I went to a networking event the other day and met a great deal of business owners who expressed an interest in online marketing. After introducing myself as Social Media Manager at GRM, I asked the million dollar question—what they’re doing to market themselves online.

I was shocked to learn that many of the businesses didn’t have an active presence on social media. In many instances, they had only created their accounts; sporadically updated their pages or discontinued their efforts all together. I was so surprised because all of my new connections seemed to understand the importance of having a significant presence online, but one issue remained consistent among many of them: they didn’t know where to start with social media marketingSocial Media Strategy

When it comes to using social media to market your business, it’s important to keep in mind that every post should have a purpose. To determine what that purpose is, a social media strategy should be created and implemented for success.

If you’re unsure of where to start with social media… be sure to begin with a strategy! Follow our step-by-step guide for creating a social strategy that will put you on the right track:

  1. Determine your ideal follower — You know your target audience(s). When it comes to social media, your target audience members are your model followers and engagers. Sure, you may be happy with 10,000 likes on Facebook, but does it matter if they aren’t your prospects or customers? Make a list of every buyer persona for your business and base your strategy on reaching them.
  2. Pinpoint where they’re active — Chances are that your prospects are scattered between every single social platform out there, but it’s important to be realistic about the social platforms that they use most often. Do some demographic research on where they’re active and then build your social strategy on a program for those particular platforms.
  3. Set your goals — What do you want your business to get out of social media? Are you pushing a three-month long campaign? Do you want to increase brand awareness about a new product or increase sign-ups for your nonprofit’s e-newsletter? While there isn’t a limit on how many goals you could set, keep in mind that the more you want to accomplish, the more time you’ll have to spend reaching that goal.
  4. Put a benchmarking system in place — How will you measure your social media program progress?  I recommend setting up quarterly goals to gauge your efforts and to see what’s working and what’s not. Then, you can tweak your strategy based on success.
  5. Set an overview of your tactical plan— Make a realistic estimation of how much effort you’ll be able to dedicate to your social media.  No matter how frequent or scarce your active time on social media is, be sure to keep your efforts consistent. It’s not ALL about posting, either… you must consider time for making new connections and engaging with your audience.
  6. Create a detailed list of content topics — While you’ll share content on the whim, it’s helpful to take time in the beginning to think long and hard about what types of content you’d like to share on social media during your program, whether it be coupons, resources, videos, tips, and the list goes on. You’ll want to include a mix of different content, but be sure that every type of content stays relevant and helpful to your target audience.
  7. Create a list of resources — Now that you have an idea of the types of content are best to engage your audience, make a list of resources of where you’ll potentially find this helpful information. Yes—you’ll want to share content from both your website and reputable resources to position yourself as an industry expert and present valuable information to your followers.
  8. Keep the “80/20” rule in mind before creating your content schedule — Only 20% of your content should be specifically about your brand. Your followers are using social media to be social, not to be subjected to your sales pitch. This is why it’s important to compile a list of potential web resources of where you’ll find valuable content to share with your followers. Then, when creating your social content schedule, you can quickly access these resources to pull useful content from.

Once your strategy is all set, it’s time to put it in action! Just remember, when running a social media program, every post should have a purpose. Having a social media plan in place will best help you meet your goals and measure your performance.

For more help with starting your social media program, download our FREE Supercharge Your Social Media checklist by clicking the button below. This checklist helps you determine which of the “big three” social media platforms your business should be utilizing to best generate leads, website traffic and sales.