Every action you take on social media should add something to your marketing strategy as a whole. For this reason, you need an in-depth social media strategy to guide you through making the most of each channel. However you intend to use social media and whoever your audience, the following tips will always apply.
1. Decide On an Objective
As a business, the goal for your social media strategy should go beyond simply gaining likes, retweets, and shares. You may want to improve website traffic, increase your leads, gain greater awareness, or retain current customers. By choosing a main objective, you can measure results to check that you are on track and ensure that every post supports this goal.
2. Create Buyer Personas
Use the demographics and psychographics of your customers and prospects to create several buyer personas —Business 2 Community recommends two to three. These will help you not only with creating posts but also in determining which social media sites to use. Stick only to these platforms, as trying to work with too many will take resources away from the channels that are likely to bring you results.
3. Update Your Accounts
Set up your profiles to enable you to meet your objective, such as by focusing on SEO, cross-promoting your other accounts, and filling every box with optimized information.
4. Create Separate Strategies for Each Channel
Users interact with content differently on every social channel. You need to adapt your strategy accordingly but maintain the same voice and personality across channels. Here are a few ideas for the four big ones:
- Pay attention to length. Titles should be no more than 70 characters and link descriptions no more than 250 characters to ensure all text is visible.
- Work on generating leads. LinkedIn is 277 percent more effective at generating leads than Facebook and Twitter, provided content helps audience achieve their personal goals, found HubSpot.
- Always include pictures. You need to stand out on users’ News Feeds, and posts of solid text go largely ignored.
- Optimize your posts. A study by TrackMaven found that you can receive twice as many interactions if posts are 80 words or longer, 60 percent more interactions if posts contain hashtags, and 23 percent more interactions if you ask questions.
- Use an appropriate number of hashtags. A couple hashtags lead to greater visibility, but too many make your tweets hard to read.
- Post pictures. Although often neglected, images can be just as effective on Twitter as any other channel.
- Post the right content. Neil Patel of Quick Sprout discovered that users receive 188 percent more comments on questions, 39 percent more engagement for animated GIFs, and 28.6 more engagement for videos.
- Create communities with Google+ circles. Separating followers into groups enables you to better target your content at different users according to criteria such as interests, occupation, and stage in the sales funnel.
You should also seek out inspiration about how to use your social media accounts by checking out your top competitors. Find out what they are doing and how they engage with their followers.
5. Develop an Editorial Calendar
Although interactions with your audience should be spontaneous, you need to plan the publishing of your content down to the fine details to get the most out of your social media strategy. Draw up a plan for the coming months that describes when you will post to each channel, what type of content you will post, and how this will help meet your main objective.
If you are unsure about how to divide your content into different themes, Hootsuite recommends the following:
- One-third of your content should promote your business.
- One-third should share ideas from your industry.
- One-third should focus on personal interactions that develop your brand image.
Furthermore, the time you post to a channel is very important; for instance, whereas Google+ sees the greatest activity between 11 AM and 2 PM on Fridays, there are more users on Facebook after work hours and on weekends. Twitter, in contrast, experiences the highest number of clicks between 1 PM and 3 PM every day from Monday to Thursday.
Like every other aspect of your content marketing strategy, your social strategy needs to be constantly changing. Look through your analytics every week to ensure you remain on track, and keep refining your ideas to meet your goals.
Written by Steve Lazuka, founder of Interact Media.
This story originally appeared on PR Newswire's Small Business PR Toolkit