10 Steps to a Successful Social Media Strategy
‘Focus on the core problem your business solves and put out lots of content, enthusiasm and ideas about how to solve that problem’ Laura Fitton.
Strategy and planning are essential to successful social media marketing, and taking the time to develop these will ensure you have a recipe for success.
It is tempting to ignore the foundations and simply dive in, and this probably will work for a while. But the chances are you will probably come unstuck at some point, run out of ideas and start worrying about whether everything (or anything is actually working).
I have put together ten steps to help you get strategic about your social media and use it to successfully market your business and attract more of those clients you love and want to work with – it’s the formula I use with my clients.
1. Set your goals
We all have goals within our business and things we want and need to achieve, which need to be reflected and supported by our marketing efforts. Your social media activity should reflect those goals and help you to achieve them.
It is important to note that your social media in isolation is unlikely to generate overnight sales (particularly if you have a high ticket offer). But it will ensure you have the foundations in place to achieve those goals.
Some popular social media goals for professional services businesses include:
- Brand Awareness: Building awareness of you and the services you provide.
- Increased Engagement: Encouraging the followers you have to engage with you and share your content.
- Increased website traffic: Encouraging your audience to visit your website to learn more about you and your products and services.
- Driving sign-ups: Encouraging people to sign up for a freebie or value-adding product in exchange for their email address or some other essential pieces of information (list building starts here!)
2. Research your audience and develop client personas
If you are selling a service, those clients you love and want to work with (your ideal client) are buying into you and the problems you solve for them rather than a specific product.
They want to know what the outcome will be; they also need to ‘know, like and trust you.’ before they make a purchase decision. In order to know what to say about your business, you need to get specific and consider the following:
- What do my clients value?
- What do they worry about?
- What are the questions they ask me?
- What do they need to know?
Answering these questions will make the next steps a lot easier.
The best way to find this information is to ask your clients or potential clients what they need and want to see from you. Some of the ways you can do this are by conducting customer surveys, interviewing potential customers, gathering customer feedback and researching other businesses online.
You can read more about researching your ideal client in my previous blog post here.
3 Pick your platforms
Deciding which platforms to use on Social Media can in itself feel a little overwhelming. Often we default to the platforms we like or assume that everyone is using Facebook?! But it is essential to consider how and why your customers are using a particular social media platform so you know what to focus on.
I have provided a quick overview of each platform below, which will hopefully help you to decide.
I would recommend focusing on two platforms and making the most of the features available and the time you spend on social media. This will serve you far better than trying to spread yourself too thinly by trying to utilise all the tools at your disposal.
3a Which platforms should I choose?
Facebook: Is the world’s largest social media platform with 2.6 billion monthly users. Facebook is brilliant for reaching consumer focussed and local businesses. It is easy to run events, book appointments, sell products and share longer-form videos.
Facebook prioritise posts from friends, family and groups in our newsfeed. And with more than 80 million business pages, it can be hard to cut through the noise. It is also difficult to grow without spending money on paid advertising.
Instagram: It seems these days that everybody is a little obsessed with Instagram, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it is the right place for you to market your business.
The positives of using Instagram is that it is a brilliant space to connect and discover new people and businesses and has some fantastic features for those of you who want to develop a more collaborative approach.
However, you will need to consider whether you will be able to produce enough visual content to create an impact on the platform.
Linkedin: If you are targeting a business audience or want to interact with business leaders and decision-makers, then Linkedin should be high on your list. Traditionally a place for job hunting and recruiters, it has evolved to be the number one platform for B2B content marketing.
It also has some brilliant features to support your marketing and business growth, including an excellent search function, article sharing, live events and the option to see demographic information about your business page followers.
Business pages currently have limited functionality, so unless you have a team of people to share the content of your page, you will need to focus on building your personal profile and reputation.
Twitter: If you are looking to tap into a business audience (particularly a male one) or one in the tech, education or entertainment space, it is seriously worth considering integrating Twitter into your marketing mix.
It is very different from the other platforms as the focus is almost exclusively on trending topics and real conversation, which can be time-consuming.
Twitter has recently made a move into the audio space with the rollout of Twitter spaces. They have also recently launched Revu, their very own newsletter tool to enable users to subscribe to and share longer-form content on the platform (great for list building).
4. Defining your message
Now you have a good idea of where your clients are hanging out and what they want to hear from you, you will need to define your message and identify your point of difference and the key messages you want your content to deliver.
When defining your message, you will need to think about:
- What the key things are that you wish to promote at that time?
- What content will support and validate those messages?
- What will your call to action be?
You need to provide a good mix of content that adds value but also tell people what they can buy from you and how your services solve their problems.
I recommend coming up with 5-7 content pillars (overarching themes) that you can break down to show what you do and how you do it. Some of my clients find it easier to have a daily theme in mind.
An example of this might be a coach who uses Monday to provide a motivational tip, Tuesday to focus on an area of self-improvement or how to, Wednesday to promote her services and Thursday to go behind the scenes etc.
But, don’t forget to tell people how to take the action you want them to take. I know a lot of us feel a little scared of selling on social media, so try and reframe this by focussing on how you help your clients and the solutions you provide – this will help you feel more confident and lose the ICK factor.
5. Creating an outstanding page/ Bio
Your social media page or bio (depending on the platform you are using) is a little like your shop front and will be the place people go to discover more about you. So make sure you:
- Regularly update the images and headers.
- Use a solid call to action which tells people not just what you do but the problem you solve for them and with them.
- Utilise all of the most up to date features so you can share as much information as possible.
6. Brainstorming and developing content
All of the work in stages 1-4 will have given you plenty of food for thought, and by now, I hope you are brimming with ideas to improve your social media. It’s at this stage you need to start creating content that you can share with your audience.
Personally, I am a big fan of repurposing content, so if you have existing social media content that has performed well, content on your website, in your workshops and/ or in your newsletter that has worked well. Then, by all means, break this down and reuse it.
You will need to make sure that your content is in line with your overall branding, is well written and is the appropriate size and length for platforms you choose to use.
There are literally 1000’s of tools for creating content out there, but for now, I would keep it simple and try the following:
- Canva: A great all-around design tool for small businesses. You can upload your fonts and brand colours, create templates, resize those images, create short videos and even record audio clips.
- Grammarly: A brilliant tool for making sure your content makes sense and is grammatically correct.
- Otter.ai: If you prefer to transcribe what you want to write, then this is a brilliant tool. You can use it to transcribe video’s, lessons and even as your very own dictaphone.
- Your phone: Our SMART phones now boost exceptional capabilities for taking photos and making and editing videos. So do make sure you know which features will work best for you.
- Platform features: Take the time to familiarise yourself with in-app features that can support your content creation and development.
I would advise in investing in some professional photos and some design templates. These will make you feel better but also give you a professional edge and save you valuable time.
7. keywords and hashtags
Incorporating these into your social media posts, headers and bios will help you to get discovered. But what are they, and why are they important.
The words and phrases your customer would search for online when looking to find information about the services you provide. By incorporating these into your content, you are more likely to be seen by your target audience. So be mindful that you need to weave these into your copy but make sure you don’t sound like a robot.
Hashtags are simply a keyword with a # symbol in front of them. However, they are one of the key ways people (and the algorithms). They are super important as they help the algorithms to understand and categorise your content.
It can be tempting to use hashtags that have been used a large number of times, but hashtags that suit your content and your niche are much more likely to deliver your content to the right audience.
8. Engagement and building relationships
Social media is all about relationships and collaborations. People are primarily using it to interact with people and tell their stories. Being part of those conversations is vital for meaningful growth on social media. And interacting with others will get you seen by a wider audience and help you develop relationships that you can leverage on and offline.
- Who is influential to your audience, and how you can interact with them.
- Who and how will you interact with them.
- What call to action and shareable content are you going to create.
- Sharing other peoples content that your audience is interested in.
A lot of us lurk on social media – if the thought of you putting yourself out there feels a little scary. Then reframe it and think about how you would act if you were in a room with real people. What would you say to them if they shared something you found helpful or if they asked you a question?
9. Measure your success
To stay on track, it is super important to regularly measure, reflect and refine your approach – particularly if you are just starting out.
This will enable you to understand what is working for you and where your focus should lie. All social media platforms have free to view analytics which you can use to track your progress and understand what works best for you.
There are 100’s of insights you and monitor, and the ones you need to focus on will depend on the goals you have in mind. But for now, here is a list of the key ones you should pay attention to.
Reach: The number of individuals who have seen your posts.
Impressions: The number of times your post was seen.
Interactions: Likes, shares, comments and saves.
Profile/ Page views: The number of people who viewed your profile and page.
Click-throughs: The number of people who clicked through to view more about your content.
10. Set your boundaries
The pre-work is essential, and it will set you up for success. But will save you time in the long run and enable you to focus on serving more clients without worrying about your social media.
It can be easy to get sucked in, though (social media is built like that) so make sure you set aside time in your week to do what you need to do. You can also turn off notifications and set up automated messages, so you don’t need to worry about instantly replying.
I hope you found this useful? If you would like to build a winning social media strategy yourself and have the tools support and guidance available to do this then do check out Unlock your Social Media Confidence: A 4 module course designed to teach you how to succeed on social media.