In our latest blog, Chloë Matthbury gives you a quick guide to help you get started with your social media strategy.
If you want to get the best out of social media for your brand, having a social media strategy is vital. At Aberfield, we’ve worked on social media strategies and content for QHotels, Skills Support for the Workforce, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and John Winter, to name just a few, so we’ve put together a simple guide to help you get started.
Our guide has six steps and will help you consider your approach in terms of tone, channel, audience and content. Remember that creating a strategy for social media isn’t a formulaic thing and you should expect to change and develop it as you go.
First off, ask yourself why you are using social media for your brand in the first place. How does it link to your business objectives and how will it help you achieve them? Use this information to set some realistic objectives.
Understanding your audience
We always put audience first and, if it’s done properly, social is the perfect platform to communicate and engage directly with them. If you’re an online retailer for example, ask yourself the questions below to make sure you really know your audience.
Tip: If this feels a bit overwhelming, there are some useful tools out there to help, take a look at Brandwatch.
Understanding your channels
Using the audience insight you have gathered, you can now look at the channels available to you and establish which platforms would work best. It’s unlikely you’d use Snapchat to engage with baby boomers, for example, so make sure you find out how your target audience likes to communicate.
It’s also really important to factor in all of the platform’s functions. Take Instagram - it isn’t just about having a profile, you have to consider stories, hashtags and the promoted post function, too.
Understanding the pros and cons of each platform, and which ones your audience are on, will help you reach your objectives. Our table below is one way that you could split out your audiences and mark which platforms would best suit them. This handy article by Spredfast might also help you.
Identifying your tone of voice
How your brand sounds on social media should be consistent with how you talk to that audience elsewhere. Replicate the tone of voice across all platforms and bear in mind that you can adjust this slightly depending on which of your identified audiences you’re talking to.
Tip: Think about what you want to sound like – for example, do you want to be playful and engaging or informative and authoritative? Perhaps you want to be a mix of both.
Creating a content plan
Having a content plan means you aren’t sat looking at an empty screen trying to think of something to write. It will help you focus on what you want to share and encourage you to factor in the different functions of each platform. Don’t just upload the next month’s content and leave it though, you need to balance the planning with being responsive – they say timing is everything and brands have been known to really get this wrong before. Look at Business Insider’s ‘13 epic Twitter fails by big brands’ which includes when Qantas’ #QantasLuxury campaign ran the day after its entire fleet was grounded because of a labour dispute.
Planning a month ahead, for example, also means you can focus on day-to-day engagement, which is something that requires consistent monitoring, so you can respond to enquiries or comments and find opportunities to directly engage with your audience.
Tip: Make sure content is shareable by using images, videos or memes and remember to engage with others.
Measuring your success and analysing your activity
You can’t measure how well you are doing unless you set yourself some performance goals or KPIs. What do you want to achieve? Whether it’s maximum reach or an increase in followers, having KPIs will help you keep track of how you are doing and encourage you to shape your content based on its performance.
Use each platform’s analytics tools to see what works and what doesn’t. You should also use your own analytics to see which platforms work best. Don’t just pay attention to the stats though, the sentiment behind the interactions also need to be measured. If you get 1,000+ comments but the majority are negative, then there’s obviously something that needs changing.
It’s also good to get into the habit of reporting to other members of the team. Think about what they need to know and how best to display it, make sure they’re aware of the objectives and as time goes on, explain what has been changed and how this has improved performance.
Tip: Use the data you gather to inform your next set of content. Figure out the best times to post and the types of posts that engage your audience.
If you want to know how our social media services – including training, strategy and management - could help you, please get in touch.