When you’ve created a Social Media Strategy it’s important to recognise that you’re on the starting blocks. The next step is to focus on implementing the strategy and you may need some additional help and support to do this. In this article I’m going to help you understand how to implement a Social Media Strategy.
It’s not surprising to know that many people put a strategy in place and then find it difficult to implement.
When you don’t have the confidence to put one into practice you’ll find that you don’t get the results you were hoping for and this ultimately leads to frustration with not just your strategy, but social media in general – a vicious circle!
Let’s look at why a strategy is important and 7 suggestions to help you implement a Social Media Strategy.
Table of Contents:
- What is a Social Media Strategy?
- Why is a Social Media Strategy Important?
- Refer To Your Strategy
- Invest In Training
- Learn How To Measure Progress
- Be Patient
- Find A Mentor
- Create A Support Network
- Ask For Help
What is a Social Media Strategy?
I like to think of a Social Media Strategy as a two-part activity.
- The first part is a process which you go through to identify your goals and objectives for social, the audience you want to engage with, the platforms you need to be on and the content you need to post.
- The second part is the document that details the output of the process and provides the guidance for future social media efforts.
Why is a Social Media Strategy Important?
Here are a few reasons:
- It gives your social media presence a purpose
- It identifies who and where your clients are online
- It clarifies which platforms you should use
- It helps you understand what content to post…
- …and what tone of voice to use
- It creates a bigger picture of your social media presence
- It avoids wasting time
- It helps you measure progress and results
Ultimately, a strategy will save you time, keep you focussed and give you confidence that you’re using social media to support your business objectives.
I created this blog which will further help you identify if you’re experiencing challenge that could be resolved by a Social Media Strategy.
Seven Ideas To Help Implement Your Social Media Strategy
1. Refer To Your Strategy
This might sound straightforward but I’ve seen businesses that have a strategy and never use it.
The strategy is your point of reference for all of your social media activity. It informs the content you post, the people you engage with, the platforms you use and many other aspects of your social media presence.
Admittedly, there can be problems which mean the strategy isn’t followed. It could be due to knowledge, time or distractions.
Knowledge can be resolved through learning and time can be resolved through improved planning & prioritisation but distractions, that’s a bit different.
I have seen examples where a business places too much focus on what their competitors are doing instead of focusing on what they are doing themselves.
This can be a bit “run before you can walk” and has the potential to completely derail your own social media efforts.
As I said in this article, measuring yourself against other people is not always helpful, especially as you never really know if those people are getting results even if what they’re doing looks good on the surface.
Therefore, it’s important to keep to your strategy and trust in the process.
Have it handy at all times. Keep it fresh in your mind. Clarify points or items you’re uncertain about with whoever produced it and review it often – the industry changes, plans change and hence this needs to be seen as a living document.
2. Invest In Training
You have the map but can you drive the car? You may need to look at training if you’re not feeling confident that you can use the social media platforms or associated tools that are part of your strategy.
Training could cover any of the following:
- The basics of a platform
- Learning more advanced parts of a platform
- Understanding analytics
- Creating images/video on mobile
Your might need a few hours of training, a course or maybe just require a few pointers in the right direction.
If you need training you have options. Reach out to an agency, refer to online resources such as blogs, podcasts or YouTube, find a course provider (e.g. LinkedIn Learning) or use a support group (more on that below).
Having the confidence to manage your social accounts is important. When we lack confidence in something we tend to avoid it for fear of getting it wrong and this can be a barrier to successfully using social media for business.
3. Learn How To Measure Progress
If you’re not too familiar with social media it can be difficult to understand some of the data and be able to measure your progress.
Here are some questions you’ll want to answer:
- Do I know what good engagement looks like?
- Am I getting enough new followers?
- Do I know which posts are working well and which aren’t?
- What does my website traffic tell me about my visitors and strategy?
- How can I track this information?
My advice: Learn how to measure your own progress, play the long game and recognise your own progress rather than measuring against others.
Tips for starting to understand measurements:
These are important because almost everything you do on social will lead back to your website, so you need to know how to look at your website data and find out who’s visiting it, how often etc.
- WordPress: The inbuilt site stats will allow you to see how many people are visiting your site, what they’re looking at, where they’re coming from and what links they click. This is easy-to-use and a good place to start.
- Google Analytics: Detailed information on your website. You can drill into all sorts of detail on topics such as your audience, how they found your site, what they did on your site and also look at goals and conversions for more advanced data.
- Google Search Console: Find out what keywords (search terms) people are using when they visit your site. Not only that, it’ll show you if people searched for something, saw a page or post from your site and didn’t then click through – this is very useful.
Each social media platform has its own inbuilt analytics and they are all very good. When you go and explore your analytics in your social media app take a look at some of the following information:
- Engagement: Which posts are getting the most engagement? Meaning, which do your audience like or respond to the most. This is important as it tells you what they care about and what you should be doing more of.
- Audience: Who are your audience? What’s the demographic? You may find your audience does not match your typical customer and hence you need to find a new audience. It may also tell you something about your audience which influences the type of content you share.
- Followers: Find out where you see how your follower numbers are trending, especially if you’re just starting out.
Once you are able to find and understand the basic information available to you across your web and social sites you can start to build a picture of what is and isn’t working. This then helps to determine if the strategy is working or if you need to change course.
With data there’s always a risk that you compare your numbers with that of a competitor or another business but this isn’t helpful and can be damaging.
As I pointed out in the section further up, I think comparing with others is something we all tend to do and it can be unhelpful.
Which leads me on to my next point…
4. Be Patient
It’s very rare for a business to see overnight success when starting out on social media. Some businesses expect to do this but it’s not realistic. The reason it’s not realistic is because we’re dealing with people.
E.g. you wouldn’t walk into a networking event and expect to start selling within the first 5 minutes.
Industry experts typically state there’s an 18-24 month timeline in order to become known in an industry/space/platform.
What does this mean for you?
It means you need to be committed to a long game. If you expect success in 3 months you’re going to get frustrated at a perceived lack of progress.
Set your mindset to 18 months. Use your strategy to underpin what you do for those 18 months and be consistent.
Consistently creating content over a sustained period such as 18 months will bring results.
You have to allow yourself time to grow an audience and build relationships with those people. This does not happen overnight and hence this process requires patience.
5. Find A Mentor
Sometimes you don’t need a course or hours of training, you just want someone who you can turn to for solid advice or ideas along the way.
You might be able to find this via a support network (see below) but a mentor may help to keep you on the right tracks.
As you work through your Social Media Strategy and become more confident in using social media for business you’ll unearth new questions, need to keep up-to-speed with changes and maybe just want someone to bounce an idea off or help with some inspiration on a flat day.
A mentor is there when you need them and is there to keep you moving forward. If you would like to learn more about a Social Media Mentoring please get in touch.
6. Create A Support Network
There are other people in the same position as you are right now – perhaps they’re trying to implement a Social Media Strategy or perhaps they’re at a similar level in social media knowledge.
These people could be in the same industry as you or in something totally different but there are people at the same stage as you (and lots of them!).
The more you connect and engage with people on social media the more chance you have of finding those who’re in the same place as you. Find them and use them as a support network.
Form a group where you help each other with questions and problems. This group doesn’t have to be something formal. It could be a collection of like-minded folk who you talk to within a Twitter or Instagram DM, a private Facebook group, on email or in an app like Slack.
As Chris Marr said at the recent Content Marketing Academy Conference, one of the optimal ways for us to learn is to surround ourselves with people who’re on the same path as us and in a similar place in their journey.
Find these people, as well as those with more experience and use them to help you learn new skills, discuss ideas and build your confidence.
7. Ask for help
None of us like to feel stuck. Sometimes we get stuck and ask for help but sometimes we get a bit embarrassed that we ask too much.
You remember that old saying you’d always hear on training courses, “The only stupid question is the one not asked”? It’s true right?
Try not to allow yourself to become stuck. Whether it’s through building a support network, reaching out to experts or looking to local networking groups you can find support and help for any problems you face.
You will never feel you know enough, especially when it comes to social media and digital marketing.
Social Media platforms and apps are evolving rapidly with new changes happening almost weekly. Nobody working in the digital world feels like they know enough so you are not alone if you feel like this 🙂
Get to a place where you know enough to keep moving your business forward on social and with the right support you’ll put yourself in a position to successfully implement your Social Media Strategy.
Your strategy has given you a sense of direction and something to work towards but it will evolve as the world of social media evolves.
Use it as your guide but also recognise that it will need to change due to either you need to pivot your business or because of a shift in the way the world consumes content.
Self-learning about social media platforms and building a support network of like-minded people around you will help considerably when it comes to implementing your strategy.
Finally, try not to let the strategy become an expensive artefact. It’s there to support your business goals and move you forward. Reach out for help if you’re struggling to make progress.
Do You Need A Social Media Strategy?
Find out what’s required to implement a Social Media Strategy and the costs involved here: How Much Does A Social Media Strategy Cost?