What is a social media strategy?

Strategy is a word which is thrown around a lot but what does it mean, especially in the context of social media.

Social Media Strategy is a combination of two factors:

  1. Understanding the functionality and how to use various social channels
  2. Knowing how to effectively use these channels to reach business objectives

Learning about social media channels and how to use them comes with time. There are plenty of free guides and tools available online which can teach any interested user in how to set up and use each social channel. Devotion of time and practice are essential to attain the goal of mastery for every social channel, however functionality is an evolving field, with new features being tested and released all the time changing the capabilities of the channel. However what does not change is the primary way in which people use these channels and that forms the basis of strategy.

Before you get started, it is important to keep in mind that your strategy is to fulfill a certain objective. So any action you do on social media would be towards fulfilling this. Therefore define the objective and the KPI’s that will be used to measure its success.

E.g. Build brand awareness by achieving 20% growth in social media followers by December 2017.

In this example, the business objective is ‘brand awareness’, social media is a tool to achieve this by increasing follower growth.

Firstly rather than jumping on social media because every one does so, it is important to find out which channels your customers use. You go to where your customers are, not the other way around. This is determined by age, gender, interests and country of your customers. Some channels are more popular in certain countries than others and have more of a bias towards certain genders and age groups than others.

Secondly, and I cannot stress this enough, is the importance of well planned content. Once you have your channels and they are all set up, the next step is knowing what to post. For some channels more than others, Facebook & Instagram, it is very important to be active and post on a regular basis, which can by anywhere from multiple times a day to a minimum of 2-3 a week. There is no magic number, but you would need to monitor engagement levels of posts to determine if multiple postings maybe doing more harm than good, after all no one wants spam, but having frequent content is also important as it not only increases brand visibility but gives your fans an opportunity to stay up to date and engage. This being said, it is not a good idea to post for the sake of posting. If content quality is poor then fans will automatically stay away. Good quality content is integral for engagement, and good engagement determines whether future posts will be shown on followers timelines and the frequency of which is will be displayed. Therefore it is always a good idea to have a content plan. Content ideas can be obtained from multiple sources:

  1. Your website – website analytics can reveal a lot of information about who your audience is and what kind of content they like. This can be gained by reviewing which pages are most visited, and the length of time spent on them.
  2. Your competitors – Follow your competitors and see what they post. Track how well audience engage with their posts which will give you an idea of what kind of content and style to tailor your content towards
  3. Trial – Lastly it is always a combination of trial and error. People change so your content will have to change adapting to their changing interests. Also you will not be able to please everyone all the time. Try targeting your content where possible, if you can’t then monitor how people respond to the content you post, which content they like and who likes it. This will give you an idea on how to tailor future content calendars.

Other content tactics which can be used include: using influencers, UGC, competitions, paid advertising, page boosts etc. All these are smaller tactics within your larger social strategy.

Thirdly, and lastly it is important to keep in mind that your strategy is constantly involving. Therefore you will have to make changes as you get to know your customers better, discover new customers or as overall business climate and objectives change. Being responsive is the key to any good strategy.