We’ve all been there, dear reader, when you’re tired and hungry and decide to go supermarket shopping – without a list 😱 As the tempting end-of-aisle deals and multitude of choices compete for your attention, you’ll find your trolley overwhelmed with tasty treats, for sure, but I bet you anything that you get home and realise you’ve forgotten 5 of the items you specifically went in for. Fancy chocolate mousse on your toast, kids?
It’s not dissimilar with social media strategy; enter that world without a clear plan and you’ll find yourself floundering with the options and find yourself posting some sub-par, or off-message content that doesn’t make the most of your time spent.
A social media strategy is all about the bigger picture and goal setting is a fundamental part of this. Your social media communications should always align with your wider business goals. It’s an oldie but a goldie but setting S.M.A.R.T goals is a great place to start. If you’re not familiar with the old strategy setting tool, it’s an acronym that stands for:
Specific: Is your goal specific enough, i.e. I want to grow my reach by 10% vs I want to grow my reach
Measurable: How are you going to quantify that goal? It shouldn’t just be a hunch or general feeling
Achievable: Do you have the time and resources to make that happen? Start with small, realistic goals that you can build on. It could be that you aim to reach more people, initially, so that you know how big an audience you can be exposed to, before putting a figure in place that you’d like to gain in followers.
Relevant: perhaps you’ve identified social as a good place to boost traffic to your website, but is that relevant if your website isn’t doing its best job for you? Make sure that the result of all your good social media strategy is actually beneficial to your business goal i.e. more traffic, more sales etc.
Timely: if you don’t ring-fence this goal with a deadline, it’s harder to quantify its success. Keep your goals nice and timely, and you’ll be able to measure and adjust in iterations, without 6 months passing, not seeing the results you’d expect.
It Helps You Define Which Platforms Are Best For Your Business
We posted last time about the efficacy and use of each platform for particular industries. If you’re at the beginning of your social journey, you may want to diversify the platforms at first, to test out response, but it’s not very sustainable to try to post on all of the options, all the time. A social media strategy will give you an in-depth understanding of your audience and industry so you can then strategically cherry-pick what platforms work best for you. Work smarter, not harder!
It Helps You Understand Your Audience More
In order to post with purpose, you need to first understand what content will resonate with your audience (and convert). A comprehensive social media strategy will start with audience analysis. Better still, it will create specific customer avatars for you so you know exactly who you want to attract! This will empower you to create content that speaks to your audience’s challenges and pain points – if you TELL them how you solve their specific problems, you are indirectly SELLING your services. TELL DON’T SELL!
It’s Better for Budget
Without a social media strategy, you may find your budget (whether it’s in creating assets/content or paying for it to be advertised), is trickling down the drain with little return. Remember that your time should be costed in on that budget too! We’re all guilty of discounting the time we spend on our own businesses, squeezing it in where we can, sneakily posting an Instagram reel while we’re cooking the dinner, but your time has to be accounted for, to really measure efficacy.
It Helps You Create Systems
Social media should not be a time suck. It should be working for you, not against you. A social media strategy will streamline your communications, and create systems to help you plan, schedule and analyse your content.
It Helps You Calculate Your ROI
We are not doing this for the fun of it, are we?! Nope. We are on social for a reason – to grow our businesses. A social media strategy will help you measure your return on investment by tracking the success of your goals (see point 1!).
And so it is that I leave you to start thinking about your strategy while I unpack 4 shopping bags of multipack tonic, limited edition chocolate yoghurts, a Christmas box of nibbles and two cream horns. Perfect dinner, if you ask me. Good luck!