance plan which is used every 3 months.
The most important part of all of this is having a simplified strategy that you’ll stick to. For it to be successful, you want to make sure you’re on the right platforms, connecting with the right people and sharing the right content. It’s really not as scary as it sounds.
By: Rebecca Viner
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