Social media. Everyone uses it, but not everyone does so effectively. Companies with a robust social media strategy are often more successful.
Great social media marketing accounts for the needs of both the consumer and the business. You can achieve this through careful research and a detailed social media strategy template.
Why do you need a social media strategy?
Social media marketing is a proven and effective tool. Specifically, companies rely on social media for spreading brand awareness and improving engagement with their customers.
A social media strategy outlines your objectives, publication plans, and methods of measuring success. It describes who you are targeting and why, where you will reach them, and what tone to use when interacting with them.
What should a social media plan include?
Your strategy should feature the following elements:
Goals. What does your business wish to achieve with social media? Typically, this is increased awareness and engagement. Digging a little deeper, will you use these platforms to build a new community or increase conversions from existing consumers?
Personas. Who is your intended audience on social media? It’s possible to have multiple personas, which will prove useful in future dedicated campaigns.
Platforms. Every channel is different, and your social media strategy should be curated to the strengths of each one. Consumers often expect certain things on certain channels.
Content curation. What will you share, and when? This is where your content and social media marketing strategies should overlap.
Keep in mind that your social media plan also needs to be flexible. Global trends, unforeseen events, and other factors can influence users. Your social media strategy should take this into consideration.
Here are other steps to take when crafting your plan.
You can’t rely on assumptions—you need hard facts and information on your audience. Your existing channels can indicate where users are most active. Facebook, for example, is often popular with people ages 18 to 64.
You should also look at platforms where you don’t have a presence yet. While you won’t have first-hand information, there is already a wealth of data online. Be prepared to adapt, but use it as a starting point.
Make sure to do this research first, as it will inform your social media strategy template.
Account for customer support
It’s also important to create guidelines for providing customer support on social media. Consumers with bad experiences may use social media channels to publicly express negative opinions about your company.
Research shows that responding to complaints on social media is effective in building trust and fostering brand advocacy. But brands must respond quickly and appropriately. So, ensure your strategy describes how your support team should handle customer comments (both positive and negative) on social platforms.
Work with other teams
Your social media team must collaborate with other departments—like sales and content marketing—and work towards the same business goals. Employees on other teams may also have important insights to share that can benefit your strategy.
Creating a social media strategy template
The best way to display your social media plan is through a template. This will outline the main goals and the tactics you’ll use to achieve them. In most cases, you will want a social media plan template for every platform. Regardless of how many you need, here are the five key areas to include in your templates.
Why does your company use social media? How do you want to be perceived? These goals should align with your larger marketing objectives—whether that’s growing your brand, increasing sales, or improving retention.
Describe your audience. Where are they based? What are their interests? Which channels do they regularly use? You should understand what they’re looking for and what problems they’re looking to solve, too. Your strategy should deliver what they respond to best.
What are you going to share with your social media followers? This is where you can include a tentative content calendar in your social media template. Define how frequently you will post content and the types of content you’ll promote. If your audience is region-specific, you should also know the optimal times to share content. If you have a content marketing strategy as well, make sure it’s in sync with your social media plan.
If you work for a large organisation, it’s a good idea to communicate your strategy to others and determine who is responsible for what. When customers complain or big news is announced, you’ll need a plan of action and support from other team members.
Who is ensuring certain tasks are completed? How do you guarantee quick actions are always taken? Define it here. You may include specific people in particular departments if it’s beneficial.
Finally, how will you measure success? For every platform, you should reiterate your objectives—whether that’s gaining more followers, improving engagement, or increasing direct conversions—and describe what metrics you’ll use to gauge progress towards those goals.
Choose performance indicators that are appropriate for each social media channel. LinkedIn and Instagram are very different. Your research should indicate how customers use certain platforms and what they expect on those platforms.
The largest of all companies may even choose separate performance indicators for individual regions. In those cases, there should be a separate social media strategy template as well to reflect those regional differences.