How to create a successful social media strategy in 7 easy steps + Free Template

For some time now, the presence on social media has been vital for businesses of any kind.

 

Forget about marketing as you knew it. If you are not on social media you don’t exist. Period.

 

Do you want your business to become part of this revolution in an active way? If so, you are in the right place.

 

But remember that it’s not enough to appear on Facebook or Instagram to make your business make the qualitative leap; in fact, the path is slightly more structured than that, but don’t despair, in this article you will find everything you need to create a winning social media strategy.

 

A Statista statistic (pardon the pun) confirms that “Nearly 50% of the world population uses social media.” That’s over 3 billion users worldwide.

 

I bet that among these 3 billion users there is also your target audience. If you still weren’t convinced you had to join the social media world, you should now.

 

Social-Media-Strategy-Success-Story anyone?

 

The example of success generated by the social media marketing strategy that I like the most is the Museum of Ice Cream one. (Yes, there is an ice cream museum, isn’t it brilliant?)

Museum of Ice Cream

 

Here is the point. Thanks to their presence on Instagram:

 

  • They have accumulated More than 400 thousand followers.
  • They grew their organic reach to 300 million (Organic Reach means the number of people who see a certain content without going through paid advertising campaigns).
  • The hashtag #museumoficecream is reported to have 72 million engagements.

 

Okay, enough chit chat. Time to dive into the secret sauce of social media strategy and make you successful.

 

Analytics is the new black

 

Now you may be thinking that all this is wonderful, but how can you apply it to your business?

 

First, set your goals; they will be the engine that drives your business step by step.

 

Then track your successes. There is just nothing more satisfying than seeing your dreams come true, right?

 

Well, here comes the centrepiece; It is true that most social platforms provide you with tools to see your progress.

I am sure that, most likely, they will be sufficient if you have just started to expose yourself on social media.

 

However, you may want something more. As I said earlier, if you are just starting out, I recommend you take a look at Hootsuite and Later; in fact, despite having Premium versions, therefore paid, they include a free plan. This will help you keeping the costs down at the beginning.

 

If instead, you want to bet very high (and above all you already have a strategy), you may want to evaluate Sprout Social; this is a 360-degree platform.

 

The most interesting part? Sprout Social allows you to compare your social performances with those of your competitors, finding new opportunities in the market.

 

# 1 Choose Your Goal

 

The first step in creating a striking social media strategy for your business? Identify your goals; in fact, without this passage, you would grope in the dark.

 

You need to know exactly where you want to go and how long it will take.

 

Achievable goals rule

 

Here is the first premise: set achievable goals and try to take small steps. Everything is reachable, but you must have patience and constancy. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither your social media success.

 

Running out of ideas? Here is a mini list of incredible goals you may want to apply to your business:

 

  • Increase brand awareness.
  • Generate leads and sales.
  • Grow brand audience.
  • Increase website traffic.

 

Easier said than done. I know, you’re right. But keep reading and you will find that nothing is impossible.

 

This is exactly what the founders of Miscusi, a fresh pasta restaurant must have thought. In Italy, obviously.

 

These broad-minded young men, started an intense marketing campaign 5 months before the opening of their restaurant, promoting it and generating curiosity.

 

Moral of the story? These guys have reached more than 2 million unique users per month and are on the crest of the wave with almost 90 thousand followers on Instagram.

We bet they are in it for the long haul.

 

# 3 Gather meaningful data 

 

Haven’t you gathered enough data yet?

No, but this data will give you exactly the information you need.

 

This brings us back to the first point, namely, your goals have to be clear; now, they must be analyzed.

 

Here are the social media metrics that really matter and how to track them.

 

  • Brand Awareness

What is it? The attention your brand obtains.

How to track it?

Across various social media, you can control the growth of your brand awareness through @mentions, tags, links, impressions and shares.

 

  • Audience Growth Rate

What is it? How quickly you are gaining new followers.

How to track it? 

Use the following formula to calculate this number:

How to create a successful social media strategy in 7 easy steps + Free Template
  • Post Reach

What is it? How many people saw your post on your social platforms.

How to track it?

How to create a successful social media strategy in 7 easy steps + Free Template
  • Average Engagement Rate

What is it? The number of likes, shares and comments your post received according to the number of your followers.

How to track it?

How to create a successful social media strategy in 7 easy steps + Free Template
  • Conversion Rate

What is it? The number of visitors who take action on a page, after clicking on a post.

How to track it?

 

# 2 Know your audience

 

Knowing your target audience (aka your potential customers) is critically important. 

 

This step is not difficult if you already have a catchment area on the social networks; in fact, you just need to extrapolate the data you need from one of the platforms listed above and understand who is interested in what you do and propose.

 

Also, keep in mind that Google Analytics is the winning choice when it comes to finding out everything about your customers or potential ones.

 

 

The matter is slightly different if you are starting from scratch with your project.

 

Is it even possible to understand who is interested in what you have to offer if you do not have an audience? Well, not really! 

 

(Psst. JUST JOKING!)

 

Don’t worry, here is the solution you were looking for.

 

There are 3 basic points to follow in this process:

 

Spy on your competitors.

Yes, exactly. Think about it, it makes sense. What works for them will most likely work for you too. This does not mean that you have to copy what they do; ABSOLUTELY NOT! On the contrary, take a cue and find room for improvement, because, remember, you must stand out from the crowd, not be one of many.

 

Search for forums that relate to your industry and start answering questions.

This is not a space to advertise your business (not yet); on the contrary, you want to understand what the pain points of your target audience are. In fact, whatever the industry you operate in, what you need to do to attract customers is offer solutions to their problems. And this is an excellent starting point.

 

Create a Customer Persona.

What? Yes, I know, it sounds a little weird, but it is essential.

In fact, creating a Customer Persona helps you understand, based on the data collected, who is your target audience, their habits, how they make decisions and much more. This will ensure that your business approaches your current followers and potential ones, in the right way. The result? Happier customers already acquired and new customers on the doorstep.

 

If all of this sounds wonderful, but you don’t know where to start to create your Customer Person, check this; it is pure gold! 

How to create a successful social media strategy in 7 easy steps + Free Template

We know that measuring data coming from your social media platforms can be slightly expensive using a tool if you are at the beginning. Worry not, we have a FREE TEMPLATE for you to download, right here

 

# 4 Learn from your competition (What’s their social media strategy?)

 

As mentioned above, the competition is your starting point to offer a better product or service.

 

We have already listed the advantages of comparing your business with what is already on the market.

 

Now, the real question is how to find competitors in your industry.

 

First of all, type on Google the keywords you are using for your own business; in this way, you will find out who already ranks for those same words and who is doing it correctly. 

 

Facebook groups can also be of great help in this research, as well as the search for relevant # hashtag in your niche.

 

Don’t you know how to improve the offer already existing on the market?

 

Read the reviews of your competitors and you will find important ideas to offer a stellar service.

 

Here are some sites where you can find reviews of your competitors:

  • Trustpilot
  • Reevoo
  • Yelp
  • G2CROWD

 

I agree with BrightLocal when it claims that reviews have become part of the daily life of any business. To get an idea on how customers approach a business based on reviews, read their article for more insights. 

 

PRO TIP: Check the backlinks for your competitors; backlinks will tell you who links to them. In this way, you will have important information on what attracts the most attention towards your competition. 

Considering that contents that get backlinks are normally valuable ones, you could take inspiration from there.

 

Not sure how to view your competitors’ backlinks? We recommend this tool.

You can also try it for free.

 

Here is another suggestion to learn from your competitors: check their pricing strategy, maybe they offer something for free to attract customers and you could do the same.

An important practice is to subscribe to your competitors’ newsletter to have an overview of their offering.

Through all these strategies, you will be almost able to offer a service or product that rises above the competition. You are now ready for the next step.

 

# 5 Create engaging contents

 

There is plenty of content creators out there; however, far fewer people create engaging contents. I’m pretty sure which group you want to be part of.

 

See, creating content is one of the most important parts of the whole process to attract new followers and satisfy existing ones.

 

Consistency is the first  good rule of thumb when creating visual contents.

 

Try to maintain a unique and uniform pattern across the entire platform you are using: this will help create and maintain an identifiable style with your brand.

How to create a successful social media strategy in 7 easy steps + Free Template

Considering that you should post several times a day on various social networks, it can sometimes become overwhelming and you may find yourself running out of ideas.

 

User-generated contents are the solution to your problem.

 

Invite your followers to create contents that reflect your product (whether it’s a piece of clothing or a or a sofa bed, it doesn’t matter).

 

In order for this to work, your fans have to be desperate to be reposted on your profile.

Create a contest, promote a certain hashtag and you will see contents pouring in.

How to create a successful social media strategy in 7 easy steps + Free Template

 

How not to mention the stories; more and more in vogue, they will allow you to keep your brand at the forefront of your followers’ feed and in their mind.

 

Remember that people love to see the backstage of companies: in fact “what happens behind the scenes” makes a company more human and closer to its followers.

 

Don’t you know how to create content that adheres to your brand and its style, without being monotonous and reduntant?

 

Here are my 2 favourite tools:

  • Adobe Suite: with a wide range of programs, you will surely find the right tool for you, from creating images to producing videos. The only “downside” is that you may have some difficulty in using it if you are not familiar    with the various programs.

But if you are interested in learning Adobe, on Skillshare you will find infinite resources to master it.

 

  • Canva: it does not require any design knowledge. You can create all kinds of content, even starting from existing templates.

They have a Premium version, but if you are just starting out, the free version will be more than enough to create high-quality content.

 

# 6 Decide which platform you should use

 

The fact that there are infinite social media platforms does not mean that they are all suitable for your type of business.

Most Importantly, your target audience may not be present on a particular platform.

 

Consider that managing too many platforms, with the sole purpose of being present on them, it’s not wise; in fact, it would be extremely time-consuming and non-productive.

 

It is definitely better to focus on 2/3 platforms and be consistent with those.

 

Digitally Nailed has created an infographic for you that will help you understand which social media platform is right for you.

How to create a successful social media strategy in 7 easy steps + Free Template

If you need more information about other platforms, click here.

 

# 7 Create a social media content calendar

 

Finally, here we are! Now you know who your target audience is, what content you need to publish and what are the most suitable platforms for your business.

 

Anyone would tell you that it’s time for you to get down to business. But not us; not yet at least.

 

We have one last secret to save you time and effort.

 

In fact, to be competitive, you will have to do much more than just post a few times a week. For this reason, it may be difficult to manage multiple platforms simultaneously.

 

The solution? Very simple: create a social media content calendar.

 

Here are some reasons why you should start immediately if you have not already done so:

 

  • Your content calendar will give you a better perspective of your overall marketing strategy.
  • It is essential for maintaining consistency.
  • It helps you avoid repetitions, keeping your audience engaged with new and fresh contents.

 

With a content calendar  you will be able to schedule a whole month in advance for every platform you use.

Needless to say, you will love it!

 

Be careful though! Even if you have created your content in advance, you will always have to be available as soon as your users will start creating engagement with your posts; in other words, you have to respond. Quickly, preferably.

 

 The response time should arrive within 10 minutes, so consider publishing your posts when you can be active, as well as considering the best times to publish on each social.

 

Conclusion

Social media can become your best ally if you use them correctly.

 

Now that you have all the tools you need to develop a successful social media strategy, start taking action.

 

Apply these strategies and you will see the results coming.

 

Try to be constant and not lose heart. Remember, we are all small fish in a big, huge sea.

 

Nonetheless, you now have an important advantage: you know exactly how to create your social media marketing strategy.

 

Do you already have your own social media strategy? What are your best tips for achieving your goals with social media marketing?

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