PR From The Saddle: 7 steps to building a successful social media strategy
With an expert knowledge of all things social media, Tara Punter – of Tara Punter PR – is back to help you maximise your business potential.
“71% of consumers who have a good social media experience with a brand are more likely to recommend it to others”
In our last blog for Equestrian Business, we explored ‘5 reasons why you need social media to scale up your equestrian business’, which hopefully inspired you to start thinking about how you can utilise social channels to grow your business. The next step is to get a plan in place – look at what you want to achieve from social media, identify some realistic goals and build a strategy to ensure you are best placed to achieve them.
Social media is about so much more than watching viral videos. But if you don’t think about what you want to achieve before you start, then you might as well waste some time watching those viral videos instead, because you won’t know what is working well and what isn’t.
1. Review your business aims
You will need to invest both time and energy in social media for business, so make the most of it by ensuring that what you choose to do supports your business goals.
Are you trying to drive more traffic to your website, raise awareness of a particular product or offer, or offer an additional channel for customer interactions? Look at where you want your business to be in six months or a year and then construct a plan to use social to help you get there.
2. Learn as much as you can about your audience
If you are an established business then you should have some data about your customers and be able to build a picture of who they are (their age, sex, geographical location etc) and what they want or need. You can then build up an idea of which of the array of social networks available they are most likely to be active on and the sort of content they are most likely to be interested in.
If you are starting from scratch then think about your ideal customer and where they get their information, and then steer your social media messaging to them.
3. Choose your platforms
Your choice or choices of network will be influenced by the customer research detailed above – if your ideal customer is female and 25 years old then Instagram is an excellent place to start. Or, if your product is aimed at men of 50 and up then perhaps steer clear of Pinterest for now…
You will probably want to have business profiles on more than one social network to give yourself the best chance of reaching lots of people – just remember that each may require slightly different content. For example, LinkedIn for thought leadership, Twitter for the latest news and views, and Instagram for pretty pictures!
4. Set smart goals and put KPIs in place
Knowing the difference between actionable goals and vanity metrics is key. It’s very easy to run a quick Facebook marketing campaign and gain 5,000 followers in a week, but what does that actually do to help your business if none of those people interact with your posts? Better to have 1500 followers who actually care about your products and what you do than 10,000 who do not.
As a very basic guide, your goals should be based around engagement, so likes, shares, retweets, link clicks and favourites, or ROI, email sign ups, e-book downloads, offers and coupons used and so on.
5. Build your social media strategy
Now that you know which social media platforms you want to use, have some goals in place and an idea of the type of content you need to create, the next step is to build a strategy.
This should outline what you want to post to each social media channel, when you want it to deploy and identify any images or other assets needed. You should include regular reviews of your social media activity and an accurate assessment of the results.
6. Assign roles
If your business is you and you alone, then clearly social media is going to become part of your job! If there are several people in your team then make sure it’s clear who will be responsible for what. That way, you can be sure the social media strategy you’ve put in place will be executed as planned and not put on the back burner when it is busy.
Even if just one person is going to be responsible for writing and posting content, why not ask everyone on the business to send photos and ideas over for them to use?
7. Research and choose software
You will probably want to create branded images, infographics, video and more to really make your social media content sing. There are some fantastic free tools out there to help you – check out Pexel for free stock images (but do try to take your own as well, they always get better engagement!), Canva to help you create striking infographics and Soapbox for easy video or webinar creation.
You are also far more likely to stick to a social media plan if you can schedule messages for a week or two in one go. I’d recommend looking at Hootsuite and Buffer – they each have different benefits, so you can choose the one that suits you best.
It’s so important to get all your ducks in a row before embarking on your social media journey, but all that planning will go to waste if you don’t get started – so get your planning and preparation sorted… and start posting!
If you’re still feeling baffled by Buffer and in a social spin, why not get in touch with our dedicated team of experts to see how we can help you create engaging content or help you better understand how you can use platforms for success.