First, determine your social media goals
What do you want to accomplish on social media? An easy-to-use template for creating a social media strategy can be found on the Hootsuite website. It suggests aligning overall business objectives with your social media goals and metrics. For example, if your overall objective is to grow your brand, your social media goal can be to create awareness, and you can use metrics such as follower growth, reach or shares to measure success. Most platforms will support multiple goals. Detailing your top priorities for social media will help you determine which platforms make the most sense for your business.
Don’t forget to factor in time
Evaluate how much time you and your employees can spend on social media. You’ll want to consider how much time you and/or your employees can dedicate to creating posts and monitoring and engaging with feedback on social media.
Create meaningful posts
Social media content is the messages, links, images and/or photos you create and post on your social media platforms. Creating social media content takes time. You’ll want to consider what types of content you are able to create; certain content types take longer than others to plan, create and post. Popular formats include:
- Text-only posts — These are the easiest and quickest messages to create, but they may also be the least impactful due to the lack of imagery.
- Links to owned content — Connect your customers to blog articles or news releases on your website. If you already have a process in place to create this content, then sharing links pointing to the content will be easy.
- General links — Connect your customers to relevant articles about your industry or company on external sites. This could be an easy option. Keep in mind that you’ll still need to dedicate time to searching for relevant articles to share.
- Images — These include photos of your products, services or visual graphics created for your company. Images of your products, services or store are generally easy to capture. Designed graphics take more time and skill to create. Make sure when you’re sharing a photo that you either have the rights to the image or credit the source.
- Videos — These offer demos of your products, services or industry, including live videos. Depending on the format, creating videos can take a lot or a little effort.
Most social media platforms offer in-app tools to modify or create content. For example, Instagram offers photo and video editing tools within their app. These tools can make it easier to create content that aligns with the platform’s look and feel.
Determine how many pieces of content you can create per week or per month. Keep in mind, you can post a variety of content types on your social media pages. Most platforms best support a 2-or-3-post-per-week schedule. However, you can make a greater impact on certain platforms if you post more, such as multiple times per day, or less, such as once per week. The chart below will help guide you through various frequency scenarios.
Engaging with your audience
Research by Clutch reveals that 76% of followers expect companies to respond to comments on social media and 83% expect a response within a day or less. When creating your social media strategy, consider how much time you and/or your employees can spend monitoring for and responding to comments directed toward your business. This includes:
- Feedback shared on posts made by your brand on social media
- Mentions of your brand, or posts or reviews shared on your brand’s social media pages
- Sharing user-generated content (UGC), or content created by customers about your business
Know your target market
Specific social media platforms are more impactful than others in reaching specific demographics. Consider your target market, or who you want to reach on social media. Attributes you may want to consider include:
- Age or stage of life
- Interests or industry
- Marketing strategy: Are you looking to engage directly with consumers (B2C) or with other businesses (B2B)?
Select the appropriate platforms
Once you’ve considered your goals, time commitments and target market, you can select the social media platform or platforms that best meet your business’s needs. Use the chart below to guide your decision.
|Facebook: Build your brand and engage with fans
||Medium: Post about once per day. You can create a wide variety of content types, including photos, videos, livestreams or links. Videos receive higher engagement than images and links.
||Medium: Be ready to monitor conversations daily. 71% of all social media complaints are posted on Facebook.1
||About 80% of those ages 30-49 and 70% of those ages 50-64 use Facebook, and it’s still one of the most widely used online platforms, along with YouTube.2
|Twitter: Inform and keep followers up to date; prioritize customer service and engagement
||Medium: Post 2-5 times per day. This format is ideal for timely content such as news, live updates or links.
||High: Be prepared to engage in near-real time. 64% of customers on Twitter expect a response from companies within one hour.1
||About 30% of those ages 13-49 use Twitter.2 Industries with high engagement rates on Twitter include food & beverage, higher education, hotels & resorts, nonprofits and sports teams.3
|Instagram: Boost engagement by posting highly visual content
||High: Post 3-5 times per week. Share high-quality photos, quotes or stories. All posts must feature a visual element, such as a photo, graphic image or video.
||Medium: Be ready to monitor for feedback daily. Most Instagram users expect to get a response from brands within 24 hours.4
||75% of those ages 18-24 and 57% of those ages 25-30 are on Instagram.2 83% of Instagram users discover new products and services on the platform.5
|LinkedIn: Show thought leadership, find new customers or add to your network
||Medium: Post 2-3 times per week. Share company news and professional content. Keep in mind that posts with images receive higher engagement.
||Medium: Plan to provide timely responses to followers’ feedback; within 24 hours is ideal.
||Popular with professionals, the demographics reflect the current workforce. About 40% of those ages 24-49 use the service.2 It supports a B2B marketing strategy.
|YouTube: Create videos to build brand awareness and increase engagement
||High: Upload a video at least once per week. This can include traditional videos as well as livestreams or vlogs.
||Medium: Expect to engage with viewers’ comments and questions within 24 hours.
||YouTube is the most widely used online platform. Over 70% of those ages 18-64 use the platform.2 90% of users say they discover new brands and products on YouTube. It also supports a B2B marketing strategy; 59% of executives prefer watching video to reading text.7
|Pinterest: Provide helpful information, and link pins to your website to drive traffic and sales
||Medium: Post 3-6 times per week. Share infographics, photo guides and more using Pinterest’s vertical format. Informational photos that teach people how to do something perform best.
||Low: Prepare to engage with and share followers’ content. Due to the inspirational nature of the platform, the need to respond to concerns or customer service inquiries is minimal.
||71% of Pinterest users are female, and 40% of dads in the U.S. use the platform. Consumers use Pinterest to develop their knowledge of food and drinks, find apparel, discover new beauty products and more.8
|Snapchat: Tell followers about events, show them behind-the-scenes footage or create sponsored interactive content
||Medium: Post 3-6 times per day. Share pictures, videos and stories to show followers what happens behind the scenes and at events. Leverage geotags and sponsored lenses to increase brand exposure and engagement.
||Low: Plan to engage with users while you’re actively using the platform, responding to feedback within 24 hours.
||Popular with younger generations. 70% of those ages 13-17 and 62% of those ages 18-29 use Snapchat.2
Ensure that your strategy stays current
Your social media strategy will evolve over time. As your strategy shifts, or as you create more time or resources for your business, you may want to add additional platforms to your social media strategy.