How to Create a Social Media Strategy in 6 Easy Steps

When you decide to start a business of your own, no matter what it is, winning clients, receiving positive feedback or selling one of your products is a GREAT feeling. Unfortunately, we often spend so much time creating and selling that we forget to develop a strategy to get our ideas in front of the right people.

Last time on the amBLOG, we focused on content creation and content planning. This week, we will explore ways to use social media to ensure your ideas and products get the coverage they deserve. Read on to find out how you can crush your business goals with a social media strategy.

How many followers do you have?

When I originally started business profiles on Facebook and Instagram for alexMEDIA, all I cared about was likes and the number of followers my profiles had. These metrics made me feel good about myself and made me think I was doing a great job.

Having said that, here’s a question, would you prefer…

I’m assuming you went for 100,000 followers — honestly, there is nothing wrong with that. However, let me ask the question again. Would you prefer…

Social metrics such as followers help to indicate how you and your content is performing in comparison to your competition. If used correctly, followers, post likes, comments, shares can be used to create deeper analytical strategies to inform future business decisions.

The problem with social metrics

Social metrics clearly show whether your content resonates with others. As great as these metrics are, too many social media marketers and businesses rely on these social metrics to quantify performance. The problem with these metrics is many chase post likes and followers rather than using the metrics to achieve business objectives — Nod your head if you can remember reading (or writing) a report about the number of likes, comments and shares a campaign received…

When social metrics are used in this way, they become VANITY METRICS. Remember the ‘would you prefer’ question earlier? When it comes to converting followers, it really doesn’t matter if you have 2,000 followers or 100,000 followers.

There are a number of businesses that maintain six-figure businesses with ONLY 2,000 followers or less and similarly businesses with 100,000 plus followers that fail to generate revenue anywhere near six figures. Knowing how to optimise your content and drive leads based on social media performance is the key to success.

Essentially, social media metrics are the first step to social media success. Without these metrics, you do not have an audience. Without an audience, you can forget about being noticed by your platforms ‘algorithm’. Below are 6 easy steps to create an awesome social media strategy…

1. Identify social media goals that match your business objectives

Before using social media to promote your business or brand, you need to identify business objectives and goals. Simply stating you want to grow your Facebook following to 10,000 is not enough. The WHY and HOW you are going to achieve this is missing. This is where S.M.A.R.T comes in.

Using S.M.A.R.T will help you create goals that are realistic and achievable. By the way, S.M.A.R.T stands for:

S — Specific

M — Measurable

A — Attainable

R — Relevant

T — Time specific

If you really want to be successful using social media, it is worth spending time creating goals that will help you move forward.

Using S.M.A.R.T in the real world

If you are a guitar tutor wanting to acquire new students, an example of a smart goal would be to increase Instagram followers by 20 every week by delivering 2 short videos aimed at individuals wanting to learn how to play the guitar.

As you can see, this goal hits all of the S.M.A.R.T steps. It can be measured easily, it’s relevant to your niche and a time frame is given. Although this sounds simple, it’s easy to jump into social media without a goal in mind. It’s very difficult to consistently deliver when you do not have a specific goal in mind (we’ll look at this in more detail next week). As a guitar tutor, S.M.A.R.T goals like the one will help you grow a RELEVANT audience and allow you to start the conversations you need to achieve your objective — acquire new students. Remember this question…

Would you prefer…

Spend a few moments answering the questions below:

If social media can help you achieve your business objectives, make sure you implement S.M.A.R.T goals and you will soon see results.

2. Choosing your key metrics

At the beginning of October (2018), I wrote a post about tracking social media performance and introduced the 30-day challenge. This is a great place to start if tracking is a new concept to you.

Creating successful social media strategies starts by having a deep understanding of what you want to achieve. If you have outlined your goals and objectives, the next step is to establish the metrics that will help you track success. As mentioned earlier, likes and follows alone are not enough.

Unfortunately, there is not a single set of metrics to fit all types of businesses or brands. The key to identifying the best metrics is to fully understand what you want to achieve.

Example performance metrics

To ensure you can track the most important metrics, make sure you set up business profiles on Instagram and Facebook. Key metrics for your business or brand may include:

Comments and shares

These metrics highlight whether people are interested in your content or not. Pay attention to the content that drives the most conversations — you will want to focus on creating more of this great content.

Reach

This is the number of unique people that see your content (impression, on the other hand, calculates the total number of individuals that see your content overall).

Reach shows you how far your content goes. If you are posting on Facebook, you will have heard that organic reach is on the decline. While this is true, organic reach is by far one of the best indicators of performance (more on this later). If you notice your organic posts are regularly reaching 1,000+ individuals, you are definitely doing something right. Reach alone, however, does not give the whole story. The reach metric alongside engagement metrics (likes, comments and shares) can give useful benchmarks on how your content is performing.

Engagement Rate

Engagement metrics can be used to create an engagement rate. It’s important not to benchmark your business against the engagement rates of your competitors. Essentially, you do not know what they have done behind the scenes to achieve their engagement rates — for example, ad spend and influencer marketing can have a huge impact on this.

Your best bet is to create benchmarks for yourself. Over time, you will start to understand what types of video and image posts drive the highest number of engagements. Benchmarking against yourself will help you grow sustainably. You will notice however that as your audience grows, your engagement rate will decrease. This is ok, just remember, not everyone you reach will engage with your content.

To maintain a high level of engagement, it is important to deliver content that has a purpose and offers value to your audience. This will ensure you receive the maximum number of likes, shares and comments if this is what you are aiming to achieve.

If you post on Facebook or Instagram, you can observe the number likes, comments, shares and reach of the post by using the inbuilt Insights tabs (similar to Google Analytics, we will explore this in more detail in a separate blog post).

The calculation below will help you create your post engagement rate:

Step 1: Add likes, comments and shares together and divide the answer by the Reach of the post

(Likes + Comments + Shares) / Reach

Step 2: Multiply the result by 100 to get your post engagement rate

3. How to track your key metrics

If one of your business goals is to increase traffic to your website, it would be worth tracking link clicks and WHERE link clicks are coming from. Link clicks alone can be viewed as a vanity metric. However, when you break link clicks down by channel, you can start to use this data to shape your social media strategy.

How I hear you ask… well, it’s simple. You will want to put more time and effort into the channels that drive the most traffic to your website. If you are seeing more link clicks coming from Facebook compared to Twitter, invest time into learning what else you could be doing on Facebook to maximise your efforts.

Link clicks can be recorded in a number of ways. The easiest way is to create bit.ly links. bit.ly is a website that offers a free URL shortening tool.

If you’ve used bit.ly before, you will know that creating multiple bit.ly links for the same URL is not possible with the free service. That, however, is not a problem as I’ve found a great workaround…

If I wanted to create tracking links for Instagram and Facebook for the URL of this blog post (alexmedia.info/amblog/smstrategy), I would do the following:

IG Link: alexmedia.info/amblog/smstrategy#instagram

FB Link: alexmedia.info/amblog/smstrategy#facebook

By adding a hashtag and a label at the end of the URL, you can create multiple tracking links for the same URL!

** TOP TIP ** Create your links with the hashtag and label in notes prior to pasting to bit.ly as the website will shorten your link automatically.

Create a free account on bit.ly so that you can view the link click stats at a later date.

Introducing Google Analytics

If you have experience with Google Analytics, you can create UTM parameters that will help you track where traffic is coming from. Similar to a bit.ly link, a separate UTM parameter will be set up for Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and all other platforms you use to drive traffic back to your website.

Not only will UTM parameters allow you to track link clicks, but you will also be able to see the average time individuals spend reading your content and the average number of pages that are viewed as a result of the initial link click. You will also be able to see whether any conversions (for example downloads, newsletter subscriptions or sales) are generated as a result of the initial link click.

Google Analytics is a great tool and it’s FREE! The basics of Google Analytics are quite straight forward, however, setting up and navigating the platform requires time and practice. To get you up to speed with the Google Analytics platform, I will dedicate a number of posts to the platform in the future.

4. Know your audience

The key to delivering great content is to test using organic posts first. On average, Facebook caps the reach of organic posts to between 2–3% of your audience. So, if you have 1,000 followers, only 20 or 30 people on average will see your posts. HOWEVER, if your organic content gets a lot of engagement within the first 4–6 hours, you can be certain that the post will perform well if you sponsor it using the most relevant target audience.

Posting organic content from a Facebook business page gives you lots of cool insights. For example, you will be able to see who looked at your post (age and gender), where people are from, video stats and a whole lot more. To create great paid posts, all you have to do is duplicate the key demographics from your organic posts and use an ad budget amplify your content to a wider audience.

Testing really is the key to success. Before spending any money on paid advertising, try to establish what works organically. Record your performance using my free social media performance tracker and you will be on the road to success in no time.

** Remember, no matter your platform, organic performance will help inform your paid strategies… and it’s free!

Interact with relevant account

Knowing your audience is also about knowing who follows your business or brand. If your main social media platform is Instagram, it is important that you ONLY interact with accounts that are within your niche and match your business objectives (this may mean you have to unfriend your actual friends). Spend time liking, commenting and offering value on profiles that match your target audience. This will ensure you are in the right space and your content reaches the most relevant individuals.

And this brings us right back to the one-million-dollar question — Would you prefer…

Always think about this question before you follow an account or double tap an image or video on Instagram.

When posting content organically, it’s important to learn when to post. On Facebook and Instagram, the insights tabs can show you when your followers are online by day and time. This will help prevent your content getting lost in the news feed. If you are new to running business profiles, this post by coschedule offers a great overview on when to post for all of the major social media platforms.

5. Check out the competition

Watching what others in your niche do is a great way to develop your social media strategy. Instead of aimlessly creating content and hoping great things happen, spend time identifying business and brands that do what they do VERY WELL!

Note down the things that separate them from the rest (you know, the things that make them unique and make you want to come back time and time again). Is there anything that they do that you think you can do better?

The next step is to start testing your new found knowledge on your own brand. The only way to know if something works is to deliver consistently and track the results. Analysing your competition will help you stay focused and allow you to create the best possible content.

6. Have fun and deliver great content

Social media is a great tool for building businesses and personal brands. Instead of creating random content, only create content you are passionate about — it makes the process of creating a whole lot easier. If you share your knowledge, you will quickly notice others asking questions. Building authority within your niche is key to experiencing growth. Try not to imitate what others do. Test new ideas and have fun being you!

Here are my take-aways for today:

Over to you

Creating a social media strategy for your business or personal brand will help you inch closer to your business goals and objectives. Be patient, test new ideas and measure what works and what doesn’t. It’s really that simple! Interact and engage with the most relevant accounts and only deliver content with value. With time, you will build an audience unique to your niche.

If you have found this article useful, leave a comment below and share it with someone who would benefit from it.

Until next time, have fun and STOP BEING BUSY 😀

Originally published at alexmedia.info on October 31, 2018.

With over 6 years of agency and client-side experience, I work with brands to develop social media strategies that build awareness and increase sales.