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5 steps to kick start your social media strategy

woman holding a phone - icons from social media surround the phone

Social media can feel overwhelming and like a massive drain on your time. It feels like you can spend forever scrolling through your feed, liking posts, commenting, and posting photos of your products.

But this isn’t making an impact on your visibility you expected or follower numbers.

  • Ask yourself what you are trying to achieve?
  • What is the best strategy to make the most of your precious time?

By taking the time to create a plan, you will be more effective. You need to understand how your actions translate to your goals.

Here are my 5 steps to kick start your social media strategy.

1. You’ve got to have a goal!

Why are you using social media? It needs to be a better answer than “because I should ”. An answer like that might leave you feeling like you’re wasting your time. Social media is a way to get people’s attention, so what are you going to do with it when you have it?

  • Drive traffic to your website?
  • Generate new leads?
  • Get people signed up to your email list?
  • Encourage the sale of a specific product or service?

You need to have a think about your business goals and how your marketing will align to this. It can be useful to set S.M.A.R.T goals so you can set expectations on what you are looking to achieve.

When you are first starting out, don’t be too strict on yourself for not hitting your goals. It might take some time for you to understand your audience and what goals work best for you and your business. It is also good to look at your competitors or others in a similar industry for inspiration, what do you like? What would work well for your target market?

Do make sure that some of your goals help inform your content and calls to action.

Ladies sitting on the floor of a yoga class
Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

2. Know your ideal client

If you have spent any time with a marketer, you’ll hear about your ‘ideal client’ or ‘personas’. Understanding your target market and ideal client are key to knowing where you need to be online. It will also help present yourself in the right way.

In the early days of your business the ideal client might change. It might not be who you thought, or you may pivot to focus on another demographic. This is ok, as long as you know the importance of understanding them so that your strategy for reaching out is on-point for your target audience.

We need to know our customers better than we know ourselves! We should understand their problems inside and out and talk to them in their own language to hook them in. We need to build these relationships to take them through the ‘know, like and trust’ stages.

Think of demographics such as gender, age, location etc, but also think about their lifestyle and attitude towards problems.

Example:

You are offering an online Yoga service for new mums. Your ideal client could be –

Name: Mandy

Age: 28

Occupation: Stay at home Mum

Location: Cambridge

Mandy has to juggle two school-age children as well as a new-born.

She would like to take some time for Yoga to help lose the baby weight, improve sleep patterns and take some time for herself. She has a tight budget. She would need something accessible, with child-care facilities and good value for money. She used to do yoga before the children, and loved the peace it bought to her life. She misses the social aspect, but would love to have a moment of peace again to help her better deal with family life.

Think about painting that picture as fully as possible for yourself. Imagine yourself in their shoes when creating your content. It will help you understand where they spend time online, how they interact with others and what problems you can help them solve.

Woman holding a camera with her back to the camera
Photo by Ben Blennerhassett on Unsplash

3. Create a content library

This is my top tip for making your social media marketing easier. Build yourself a library of relevant content. This can include photos, graphics, video, sales copy and branding documents.

This is useful if you have a team, as everything is easily accessed. Content no longer exists on one person’s phone or computer. Having this centralised place for all things social, whether it’s a One Drive or shared network drive will make things easier.

Think about what content types would work well for your business.

Stories – story telling helps the audience understand more about you, helping them know and trust you

Video – a highly engaging form of content, this could be a product demonstration or talking to camera.

Value / Shareable content – be educational and informative. Showcase your knowledge.

Results/Testimonials – You are always going to say you are great, but testimonials prove it! Other people’s opinions and reviews are so powerful, make sure you are making the most of them.

Sales – don’t forget to ask for the sale, it shouldn’t be every post – maybe 20% of your posts.

You can use tools such as Canva.com to create branded content.

Wherever possible I would also recommend a graphic designer and photographer to help build a professional branded library.

Emma Matthews Digital Content Production from Unsplash.

4. Plan for consistency

There are many fancy tools to help you create a schedule for posting, but the humble spreadsheet or diary works just as well. A starting point could be to identify relevant national days, such as National Smile Day (you can find many you didn’t know here . You can then start to shape how many times a week you would like to post, and what targeted content to post on those days.

In the early days this will be experimental. Testing different content on different days, and at different times. I would suggest keeping the same plan for at least three months before tweaking it.

Think about your audience, and what type of content makes sense on certain days. Entertaining videos or more fun posts might be more suited to Fridays or the weekend. Monday’s might be great for education or motivational posts.

Create a plan, mapping out what content will be posted. Thinking about which platform, and at which time.

Make sure you schedule yourself some engagement time. Equally as important as posting, is to listen and respond. Get into the habit of engaging for at least 10 minutes twice a day. Yes, you have time! -it is vital for you to not just be on broadcast, but to help build relationships.

Analytics from social media shown on a phone

5 – Analyse & tweak

Don’t guess, just test. The beauty of social media is that you can check analytics to see what posts are doing well, and how your audience is engaging. You can also layer this data with your other business data to help get a full picture of your marketing efforts.

We don’t always know what content will work best for our audience. It can change from week to week, so keep testing, measuring and tweaking as you go.

If your audience loves video, give them more! If your copy or graphics aren’t hitting the mark, invest in some support. You will have the insights to be able to make sensible decisions with regards to your strategy. But make sure you are spending enough time being consistent, at least three months, to get enough data to support any changes to your strategy.

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