Social media is ever-changing. It never stands still. It feels like once you have your social media strategy ‘sorted’, the goal posts change once again. However, there are core strategies that you can implement that will keep you ahead of the social media game. Here are my top five tips to transform your social media strategy in 2016 and beyond!
JSB’s five foundations of social media
#1 Content marketing planning
You cannot have a robust social media strategy without content. One cannot exist without the other. Therefore plan your monthly content in advance by writing in bulk. Forward writing will allow you time during the month to engage in real-time marketing, being relevant in the now and being social about what’s trending on the social web. Many social media marketers make the mistake of posting daily leaving them in a constant state of ‘playing catch-up’.
Ideally your content calendar should include the following:
- One blog post at least weekly. Look at what tips, advice, practical guide or trends you can share. Do keyword research using SEMrush for example which will give you a list of the most searched keywords in Google by your potential customers (for free). Remember creating content is as much about research as it is about writing! Content is also affected by timing – for example Christmas, the summer holiday season or a major sporting event? Don’t forget to re-purpose your blog post content into key take-aways or top tips for your social networks.
- 10 visuals designed for social media (remember to re-size them all according to the correct dimensions – a one-size fits all approach will not work for obvious reasons!). Here’s a great infographic on the dimensions for all the social networks in 2018. Your plan will see you posting one every three days across all your social networking sites. This could cover your blog post, top industry tips, motivational or industry quotes, or images of you in action at work. Photos and images tell a story and provide for highly shareable content. Don’t forget to add your company logo and web address to them so that they refer back to you as they travel across the social web.
- Curate and share one article from your industry daily. I subscribe to many blogs, websites, YouTube Channels and engage on social media sites of the top digital marketing pros in the industry. This provides me with a constant stream of great content that I know my community will appreciate. Who will you follow and why? I have installed the Buffer extension on Chrome so as I am surfing the net I can add interesting articles to my Buffer account and schedule it to share on all my platforms (and I have quite a few).
- Three updates from your business per week to include tasks, clients, meetings or events – essentially giving your community an insight into your world. We all love to learn about other people’s lives and it’s a great way to generate original content and build trust among your followers. It also gives you an opportunity to share your knowledge and show your influencer status.
- Pick of the week – this is the ‘wow find’ of the week on social media that you share with your community. You are reminding them that you are their ‘eyes and ears’ in your specific industry. Be sure to add in the reasons why you have chosen this piece of content to share.
- Share your opinion on changes in your industry. It’s often not enough to just curate and share somebody else’s content. If you want to be seen as a thought leader in your industry, you should express your expert views on trends, changes or developments. This is how you build your name as an influencer – share your own opinion even if it’s to say, “I don’t know if this development is going to add any value to what we do….” but at least show that you have one!
#2 Digital design
If it looks good, it will dramatically increase the potential of your community to read, share and engage with your content. If you don’t have a digital designer in your team why not try out Canva or PicMonkey – they are easy-to-use design tools for non-graphic designers. But I strongly advise outsourcing design work to a professional if you are not a graphic designer for major campaigns or projects. This will really bring your social media to a whole new level. It will ensure brand consistency and give you a suite of professionally designed visuals with greater sharing potential. I often come across ‘self-designed’ websites and blogs and it just turns me off immediately as opposed to drawing me in. Spending some money on professional design will pay off. Why not put a brief together for a designer and set out what you need – think ahead for at least one month? It might not cost as much as you think. Have you tried fiverr? As the name suggests outsourced creative and professional services costs just $5.
By 2018 80% of all content on mobile will be video! So what are you waiting for? Most of us have smartphones and the quality of video created on our Apple or Android devices is good enough for web sharing. Why not get a theme for your videos – such as a Monday motivation motto from your or a Friday Facebook tip?
Also take short videos when you are out and about – can you interview somebody on a topic that’s trending or ask their opinion? Keep them short and introduce the video at the beginning. I have a stand for my smartphone, an external mic and iMovie editing software all on my iPhone. Movie-making on the go!
I love GoAnimate for animated videos which I use all the time for my training presentations and course marketing.
Scheduling content will transform your social media life. This really is paramount now to ensure that you leverage time for real-time marketing. Schedule content with your times and dates defined. If you use a social media management tool such as Hootsuite or Buffer you will be scheduling content according to the exact day and time you want it released. Be sure to mix it up so that at the month end you can review your social insights and analytics to see the highest performing posts and the times they were posted. This will provide you with data which you can use in next month’s plan.
#5 Goal-setting & Measurement
After all your hard work, do you know if your social media is successful or not? You’ve got to measure, monitor and iterate. Don’t play safe and ‘hope for the best’ – be strategic and set goals against your social media efforts and then measure for return on investment (whether that’s time or money). Social media goals may include sales leads, conversions on your website, attendees at an event, building up your community and a database, or even brand profile. But you must set out these goals at the outset.
Here’s a great blog post from Sprout Social on the metrics that matter which explains reach, engagement, impressions, profile visits etc.
Now that you have taken (going to take) my advice, use the extra time to learn about the changes in social media. You now have given yourself an extra 20-minutes a day to read about the changes in the social media world! What blogs will you subscribe to, to keep you ahead of the curve? Choose five and read at least 1-2 articles per day.