Turn a Flimsy Social Media Strategy Into a Solid Plan
There’s no doubt about it that social media can often feel like you’re trying to catch a fish with your bare hands against a rushing river (and maybe even blindfolded). Platforms, algorithms, dynamics, interfaces, access to data – what made sense or was available yesterday is constantly being swept away by today’s updates, news, and the frequently changing landscape.
Before you go nuts over “best practices” and are persuaded that buying fans is the way to go, hold up. Your social media success won’t happen overnight, nor will it happen because you posted at a specific time based on someone else’s strategy. It is different for every niche and every brand: There’s no formula or a “one size fits all” strategy.
It takes creativity, time, a little risk, and data to determine what will work for you. Allow this to be your DIY guide to build a solid foundation for your social media platform to grow – we’ve even included a few reminders to keep you motivated.
Determine Your Strategy
Before you can do anything, there are several questions you must ask yourself:
- What are your goals with social media?
- What message do you want to convey about your brand?
- Does your audience prefer a social media platform?
- How does your audience interact on those platforms?
These answers will help you determine what platforms you should stick to as well as the type of content you should create to get the most out of your strategy.
Remind me again: Why I should do this? A strong social media presence will help you increase your exposure to achieve your professional and/or personal branding goals.
5 Rules of Engagement
- Listen: Your audience is talking and sharing. Listen to them and observe what they like, dislike, want, need, and more.
- Original: Create content that is unique and has immeasurable value by truly connecting with your readers’ emotions, interests, etc.
- Quality: Typos, images that are “2000 and late,” and any other poor quality content is embarrassing. Go quality or go home.
- Relevant: Avoid creating noise by providing your audience with information that is relevant to them or your brand’s message.
- Tone: Think of social media like business-casual dress at a typical office. It might be okay to wear jeans and lose the tie, but your relationships should remain professional and friendly.
Remind me again: Why I should do this? Social media can help you gain incredible niche intelligence to become a respected thought leader.
6 Resources to Recognize Trends
Social media is all about keeping the pulse of the network. Recognize trends and participate in them to be more engaging and possibly go viral. Examples of trends include memes, topics, hashtags, gifs, viral videos, etc. Many of these items may seem frivolous or like they don’t relate to your core message, but using them shows you are present and paying attention. Here are several resources you can start using today to spot trends:
Remind me again: Why I should do this? Social media will help you build loyal fans.
Types of Social Media Content
Resist the urge to blatantly promote with self-serving information. Provide a diverse amount of content that targets the user’s interests and the social networking mentality or risk deflating your social media efforts. Try a combination of any of the following:
- Provide Opinions
- Solicit Input
- Status Updates
- Ask Easy-to-Answer Questions
- Links to Your Articles
- Links to 3rd-Party Articles
- Links to Blog Posts
- Promotions and Contests
- Cartoons, Jokes, and Funny Images
- Trivia Questions
- Likes and Recommendations
- News Announcements
- Sharing/Retweeting Other People’s Social Media Posts
- Motivating or Inspiring Quotes
- Future plans
Also, be customer-centric. Rather than seeking out a customer contact form on your website, customers or clients will go to your social media pages because it’s more convenient and they are familiar with the territory. Keep this customer service outlet open and actively monitor your pages by responding to questions, comments, and more in a timely manner.
Remind me again: Why I should do this? A diverse presence on social media can help you generate pre-qualified leads.
Main Platforms to Stick To
It’s a good idea to create a profile for all of the following platforms in order to secure your page brand. However, there’s absolutely no need to maintain an active profile on all of them. Pick those that have the strongest social signals from your audience (typically 2 or 3 pages) and focus your energy on those to gain a good foothold. When you’re ready (and have the resources), then consider activating your presence on other social media platforms.
Remind me again: Why I should do this? Because if you’re not already on social media, you’re competitors are looking at you through their rearview mirror and you’ll struggle to succeed.
Be smart. Have a plan so you don’t waste your time and test, test, test. Try different types of content, conversations, and take a risk by jumping on a relevant trend when the time is right. If you use these tips, you’ll be looking at your competition through your rearview mirror.
What social media platform have you found the most success on? Did we leave any important information out? Do you have any questions or comments? Let us know – we’d really love to hear from you!