media update chatted to the team at social media tracking and reporting service amaSocial about the 10 things you need to tick off your list when defining your social media strategy.

A social media strategy is a simple way to give your marketing some direction and improve your performance on social media. Are you ready to build a strategy?

Step 1: Define your mission

Before you can work on your overarching plan of action, you first have to define what exactly it is that you want to get out of your social media strategy.

Your mission statement should be broad, and relate to what you want to achieve after implementing this strategy. An easy way to figure out your mission statement is to answer this simple question: “Why do you want to use social media for your business?”

Remember that your answer should relate to your marketing strategy. Your answer might be, for example, to raise awareness about your brand, to generate new leads or to direct more traffic to your website.

Once you’ve got your social media mission defined, you can move on to the next step.

Step 2: Outline your goals

Your goals should outline exactly how you plan to complete your defined mission.

Start by listing the steps that you need to take in order to achieve your mission. You’ll need three or four steps that are ‘SMART’ – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-sensitive.

For example, if your mission is to get more people to learn about the culture of your brand, one of your goals could be to increase the reach of your Facebook videos to 2 000 views per post within the next six months.

With your SMART goals in place, you can start considering who it is you want to reach out to.

Step 3: Consider your target audience

So, now you know exactly what you want to achieve and how you’re planning to achieve it. The next step is figuring out exactly who you want to reach.

A simple way to identify your audience is to create basic buyer personas. These are fictional characters that have the same traits as your typical clients.

amaSocial gives this example: “A take-away food brand might list their target audience as women in Gauteng between ages 18 and 30 who want healthy, fresh food on-the-go and men in Gauteng between the ages of 18 and 35 that need healthy, high-protein take-away food.”

Step 4: Identify your competitors

At this point, you have a pretty clear understanding of what it is that you want to achieve, how you’re going to do it and who you’re aiming your marketing at. Now you’ll need to consider all the other brands that have similar offerings and ensure you stand out.

Start by looking at what your biggest competitors are doing on social media. See which platforms they use and what they are trying to achieve. Armed with that information, you can work on differentiating your brand from others.

You can also use this information to learn from your competitors’ mistakes. For example, if your competitors’ content comes across as too serious or too light-hearted, make sure that your brand doesn’t fall into the same trap.

Step 5: Find the right social platforms for you

Not all social media platforms serve the same purpose, and they aren’t all the right fit for every brand. You’ll need to think about the platforms that your target audience, set out in your buyer personas, are using.

List the social media platforms that you want to use for your social media marketing. Then look at the analytics and audience insights on each platform to see which ones your target market prefers.

“You can also search social media platforms for hashtags relevant to your brand,” advises amaSocial. “Compare platforms to find out which networks people use most often to discuss topics related to your products or services. Focus on those networks.”

Step 6: Think about the type of content you’ll be posting

Once you have identified the social media platforms you want to use, you’ll need to ensure you produce content that suits the platform.

For example, if you have decided to use YouTube and Instagram, you’ll need to be producing videos or images only. However, if you use Twitter and Facebook, you can share links to articles and information on your website.

Keep in mind that different types of content attract different audiences. Don’t be afraid to test out new content formats such as 360 videos and live streaming.

Step 7: Measure your performance

So you’ve produced your content – but how is it performing? Use a combination of analytics and tracking tools to measure your social media performance. This combination will give you a more complete view of your brand’s presence on social media.

Analytics found on social media platforms can provide in-depth information on the performance of your posts, while social media tracking services, like amaSocial, measure the perception of your brand across various platforms.

Step 8: Research the tools you can use

Do some research into the various online tools and software that you can use to run your brand’s social media.

Social media management programs that schedule your posts can be useful, as can analytics software and social media tracking services.

Also, keep in mind the software that you can use to create and improve your social media posts.

Step 9: Assign team roles

Make a list of the people responsible for various tasks related to your social media strategy. Consider who will be responsible for creating the content, posting updates and measuring the performance of your social media activities.

amaSocial top tip: Remember to identify the person or team who will monitor your social channels for customer support requests and potential PR issues. Appointing someone to respond to these social media users can help to avoid any problems.

Step 10: Revise your strategy

Your final step is to ensure that your social media strategy is working out as planned. Check your goals against your mission – did you achieve what you wanted to?

If you aren’t moving closer to your goals within six months of implementing your strategy, it might be time to revise it. Tweak the content you are creating, the social media platforms you are using or your goals if necessary.

Remember that your strategy should evolve as you learn. Check up on it often, and above all else – don’t be afraid to try out new ideas.

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Social media intelligence is all about uncovering insights from the data about your social media performance. Artificial intelligence is revolutionising this process as there is so much data to sift through on social media platforms. Find out more in our article, How AI will take social media intelligence to new heights.