Social media is not to be ignored these days: it’s everywhere! So, when you’re working on building and growing your website, you need to take social media into account. Not sure why? Check out how social media can influence your SEO. Now, where do you begin? In this post, we’ll walk you through the steps of determining a social media strategy that fits you and your brand.
The goal of your social media presence
What is your goal for being on social media? Beware: what type of content you’ll be sharing is not your goal. That’s a means to reach your goals. What are you hoping to accomplish by sharing? Do you want followers to learn about your products? Increase sales, possibly by sharing discount codes or promotions? Are you looking to educate them? For example, the blog you’re currently reading is important to one of Yoast’s social media goals: We want to share our SEO knowledge with everyone.
There are many goals to choose from, and you can pick more than one. Try to maintain some focus though, start by selecting a few that you can focus on first. If you find it hard to pinpoint your goals try turning it around: what content would you like to share? What goals could you deduce from that?
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What type of content do you share on social media?
So, you’ve decided on your goal(s). On to the next question: What kind of content are you going to offer? Are you going to share your own blog posts? Or, articles written by others, that you find relevant for your audience? Product information? Behind the scenes footage from your company? Information about you as a person? There’s so much you can do – and again, you don’t have to pick just one!
Mindmapping can help with this phase. Sit down to a piece of paper (or use a digital tool) and start writing. Let your ideas flow! Write down all types of content you can think of, that would fit your brand and/or products.
After that, it’s time to choose. What are you going to focus on? Keep in mind that engaging your customers with interesting content will increase their affinity for your brand. Think about what your audience would like to see, read, and preferably even share with others. In general, engaging content will do better than posts written mainly because you want to sell.
Determining content buckets
Now, you know what you want to accomplish with your social media presence. You also know what type of content you’re going to gather or create to do so. If you order these types of content, do you see any overarching themes? Try to combine all you have up till now by deciding on content categories or topics, also known as content buckets. Here are some examples of content buckets that we could choose to focus on at Yoast:
- Product information
- SEO knowledge
- Our company culture
- Engaging with customers
Other categories could be sharing the latest news, or announcements for events, or podcast episodes, and so on. But for this example, let’s say these are our four main focus topics. The first three are subjects we’d like to create posts about, the fourth differs slightly. Rather than just broadcasting, it’s about engaging in existing online conversations related to our brand or products. This is probably one of the most important focus points for brands anyway, as people these days expect to be able to connect through social media.
So, basically, you want to end up with a few content buckets for your social media presence. The goal is that every post you put out there should contribute to at least one of these content buckets. That’ll help you keep focused.
Prioritize and allocate your time
Another trick to help you keep focused is allocating a percentage of your time to each of the content buckets you determine. For example, engaging with (potential) customers could be very valuable, but also more time-consuming. We could decide to spend 40% of our social media time on that, and 20% each on the other three subjects.
That doesn’t mean flexibility is impossible, it just serves as a guideline for yourself. It helps you focus on what you find most important, and to make sure that you give that the attention it needs. When planning your content, check up on this. Are you keeping to it? Do you need to focus a bit more on one or the other? In a later blog post, we’ll come back to evaluating and reassessing your social media strategy.
Which social media platforms for your business?
Not every social medium fits your brand or your message. If you’re in the recruitment game, LinkedIn is an awesome network to build your presence on. If you’re in tech, definitely check out Twitter. If you offer products that look nice or like to share recipes, Pinterest just might be your best fit.
Do a little research, look into the different platforms. The web is full of up-to-date reports on what platforms work best for wat content! Figure out what platforms fit your goals, and if they accommodate for content you’re looking to create. Would it be easier for you to create textual content? Or mainly visuals? Thoughts like these should help you figure out what fits your brand best.
Decide what platforms you’d like to focus on first anyway, you can always add more. It’s harder to keep up when you need to tend to a lot of different platforms. Some platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, also offer ways to advertise. That could help you make your brand and company known way beyond the scope of your actual followers. Advertising isn’t just for selling products, you could also use it to promote some of the interesting and fun content you publish. Or to grow your audience!
Which social media does your (desired) audience use?
Unfortunately, you could be out there sharing the best content you can offer, without it getting any traction. You need to reach the people that actually need or want your content! For example, if you’re aiming for a corporate, older audience, TikTok probably isn’t the platform you should focus on. For now, at least!
To know where to find your audience, you first need to know what your (desired) audience is. So, you start by analyzing your audience. When you know who you’d like to reach, you look into the platforms they use most. There are numerous online sources, like Sprout and Business Insider, that regularly publish numbers on social media usage. Combine this data with your own goals and the platforms that fit those, and decide what you’ll be publishing on with what type of content.
Your brand voice and social media style
Based on your audience and brand as a whole: think about the way you’d like to communicate on social media. Is your tone formal or playful? Would you use emojis regularly? Could your posts contain words like “gonna”, rather than “going to”? Decide what fits your brand and the content you’d like to put out there, as well as what fits your audience. If you think about this thoroughly now, it’ll make writing all your future posts so much easier.
Engaging with your followers
Basically, all you need to contact a company through their social media is an Internet connection. That means: People will ask you questions, post complaints, share their enthusiasm, publish reviews, and so on. Decide how you want to handle those. Are you going to respond to every message that people send to you? Are you going to keep an eye on all mentions of your brand name, even if your profile wasn’t specifically tagged?
The latter could be a great way to grow your brand awareness. Here’s an example of where someone mentioned Yoast SEO without tagging @yoast. We weren’t even mentioned at all, in the original tweet. For us, responding to this is a great way to reach more people and spread even more SEO knowledge.
Reading all of the above might have you all pumped up and ready to go. Or, a bit anxious as it might seem like a lot of work. Don’t fret! Now’s the time to be realistic. How much time would you be able to allocate to your social media presence every week? Or every day? Realistically.
You need to put the effort in, so don’t try and ‘do social media’ as an extra, or an afterthought. By doing so, you probably won’t reach your goals anytime soon! If you want to chime into all kinds of conversations online, it’s going to cost you a lot more time and energy. If you set up WordPress so that it automatically posts your new blog posts to Facebook, that would save you time. Automated posts differ from when you manually share by adding a fun or intriguing description, though.
Think about a process that would work for you. How many posts would you want to publish on what platforms? Are you going to sit down once a week to write all of them, or take some time every day? Will you only post your own content, or collect and share articles by others? It’s easier to generate more content if you repost others’, but it could also cost you more time if you’re not already reading those other sources. Plus, it’ll send traffic to other sources than your own. That doesn’t have to be a problem, depending on your social media goals.
Make a social media plan
You’ve decided on where you’re headed: that’s the strategy. Now the plan is how you’ll get there. You have collected a lot of very useful information up till now. Time to turn it into an action plan! Think of a concrete and actionable plan that would fit in with your regular weekly schedule. You can always alter it along the way, but it’s great to have a plan to get you started.
To help your future self and others to understand what you’re aiming for, it’s a great idea to write up a short document with your findings. Your goals, the brand voice you decide on, the content buckets you’d like to focus on, and so on. If you have several larger goals, you might want to prioritize them.
Concrete goals for social media presence
You’ve decided on your strategic goals, like “spreading SEO knowledge”, for example. You could do with more concrete, actionable goals in your social media plan. A few examples:
- In the next 12 months, traffic from social media to my website will increase by 25%.
- In the next 6 months, my profile on Google My Business will have 10 new reviews.
- In the next 3 months, I will share at least one post on Facebook every day.
Be bold, dare to try! If you don’t reach these goals, you set new ones for the next period of time. You need something to aim for to keep you motivated.
There’s a lot you can do, as you can see. And by measuring and evaluating your social media efforts you’ll be able to keep track of the impact your efforts have, so make sure to free up some time to do so. Good luck for now!
Read more: Does social media influence SEO? »