How to define your social media strategy in 2020
Social media is an immensely powerful tool that – used correctly – increases brand awareness and perception, grows a loyal customer base and demonstrates ‘always on’ customer service and reactionary communication. An established and consistent social media presence is crucial for brand loyalty and building customers’ trust. But get it wrong or worse, fail to implement a strategy at all, and you’re missing out on a huge opportunity your competitors are likely already taking advantage of in a big way.
Here, The Bigger Boat account managers Ruby Ribbons and Grace Lenihan break down the necessary particulars of successful social media marketing and consider how it’s risen to be one of the most important aspects of the digital marketing mix.
Assess the competition
As with the beginnings of any great marketing project, when it comes to social media planning, research is key. A great place to start in your social media venture is to look to the competitors in your industry. Consider what kind of content they’re sharing, which audiences they’re engaging with and their tone of voice. All these factors differ across brands – as they should. However, taking key insights and stepping into your competitors’ social world is something that can prove invaluable to your business before you begin any social media activity of your own. Knowing your competitors, customers and potential customers inside out is vital to being able to engage with your ideal audience through social platforms.
Most social media tools (Sprout Social or Hootsuite, for example) will offer up an integrated competitor analysis section to house the data you collect – but don’t forget the value in doing the research yourself in the first instance. Immersing yourself within the social space you’ll be operating is vital and you will get much more from it initially if you don’t let an automation tool do the analysis work for you. Remember that simply because your competitors are active on a social platform doesn’t necessarily mean you should be too – use the information you gather to evaluate how you approach your social strategy. For example, a competitor may be very active on Twitter and posting content all the time, but receiving low engagement – question if It is the right platform for your industry and audience.
Work out where your audience is active
It’s important to understand which channels your audience spends more time on. Understanding your audience can support you in finding the best time to share your content. Posting is also an important part of your social media strategy, as timely posts can drive more engagement, traffic and sales. If you don’t already, utilise your Google Analytics to dig deeper into your audience’s demographics and behaviour. Audience insights allow you to learn about the demographics and purchase behaviour – and you can tailor your social content and timing accordingly.
Each social media platform hosts its own internal analytics platform, which allows you to delve into the behaviour on a specific channel. Learn which posts your audience are choosing to engage with most, whether it is videos or behind-the-scenes snapshots into your business. You need to ascertain whether your customers are driven to your website by your social media posts. On Facebook and Twitter, you will be able to see whether images, links or videos perform better. Meanwhile, on visual networks like Pinterest and Instagram, you can check which type of image performs best. Don’t underestimate the smaller platforms in your social strategy – Facebook might have over two billion users but that doesn’t mean it will necessarily drive the best results for your business.
Set goals and objectives
Before any activity begins, goals and objectives should be agreed for your chosen social media channels. You should be confident of a plan and strategy – without this in place you won’t be able to measure your return on investment.
Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound (SMART) and aligned with overall business objectives. Here’s an example of a social media goal:
“Increase engagement on Instagram”
The SMART version of this might be:
“Increase engagement by 20% through video-related content on Instagram over the next three months.”
By implementing SMART goals, you’ll be able to better protect your business’s time and resources and your social strategy will lead to real results and not just vanity metrics. Make sure you know what metrics you need to track in order to meet your objectives. For example, if you want to increase engagement for a social channel, measuring metrics such as likes, comments and shares will help you monitor and assess performance.
Tailor your communication
Whether you’re trying to inform, entertain or persuade your audience, what action are you hoping they’ll take? Tailoring communication dependent on the social channel is important not only because of the differing capabilities with character count but because of how that channel is used.
Instagram is all about visual content – whether that’s photos, videos or boomerangs, strong imagery is key to successful posts here. Brands can also connect to their audience through real-time content in their Instagram stories. Most people use Twitter for quick updates, breaking news and interacting with brands. However, LinkedIn is business-orientated and it is important to create meaningful and educational content about the industry you are in. Each channel is completely different and content shouldn’t be repurposed on a different channel just for the sake of it.
Create engaging social content that works hard
Once you’ve done all the above you should have a clear picture of where your content is going to be placed, at what time and by whom it’s going to be seen. These key insights allow you to build a portfolio of content that you know will engage with your audience. If you found from your research that video is what your audience engages with and wants to see more of, plan in some time to create some exiting short films or better still brief a creative team to create a bank of beautifully edited videography that you can share throughout the year.
Post regularly, monitor and evaluate
According to Statista, the average social media usage of internet users worldwide between 2012 and 2018 amounted to 136 minutes per day. This means users are seeing reams of content on a daily basis. It’s important to position your brand’s content not only with correct creative and language, but also at the optimum time of month, week or day. You can see when your audiences are most active through in-app analytics and Google Analytics too – merge this data together and you’ll be sure to be capturing your audience’s attention and gain the most exposure.
Once you’ve pulled this data together, you should know the best day of the week and time of day to post in order to get the most out of your content. Save these time slots for key posts such as the promotion of a new product or an exciting announcement. This way you can be sure your high-priority content is seen by as many people as possible without having to pay for it.
By frequently reviewing performance and assessing what’s working – and what’s not – you’ll give your brand the best opportunity to thrive with the right audience at the right time.
Need more inspiration in building your social strategy? Give us a call on 01484 720055 or drop us a line to see how the crew can help.
If you want to keep up to date with the crew, don't forget to sign up to our newsletter to benefit from digital marketing expertise, as well as exciting opportunities to improve your business' performance.
Written by Emma Heslop
Decisive and level-headed operations director Emma spearheads project strategy and success, while keeping the crew in check.