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    Craft Your Social Media Strategy in 9 Steps

    Social Media Strategy in 9 StepSocial media is a tool becoming increasingly important for small businesses all over the world. Because it provides a direct line of communication between the company and the customer, social media opens many doors to businesses that haven’t always been there. By getting to show customers an inside look at your business, you’re able to build a solid relationship with target audience members to create long lasting customers.

    But social media is difficult for many people to grasp. Because it is still considered a bit of a nontraditional marketing tactic, many people aren’t sure how to use their social media profiles to grow their companies.

    We’re here to help you change that. We will provide you with a step-by-step guide to creating a social media marketing plan that can help you build authority, attract new leads, and transform your business into a thriving and successful company.

    Let’s get started!

    The World Of Social Media

    The World Of Social MediaWhen you typically think about social media, you may think of a website where friends from high school or family members share pictures of their children or latest vacation. But this is really only one part of the social media world.

    The reality is that just about everyone is using at least one social media platform. With over 1.65 billion users on Facebook alone, social media is connecting people from all over the world in ways we may not have thought were ever possible.

    Other social media platforms, such as Instagram and Linkedin, have over 400 million users. Twitter isn’t far behind with 310 million monthly active users, and Snapchat is still growing with 100 million daily active users. With numbers like these, it’s no wonder businesses want to get a part of the action.

    Using Social Media to Connect

    Using Social Media to ConnectMany businesses look at the number of people on social media and believe they can simply spit out links or random facts and attract the attention of high-quality audience members. They set up robots to manage their social accounts and sit back to wait for new customers to come rolling in. Unfortunately, they quickly find out that these kind of tactics don’t work on social. Because social media users are constantly bombarded with more and more content and new information, they look for the people or companies they trust or those providing high quality, engaging content.

    Getting recognized on social media isn’t about who can come up with the flashiest headline or the best promotion. It especially isn’t about setting up automatic posts that regurgitate blog titles and links. It’s about providing high-quality content that fans and followers will actually find useful. Take a moment to put yourself in your audience’s shoes.

    If you were scrolling through your social media news feed and you come across a company posting about a new blog post on their site, but not infusing any personality into the post, would you click? What about if it was a link to buy a product or service you’ve never heard of? Chances are, you probably wouldn’t. So why do you think any of your audience members would do that for you?

    Your social media marketing shouldn’t be about pushing a sale or about what you need. Instead, the content you share on social should consider what your audience is looking for, what information they need and what news stories or topics they’re interested in hearing about. You need to look at your social media like a conversation. It should not be a one-way street where you’re the only one that is talking.

    In order to be successful at marketing on your social media profiles, you need to consider the information that your target audience members may have to share. By engaging in conversations and listening to your customer’s opinions, you can establish long lasting relationships with new buyers.

    Do you think you’re ready to get started with strategizing? Well then, let’s get to it!

    Step 1: Establish Your Goals

    Establish Social Media GoalsBefore you do anything else, you need to identify what you’d like to accomplish with your social media marketing. You want to establish your goals early on in the strategizing process because the objectives you lay out can influence other pieces of your strategy. Goals also help you gauge your success. Because your goals provide a pathway for you to move forward, you can see how far you’ve come with your social media marketing strategy by identifying how many goals you’ve passed.

    Here are three steps to creating goals for your marketing strategy:

    1. Identify one long-term goal: When you’re asked to create goals, it may be difficult to know how big you
      should be thinking. I believe it’s always best to think big and then work your way backwards. To begin
      establishing your goals, think of one marketing you’d like to achieve in the future, even if you can’t
      realistically accomplish that goal for a few years. This gives you something to work towards
    2. Find your stepping stones: Once you’ve established your long-term goals, you need to lay out the path
      to get there. By creating “stepping stone” goals that can help you move closer and closer to achieving
      your long term goal, you’re creating smaller goals that are actually more achievable. Consider the many
      things you would need to do or accomplish to reach your long term goal.
    3. Get detailed: Now that you’ve created a sort of path to achieving your long-term goals, you want to get
      as detailed as possible with the goals you’ve established. This means setting SMART goals that help you
      clearly identify whether or not a goal has been reached.

    SMART goals are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timely. This means that you’ve used numbers, due dates, actions, and specifics to accurately frame your goals. Establishing SMART goals means you will not waste time debating whether or not an objective has been met and you can clearly track how well your social media marketing is doing.

    Your goals should somehow relate to your broader marketing strategy and business objectives. This means that the social media marketing objectives you establish should work with your other campaigns and tactics to bring your company closer and closer to achieving the overall goals you’ve created.

    Start with at least three social media marketing goals. You can always add more as you need to.

    Step 2: Choose Your Social Networks

    Choose Your Social Media NetworksCompanies need to have a diverse set of social media networks that they market on. Because target audience members use different social profiles for different purposes, you want to be sure you’re getting their attention wherever you can.

    But this doesn’t mean you should jump on any social media network you can. You need to be strategic about the social profiles you choose to create. Because each platform requires unique attention and posts, you need to be able to efficiently control your content. If you have too many networks, this will be difficult to do and your entire social media marketing campaign will suffer.

    If you’re already on social media, take a look at your various networks and the kind of attention or engagement you’re getting on each. If you have a few platforms that aren’t getting a lot of attention or you’re struggling to keep them updated, you may want to exclude them from your plan, at least for now.

    If you don’t already have a social media presence, consider where your target audience may be spending most of their time. While Facebook attracts many different users in different demographics, other platforms have more specific user bases. Knowing whether or not your target audience is using Pinterest, Instagram, or Twitter can help you identify whether or not you really need to be on that site.

    Social media networks you should consider include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Snapchat. However, if your audience frequently uses another platform, such as Tumblr, you will want to be active there as well.

    It is always best to start out with fewer profiles and add them in as necessary. Begin with just Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. As you begin to nail these platforms down, you can consider adding something new in. Don’t try to bite off more than you can chew or you will quickly become overwhelmed.

    Step 3: Complete Your Social Profiles

    Complete Your Social Media ProfilesWhile you want each of your social profiles to be unique, you also want to ensure they’re consistent. Properly branding your social profiles so they include your company colors, images, and a consistent flow from one page to the next can help customers identify that the social profiles actually belong to you and your company.

    Make sure that your social profiles are completely filled out. Your name, contact information and images should be consistent from page to page. This can also help Google and other search engines identify that the pages are yours, improving your SEO.

    Properly fill out additional information as well. Including an accurate company description or bio can give your audience members information they need if visiting one of your social pages.

    Step 4: Use Your Voice to Connect

    Use Your Voice to Connect OnlineYour social posts shouldn’t feel like they’re coming from a robot. As we already mentioned, customers want to engage with companies that they can relate to. This means they’re looking for helpful information, useful tips, or interesting ideas all posted with a conversational tone.

    Creating a voice for your company is important because it can help you create a stronger relationship with your target audience members. If you’re considering the kind of language your clients use, how they post on social media, and what kind of content they may be looking for when they get online, you can create a stronger strategy that makes deeper connections.

    Creating a buyer persona is a great way to get started identifying your target audience and creating a voice they can connect with. Consider your brand’s personality, the image you want to put off, and what kind of relationship you’d like to create with your audience members. This can help you refine your messaging for stronger connections.

    Step 5: Determine Your Posting Strategy

    Determine Your Social Posting StrategyOnce you know what you’d like to post and where you’d like to post it, you need to determine how often you’re going to be posting, what time of day you’ll be posting, and how you’re going to attract new leads to your posts.

    Coming up with a posting strategy can be a bit difficult for companies just starting out. Because each company’s target audience will be different, there isn’t really a set amount of times you should be posting or a specific time of day to send out your content. Instead, you need to find what works best for your fans and followers.

    Your goals will also influence how you post. If you’re looking to increase brand awareness, you may need to post more content more frequently. But if you’re looking to increase your sales, you may need to post more targeted information less frequently.

    Take some time to try out new things. Try posting early in the morning, during lunch, after work or even late at night to see what times get the most engagements. As you begin to refine your posting schedule, you’ll get more attention from your target audience.

    Step 6: Create Awesome Content

    Create Awesome Social Media ContentThe content you create is crucial for your social media strategy. Even if you’re posting at the right times in the right ways, it won’t matter if your content isn’t interesting and engaging.

    Your content needs to consider what kind of information your target audience may be looking for and what questions they may have. Doing proper research about the topics you’d like to cover can help you get more attention on social media and fans and followers will be more inclined to click through to your website for more information.

    Once there, you can push a sale. Remember to include various kinds of content in your social media plan. Videos, blog posts, polls and more are all great ways to use social media efficiently.

    Step 7: Test and Analyze

    Test and Analize Social MediaCompanies rarely get their social media marketing completely right the first time around. In order to find the areas that may need changes or improvements, you need to be tracking the engagements, attention, and results you're getting with each post and campaign.

    Most social media platforms provide their own analytics tools. This can help you see how many impressions your posts are getting, who is clicking, and even how they got to your page. Knowing this information can help you identify which posts are the strongest and which may need some additional work.

    You can also use tools like Google Analytics to test and analyze your social media strategy. Through checking how much of your site visitors are coming to your page from social media, you can see if your pages are effective at attracting leads.

    Remember to refine your social media marketing plan as you need to. If something isn't working, don't be afraid to make changes to get your plan back on track. Cutting back on your posting, improving your content or even adding a new social media platform can be done at any time. Just be sure to adjust the rest of your strategy if it is necessary.

    Creating a social media plan involves a lot of trial and error, but when you're focused on providing value to your target audience and customers, you can get the results you're after. Putting the needs of your audience first can dramatically improve your social results. By building strong relationships and improving your connections with your fans and followers, you can convince them to become long-term, loyal customers.

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