How to create a successful social media strategy

Marketing-01

We’re all ‘doing’ social media. Practically every firm has an account on either Twitter, Linkedin or, if you’re B2C, maybe Facebook or Instagram.

Whichever channels you use, there’s a general feeling that ‘everyone else is doing it, so we should too’.

But do you actually have a strategy? Do you know what you’re trying to achieve – and are you delivering?

Our tips for a winning social media strategy give you a 5-step guide to success.

Step 1: Set SMART goals

What is your social media activity trying to achieve? Setting objectives is the first step in delivering on them.

Make sure your goals are SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

And a social strategy can’t exist in isolation – it needs to support and help deliver your overall business and marketing objectives. Ensure your objectives here are aligned with your wider strategic aims.

Step 2: Work out where you are now

Auditing your current approach is an essential start point.

  • What does your social media footprint look like?
  • Does your firm have just one account, or several? Do they have the same tone of voice? The same number of followers? The same degree of interaction?
  • Who is managing your posts – is it devolved to business lines or is there a central approach?
  • Do you have a social media policy? Do people know who can post, and what they can say?
  • How do you manage approvals and compliance? The FCA rules apply equally to social media as to any other financial promotions. If you work for a regulated firm, a robust approach to compliance is a must.
  • What resonates with your audience? – identify the type of content that delivers clicks, shares and likes.

Step 3: Build a content strategy

As with all aspects of marketing, winging it in social media won’t deliver the results you need. You need a structured approach.

Think about:

  • The type of content you will share. Read our blog on how to make your content more shareable for tips on increasing interactions.
  • How often you will post.
  • Who your target audiences are – there’s likely to be more than one. Build a content plan for each of the personas you target.

Building a content calendar gives structure to your approach. There are various different kinds of post – those that drive traffic to your website; those that promote seminars or events you’re running; those that raise a question or comment on a topical issue. A calendar helps to make sure you’re posting a good mix of these.

Identify where you will get your content from. Is there material already available for you to share?

If you need to create new content, our tips on writing content that Compliance can approve will help you get faster sign-off – so you always have the material you need, when you need it.

And read our blog on why storytelling is the key to successful content marketing for more writing tips.

Images – photos; infographics; graphs – make posts more engaging. Build a stock of on-brand imagery.

Step 4: Measure your success

If you’ve set your goals at the beginning, measuring success should be straightforward.

Identify how your strategy is delivering on your aims:

  • What content is giving you the most interactions? (Read tips here on how to maximise engagement with your content)
  • Are more people signing up to your blogs, or attending your events?
  • Can you track visits to your websites according to source – are your posts driving people to your site?

There are plenty of analytics tools, many of which – like Twitter’s own Twitter Analytics – are free to use. Use them to see what types of post and posting times work best for you.

Step 5: Review and refine

Continuous improvement will ensure your strategy continues to deliver over time.

Using your success measures, work out what you can improve. If posting ‘out of hours’ secures more engagement from your audience, look at tools like Hootsuite or Buffer which can schedule posts to publish when you’re not in the office.

If you use an automated marketing workflow tool, use the MI it provides to gain insights into how long it takes to get posts approved and what type of content will get the Compliance seal of approval.

Follow these five tips and you will be on your way to creating a winning social media strategy.

If you want to read more, our guide, How to use Twitter for Financial Promotions - a 10 point guide has more advice on creating compliant content for social media - essential within an regulated environment. The guide is free, and you can download a copy here.

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