In Australia, 88% of people have a social media profile
. Over 62% check their social media more than five times a day, and a cheeky 14% admitted to accessing their social media during work hours.
The truth is, we all know how influential social media can be for our brand, and just how important it is to get our online strategy right.
So whether you’re getting set up for the first time, or want to re-assess your current social media strategy, our step-by-step guide will show you exactly what you need to do to get on the right track.
Photo: Tarik Kızılkaya / Getty Images
1. Create custom personas
Before you get started on your content or what social media platforms you want to use, you’ll first need to determine who it is that you’re speaking to. One of the best ways to do this is to create custom personas
of the people you think will best interact with your brand.
Custom personas represent real people who’ll engage with your product. When determining what type of people they are, you need to ask yourself some questions.
First, determine the basic demographics of the people you’d like to target – their age, socioeconomic background, education and gender. Then, you’ll want to delve a little bit deeper – what are their interests and hobbies? What are their values and desires?
Only once you’ve determined who you’re talking to, you will be able to work out what type of content you’ll be posting and where.
2. Know who you are
While it’s important to know who your clients are, it’s equally important to know who you
are, and what your brand represents. While you may know what it is your business does day-to-day, or what product it sells, really consider what your business’s goals are.
One way to drive this is to think not only about what
you do, but why
you do it. How does your brand stand out from its competitors? What inspires and drives you? What are you hoping to achieve with your business? (And no, you can’t use “making money” as your inspiration).
By figuring out exactly what your brand stands for, and what it hopes to achieve, you can begin to determine what content you’ll be posting, and how it will sound.
3. Be consistent
Consistency is key when ensuring your brand is a success on social media. First, determine how frequently you want to post and at what times. For example, does your target market look at their phone first thing in the morning, or are they likely to browse while watching television at night?
You can figure this out by looking at research reports on your chosen demographic, conducting audience surveys, or reviewing your analytics. Once you’ve decided what that time is likely to be, schedule your posts to correlate within the window.
While it’s a good idea to stay consistent, you should also factor the frequency, and this will differ from platform to platform. Studies show
that two posts a day is ideal for Facebook, while Instagram’s algorithms don’t care how frequently you post, just as long as it’s consistent from one post to another – so no posting ten images one week, and then none the next. Unfortunately, Facebook’s algorithm changes have made engagement harder to achieve than ever, so paying for advertising will inevitably play a role on there, especially when you’re just starting out.
Photo: g-stockstudio / Getty Images
Secondly, consistency also refers to the physical content that you’re posting – think tone of voice, language and staying “on brand”. This approach also needs to be tailored to different social media platforms – as Instagram is visually heavy, think not only how each individual photo looks, but also how it looks as a collection on your profile.
While consistency is easier to maintain if you’re handling the social media alone, it can be harder when there are multiple people in your social media team (or if you’re ever planning on taking a holiday). That’s why you should create a style guide. Include do’s and don’ts, what language is acceptable, the tone of voice and even really basic things like grammar and preferred spelling. Nothing screams inauthentic like a social media platform that fluctuates dramatically.
4. Share authentic content
Speaking of, authenticity and coming across as genuine
are hugely important in the social media landscape. Today’s audience are more media-savvy than ever, and there’s nothing worse than brands that think social media is just another place to mindlessly advertise their products.
To witness just how important authenticity is in a brand, all you have to do is reference Microsoft’s 2016 ham-fisted attempt to target millennials and completely disregard their already very well-established brand.
The result? A cringe-worthy email
, which includes phrases like “hey bae intern”, and “hella noms”, that was unanimously mocked by the internet as reading like an out-of-touch text written by your Dad. Which, to be fair, shouldn’t have been a surprise to Microsoft, whose brand image definitely doesn’t scream “getting lit on a Monday night”. Lesson learnt? Don’t attempt to drastically change your brand or tone of voice to try and target a new audience – it very rarely works.
So how do you make sure you don’t veer into fake territory? When posting, stick to your style guide, remember your brand values, and most importantly, remember your audience and what it is they need from your brand.
5. Plan the work / work the plan
Dull as it sounds, planning is key if you want to execute a savvy social media strategy. Follow these steps to ensure that your brand is not only a success, but that you’re prepared for any eventuality.
Decide what platforms
With such a wide array of social media platforms being used today, it’s virtually impossible to utilise all of them in a way that’s useful and engaging for your audience. When you’re getting started, choose one or two platforms that are best suited to your brand or products, and create a thoughtful, well-executed strategy tailored to your choices. Once you’ve built up an audience and gained some confidence, venture onto other platforms, but only if you feel it will benefit the brand.
Create an editorial plan that determines what content you want to fall when – this can be especially helpful if you want to theme your content, or if certain posts have to fall on specific dates. To make things easier to coordinate, utilise tools like Hootsuite
that allow you to schedule posts for certain times and dates, as per what your larger strategy dictates.
Create a crisis plan
No one likes to think about worst case situations, but it’s worthwhile creating a crisis plan detailing exactly what you’d do if you need to go into damage control, or if your data is hacked.
Follow these steps to get your social media marketing off to the best start, and see your business grow.
Hannah Louey, account manager
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