Your audience is online. There has been a steady, inexorable move to online shopping that was accelerated by the global pandemic. The importance of your social media strategy can not be overstated. There are 4.2 billion active social media users, nearly double the number of people online just five years ago.
As staggering as those numbers are, even more relevant is the amount of time people spend online. Social media users spend an average of 2 hours and 25 minutes on social channels every day.
You have nearly 2.5 hours a day with current and potential customers to build brand awareness, develop customer relationships, and make direct sales through your social channels.
How can you make your content and channels stand out in a national or global market? The first step to refining your digital presence is to do a social media audit. Once you know what is working to gain traction and what isn’t, you can begin to plan.
1. Plan your social strategy
Signing up to social channels is free, but your time is not. The time you spend crafting, curating, posting, and boosting content is valuable and needs to impact your business. Start by defining your goals. Do you want to grow your audience? Do you want to become a trusted source of information and advice? Do you want direct social sales?
Start with your top 3 marketing objectives and determine how social media can help achieve these. Follow the SMART framework. Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Choose metrics that will have a genuine impact on your business. 10,000 followers are great, but not if they aren’t driving sales.
Spend some time trying different approaches. Until you start posting, you won’t know what is resonating with your audience. Be prepared to adjust and pivot.
2. Research your Competition
Review the social media channels of the top performers in your industry. What is engaging their audience? Are they missing opportunities you can exploit? If you’re a new entrant or a more minor player in an industry dominated by multinationals, you won’t be able to out-spend or out-market your competition. You can often do what larger corporations can’t, be genuine, authentic, and build a true connection with your customers.
Research to learn what to emulate and where you can differentiate.
3. Build a Social Calendar
By planning ahead, you can identify and incorporate any special days that align with your industry, prepare content for holidays, and determine your content needs. You can schedule posts ahead of time or just have them ready to go.
Remember, if you have posts scheduled and some significant event happens, you may need to delete or change your message. Many brands have made the error of allowing content to post when the world was captivated by a tragedy.
4. Choose your Channels
Most brands will need to be on multiple channels to reach different segments of their audience. You might find you are handling a lot of customer service on Facebook and getting new leads from Instagram. TikTok might be vital for building brand awareness while your blog can demonstrate that your brand is a source of valuable knowledge.
5. Build your Audience and Build Relationships
Boosted content can help you reach more people and build your audience. Filling your pages with engaging content and sharing valuable insights and information will help build customer relationships. Remember, algorithms drive all social platforms. If you post something and no one interacts with it, the platform will stop showing that content to other users.
Your platforms should always be hosting 2-way conversations. If your channels are just pushing your products and looking for sales, you won’t be building an engaged audience. Encourage customers to interact. Post engaging content and be sure to respond to comments. Post short surveys. Invite customer questions and stories. Seek feedback.
Increasing your following is great, but customer retention builds loyal customers, which leads to increased sales.
People like to do business with brands they trust.
6. Build a Cohesive Digital Presence
More than 44% of people use social networks to research a brand. Regardless of where a customer lands (website, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), your brand identity should be clear. Are your logos up to date? Do colours and images properly reflect your brand? Is your content aligned with philosophy and message?
7. Sell with Social
Social commerce had a global market value of 89 billion in June 2020. You can sell directly to your customers where they are already spending their time. Social sales are the next evolution in the convenience of online shopping. Customers can now buy a product right from the post where they learned about it.
8. Post Quality
Post regularly to keep your audience engaged, but ensure every post is adding value. Focus on quality over quantity. Posting three times a week with valuable and engaging content is better than daily posts that aren’t interesting or relevant.
Valuable content teaches your customer something new or engages them with a compelling story.