Frustrated with your social media strategy?
Can’t figure out what to post to keep your audience engaged?
Or maybe you don’t even know where to start using social media for your business.
If one of these sounds like you, follow these 7 steps to social media success!
It’s an easy, free tutorial for beginners.
Disclosure: If you make a purchase via links in this article, I may earn a referral fee, at no cost to you.
Does Social Media Marketing work?
If you’re not seeing the results you hoped for, you may be wondering whether you really need social media.
Nowadays, social media is as important as Google when it comes to driving traffic to your website, sales pages, and affiliate offers!
With billions of loyal users, sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram are now responsible for more than 30% of all website traffic, according to a study by Shareaholic.
There are many reasons to do social media marketing:
- Boost your business’s online visibility.
- Grow your inbound website traffic.
- Build a community around your business.
- Strengthen brand loyalty.
- Gain opportunities to turn followers into subscribers…
- And subscribers into buyers and clients!
- Improve your website’s search engine rankings.
- Increase know, like, and trust with prospects.
Clearly, social media is a marketing method we all need to pay attention to.
But if you’re trying to put the power of social media to work for your business and not seeing the results you wanted, you know it’s easy to flounder around and not really achieve anything.
It all starts with your goal for being on social media in the first place!
Without a goal, you won’t know:
- Where to post.
- What to post.
- How often to post.
- Why you’re putting in the effort.
- If your efforts are succeeding.
So let’s nail your goals, so we can nail your social media strategy!
How to create your Social Media Strategy
Deciding to embark on a social media marketing campaign is only the beginning.
You have to go in with a real plan of action, understanding your goals, objectives, and the tactics that you’ll use to create success.
Let’s tackle it step-by-step!
Step 1: Identify your business goals
This brainstorming section will help you create a social media marketing plan that gets the results you want.
I recommend you jot down your answers to these prompts. If you don’t know these, you won’t get far!
My main vision for my business is:
My target audience is:
My audience uses the following social media:
My main competition is:
My unique selling proposition is:
A few words that describe my brand personality are:
My overarching goal for social media marketing is:
You may want to revisit your goals yearly. Once you’ve learned how to review your business, make sure your social media marketing goals are still accurate.
Step 2: Pick your platforms
Once you’ve identified your audience and goals, you’re ready to choose the best social media platform for your business.
You may eventually be on two or three, but you’ve got to master one first, and it may as well be the one where you’ve got the best chance at the results you seek!
The article linked above will help you find the platform that’s the best fit for your business goals.
Avoid overwhelm by starting there.
Step 3: Decide what to post on social media
Once you’ve got your platform, you need to figure out what to post!
A good social media posting plan incorporates:
- A strategy that suits your business goals.
- Timely content you create (your blog, videos, podcasts, etc).
- Evergreen content that still has value to your visitors (and you).
- Entertaining content like social media holidays and memes.
- Other people’s content.
- Inspirational quotes and messages.
- Events and offers.
- Personal stories.
The best social media plan offers a cohesive melding of all of the above to tell a story and lead followers along a natural path, much like your sales funnel does.
It’s helpful to create a monthly theme based around events and promotions, then tie your social media posts into that single theme. This will help with branding, but more importantly, it will ensure you always know exactly what topics to write about, graphics to make, videos to record, and content to share.
Don’t have a theme? Seasons and holidays may inspire you.
Be sure to cover a broad range of social media content categories to keep things interesting to your audience.
For a deep dive into content ideas, read What to Post on Social Media.
Step 4: Create social media images
You just can’t post to social media anymore without visual content. That means photos, graphics, and videos.
If you enjoy getting in front of the camera, you’re golden. Live videos are very popular on Facebook and Instagram. Check out these Facebook Live tips.
Creating and editing other types of videos involves a bit of a learning curve. If you’re ready to dive in, you’ll find these video tools helpful.
Graphics is where I shine – and you can too, with the right tools!
I polled some top bloggers to discover their favorite tools to create images for their social media posts. These 3 topped the charts, hands down:
Canva for Work (paid version)
Here are two super easy Canva alternatives I recommend (the easiest for beginners!). Both also have a free-forever version!
Each of the above costs around $10/month if paid annually. PicMonkey is a bit less.
All except Photoshop provide social post templates you can modify to suit your branding. Save a few as branded templates right in the app. You can return later to switch out a photo or words and have a new branded image in a snap.
Though Photoshop is my go-to image tool, I don’t recommend you try to learn it unless you’ll be spending a lot of time on photography or graphic design.
Blogger tip: Pull a short quote from your article and use one of these tools to add the words to your image. You’ll see much better engagement. Robert Bruce reported a tenfold increase in retweets when using a quote image instead of a plain photo!
Social media image sizes are forever changing, making it frustrating to keep up. The tools mentioned above not only create images in minutes, they also include the correct sizes for each platform in their selection of templates.
Step 5: Use hashtags for help!
Now that you’re getting content posted, let’s consider how to give it a boost.
One way that content is organized on social media is with hashtags. Whether you’re posting to Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, including hashtags will help new followers find your content.
You can think of hashtags as the index of social media.
If you’re not familiar with how to use hashtags, they’re a way to categorize content. Users on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter search for them to find relevant content. If they’re searching for your topics, you want to be found there!
Including hashtags in your posts is easy. Simply find the hashtags you want to use, and add them at the end of each post with the hashtag symbol, like this: #BusinessTips #SocialMedia #VirtualAssistant. Don’t include any spaces between words, or punctuation, or your hashtag won’t work as intended.
Also, #please #don’t #be #the #person #who #does #this. It’s ugly and unreadable.
Keep in mind that on Twitter, it’s a good idea to include no more than 2 or 3 hashtags. And for hashtags on Instagram, use at least 11, and up to 30.
If you want to use hashtags on Facebook, try a small group of 3-5. Facebook has recently recommitted to hashtags, so that’s a good thing!
Pinterest decided to add clickable hashtags in August 2017. They didn’t really catch on though. Now Pinterest hashtags are “optional.”
LinkedIn finally supports hashtags! You can use a few in your updates.
Another great way to inspire content is with Days of the Week hashtags. Find one or two that you can create a weekly series around.
Aside from the most common hashtags, you might also consider creating your own unique, branded hashtag. Business coach Carrie Wilkerson uses this technique to help brand herself with the hashtag #CarrieOn.
Research and make a note of hashtags your ideal customer would look for.
Step 6: Automate & systematize
As with all things in business, the less work you have to put into it, the bigger your ROI (return on investment) will be.
Much of the work of a social media posting plan can be easily automated for much less expense than paying a virtual assistant to post manually at the correct times. Don’t forget that you or your VA still must visit your post to respond to comments and keep the engagement going!
There are many tools available to schedule posts across a variety of social platforms. Some offer free and paid options, and most have a free trial. Sign up for a couple to test them out, and see which one meets your business needs best.
When you find one you like, you may wish to upgrade to unlock the best features. I personally find it money well spent, since they save me so much precious time.
You can schedule Facebook posts free right on the platform. Their built-in tool can be rather time consuming, but it’s a start.
SmarterQueue schedules your content to the other top social platforms too, so it might be the only scheduler you need.
If IG’s your jam, there are lots of legit ways to post to Instagram from desktop so you’re not tied to your phone.
While you can now schedule pins right on Pinterest, the features are very limited and clunky. I find Tailwind to be the best Pinterest scheduler, and they now offer a “forever free” plan.
If you’ve followed me for very long, you know that I love Tailwind’s apps as well as their staff. Try Tailwind for Pinterest here.
Are you a blogger? Missinglettr is the social media tool for bloggers.
Know those quote images that go viral on social media? Missinglettr pulls the words directly from your blog and whips them up auto-magically. It’s my fave for Twitter and LinkedIn, and it posts to Facebook too. Try Missinglettr here.
Step 7: Check results and tweak
Once you’ve posted for a month or two, you’ll want to check your platform’s analytics to see how you’re doing.
Facebook Insights are wonderfully in-depth, but each platform offers some level of analytics for business accounts.
Now rinse and repeat!
I believe in the power of social media! It might be how you found me in the first place.
But if you don’t have a strategy, you won’t see results.
Don’t waste time – follow these steps to determine your goals and create your plan.
Then go rock that social media strategy!