+6420 4141 2782 angela@vegadesign.co.nz

When I first started managing socials for clients, I knew it was important to have a solid social media strategy in place but, being new to the game and all, I wasn’t 100% clear on what that strategy should look like. If you know me even just a little bit you will know that I LOVE researching, so that’s exactly what I did. I dived straight into the endless wormhole of marketing advice that lives on the internet.

There is a lot of stuff out there on this topic, but I didn’t really feel like it was what I needed. And by what I needed I mean, tell me exactly how to do it and what it’s going to look like once it’s done (maybe even do it for me?). I was disappointed to find I would have to put in the actual hard yards.

So I did. I trawled the internet for the most practical, implementable information about social media strategies and I put it all together into what made the most sense to me. I have since been able to apply, test, adjust and repeat the strategy outline, fine-tuning as I go.

In the hope that this might help someone who was where I was, here is the formula broken down into 7 steps:

1. Establish Social Media Goals

Having clearly defined, measurable objectives will enable you to focus social media activity effectively across channels. Start by writing down at least three social media goals that relate to or support your business objectives.

Focus on the S.M.A.R.T. strategy for goal setting to ensure your objectives are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time based. Then, see if you can break down each social media goal into actionable steps. Finally, assign each social media goal some metrics and timeframes to measure success by.

Social media strategy step 1 - establish your goals

2. Audit your current digital footprint

The internet is a large place – where is your business currently and how are they doing? Do a digital audit and track down all of your existing accounts. Have a look at the activity on them and take note of the good, the bad and the ugly. Google your business and click on all the links. Make sure you check out your Google Analytics at this stage too. Having a bird’s eye view will make it easy to identify quick wins such as:

  1. Are your accounts consistent visually? Your business should be easily recognisable. Ideally your profile pictures and cover images are the same across all accounts (Make sure they are all in the right dimensions for the platform too).
  2. Are there some channels you are not getting any engagement or traffic from? This could be because your audience simply isn’t there – it’s usually better to drop the non performing channels and focus your energies where you are getting results that align with your goals.
  3. Make note of your best and worst performing content and keep this in your back pocket for when you are ideating for your *new content plan.

Social media strategy Step 2 - Audit your current digital footprint

3. Define your Audience

Knowing your audience is going to make your life a whole lot easier. Why? Because it will form the basis of your content plan, make decisions about what platforms to be on easier and help you figure out your tone of voice.

So, who are you talking to? Maybe there’s more than one group. Fill out the table and include every group – get specific. How old are they? Where do they live? What is their family situation? What are their pet hates, fears, dreams? What are the problems they have that you can help solve?

Successful social media efforts focus on adding value to their audience, not just spamming sales messages. You will only be able to figure out how to add value once you’ve got a clear idea of who you’re trying to do that for.

Social media strategy step 3 - Define your Audience

4. Research your Competitors

A little bit of research into what your competitors are doing can help you gain some invaluable insights into what works and what doesn’t. Scope out your nemesis and see what they’re doing. Think internationally too, what are the big guns doing that is winning over their fans? What kind of content is hitting the mark and getting people commenting and sharing? What are they doing that is resulting in tumbleweeds? What channels are they on? What hashtags are they using?

Remember though – this isn’t about copying! Nobody likes a copy cat and chances are your audience will call you out or see through you (not to mention legal ramifications which are very real and not pretty). Use your intel to inform your actions but aim to do everything in your own way as well as better.

Social media strategy Step 4 - Research your Competitors

5. Decide on appropriate Channels

You should decide on the platforms to focus on based on:

  1. where your audience is. There are a multitude of stats out there on user numbers across different platforms, make sure you check them out. If your target audience is new mothers looking for organic baby food, you probably don’t need to be on LinkedIn but Instagram will bring you great engagement.
  2. What product/service you are offering. Each platform has its own preferred content, Facebook likes videos and curated content, Instagram likes images and quotes, Twitter is all about articles and GIFs, Pinterest is all about infographics and LinkedIn wants to see your professional content. If you have a really visual product/business you might not need to be on Twitter. Likewise, if you’re selling a professional service you could probably skip Instagram, but it could all vary depending on…
  3. What content you are able to produce. There’s no point in having a YouTube channel if you’re not intending on making regular videos. Likewise, why have a blog if you’re never going to have time to write? Be realistic about your available resources and start small. Once you’ve nailed one platform and it’s smooth sailing, then have a think about expanding into another – but only if it serves to help achieve your social goals.

Social media step 5 - Decide on appropriate Channels

6. Define your Tone of Voice

It’s not just what a company does, but who it is that makes it a brand. A tone of voice both embodies and expresses the brand’s personality and set of values. It’s about the people that make up the brand – the things that drive them, their loves and hates, and what they want to share with the world. A brand’s tone of voice should be distinctive, recognisable and unique.

To define your tone of voice, think firstly about your core values. What makes your business unique? What is your purpose for being? Consider the way you currently communicate within the business and with your clients. Think about what kind of personality your business would have if it were a person (are they straight up and blunt, sweet and friendly, funny and quirky?)

Social media strategy step 6 - What is your Tone of voice

Language elements to consider

Speech is made up of many elements which can greatly influence the final message. Communicating a new offer will sound different depending on your tone of voice, for example: “We wish to inform you of a new offer currently available.” vs “Watch out! We’re chucking a new offer in your direction.” Or “An economically priced hotel located in the city centre.” vs “Easy on the wallet, this hotel enjoys having the city on its doorstep.” How do you want your audience to feel when they read your content? (assured, amused, included, delighted, shocked, intrigued….). Think about parameters that will ensure you are communicating in a way that makes them feel this way (ie: always use personal pronouns to include the audience, use humor to engage them and colloquialisms to appeal to their pride in their community…)

Don’t forget your visual style

It is crucial to maintain a solid visual style across all channels (including your website). If someone clicks through, they shouldn’t be confused and think they’ve landed in the wrong place. They should also be able to identify your brand immediately after seeing your image on a social post. Keep it consistent, in line with your brand values and voice, and polished.

Social media strategy Step 7 - Visual style

7. Make a roadmap for your Content

Brainstorm the types of content you could produce for social media – consider medium (video, article, images, lists, podcasts, etc), actual content (tutorials, questions answered, day in the life, behind the scenes, guides, customer stories, inspiration, tips, interviews, competitions etc), and how this content is related to your product or service. Don’t forget about relevant calendar dates! (ie: Mother’s Day, International Youth Day etc).

Think about your audience, what motivates them? How can you help them? How can you share your story? How can you involve them? The main reasons people engage with and share content on social media are: it’s genuinely interesting, they really care about the cause, it makes them feel something, it’s useful. Once you’ve got as many types of content as you can think of, start to create story themes – can you see patterns in the types of content you have brainstormed? Choose at least 3 key themes.

Story themes help you create collections of ownable, repeatable and thematically linked stories. By creating themes around key campaigns, you make publishing more consistent, ownable, and ultimately easier to manage and execute. You set expectations for the audience, provide structure to the content calendar and build creative frequency – instead of 150+ ideas a year, you have 3-4 ideas with multiple executions.

Pro tip: Try to keep content split to: one quarter relevant/engaging content, one quarter involving the audience, one quarter your story, one quarter promotions.

Social media strategy Step 7 - Content plan

Getting your social media strategy sorted requires the hard yards, there’s no way around it. But once you’ve got a solid plan in place, managing your social media accounts will be much easier because you’ll be purposeful in your approach. Implement the above 7 Steps and you’ll be on your merry way to getting actual, valuable results.

When I first started managing socials for clients, I knew it was important to have a solid social media strategy in place but, being new to the game and all, I wasn’t 100% clear on what that strategy should look like. If you know me even just a little bit you will know that I LOVE researching, so that’s exactly what I did. I dived straight into the endless wormhole of marketing advice that lives on the internet.

There is a lot of stuff out there on this topic, but I didn’t really feel like it was what I needed. And by what I needed I mean, tell me exactly how to do it and what it’s going to look like once it’s done (maybe even do it for me?). I was disappointed to find I would have to put in the actual hard yards.

So I did. I trawled the internet for the most practical, implementable information about social media strategies and I put it all together into what made the most sense to me. I have since been able to apply, test, adjust and repeat the strategy outline, fine-tuning as I go.

In the hope that this might help someone who was where I was, here is the formula broken down into 7 steps:

1. Establish Social Media Goals

Having clearly defined, measurable objectives will enable you to focus social media activity effectively across channels. Start by writing down at least three social media goals that relate to or support your business objectives.

Focus on the S.M.A.R.T. strategy for goal setting to ensure your objectives are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time based. Then, see if you can break down each social media goal into actionable steps. Finally, assign each social media goal some metrics and timeframes to measure success by.

2. Audit your current digital footprint

The internet is a large place – where is your business currently and how are they doing? Do a digital audit and track down all of your existing accounts. Have a look at the activity on them and take note of the good, the bad and the ugly. Google your business and click on all the links. Make sure you check out your Google Analytics at this stage too. Having a bird’s eye view will make it easy to identify quick wins such as:

  1. Are your accounts consistent visually? Your business should be easily recognisable. Ideally your profile pictures and cover images are the same across all accounts (Make sure they are all in the right dimensions for the platform too).
  2. Are there some channels you are not getting any engagement or traffic from? This could be because your audience simply isn’t there – it’s usually better to drop the non performing channels and focus your energies where you are getting results that align with your goals.
  3. Make note of your best and worst performing content and keep this in your back pocket for when you are ideating for your *new content plan.

3. Define your Audience

Knowing your audience is going to make your life a whole lot easier. Why? Because it will form the basis of your content plan, make decisions about what platforms to be on easier and help you figure out your tone of voice.

So, who are you talking to? Maybe there’s more than one group. Fill out the table and include every group – get specific. How old are they? Where do they live? What is their family situation? What are their pet hates, fears, dreams? What are the problems they have that you can help solve?

Successful social media efforts focus on adding value to their audience, not just spamming sales messages. You will only be able to figure out how to add value once you’ve got a clear idea of who you’re trying to do that for.

4. Research your Competitors

A little bit of research into what your competitors are doing can help you gain some invaluable insights into what works and what doesn’t. Scope out your nemesis and see what they’re doing. Think internationally too, what are the big guns doing that is winning over their fans? What kind of content is hitting the mark and getting people commenting and sharing? What are they doing that is resulting in tumbleweeds? What channels are they on? What hashtags are they using?

Remember though – this isn’t about copying! Nobody likes a copy cat and chances are your audience will call you out or see through you (not to mention legal ramifications which are very real and not pretty). Use your intel to inform your actions but aim to do everything in your own way as well as better.

5. Decide on appropriate Channels

You should decide on the platforms to focus on based on:

  1. where your audience is. There are a multitude of stats out there on user numbers across different platforms, make sure you check them out. If your target audience is new mothers looking for organic baby food, you probably don’t need to be on LinkedIn but Instagram will bring you great engagement.
  2. What product/service you are offering. Each platform has its own preferred content, Facebook likes videos and curated content, Instagram likes images and quotes, Twitter is all about articles and GIFs, Pinterest is all about infographics and LinkedIn wants to see your professional content. If you have a really visual product/business you might not need to be on Twitter. Likewise, if you’re selling a professional service you could probably skip Instagram, but it could all vary depending on…
  3. What content you are able to produce. There’s no point in having a YouTube channel if you’re not intending on making regular videos. Likewise, why have a blog if you’re never going to have time to write? Be realistic about your available resources and start small. Once you’ve nailed one platform and it’s smooth sailing, then have a think about expanding into another – but only if it serves to help achieve your social goals.

6. Define your Tone of Voice

It’s not just what a company does, but who it is that makes it a brand. A tone of voice both embodies and expresses the brand’s personality and set of values. It’s about the people that make up the brand – the things that drive them, their loves and hates, and what they want to share with the world. A brand’s tone of voice should be distinctive, recognisable and unique.

To define your tone of voice, think firstly about your core values. What makes your business unique? What is your purpose for being? Consider the way you currently communicate within the business and with your clients. Think about what kind of personality your business would have if it were a person (are they straight up and blunt, sweet and friendly, funny and quirky?)

Language elements to consider

Speech is made up of many elements which can greatly influence the final message. Communicating a new offer will sound different depending on your tone of voice, for example: “We wish to inform you of a new offer currently available.” vs “Watch out! We’re chucking a new offer in your direction.” Or “An economically priced hotel located in the city centre.” vs “Easy on the wallet, this hotel enjoys having the city on its doorstep.” How do you want your audience to feel when they read your content? (assured, amused, included, delighted, shocked, intrigued….). Think about parameters that will ensure you are communicating in a way that makes them feel this way (ie: always use personal pronouns to include the audience, use humor to engage them and colloquialisms to appeal to their pride in their community…)

Don’t forget your visual style

It is crucial to maintain a solid visual style across all channels (including your website). If someone clicks through, they shouldn’t be confused and think they’ve landed in the wrong place. They should also be able to identify your brand immediately after seeing your image on a social post. Keep it consistent, in line with your brand values and voice, and polished.

7. Make a roadmap for your Content

Brainstorm the types of content you could produce for social media – consider medium (video, article, images, lists, podcasts, etc), actual content (tutorials, questions answered, day in the life, behind the scenes, guides, customer stories, inspiration, tips, interviews, competitions etc), and how this content is related to your product or service. Don’t forget about relevant calendar dates! (ie: Mother’s Day, International Youth Day etc).

Think about your audience, what motivates them? How can you help them? How can you share your story? How can you involve them? The main reasons people engage with and share content on social media are: it’s genuinely interesting, they really care about the cause, it makes them feel something, it’s useful. Once you’ve got as many types of content as you can think of, start to create story themes – can you see patterns in the types of content you have brainstormed? Choose at least 3 key themes.

Story themes help you create collections of ownable, repeatable and thematically linked stories. By creating themes around key campaigns, you make publishing more consistent, ownable, and ultimately easier to manage and execute. You set expectations for the audience, provide structure to the content calendar and build creative frequency – instead of 150+ ideas a year, you have 3-4 ideas with multiple executions.

Pro tip: Try to keep content split to: one quarter relevant/engaging content, one quarter involving the audience, one quarter your story, one quarter promotions.

Getting your social media strategy sorted requires the hard yards, there’s no way around it. But once you’ve got a solid plan in place, managing your social media accounts will be much easier because you’ll be purposeful in your approach. Implement the above 7 Steps and you’ll be on your merry way to getting actual, valuable results.

Angela Amerigo

Angela Amerigo

Author

Angela likes helping people tell their stories of change and impact through social media. She is passionate about the environment, human rights and social justice. Aside from having grand plans to change the world, Angela’s main focus in life is people, art and snacks.

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