Effective Social Media Strategies

Developing and executing a social media strategy is hard work. It can take hours and days just to get your first plan together.

But it’s important to take the time to do it properly. An effective social media strategy will drive more web traffic for you, help you build deeper customer relationships, and improve your customer satisfaction, retention and ultimately sales.

So what does a successful social media strategy look like? Here are 8 steps to help you create one:

Step 1: Understanding Your Audience

The foundation of a successful social media strategy is understanding who your target audience is and why they use social media. To do this, you need a combination of demographics and psychographics.

Demographics are statistics and descriptions of a group of people, such as their location, age, gender, income and education level, religion and ethnicity. Keep in mind that not all of these statistics and descriptions may be relevant for your business.

If you have your own website, there are several ways you can determine your audience’s demographics. For example, you can use Alexa or Google Adwords. If you don’t have a website yet, find a competitor or similar site and use that for your analysis.

Psychographics explain your audience’s lifestyles, values, opinions, interests and attitudes. You should try to answer these questions about your audience when doing your analysis:

  1. Why do they want to learn about your product or service?
  2. How important is your product or service to your audience? For example, is it part of their job or is it a personal interest?
  3. How do they like to learn and get their information from? Is it video, audio, text, etc., and on what device or channel?
  4. What questions do they typically have about your product or service?
  5. How knowledgeable are they about your industry and product or service?

Step 2: Targeting Your Channels

When starting out, you’re probably eager to get on every available channel out there. But it’s a good idea to start with one to three channels, and focus all your efforts on those than spreading yourself too thin trying to do everything. You will get quicker and better results if you focus your time and effort on your 1-3 key channels, then expand as your business and team grow.

Step 3: Developing Your Content Strategy

The right kinds of content will depend on your target audience and the channels you choose. It’s also important to share content produced by others as you don’t want to seem overly self-promotional. There’s no golden rule for how much non-promotional content you should share for every piece of promotional content you post, but you want to err on the side of being non-promotional when starting out.

Step 4: Growing Your Followers

The most effective way to get followers is by following as many individuals as you can. Don’t try to buy fake followers because this will not get the people you want to see, read and re-share your posts to actually engage with your content.

As the number of your followers grows, you can slow down on the number of people you follow. The exposure of the content you share will start to help you earn followers and traffic itself. Check out this post from Quicksprout for resources on how to get new followers for various social media channels.

Step 5: Getting The Most Out Of Your Content

Now that you’ve started growing your following and readership, you must be really excited about producing and sharing more content, right? You want to be careful with how much content you share though, since you don’t want your followers or readers to think you’re a spammer and stop following you.

Step 6: Automating For Success

The key to social media success is consistency. But if you find that the best time for you to post is 5 a.m., it may not be feasible for you to consistently get up every day at 5 a.m. to post content. The easiest way for you to post consistently is to use tools. There are lots of free and paid tools out there to help you automate your posts, such as Hootsuite and Buffer.

Step 7: Maximizing Traffic

New content takes time and resources to create. To maximize the efforts you put into producing new content, you want to be sharing old posts as well as new content. This can help double and in some cases even triple your traffic.

To maximize traffic, you should also use different descriptions when promoting old posts. If you use the same descriptions, your followers and readers will likely see these posts as spamming and will ignore them. You’ll also want to reach out to influencers in your network and encourage them to share the post with their audience. This will help you gain even more exposure for your content.

Step 8: Tracking Results

To see what’s working and isn’t working with your social media strategy, you need to monitor your efforts so you know what to improve on in the future.

You want to record all your social shares, such as impressions, shares and clicks, to see which content pieces and social media posts are getting the most clicks and engagement and are pushing traffic to your website, and which ones are not. Google Analytics, Buffer, and Hootsuite, for example, are great tools to help you collect these stats.

When you track these numbers regularly, you’ll learn what gets the most clicks and reads, and you can go back and revise your strategy to improve your results.

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