Social media marketing is nothing new - it is a massive industry to which 3.5 billion people are using it worldwide. If you’re a business in this day and age with no social media strategy, then it might be time to jump on board. So, what is the most effective channel and how do you make sure that your digital presence is getting you the most out of time and effort spent on each platform?
Even if you have an existing presence, the chances are that algorithm updates, habitual shifts and a tricky audience will be competing for your attention. So how do you actually plan around it all and create an effective social media plan to accommodate for each element?
How to create a social media campaign
Step one: Define your objectives
What is it exactly you want to achieve with each channel? Your biggest objective is the need to understand that each platform will need a different goal in mind.
You cannot expect your organic Facebook traffic to reflect the same as your LinkedIn paid streams; both have different audiences, needs and wants. Beyond that, there is certainly no ‘one size fits all approach’ to this form of marketing and if you think there is, then this may just be your first biggest content mistake.
Instead, give each channel a different outlook, do your research and find what resonates with each audience on each channel. You’ll thank yourself later.
Step two: know your audience
Knowing who your audiences are and how they tick is crucial to marketing on every type of channel.
A perfect example of this is understanding specific demographics – Instagram has over 72% of its users in their teenage years, whereas Facebook has 81% of the highest users between 18-29. Going into as much detail as possible – including nutting out the specifics of gender, location, interests and age – will allow you to determine the correct platform for each level of demographic you are marketing to.
Create a profile of your target audience to understand them effectively.
Step three: Do your research
Who are your biggest competitors and what are they doing differently to you?
Essentially, their audience is your audience, so knowing how they engage with their communities, what platforms they most active on, and how they utilise tone of voice is all-important. Grasping all of this will allow you to maximise your engagement and tap into what they’re doing well (or avoid what they’re not).
Don't limit yourself to your direct competitors, either – go deep and figure out if someone similar to you has a 10/10 content piece. What was it and why did it resonate so well? It may have been one single post that made the stars align for that brand or a series of strategic posts that really hit the mark. Whatever it was, make sure you analyse it and see if you can create something similar for your audience.
Step four: Prioritise effectively
If you have completed all the above steps, then you should have a pretty good idea of which networks are most valuable to your business. From here on in, you will need to prioritise which ones will bring you the most benefits and results.
There is no point in you spending 10 hours of your week creating, writing and scheduling content for the following period if your audience is not even actively engaged on that platform in particular.
Instead, prioritise where you need to be spending the most time and energy. Allow yourself to be more effective and valuable to your audience; remember to constantly refresh your ideas and strategy, in order to ensure consumers are actively engaging with your content.
Step five: Brand guidelines
I cannot stress this enough. Understanding your brand is crucial to make sure your messaging and tone are consistent across all channels.
Your guidelines should cover everything from channel activity to colour schemes and should be accessible to anyone using social accounts. Use it as a company Bible and don't forget to include emoji, hashtags, banned topics and words that should be avoided. In the end, this will be your protocol for interacting with your audience appropriately.
Above all, the number one priority is making sure your audience feels familiar with your messaging; this will essentially allow you to gain loyalty and embrace long-term relationships.
Step six: Create quality social media content
Content in this day and age is huge and should never be overlooked.
There are so many different ways you can showcase content across social channels, too, but it comes down to what is going to resonate with what audience and how. Each channel – like I said earlier – is different in its own shape and form, all with its own user etiquette and optimisation.
There is an endless amount of content types available these days. Source: Hubspot.
Be it photos, graphics, infographics, videos, articles, blogs or stories – dabble with a bunch of content types and find out what works best for your cause and audience. The ultimate goal is for your community to interact with your material by sharing or tagging, so figuring out which type reaps the results will help you spread word-of-mouth.
Don’t forget to consider things like:
- Where photos will be taken
- Who will take the photos
- The colour scheme and aesthetics of your visuals
- What style you want to portray.
Step seven: Nail your timing
Timing is everything, so make it count! Showing up early and not being late to the party both internally and externally will help your channel execution.
Find out when the party is, write about it before, during and after across each platform. This may include a photo, tweet, a live story or Instagram TV. It may even be a short blog on the summary of events allowing your audience to feel like they were a part of the occasion, even if they were on the other side of the world. It all counts.
Step eight: Content calendar
So, you have most of your social structure laid out in a strategised and well-thought-out manner, but how do you actually format it so you are not repeating it and spamming your readers?
Using a content calendar will help you keep on track of what you're posting across multiple channels. Create yourself a spreadsheet – or use a project management tool like Asana or Trello – to monitor all key components, such as:
- Intended date to be published
- Channel the content will be published on
- Who is responsible for it
- Internal and external links to be included
- Important keywords to utilise
- Trending or beneficial hashtags
- Notes that may be important.
Make sure you share this with your team, giving complete transparency across the board. This will help free up everyone's time to spend on other more pressing tasks.
Covering strategy and making sure everything has its set place will ensure your audience is getting the most value out of your brand.
Use a tool like Trello to make a content calendar
So with all that said and done, you now have the following under your belt:
- Defined your objectives
- Defined your audience
- Conducted market research
- Prioritised channels.
- Created brand guidelines
- Mastered timing.
- Established a content calendar.
How to use images in your social media strategy
Alright, with that all out of the way, let’s get visual.
What about optimising your images for each channel? Let’s go through five of the top social media networks to help your image and creatives get off to a great start.
- Profile Picture - This should be perfectly cropped with your image directly in the centre - 110 x 110 pixels.
- Square posts for feed Ads - 1080 x 1080 pixels for best quality.
- Stories - 1080 x 1920.
- Cover photo - 820 x 312 pixels.
- Profile Picture - 180 x 180 pixels.
- Feed posts - 940 x 788 pixels.
- Ads - 1200 x 628 pixels.
- Profile Picture - try to make sure it’s professional but with a little flair of personality - 400 x 400 pixels.
- Cover Image - 1584 x 396.
- Sponsored Content - 1200 x 627 pixels.
- Traditional - 1920 x 1080 pixels
- Thumbnails - 1280 x 720 pixels.
- Channel Art - 2560 x 1440 pixels
- Channel Icon - 800 x 800 pixels.
- Profile Picture - 400 x 400 pixels.
- Cover Image - 1500 x 500 pixels.
- Tweet - 1024 x 512 pixels.
- Card Images - 800 x 320 pixels.
Social media is becoming more and more difficult and no day is ever the same as the last. Don’t let this turn you off getting the most out of each platform, though. Allocate time each week towards developing your content calendar and also reading up on the latest changes, and you’ll tap into your audience in no time.
Keep in mind, you don't have to do everything all at once. The trick is to master one tactic and add another; this will help you become more efficient at becoming more agile on each social platform. Above all, stay patient – Rome wasn’t built in a day.