Social media is one of the most direct ways to engage with your ideal audience, and with more than half of the world’s population on social, it’s an important place to be when you want to grow your brand.
It’s also important to remember that the top places that a potential customer looks to learn more about a business is (1) your website, and (2) your social platforms. So, having a consistent, visually appealing story on your designated social channels is key when building a strong brand story.
But what exactly should you be posting? And how do you avoid staring at your phone each day wondering what the heck to post?
Here are 7 simple steps to creating a social media strategy that will guide what, when, and where you’re posting.
1. Determine where your ideal audience lives online
With so many social platforms to choose from, it’s easy to start splitting your attention trying to be in all the places. But we believe it’s better to choose a couple of platforms to do really well (and expand as your capacity allows), and where you choose to grow a presence should be determined by where your ideal audience spends time online. (You can learn more about demographics of social media users in this Pew Research report.)
Once you investigate where your audience lives online, commit to 2-3 social platforms that you plan to spend time and energy growing.
2. Social media audit
Once you’ve determined the platforms you want to focus on, it’s time to look at any pre-existing content on those spaces and analyze what has worked and where you could improve.
As you start compiling information and content from each platform, here are some questions to investigate:
Take the time to review your content and analyze the best path forward. It’s okay to spend some time working through the auditing process to make sure you are being strategic in your approach. Then, when you’re ready to focus on the data, check this post from Neil Patel.
3. Defining Goals & Metrics
Now that you’ve spent time compiling your past content and determining some key areas for improvement, it’s time to define your goals when it comes to social media so you know exactly what to measure, whether your strategy is meeting your needs, and what specific areas you’d like to improve.
While there are a variety of goals you can focus on, it’s best to focus on SMART goals, which are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
For example, maybe if you want to grow the number of followers on your Instagram account. That’s a great goal, but how will you know if and when you’ve attained that?
Let’s turn that into a SMART goal, and say that you want to gain 250 new followers by the end of the month. That is specific and measurable (since you know exactly how many you’re aiming for) and it’s timely (since you’ve given a specific date in which you would like to have attained that goal). Plus, this goal is relevant to growing your presence online and attainable. So, check! That’s a SMART goal.
So, whatever metric you want to measure (number of likes, comments, shares, or followers, as examples) make sure you make it a SMART goal. By setting measurable goals, you can see what is working and where you need to continue adjusting.
4. Plan a calendar
Now that you know the goals you’re aiming for, it’s time to create a plan! Planning a social media calendar will help you make sure you’re posting strategically and telling a cohesive story over time. Plus, it’ll help you stay organized and post more consistently, which is key to success. By showing up consistently, you’ll build a more loyal following who knows that they can expect to hear from you—and actually wants to.
To get started creating a calendar, we think one of the easiest approaches is to think about the various kinds of content you want to post within a 5-10 day period.
For instance, maybe your 8-day grid would include a post about your mission, a post about a service you offer, a personal post, a behind-the-scenes post, 3 educational posts, and a client testimonial. So, for every 8 days, you’d be sharing posts that hit each of those categories, while sharing different components of your brand story. (If you haven’t yet defined the foundation of your brand story, get our free guide here!)
Once you know the categories of content you want to be posting (which should be based on your ideal audience as well as your industry), you can begin to develop the content for each month, focusing on the long-term goals (such as a new product launch or offer). And make sure that as you continue to tell your story, you’re including lots of CTAs (or calls-to-action), such as asking for likes, comments, DMs, visits to your website, booking a free consultation, or whatever action would help your audience act on the content you’re sharing.
5. Sign up for a scheduling tool
Now that you know what you’ll be sharing, it’s time to start scheduling! A social media scheduler is one of the best tools for any business owner because it allows you to create content ahead of time—ideally, weeks in advance—so you can focus on creating consistent content that’s created strategically and intentionally.
We recommend Later to all of our clients and use it ourselves as well! See why we love it in our blog on Tools.
6. Remember to engage more and scroll less
As you begin posting more of your content and applying strategic steps to reach your goals, remember that a lot of social growth comes from your own actions, not just people finding you. So, focus on more engagement and less scrolling, which means spending intentional time each day liking, commenting, and interacting with other people’s content—ideally those of your ideal client.
While social media is a wonderful tool for growing your business, and we think that’s a great reason to be using it, we also believe in how important it is to show up and add value so you’re building a true community online. So remember that, all metrics aside, the value that social media adds is the ability to connect with others, and we should be doing that with a kindness and authenticity.
7. Measure and adjust as needed
Now that you’re posting regularly and working to build a community online for at least a few weeks, it’s time to start measuring the outcomes and figure out (again) what’s working and what could use improvement. So, repeat step 2 and conduct an audit of the content you’ve been posting since you created the initial strategy.
Are you seeing an increase in engagement? What posts are performing the best? Are there days or times that are seeing more or less engagement?
Analyze your findings and adjust your goals and strategy as needed.
We hope these 7 steps will serve you as you begin to share your brand story more strategically on social media! And as you move forward in growing your social media presence, remember that these steps are an iterative process, meaning that you should be revisiting and working through these steps on a regular basis as you learn new things, find out more about your audience, or adjust your offerings.
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While you're here, grab our 6-step guide to developing your own unique brand message framework so you can be on your way to sharing what you do and why it matters.