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A year and a half ago, when I decided to get serious about my wellness blog, I quickly jumped into social media. It had always been something I loved, so it only made sense that I would want to use social media to grow my traffic and community.
There was only one problem – I did not have a social media strategy.
Instead, I just dove head first into ALL the platforms (okay, maybe not all – but several of them). I felt like in order to reach my potential readers, I needed to be fully present on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google Plus.
Over the next several months, I often drove myself crazy by trying to plan out all of my content for these platforms. I spent hours scheduling out my posts, coming up with new ideas, and creating the perfect caption for photos.
And during the really busy times when I completely forgot or didn’t have time to post, I would stress about the fact that I wasn’t putting out any content onto social media.
Often, even when I was posting consistently, I couldn’t necessarily tell whether it was “working”. I wasn’t sure whether my time on social media was actually productive or not.You don't have to do All The Things on social media. You just need a strategy. Here's how.Click To Tweet
Have you been there?
Feeling like you need to be everywhere? Or feeling like perhaps social media is just a big time suck, and there’s not much point?
What I was missing – and what you might be, too – was a well thought-out plan for social media in my business. Instead, I was just randomly throwing things against the wall, hoping one of them would stick. In this post, I want to share about what a social media strategy is, why you need one, and how to actually create one.
WHAT IS A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY?
A social media strategy is a game plan for using the social media platforms to help you achieve a specific goal in your business. According to dictionary.com, a strategy is “a plan, method, or series of maneuvers or stratagems for obtaining a specific goal or result”.
Social media strategy is–or should be–an essential part of your overall business plan.
It’s a piece of a larger puzzle which will help you reach your business goals.
Picture your business like going on a road trip. You’re on a journey heading to a certain destination – your goal. In order to get there, you need a map or a GPS – that’s your business plan.
In order to reach you destination, you also need a car–that’s your website. It’s the thing that is going to move you forward and help you get to where you are going. When people search for you, they will find you, because you’re in a specific location on the web.
But, your car also needs lights. In this example, your lights represent social media. Lights help other people to see you and be aware of your presence. Even if they weren’t searching for you, the lights on your car help someone else to notice you.Social media strategy is–or should be–an essential part of your overall business plan.Click To Tweet
That’s what social media is about. It is one way of letting other people see you, notice your business, and decide if they want to do business with you. Your social media strategy will help you to know exactly when, where, and how to shine online.
WHY DO I NEED A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY?
- It helps you to save time. It’s not enough to simply use social media, as I mentioned earlier. It’s much more efficient and effective to have a strategy in place. Having a strategy will allow you to be intentional about the time you spend online.
- Your social media strategy will help you evaluate whether efforts are successful or not. When you develop your strategy, you’ll be deciding what your primary goals are for using social media. Once you are aware of your goals, it is much easier to determine whether the things you are doing are working.
- You need to build relationships with current and potential customers. Guess what? Your current and potential customers–the majority of them–are on social media. Having a strategic plan for using particular platforms will help you to build relationships with those customers. Without a plan, you might spend a lot of time that is not focused or intentional, and you may miss opportunities to connect with your potential customers.
- It increases your visibility online. If you don’t have social media, or if you are not using it strategically, it’s likely that potential customers are choosing someone else who does.
HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY
Now that you know why you need a social media strategy, I want to share with you some tips on how to develop it. This is a general approach which can apply across various types of businesses.
1. Know who your target market is and where they hang out.
Do a bit of research into the type of person you are trying to reach. Are they stay-at-home moms or busy professionals? Are they artists and photographers or do they deal with finances and numbers all day?
Once you know these things, you can determine which social media channels to focus on.
Bonus Tip: Listen to this Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast episode.
Amy Porterfield and Jasmine Star on to discuss how to identify and describe your ideal customer or reader, and it is an excellent episode!
2. Where do YOU like to hang out?
Sure, maybe your target market is on Twitter. But if you HATE Twitter, it does not make sense to focus on that. Do you love Instagram? Then you can probably reach your target market there if you do the right things to attract them. Part of your decision about where to spend your time should be based on what you prefer.
3. Don’t try to be everywhere.
Yes, set up an account for all the major profiles so that you own the handle. And you can at least have a profile photo and a few posts on each platform. But choose 1 or 2 to focus on for a certain amount of time, until you master those. Then expand as you gain experience.
4. Determine your objective.
What is the purpose of your time on social media?
- Building relationships?
- Attracting clients?
- Growing your email list?
Knowing WHY you are doing something will help you stay focused even when things are more challenging than you expect.
Bonus Tip: Get specific with your objectives.
If your goal is to grow your Facebook page likes, determine the number you want to grow by. If it’s to increase traffic to your blog, determine the percentage you want to see increase.
The more specific you are, the easier it will be to evaluate your results.
5. Focus on what will give you the best return on investment.
If you are focusing on Instagram and spending lots of time there, but you are not reaching your objectives, then it may be time to look at another platform. Again, this entirely depends on WHAT those objectives are, as it may have nothing to do with number of followers.
6. Decide what you’re going to share on social media.
What types of content do you want to share? Part of this decision will be determined by which platform you are planning to focus on.
For example, if you are focusing on Instagram, you are not going to be sharing links to other people’s blog posts. Instead, you’ll be sharing photos or visually appealing graphics that your ideal client would enjoy, along with meaningful captions.
After you’ve considered the platform, next you want to consider your ideal client. That’s why we started in step one with determining your target market.
You’ve got to know (or figure out) what types of things they like to read or see. Some audiences may want more entertaining content while others may want emotional stories, and others may lean towards more formal, business-like articles.
Okay, so once you’ve got a good idea of the types of content your audience might like, now you want to break it down into categories. I suggest having 3-5 main categories for the types of content you plan to share.
For example, for my WellnessMomLife blog, I share: articles from others (usually other mom-related blogs); my own blog posts; quotes; inspiration; and self-promotion (meaning something that promotes one of my products, email opt-ins, or my private group).
For you, the categories may be totally different. Take some time to sit down and brainstorm what the categories should be for YOUR business or blog, and write them down! It will help you in the following steps.
7. Decide WHEN you’re going to share this content.
Now that you know what type of content you want to share, and you have your categories determined, you need to decide on a schedule. This can often be overwhelming, and I understand that.
Bonus Tip: Start with less frequency, then work your way up to more frequency once you’ve established your routine.
Let’s say you decide that Instagram is your primary platform. While it might be great to post once a day or even twice a day, you may want to start with the goal of 3x a week, and then gradually increase to once a day. You’ll be much less stressed if you start small and work your way up than doing the opposite.
8. Use a great scheduler.
There are wonderful options for scheduling your social media, and many of them are free. You can sit down and schedule out multiple posts at once rather than trying to post live constantly. You will save SO MUCH time if you do this.
For example, Facebook has a built-in scheduler. If you set aside one hour per week to do your scheduling, you will free up time for other valuable business activities the rest of the week, rather than trying to remember to post every day.
My personal favorites are BoardBooster for Pinterest, Later for Instagram, and SmarterQueue for all other platforms.
9. Enjoy more time freedom to focus on what you really love.
Once you’ve walked through the steps above, you won’t be spending time stressing about making sure you posted on Facebook or sent that tweet. This means you can focus on the parts of your business that you truly enjoy, while still utilizing social media to connect with your audience.