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How to build a Social Media marketing strategy

A strategy or a plan is something we (well I) am often shocked to hear that businesses don’t have. They wing it - they jump from one thing to another because they had another new great idea, or someone told them they should be doing something else, or they realise that what they are doing is not working so they flip and pivot and backtrack all over the place. Seriously how are you going to move forward and have control over where you are going if you have no clear vision? How will you answer the ‘why’ you are doing what you are doing? It may just be my brain and the way it thinks, but a strategy is such an important and vital part of your business. Social media is one of the fastest growing mediums available to market your business and it is also one of the fastest evolving, so trying to keep up with its changes, keep on top of what you know and make it work for you is a big challenge.

Firstly, let’s talk about what social media actually is - it is not called “sales media” for a reason. Its main purpose is not to sell, but to be social with your audience - the sales part is the added bonus. It is about connecting, developing relationships and talking to your audience so you can share, inform, entertain and engage with them. Like we have mentioned above, we all do things because someone told us about it or suggested it was a good idea. If you are a brand that is effectively connecting with your audience, as in, they are listening to you and want to know more about you and your offering, that is when your social media is effective. It’s not just about the image you post, but about your tone of voice, your audience interaction and how valued your audience feels.

If you're starting out

When you are a new business, brand or a start up with social media you need to be looking at the following elements in order to build your strategy:

  1. Who are your audience?

  2. What motivates them?

  3. When they are active on social media?

  4. What they respond best to?

Your strategy at this point should be about perfecting your storytelling - who are you, what you want your audience to know about you and how it is best to connect with them. Ask them questions and get feedback. Regularly connect with them - don’t drown them, but the more you are present you are in their feed, the more they will remember you. Social media is great for running polls or getting information in an easy, quick affordable way. Your strategy - no matter what stage you are - at should tell you what part of your business you will be focusing on each month, how often you need to post, what time of day you should be posting and how to read the data that you will receive. A really important part of a strategy is keeping track of results, so make sure you have an end of month report that you can refer to and analyse. If you see growth, great! But know what to do with that. If you see a decline, make sure you understand why and be able to tweak what you are doing to turn that into a growth next month.

If you're stepping it up

At this stage, you would have social media under control - it's working for you and you are seeing some success but you may have hit a plateau. We hear it often - “I have done so well to get here but what next?”. It is likely there are a few things going on - it may be that you have some new competitors (businesses move fast) or maybe you have a well oiled machine that you know and do so well but it is getting a bit stale for those following you. There is always benefit in at least trying to mix things up. Again, your audience is your information source so you need a plan to gather information to understand why you have have hit that plateau. There is no need to completely change direction and build a whole new strategy - it has worked well to get you to this far, so consider adding some new tools to your social media account. IG TV, Reels or video content on your feed will all add movement, and let’s face it, who doesn’t love to watch a short, fun video. Audiences love to see behind the scenes and faces too. Be aware - that might mean putting yourself out there - but take the pressure off and make it fun and interesting, and if you are seeing results, don’t stop do more of it.

If you're taking off

If you are one of those businesses that is skyrocketing, every time you post your business goes nuts - firstly good for you - but do not take your foot off the pedal. At this point, your strategy needs to evolve in line with your storytelling. Keep your audience engaged and get them to start doing the work for you too. You want your content to be shared, saved and adored. Stay authentic to who you are, post regularly, use all the elements that you developed to get you this far, but ensure you are ahead of the curve. Keep your finger on the pulse and know what trends are on the up in terms of social media - do it first and nail it. The key to your strategy is to strengthen and grow and use your audience to keep that going.

Remember, when your vision is clear, the strategy will follow!


WORDS | Fiona Keogh


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