Ten steps to crafting a social media strategy

Do I need to tell you that social media is important? Probably not. 

But I’m going to tell you anyway: in today’s digital age, social media has become an indispensable tool for businesses looking to grow their online presence, connect with their target audience, and boost their bottom line. 

I’m often asked: can I have a successful business without a social media presence?

And the answer is: It depends. But probably not. I actually get very few leads where my social media is the first touchpoint in my customer journey. Most of my new enquiries come through my website and word-of-mouth recommendations. But even if you’re not deciding to work with me solely based on my social presence, you’re still going to go and check me out on the ‘gram. So, it still counts and impacts the decision-making process because it lets you know that I’m a real person, gives you an insight into my vibe, and gives you a taste of my values. 

And now my second question that is also (probably/hopefully) rhetorical is: do you give your audience a little taste of you and your business by slapping up any old thing and calling it a day? 

No. No, you do not. You need a strategy, a plan, a map for reaching your ideal audience and how to get to them. 

It’s not enough to pop a few posts on Facebook each month; you need a well-defined strategy. 

But don’t worry, babe, I’m here to hold your hand. I will walk you through the ten steps to create an effective social media marketing strategy without feeling overwhelmed.

1. Define your goals

Why are you doing any of this? Why does it matter? What do you want from it?

Defining your social media goals is foundational to creating an effective marketing strategy. Goals provide direction and purpose for your social media efforts, helping you align your digital presence with your business objectives. They should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) to ensure clarity and focus.

How to get started:

  • Begin by identifying what you want to achieve with your social media strategy. Is it increased brand awareness, website traffic, lead generation, or sales?
  • Make your goals specific and measurable. For example, aim to increase website traffic by 20% within the next six months.
  • Ensure your goals align with your broader business objectives so your social media efforts have a clear purpose.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What specific goals do I want to achieve through my social media strategy?
  • How can I measure the success of my social media efforts?
  • Are my social media goals aligned with my overall business objectives?
  • What is the timeline for achieving these goals, and are they realistic?
  • How will achieving these goals impact my business?

2. Know your audience

Who is this all for? Who do you want to speak to? Whose attention are you trying to capture? If you were a cute peacock, who would you want to be looking at your fun feathers?

Understanding your target audience is fundamental to creating a successful social media strategy. Your audience is the individuals or groups most likely to engage with your brand. Detailed audience research and the creation of buyer personas help you tailor your content and messaging to their needs, behaviours, and preferences.

I talk to many people who are scared to define their audience and worry that they’ll be speaking to hardly anyone, but sorry to say, when you’re speaking to everyone, you’re talking to no one. 

How to get started:

  • Conduct thorough audience research. Use social media insights to gather demographic data.
  • Create detailed buyer personas by compiling information about your ideal customers’ needs, preferences, and behaviours.
  • Tailor your content, messaging, and tone to resonate with your audience’s interests, pleasure & pain points.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Who is my target audience, and what do I know about their demographics?
  • What are the pain & pleasure points and needs of my audience?
  • How do my ideal customers behave on social media platforms?
  • What kind of content will resonate most with my audience’s interests?
  • What value can I provide to my audience through my social media content?

3. Choose the right platforms

Selecting the right social media platforms is pivotal in crafting your social media marketing strategy. Not all platforms are created equal, and each offers unique features and demographics. Choosing the platforms where your target audience is most active ensures your efforts are efficient and effective.

If you’re B2B and trying to capture the hearts of working professionals, it’s unlikely Pinterest is a good use of your efforts and time (sorry). 

How to get started:

  • Research and identify the social media platforms where your target audience is most active.
  • Understand the strengths and demographics of each platform (e.g., Facebook for a broad audience, Instagram for visual content, LinkedIn for professional networking).
  • Focus your efforts on the platforms that best align with your audience and business.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • On which social media platforms is my target audience most active?
  • What are each platform’s unique features and strengths, and how do they align with my brand?
  • Do I have the resources and content types necessary for each platform?
  • How can I tailor my content to fit the format and expectations of each platform?
  • What are the key performance metrics to track on each platform?

4. Content creation

If we continue with the peacock analogy, this is how you wave your feathery butt to get their attention. 

Your content is the heartbeat of your social media strategy. It encompasses the various materials you share with your audience, from blog posts and videos to images and infographics. Effective content creation involves providing value to your audience and keeping them engaged with relevant, informative, or entertaining material.

Remember, this is a journey and at different stages, your audience will want different things, this is why I recommend coming up with 3-5 content pillars that appeal to your audience. Content pillars are just a way to theme or group the different kinds of content. 

How to get started:

  • Decide on 3-5 content themes that will appeal to your audience; these are your content pillars.
  • Develop a content calendar that outlines what type of content you’ll create and when you’ll publish it.
  • Create educational, entertaining, or informative content that provides value to your audience.
  • Maintain a consistent posting schedule to keep your audience engaged and build anticipation.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What type of content will resonate with my target audience and align with my goals?
  • How often should I post on social media, and when are the best times to reach my audience?
  • What topics or themes should my content calendar cover?
  • How can I maintain a balance between promotional and value-driven content?
  • How will I ensure my content is visually appealing and consistent with my brand’s identity?

5. Engagement and interaction

Maybe it’s just me, but how annoying is it when you ask someone how they are, and they don’t ask back? 

Er, hun, you just killed the conversation, and now I think you’re rude. 

Engagement and interaction on social media are more than just numbers; they’re about building meaningful connections with your audience. This section of your strategy focuses on actively participating in conversations, responding to comments, and fostering a sense of community around your brand. Don’t kill the conversation by being self-involved; ask your audience how they’re doing. 

How to get started:

  • Actively respond to comments, messages, and reviews to foster two-way communication.
  • Encourage discussions by asking questions, running polls, or seeking feedback from your audience.
  • Showcase the human side of your brand by sharing behind-the-scenes content and stories.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • How promptly do I respond to my social media channels’ comments, messages, and reviews?
  • What strategies can I use to initiate and sustain conversations with my audience?
  • How can I encourage user-generated content and customer feedback?
  • What personal and authentic aspects of my brand can I highlight in my social media content?
  • How will I constructively handle negative feedback or criticism?

6. Monitor and Analyse

How do you know if what you’re doing is effective? Data. 

And you know, actually looking at that data.

Monitoring and analysing the performance of your social media efforts are critical for measuring your strategy’s effectiveness. This process involves using various analytics tools to gather data and insights, enabling data-driven decision-making and continuous improvement.

How to get started:

  • Utilise social media analytics tools (e.g., Facebook Insights, Google Analytics, or third-party tools) to track your performance.
  • Regularly review key metrics, such as engagement, click-through, and conversions.
  • Use the data to identify which content and strategies work and make informed adjustments.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Which social media analytics tools am I using to track my performance?
  • What critical performance metrics should I focus on, and how often should I review them?
  • How do my social media metrics align with my goals, and where do I see room for improvement?
  • What patterns or trends can I identify from my performance data, and how can I use this information to refine my strategy?
  • How can I compare my performance against industry benchmarks to gain a competitive edge?

7. Paid ad campaigns

Building an audience organically can take time, energy, and creativity. Paid ads can be a great way to reach more of your audience quicker.

Understanding how to effectively plan, create, and manage these campaigns is crucial for optimising your reach and return on investment.

Please don’t randomly boost your social posts. Every time you do, a social media manager loses a little bit of their soul.  

How to get started:

  • Create targeted ad campaigns by defining your audience’s demographics, interests, and behaviours.
  • Set a budget and goals for each campaign, whether it’s to drive website clicks or generate leads.
  • Optimise your ad campaigns based on the performance data to maximise your ROI.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • How well-defined are my target audience segments for my ad campaigns?
  • What budget constraints should I consider, and how will I allocate my budget across campaigns?
  • What goals do I have for my ad campaigns, and how will I measure success?
  • How often should I review the performance of my ad campaigns, and what key metrics should I focus on?
  • What adjustments can I make to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of my ad campaigns over time?

8. Influencer marketing

There’s a bit of noise around influencer marketing at the moment and how increasingly brands are refusing to work with influencers. 

However, these things flare up and down, and I don’t think influencers are going anywhere. You just have to be critical and use your common sense. Work with influencers who are genuinely interested in your product or service, and collaborating with them can authentically promote your business. 

How to get started:

  • Identify influencers who resonate with your brand’s values and have an engaged audience.
  • Reach out and establish partnerships with influencers, outlining expectations and goals.
  • Collaborate with influencers to create authentic, engaging content showcasing your products or services.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What criteria am I using to select influencers that align with my brand’s values and target audience?
  • How will I approach influencers and initiate partnerships or collaborations?
  • What are my expectations from influencer marketing, and how will I communicate these to influencers?
  • How can I ensure that influencer content remains authentic and fits seamlessly into my brand’s narrative?
  • How will I measure the impact of influencer marketing on my brand’s reach, engagement, and sales?

9. Stay current with trends

I’m not expecting you to become a marketing expert, and I don’t want you to get info overwhelm and get stuck. But, finding a way to stay informed so you can stay relevant and informed on social media is good for your marketing efforts. 

How to get started:

  • Stay informed by following industry blogs, attending webinars, and participating in relevant online communities.
  • Experiment with emerging social media features and approach them with curiosity and playfulness rather than overwhelm.
  • Regularly update your strategy to incorporate new trends and technologies that align with your goals.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What sources do I use to stay updated on the latest trends and innovations in social media marketing?
  • How open am I to experimenting with new features or platforms, and how will I assess their impact?
  • How can I evaluate which emerging trends are relevant and valuable for my business?
  • What resources and training might I need to implement new strategies or technologies effectively?
  • How do I balance innovation with the need for consistency and brand identity?

10. Review and refine your strategy

Nothing lasts forever, baby. 

And the same is true of your social strategy – and your marketing strategy in general. People change, platforms change, you change. 

Make sure you have a process or a check-in to review and refine your social media strategy regularly; that way, it ensures your efforts remain effective and aligned with your objectives. 

How to get started:

  • Schedule regular strategy review meetings to assess your social media performance.
  • Make data-driven adjustments to your strategy to adapt to changing audience preferences and business needs.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • How frequently should I schedule strategy review meetings, and who should be involved?
  • What key performance indicators will I focus on during these reviews, and how will I measure progress?
  • How can I make data-driven adjustments to my strategy, and how will I prioritise changes?
  • How will I ensure my strategy remains agile and responsive to evolving market dynamics and audience behaviour?

Ta-da, ten steps to a social media strategy! I know, it’s not quite the magic potion or hack that I wish it were either. But I promise doing things properly will help you to show up so much more effectively than just throwing a post up on the ‘gram and hoping for the best. 

Hi, I’m Saloni, a Marketing Consultant and Small Business Coach, with over 15 years of marketing experience, I’m here to help you simplify the marketing overwhelm. Want more insights and top tips for your marketing? Sign up to my newsletter.

Published by Saloni Chamberlain

Turning words into stories with feeling.

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