Worldwide, 3.8 billion people are active on social media. That’s nearly half of the global population!
Are you neglecting to reach those billions of people with social media content for your business? If you’re not on social media yet, or are on it but struggling to get results, it’s time to invest in a winning social media strategy.
The right social strategy can help you grow your brand and attract new customers, from Twitter to TikTok. However, social media strategies aren’t simple. They have to change with the times, and they must also be customised to the unique needs of your brand.
If you need guidance while building your strategy, we’re here to help. From platforms to focus on, to general tips, here are the key aspects of a winning social media strategy for any business.
What’s the Importance of a Social Media Strategy?
First, let’s highlight the importance of a social media strategy a little further.
Of course, the vast number of people on social media hints at that importance — but that’s just part of the big picture.
A social media strategy isn’t just important because it can reach a lot of people. It’s important because it can reach a lot of people in a way that feels natural and matters to them.
There are lots of ways to reach a lot of people. You can put up a billboard, buy digital ad space, or mail ads on paper. However, those methods are all limited ways of growing a brand, because they look and feel like ads.
Today’s consumers are bombarded with advertising, and they’ve learned to tune it out.
On social media, though, you don’t always have to play the role of an advertiser. Your brand can become an active personality, engaging and entertaining people without directly trying to sell to them. You can position your brand as funny, warm, knowledgeable, or any other adjective you’d like.
To put it another way, social media helps people get to know your brand, without forcing it on them. It has a natural feel that creates a more powerful result than ads often do. That’s why you need a great social media strategy.
A social media strategy is a comprehensive plan for actions you’ll take, and outcomes you intend to achieve, on social media. Now, let’s delve into how to choose the right social platforms for your strategy.
Which Social Media Platforms Should You Use?
Any social media strategy must start with choosing certain platforms. Which platforms should you focus on, though?
Many brands might answer this question with “all of them.” After all, isn’t more social media presence always better?
In some ways, yes — but it’s more complicated than that.
Yes, it is good for a brand to have some sort of presence on every major platform. However, trying to focus on every platform equally can stretch your social media staff and budget thin. Instead, it’s better to have a basic presence everywhere, but focus most of your time and attention on platforms where your audience is usually found.
Here are a few of the major platforms to consider, and which audience you can expect to find on each of them.
Facebook is still the world’s biggest social media site. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should put all of your attention there.
Facebook is more popular among older adults, while teens and young adults have been drawn to newer platforms that their parents don’t use, like Snapchat. Brands with very young target demographics likely won’t want to spend too much time with Facebook, although every brand should have some sort of Facebook presence.
About two-thirds of 18 to 29-year-olds use Instagram. This makes it an ideal platform for brands hoping to reach people in their late teens or 20s.
However, Instagram is also unique in that it’s entirely image-based. The app’s focus on photos makes it especially ideal for visual brands such as fashion, makeup, and decor companies.
On the other hand, there’s Twitter, which is mainly focused on words. While users can post images on Twitter, the platform is best known for its text-based posts, or Tweets.
These short text posts make Twitter an ideal space for snappy or witty banter between brands and users, or brands and other brands.
LinkedIn focuses on work-related activity. People use it to find new jobs and post about their industries.
As a brand, this makes LinkedIn a great place to find a position as an industry leader. Well-written articles posted on LinkedIn can demonstrate your brand’s expertise. However, it’s not an ideal platform for brands that have an irreverent or humorous persona.
Snapchat is another platform that’s especially popular among young users, particularly those in their teens and 20s.
This platform focuses on user-generated content. Users typically post images and videos from their own lives. For brands, this can be a great chance to post user-generated content or to partner with influencers.
TikTok, a rising star in the social media world, is all about short, clever videos. They’re often funny, but many users also use the platform to make political statements.
Like Snapchat, TikTok is all about user-generated content. Brands working with TikTok stars or other celebrities may see great results. However, this app is also largely used by teens and young adults, so it may not have value for a brand with an older target audience.
This certainly isn’t a comprehensive list of social media platforms: for example, there’s also Pinterest, YouTube, and many others. However, these are some of the most essential platforms for brands to consider.
Organic or Paid Social: Which Is Best?
Once you’ve narrowed your focus to your top few platforms, you have another question to answer: organic or paid?
Both can actually be part of a winning social media strategy.
“Organic social” simply means any posts that you didn’t pay for. An ordinary status update, Tweet, or Instagram photo is an example of organic social.
Paid social refers to paid ad promotion. Paid social posts often look like organic posts, but appear to certain targeted users because you’ve paid for the ad space.
To use these two post types in a social media strategy, make sure they support each other. Paid social ads can help drive people to your brand. However, the organic social posts will then build loyalty, convincing users to stick around.
Paid posts build awareness, but organic posts are where your brand’s personality can really shine.
Other Tips for a Winning Social Media Strategy
With all of this in mind, you now have the framework for a great social media strategy. Now, add these tips to make it really shine.
Know Your Goals
If you don’t know what you want to achieve, you can’t use social media effectively.
Are you hoping to build brand awareness? Get new customers? Gain more site visitors? Reach new target users?
All of these goals are different, and require different social approaches. Be specific about your social media goals, and update them regularly.
Develop a Brand Persona
A brand without a persona will look lost on social media. Knowing your brand’s vibe and personality helps keep your social messaging consistent.
Before really getting into a social media strategy, figure out the persona. How should people feel about your brand?
A company with a humorous persona will post very differently than one with a serious, educational persona, for example.
Keep Visuals Consistent
That persona will also inform the visuals across social media platforms.
Know your brand’s colours and aesthetics before you start posting. Do you want to post vibrant, action-packed pictures that feature your users, or would infographics be more appropriate?
Your logo should also be visual on social media, but visuals don’t stop there. Great images keep people on social media loyal, just like consistent messaging does. Make sure to pick images that will resonate with your target audience.
Know Your Target Audience
If you’re not sure who your visuals and messaging is for, you can never get results from your posts.
Ideally, your brand will already know your target audience. However, you now have to get to know them in the context of social media, too.
For example, which platforms does your audience use most, and what do they post while there? Which other brands do they follow?
This information can help you know when, where, and what to post in order to keep that audience engaged. Keep in mind that having lots of social followers means little if they aren’t interacting with your content.
Ready to Grow Your Social Media Strategy?
If all of this seems a bit overwhelming, don’t worry. A brand can’t grow a great social media strategy overnight. This is a learning process — one that you don’t have to tackle alone.
Many brands partner with social media marketing experts to get their strategy off the ground. Social experts can help you use social media wisely, instead of just blasting posts into the ether and hoping they reach the right people.
Ready to make social media an integral part of your marketing plan? Check out our social media and digital marketing services here!