Social media can be a powerful driver of business growth. If managed well, it can help emerging brands find their audience, build lasting relationships and create a platform for future growth.
In order to achieve that, there are some steps that can ensure limited time and resources are spent in the right direction.
Here they are, the 10 Steps to Social Stardom.
1. SET MEANINGFUL TARGETS
Businesses who succeed tend to be the ones who spend the most time doing the right things. Deciding what those things are right from the outset is key, particularly as social can be a very time-intensive channel when you try to tackle it without a plan.
Aligning your objectives along the conversion funnel ensures that your social strategies are commercially-focused and therefore likely to lead to growth. Try to consider what your KPIs should be alongside these four key marketing objectives:
- Awareness - Impressions, Reach, Visits, CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions)
- Engagement - Interactions, Shares, Comments, Engagement Rate
- Conversion - Click-throughs, CVR (Conversion Rate), CPA (Cost Per Acquisition), AVO (Average Order Value)
- Advocacy - Sentiment, Reviews, Ratings
Consider which of the above are most relevant, then create a set of KPI priorities to focus your thinking.
2. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Knowing who you are talking to is paramount for creating successful channels. Creating a clear and accurate picture of your target audience will inform your strategies for content, collaboration and paid efforts.
Developing personas is a useful process to help create that understanding. Personas represent the segments of your audience through representations of your 'ideal' customers.
Key elements include:
- Demographics - Age, gender, location, income, education
- Psychographics - Attitudes, values, interests
- Behaviours - Preferred platforms, posting habits, content preferences
- Pain points - their challenges and problems your audience faces, helping you address their needs effectively
Developing rounded personas helps building a social strategy that delivers meaningful connections with your audience through providing true value.
3. PICK THE RIGHT CHANNELS
With that understanding of your target audience, you need to decide where you’re going to connect with them.
There are a lot of platforms and few brands have the capacity to cover them all. So, here are some factors to keep in mind as you are making the call on which to prioritise.
- Audience demographics - Understanding your target audience's demographics, interests, and behaviour (see above) is a key starting point in prioritising your social channels.
- Competitive activity - Research where your competitors are and how they are using their channels.
- Content - Consider what content you have and what you are able to create, the best social strategy is often the one that comes most naturally to your brand.
- Resources - The time and budget you are able to commit to your social strategy can be the most important factor. Avoid being overly ambitious with a social plan that you cannot sustain long-term.
4. DEFINE YOUR CONTENT
In order to ensure that your social activity drives meaningful commercial results, consider how your content pillars align with your conversion funnel.
Your content should align to the following key objectives and align with your KPIs:
- Awareness - How can you bring your brand to a new audience? Consider how partnerships and collaborations can provide part of the answer.
- Engagement - Educating, informing and entertaining are all valid ways to drive engagement - consider which should be priorities for your content.
- Conversion - Communicating offers, discounts, promotions and seasonal triggers give your audience reasons to make a buying decision.
- Advocacy - Building awareness through consumer recommendation, reviews and referral helps complete the circle back to the top of the funnel.
5. MAKE IT MOVE
The rise of short-form videos, on TikTok and Reels, makes moving image a mandatory. So, considering how your brand moves when setting up your guidelines is key.
Marrying creativity with brevity is key. Video content that grabs attention and gets to the point quickly will be far more likely to achieve likes, shares, and comments.
Think about the different ways you can use video for storytelling, showcasing the product/service and brining in your community so that you are exploring all options to bring dynamism to your brands' social channels.
6. SET YOUR TEMPO
'How often should I post?' is possibly the most asked question in social! In reality, there's no single set of answers.
But, there are a few factors that can help you work out what your best approach might be:
- Your audience - Each consumer group has different social media habits. Understanding when they are online, when they are checking-in passively versus there to engage and what they expect to see from brands they follow will give you some important pointers.
- The algorithms - Recognise that social media platforms have varying optimal posting frequencies. Experimenting with frequency and timing can help gauge where these are, whilst also being conscious that they often change.
- Engagement - Perhaps the most reliable route to take is to let your audience tell you what they expect to see (and how often) by monitoring engagement. If you are posting 3 times a week and hitting high engagement, try a 4th?
7. FIND WAYS TO COLLABORATE
One of the keys to social media is to be social. Collaborating with influencers, creators, and like-minded brands is a powerful route to earning awareness and bring new followers to your channels.
Start by establishing clear goals - whether it's brand awareness, engagement and/or sales. Then, identify partners whose values and audience align with your brand and what the collaboration looks like creatively.
When crafting content, ensure it's authentic and resonates with both your and your collaborators' followers. Collaborators bring their unique flair and authenticity, so allow them creative freedom.
Finally, consider how to cross-promote content across platforms, leveraging each other's reach. Doing so ensures that no opportunity is missed.
8. DISCOVER YOUR VOICE
Finding your tone of voice is vital. It’s what will make you rise above the other noise and identify you as you.
Think Innocent Drinks. Ryanair. Old Spice. Their voices are unique, clear, and embody their brand. Here's how to find yours:
- Establish values - Your brand's mission, core values and beliefs give you the starting point and substance to finding your TOV.
- Find your peers - Pick a selection of brands you feel could be your peers, review their tone-of-voice and how they put to work in social for inspiration.
- Practise, practise, practise - Consistency is vital, spend time honing your tone by putting it through some dry runs across formats and across your team of content creators to sharpen their tools.
9. PLAN YOUR CALENDAR
Now, it’s time to plan your posts. Written on a physical whiteboard. Inputted into a digital system. On sticky notes. Whatever works for you.
These steps should help:
- Brand news - Firstly plot your key internal milestones - such as product launches, promotions and retail occasions - ensuring you don't miss any brand news.
- External moments - Then add moments that matter to your audience. Think summer bank holidays. Halloween. Father’s Day. Those sorts of things.
- Prioritise your stories - Think about which stories are going to be hero moments for your brand, which can feature over a week/month, which are only a focus for day.
- Plan activation - Finally, take your budget for paid social (including influencer fees) and allocate according to your priorities above.
10. BRING IT ALL TOGETHER
By now, you’ll know what you want to say, how you want to say it, and who it is you’re speaking to. All you have to do next is bring it all together.
Create the content. Schedule the posts. Implement the strategy.
(Ok, we didn't have a 10th step! But, seriously, what good guides have 9 steps???)