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They key to performing well and delivering results with social media is having a strategy. Without one, you might find yourself aimlessly posting on your social accounts, without any real purpose. The result is you find yourself wondering why you’re not seeing any real return on your investments. Having a strategy is something you should absolutely focus on when you’re starting off. And even those who have been going at it without a real plan should be considering one.

We’ve talked about creating a yearly content strategy in the past, but a social media strategy really dives in deeper. While your strategy will include having a plan for your content it also covers so many others elements. It might seem a little overwhelming at first but just like anything if you want good results you have to invest the time and effort. Before we get into our guide, let’s get a better understanding of what exactly a social media strategy entails.

What Is a Social Media Strategy?

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Your social media strategy is a detailed plan outlining your goals, methods, and key performance indicators. It should incorporate all of your social accounts along with your individual goals for each platform. For example, your goals on your established Instagram account might totally differ from those on your newly created TikTok. Whatever your goals might be, its important that when it comes to social media they align with your overall marketing and business goals. Your efforts should be complimenting what you’re trying to achieve with your business or brand.

Like we mentioned above, planning your content should also have a place in your overall social media strategy. You’ll want to define the concepts of your content, and deliverable dates include content creation and a publishing schedule. Having all these things planned out well in advance will only make your social media experience that much easier to manage. If you’re working with a team, your strategy should also clearly define everyone’s roles and key due dates to help streamline the work flow.

Social Media Strategy Guide

Now that you understand what a social media strategy is and why it’s so important, let’s look at the how. Below is our tried and trusted guide to creating your very own plan that will help you bring meaning to your social media efforts.

Perform a Social Media Audit

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If you’re just starting out on social media you can skip right to the next step. However if you’ve already started on your journey we recommend you do a social media audit first. This, just like any other audit, is a time for you to review and reflect on your results so far. You don’t want to invest the time to build an overall strategy, if you’re just going to repeat habits that haven’t driven results. Understanding where your failures but also your successes have come from will be a vital tool for you to take into developing your game plan.

Set Some Goals

It’s time to set some goals! Without having a set direction on where you want to take things you can’t really determine your success. Not only should they be related to any overall goals, but they also should be goals that you can measure. This is what we call S.M.A.R.T goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound.

If you set your goals for your social media strategy following that framework you’ll be set for success from the get go.

Determine Your Target Audience

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A very important part of your strategy is determining your target audience, meaning who you want your content to reach. For a business this is probably going to be your ideal customer. For a blogger or influencer you’ll likely be trying to reach people who are interested in your specific niche. You’ll want to know things like the age, location and interest of your audience. But beyond just identifying your audience it’s equally important that you understand them. You should know what kinds of content attracts your audience and the tone of which you need for them to understand you.

Define Your KPIs

Depending on what your goals are for your social media strategy you’ll have certain key performance indicators, or KPIs to define your success. This is just a fancy way of saying how you’ll define how effective your efforts are towards achieving your goals. Let’s say a part of your goals for Instagram is to grow your following and build brand awareness. In that case your KPIs might be your percentage of growth in followers and your content reach. If you’re looking to drive sales you might want to increase website clicks or the performance of your shoppable posts.

Being able to hold your results accountable to some sort of metrics allows you to see how you’re truly doing. And that information helps you decide if you need to change direction or continue with your plans.

Find Some Inspiration

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Although you always want to stand out and be unique, it’s never a bad idea to look for inspiration. This can help to draw your own ideas especially when it comes to the content side of things. It’s not uncommon to take a peek at what your peers and competitors are doing with their social media platforms. It can help you to both find ideas to borrow and ways in which you can differentiate yourself.

Finding inspiration can also come from researching and learning tricks of the trade. Just like you are now by reading this guide! Even the most seasoned social media professional is constantly reading up on the latest tips and trends.

Develop a Content Calendar

Building yourself a content calendar is probably the biggest favour you can do for yourself. It becomes particularly helpful when you’re balancing multiple social channels. Your content calendar should essentially plan out both sides of the content process: creation and publishing. Setting your due dates at the same time as your publication dates will help to keep you organized in the long run. Instead of frantically trying to piece everything together you’ll know exactly what to create and when it’s due.

Ultimately your content calendar can be as detailed or high level as you choose. You might decided that just having you publication dates set is enough for you to manage things. On the other hand you might want to have every inch scheduled down to the times at which you’re posting on each social media platform. What’s most important is that you develop at content calendar that will help you successfully manage your social media strategy.

Create Your Content & Publish It

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If creativity is your thing, well then this is the fun part for you. Generating the content you’re planning on sharing is the entire reason why you put together a strategy. This is where you’re creating the marketing materials you need to work towards the goals you’ve set. And depending on how you’ve built your social media strategy you might be sharing different pieces of content depending on the platform it’s being posted on.

You might decide to outsource your content creation for sake of time, or lack of ability. In this case you can either hire an agency or find someone freelance to work along side you. If you’re a business or brand selling goods and services you might decided to turn to influencers to partner with for content. Whatever way you choose to go about things, it’s important to deliver quality content if you want positive results.

Track Your Results

Once you get the ball rolling it’s time to see how all that hard work is paying off. And hopefully it is! Many social media platforms these days have built in analytics for both individual posts and your overall profile. They can track things like reach, engagement, profile views and even website clicks. But if the stock insights aren’t enough for you, there are plenty of 3rd party tools available like Sprout Social.

Adjust Your Strategy as Needed

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One thing to keep in mind with your social media strategy is that this it isn’t static. This means you should always be prepared and willing to adapt and pivot as necessary. Your strategy might need to change because your current tactics aren’t delivering the right results. On the other hand it might be as simple as you reached your goals and are now working towards something else. Regardless of your reasons being flexible with your strategy is a vital skill to have, especially with how fast the digital world of social media moves.