When I started my business, the one thing I decided was that none of my clients would just have a social media presence for the sake of having a social media presence. What do I mean by that? I mean that I wasn’t going to work with people who would not let me do a digital strategy or allow me to coach them through a digital strategy.
Why would I say no to “doing people’s” social media without a strategy? Wasn’t I turning away money? Yes, I was, but here’s why: I get an immense amount of calls from potential clients who do not trust marketing companies, but know they have to market their business. They get on the phone already, not believing anything I say. When I dig into why they don’t trust marketing companies, more than most of the time, they felt like they spent money with no results.
So, I will turn down clients that won’t let me do a strategy first or don’t come with one from another agency. I want my clients to succeed, and to me, success never happens by wishing and hoping something works. It’s by the process of planning, executing, and evaluating, then tweaking.
So, below are some of my secrets on what needs to go into a social media strategy:
Step One: Create Your Brand
If you do not know who you are or what you are selling, whether a product or service, how can you express it to attract the right people? I want you to find out who you are! Answer the following questions about what makes your business unique. People do business with you, the person, not solely your product or service. You have to be CLEAR about what you offer because confusion will only lead to discontent for both you and your clients/customers.
- What is your why? (What makes you get up every morning and recommit to doing the best you can in your business that day?)
- Are you a Blue Ocean Company in the Red Sea? A Blue Ocean strategy refers to the creation by a company of new, uncontested market space. The new company will make competitors irrelevant and creates new consumer value often while decreasing costs—introduced by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne in their best-selling book of the same name. A Red Sea strategy refers to a company that is just like the one next door. The only difference is they are in a constant price war. They are always trying to beat their competitors. They are a commodity, and their consumers tend not to be loyal. Some examples of companies that started as with Blue Ocean Strategies are the Ford Model T, Cirque du Soleil, Starbucks, and Curves. Write down what makes you and your business swim in a bright blue ocean.
- Sum up what your value statement in 240 characters or less! Value statements are declarations about how the organization wants to value its customers, suppliers, and be valued within their unique community. These value statements explicitly define how people will behave with each other in the organization. I am serious count those characters, spaces, and periods count. Your tribe wants to be intrigued to find out more. Here is Social Abundance Marketing Value Statement: Be kind, be grateful, and know you are socially abundant.
Step Two: Define Your Target Market
I want you to start to identify your target market by finding three people (colleagues or clients or potential clients) who would be willing to give up five minutes of their time to answer a few simple questions from you. You can call these individuals, meet them for a quick coffee, but what you cannot do is do this via email. Here’s why: When is the last time you asked a colleague or client, what is their biggest challenge when it comes to your industry? Many times we get tied up in what we think we know without really asking our clients outright. Sure, you have sent out surveys, but your response rate is dismal. The goal is to receive feedback without selling anything.
It is so important to know what problem you are solving for your clients or customers. A few years ago, I took on the 100 Entrepreneur Challenge, where I set out to speak to 100 entrepreneurs and find out what their most significant problems with social media marketing were. As a result, I found my niche market wants a step by step approach to a social media strategy. They want a plan that fits their specific company goals, along with the ability to ask questions along the way.
Remember, at the end of the day, your target market wants to connect to you, because you are solving their problems. Now, go and ask your three people the following two questions:
- What’s your biggest challenge with _______________ right now? (Insert your product or service. Ex. from me: What’s your biggest challenge with social media marketing right now?)
- If someone could share ways on social media to resolve this issue, what would that look and feel like for you? (You may need to help prompt their answers from them. For example, you may need to say, would you join a Facebook accountability group for help in this area? Would you want to see ads from a business page, so you never miss a blog on resolutions to your problem?)
Step Three: What Problems Does your Company Solve?
By now, you have found out more about what you bring to your company table, you have even learned about what your current or potential client’s most significant challenges are. Now it is time to focus on what problems you solve. If you know who you are, what your potential market is looking for, then you will be able to deliver just that in person, and on social media.
What is your target market’s biggest challenge? Do you see one overarching theme with some sub-categories, or is it all over the place? Within that theme, start to write in one place what the solutions are to their problems.
The critical thing to remember as you are thinking about writing these solutions is to make sure you have examples. Writing requires context, not 700 words in a post, but a post can be the problem, solution, with an example. Another way that shows you know how to answer your target market’s issues is testimonials. Ask for them often as you are working with people. Outline what solutions you provide to your clients/customer’s problems. Get specific. Make sure that these solutions are clear and big enough that they would want to hire you or buy your product. How does what you offer make their life easier?
Step Four: Find your Target Market on Social Media
The first question I ask you is: what would you like to know about your online audience if you could ask them anything? Maybe you want to know what Top Two social media platforms they use the most are? Once you know that, perhaps you want to know how much time they spend on that platform? It seems silly to put together a strategy for LinkedIn when your audience is only on Facebook.
Mostly, you are looking to make a list of 5 things you would like to know about your online audience. Maybe, you want to see if they click on ads? Do you want to know if they know what a hashtag is? Perhaps, you need to know if they will try a new business that pops up on Facebook or whether they prefer clicking on ads from companies they already engage with.
So, here’s my big secret when you ask these questions. You will find out that not everyone is on every social media site, and you do not need to be on them either.
Step Five: Write your Strategy
Take all the information you’ve now gathered about yourself and your target market and put it together into a strategy. Below you will find the outline I use to fill in to write a plan.
Section 1: Your company’s summary
Write this section, so anyone who helps you on your social media will have a clear vision of who the company is. You can include how long the company is in business, the company’s vision and mission, or any critical information about the flavor of your company.
Section 2: Your Goals
Write three goals you would like to have for your social media. Make them realistic based on your audience’s answers. Here are some sample goals I have written for clients based on their target market responses.
Goal 1: Visibility – Increase visibility from the 72 people who like their Facebook to thousands.
Goal 2: Website Clicks – Once the company is visible to thousands, create a sales funnel to increase clicks to the website to view content.
Goal 3: Create Leads- Redirect website content views to a lead.
Section 3: Current Status of Social Media Sites:
It is hard to know where you are going if you are not sure where you have been. Taking a few moments to get the know your current social media analytics and information will help you fill in the blanks. Here is what you are looking for to write about:
What are sections of your social media about sections not complete?
What site have you not posted in over six months?
What sites are you posting in and not seeing any results?
What is working? Do you notice pictures or videos get more reactions, shares, and comments?
Is one site working better than the others?
You do not need to fix it, but take no more than 20 minutes and look at each site. Moreover, write down what you want to go back and fix it later.
Section 4 through 6: Goals 1 through 3
Here is where you will write out the action steps to complete each goal. Whether it is to hire help and the steps you are going to take to do this or how you are going to commit yourself to achieve your goal, write it down. We are more likely to complete this if we have a written action plan. If you are not sure how to get through your action plan, email me for a free 30-minute consult at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Section 7: Analyze what is working in other marketing areas and how you can relate it to what you will be doing in social media.
Here are a few examples of what to ask yourself in this section:
Has my website been redone in the last three years?
Is my website mobile-ready?
Do I have an email list?
Can I collect emails through my social media?
If one of your Social Media goals is to blog more, can your website host the blog?
Make sure you not only ask yourself these questions but write a mini-plan of how you will take action to complete what is missing in your online marketing.
Section 8: Traditional Marketing
Again, you want to tie in how you are holistically connecting all of your social media.
Here are some sample questions you can answer in this section:
Do I have my social media symbols on my business cards?
If you have a storefront, do I ask people to follow me on my social media?
Do I have all my social media symbols on other traditional marketing materials?
Section 9: A quick summary of the goals and sections.
This section is essential because if you need to explain what you are doing with your social media to a coach, virtual assistant, or marketing company, you can send them this section of the strategy. It will help them understand your social strategy to see if they are a good fit to work with you.
That wraps up your plan. My suggestion is to do this every six months, and with each new one, start with the evaluation of what you completed since your last strategy. Now tell me, do you feel like you have a better grasp on how to write your social media strategy? What questions do you still have for me?
Updated from original: 7/2/2020