A social media strategy is the best way to plan how you’ll utilise social media for your business. It helps you map out what you’ll post and when you’ll post it, so you can apply method to your campaigns to make sure they’re relevant, insightful, and successfully connect with your customers.

Identify your business goals

Look closely at your company’s overall needs and decide how you want to use social media to help achieve them. You’ll undoubtedly have several goals specific to your business, but there are a few that all companies should include in their strategy: increasing brand awareness, retaining customers, and reducing marketing costs.

Set marketing objectives

Goals aren’t really useful if you don’t have specific parameters that define when each is achieved. For example, if one of your primary goals is to generate leads and sales, how many leads and sales do you have to generate before you consider that goal a success?

Marketing objectives define how you get from point A to point B. You can determine your objectives with the S-M-A-R-T approach: Make your objectives specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

Identify your ideal customers

If a business is suffering from low engagement on its social profiles, it’s usually because they don’t have an accurate ideal customer profile. Buyer personas help you define and target the right people in the right places at the right times with the right messages.

When you know your target audience’s age, occupation, income, interests, pains, problems, obstacles, habits, likes, dislikes, motivations and objections, then it’s easier and cheaper to target them on social or any other media.

Research the competition

When it comes to social media marketing, researching your competition not only helps you stay aware of their activity, it also gives you an idea of what’s working so you can integrate those successful tactics into your own efforts.

Start by compiling a list of at least 3-5 main competitors. Find out which social networks they’re using and analyse their content strategy. Look at their number of followers, posting frequency, and the time of day when they post.

Also pay attention to the type of content they’re posting and its context (humorous, promotional, etc.) and how they’re responding to their followers.

Create a content strategy

Without great content, social media is meaningless, and without social media, nobody will know about your content. Use them together to reach and convert your prospects.

There are three main components to any successful social media content strategy: type of content, time of posting and frequency of posting.

The type of content you should post on each social network relies on form and context. Form is how you present that information—text only, images, links, video, etc.

Posting frequency is as important as the content you share. You don’t want to annoy your fans or followers by posting too often or too little, so finding the perfect frequency is crucial to help you engage with your customers and discourage unlikes and unfollows. Use Facebook Insights to see when your target customer base is online and engaging with your content.

Your social media marketing strategy isn’t set in stone. As you move forward, you may discover that some tactics aren’t working as well as you thought they would, but you can use this to adapt and make changes to your overall strategy.