As a communications and social media specialist, I often get asked by clients and business owners how to successfully execute a social media plan. Based on this recurring inquiry, I’ve outlined 8 tips that should be considered by any business when looking to bring social media goals and strategy to life.
- Content: think quality vs. quantity
Your content is the substance of your social media platform and should provide value to your audience. Before you post anything, take a step back, think, read, and edit your content. Don’t risk looking egocentric by basing all your posts on what you have to offer. No one wants to read a blatant sales pitch. Instead, include a variety of interesting and creative materials—promotions, images, and engaging content—which you have developed and sourced because you feel your community will get something out of it. Be sure to develop a combination of original content (linking back to your own site) and curated content (sharing links to others’ sites). According to this research, linking back to your own site 25 to 50% of the time will give you the best results. Ultimately, when developing your content you should ask yourself: “Would I actually take the time to read this and share it?” You always want the answer to be yes.
- Adapt your content appropriately for each platform
Each social media platform has a different function and works best with a particular content format. Your social media strategy will help you determine which platforms you want to utilize, but once you’ve done so, it’s important to tailor your posts, videos, and images to each platform’s unique specs and ensure you have appropriate copy length.
Here’s an example: If you want to promote your brand’s newest running shoe line, you might consider doing the following on each social platform:
- Facebook: Post about what runners should be looking for in a quality running shoe. Include a link to a third-party article that supports what you’re saying. In another post you might explain how your shoe meets these requirements and more. (Make sure all of your Facebook posts aren’t blatantly advertising the new shoe or people will stop following.)
- Twitter & Instagram: Post images of employees wearing the new shoes. Have your social media manager go into stores and take pictures of customers trying the shoe on or ask people via Twitter to share photos of themselves wearing to the shoe with a particular hashtag (see more on hashtag use below).
- Pinterest: Post a stylized image of the new shoe with an inspirational quote about living an active lifestyle. Link the image back to your website.
- Use #Hashtags strategically
Have fun using hashtags but don’t overload your posts with them. Ensure the hashtags you use are aligned with your brand’s values and tone. Decide whether you want to create a new ownable hashtag or use popular ones to broaden your reach. Continuing with the example of bringing a new running shoe to market, you might want to create a unique hashtag like #newkicks while also using popular hastags like #running to open up the reach to everyone looking for posts on this topic. Use a tool like Tagboard to see how people are using specific hashtags that you might be considering.
- Stay organized with a schedule
Knowing what you’re going to post and when is half the battle. Consider creating a schedule based on each social platform. Some platforms such as Facebook might be best served with daily or bi-weekly posts, while on Twitter you can post as frequently as every couple of hours. Planning out your posts in advance will help save you time and ensure you’re posting quality, well-thought out content. But, while being ready in advance with your posts can be a huge time-saver, it’s also important to complement these with opportunistic posts that are created in real time. Remember to be prepared to veer from the schedule if an event warrants (i.e. be sure to remove your scheduled posts in the event of a crisis or you’ll end up looking insensitive and out of touch with the real-time nature of social media.)
- Stay on top of your social channels
Once you’ve started posting to social media, you’ll want to ensure you always have someone monitoring your social channels and engaging with your audience. The best way to make real connections with your audience is to be around to acknowledge individuals when they comment on or share your posts and to answer any questions they pose in a timely manner.
- Monitor and measure your engagement levels
It’s always good to monitor and measure what is and isn’t working, so you can continuously evolve your social media plan. Set out some time at the end of each week, book yourself into a meeting if you have to, and get familiar with your engagement levels. This will allow you to determine which type of posts you want to continue with when planning your next schedule and which ones you might want to tweak so you can improve on engagement.
- Make life easier with a management tool
Using a social media management tool allows you to keep the majority of your posts in one spot and helps you monitor what’s working across several different platforms in an embedded post analysis application. To understand the best application for your business needs, take some time to try a few out (i.e. SproutSocial and Hootsuite) to find one that’s easy to navigate and provides all the functions you need.
- Stick with it!
Once you’ve gotten started on social media, stick with it. Ensure you’re consistent with your posts and don’t give up. It’s easy to get derailed with other business challenges or requirements, but don’t forget to continue with your social media planning and execution.
Social media is always evolving and requires a strong strategy, ongoing attention, and care. Having a solid plan and being organized makes it much easier to execute. Working with a partner like Felicity to build out your strategy and aid in the execution can make the process easier and bring about results for your brand. At the end of the day, your goal is to create a community based on interactions, not numbers. Also remember that this is social, and it’s supposed to be fun!
About the blogger:
Rachael Goodman, Felicity Account Lead
Rachael helps brands realize their potential by blending her knowledge of corporate communications, PR, marketing and social media, gleaned from more than a decade of senior-level agency and client experience. With a proven track record of delivering results through effective and efficient strategic planning, insight mining, development and implementation of breakthrough initiatives, Rachael provides clients with creative, detailed and innovative solutions.