Social Media Strategy: Why You Need One and Where to Begin

Maintaining a quality social media presence is an important way to build a community of people interested in what you offer, but how do you make sure that your social accounts are driving tangible results, rather than merely keeping you from spending time on other areas of your business?

The key to optimizing your social presence for tangible business results lies in your social media strategy.

What is Social Media Strategy?

A social media strategy lays out your goals for social media, tying these goals to your overall business goals, and includes actionable steps for how you plan to achieve them. Once created, it’s a key tool that you can use to guide your social media decisions.

While everyone’s social media strategy contains elements unique to their business, a typical social media strategy may consist of:

  • Goals for using social media

  • Audience you’re trying to reach through social media

  • Channels through which to post (like Instagram and Twitter) or tools to help (like Sprout Social)

  • Content calendar, which defines what types of content you’ll post, what stories you’ll share, the purpose/s of each piece, and when you’ll post

  • Resources that will be required (like a budget for social advertising and/or team members to manage)

Why You Need a Social Media Strategy

It’s not uncommon for businesses to create social media pages simply because they feel they “should have them.” Starting up a social media presence without goals in mind can cause a variety of problems, the biggest of which is wasted time.

When you start up social media for your business, it’ll require an investment up front and commitment over time; it’s also not something that you can just set and forget. Without the foundation of a solid social media strategy, it can be quite difficult to maintain a social media presence that is thoughtful and consistent.

Here are three important reasons why it’s helpful to create a social media strategy before diving right into posting online.

1. A social media strategy gives your social media marketing direction and purpose. 

Once you clearly understand why you’re using social media, it will become easier to make social media decisions that support your overall business goals. Whether you’re posting on your own, or are utilizing the support of an agency, a social media strategy will help everyone stay aligned in their efforts.

2. Social media strategy will help you to understand which platforms are your MVPs.

It’s common for business owners who are just getting started on social media to go ahead and create an account on every single social media platform under the sun. Unfortunately, this method is rarely successful and often wastes time. Without making an effort to understand where your target audience is using social media, you may end up active on platforms your customers don’t even use. A social media strategy encourages you to reach your customers only where it makes sense for you to, which helps you to streamline your efforts.

3. Building a social media strategy up front can help you save time, over time.

It’s certainly a commitment to create a social media strategy from scratch, but putting in the effort up front can be a big time saver down the line. You’ll always have to analyze, but it’s a lot easier to make slight adjustments than it is to completely overhaul your efforts.

Where to Begin

When it comes to building out a social media strategy of your own, it can be overwhelming to try to figure out where to start. Here are some tips for where to begin.

1. Lay out your overall business goals.

Before you can build out your social strategy, understand what the overall goals are for your business, and how an active social media presence will support them. Is social media meant to help drive traffic to your website, is it to encourage visits to your physical store, is it meant to inspire customer retention, is it a combination of all three? Consider how social media fits into the bigger picture.

2. Learn about your audience, and where they like to consume their content.

Think about your target audience. How old are they? What are their hobbies? Where do they live? Your audience likely has a preference for certain social channels over others: research the different social platforms and their user base to determine which channels align with the people you’re trying to reach.

3. Think about the most important parts of your story to tell.

Social media channels are, at their core, vehicles for telling your brand’s story. With your goals as your guide, determine which elements of your story are most important to be told - and build them into your content strategy.

4. Audit your current social efforts (if you have them).

If you are already active on social media, take some time to review your current efforts. What’s working? What can be improved? Put in the effort to get a clear understanding of where you are, and where you want to be, in order to determine the steps it will take to get there.

These steps can help you to build a solid foundation that will guide you as you create your social media strategy.

Final Thoughts

The process of developing your social media strategy can seem intimidating at first, but whether you decide to handle it on your own or turn to an agency for guidance, a solid social media strategy is an extremely important element of your social media marketing efforts.

Need help with building your own social media strategy? The team at Doukas Media can strategically craft a brand for your business online that your target market sees as trustworthy, fun and relevant.

Rachael Doukas