Building your social media strategy can seem like a daunting task. The question I hear the most often is, “where do I start?”.
Several years ago I came across a method called the Deming Cycle (also known as PDCA) which involved 4 steps:
PDCA is a 4-step method used by businesses to control and monitor improvements of their services or products. This method is easily adaptable to building your social media strategy.
This is going to be the longest of the PDCA cycle. The planning stage of building your social media strategy will focus on the who, what, where, when and how:
Build personas of the people who are your customers and potential customers. As you build these personas you should focus on these characteristics:
Knowing who you want to share information with will help with the other steps of your planning process.
Check out your competitors, look over questions customers frequently ask, review your products and services. What information is going to be the most informative and helpful to your customers and potential customers.
The information you share should:
Stimulate engagement – You want your followers to be engaged or interested in what you’re saying. You can do this in a variety of ways:
Demonstrate knowledge – Gain their trust by demonstrating your knowledge of information related to your industry. It doesn’t hurt to “give away” bits of information that will help your followers. For example you could create a post that tells your followers the 5 most common deductions most people miss when filing their taxes, how to prevent stains caused by your washing machine, or warm-up tips to prevent injury when exercising. Facebook posts should be short and informative so finding a few bits of expert knowledge is easy to come up with and makes your followers respect your knowledge.
Be consistent with company branding:
What I’m looking at here is your overall branding. Some companies are quite formal and business-like. They use proper grammar in every piece of written material; others are less formal like me. I tend to use contractions wherever I can and even tend to make ‘em up as I go as well. In our leads group, I’m becoming more known for using corny old country songs to deliver my 1-minute message (you should’ve heard the most recent one about the Hot Rod Lincoln). This is all part of my personality and I come across on my facebook page as very informal and laid back. Make sure what you post is consistent with your company’s culture and image. You want your followers to recognize you.
This by far is absolutely the hardest part of posting online. There’s many articles and content written about when you should post your content. Some experts say to post between 8 am to 2 pm while others say 7 am to 10 pm. In reality your optimal time is determined by two things:
It’s really that simple. In order to determine your optimal time you need to get busy and start posting content, build your audience, and then track your results.
Facebook’s insights data can help you determine when your audience is online. MeetEdgar offers a Guided Tour of Facebook Insights. Check out their post for some useful info that’ll help you Determine Your Best Time to Post.
There’s many social sharing sites available to choose from. In my experience, I’ve found it best to start with Facebook and get a good posting rhythm started before branching off into other forms of social media. Trying to get started on too many platforms at once is a recipe for disaster.
This question has two aspects to it. The first aspect is what types of information will you share:
Use some variety to keep your followers engaged but remember that images get more attention than any other type of content. Images and video appeal to various learning styles and make it easy for your audience to get a feel for who you are. So pair your text update with a relevant image to attract the attention of your audience.
Once you determine what types of information to share, you’ll want to focus on how you’ll post that information. You can insert every update manually when you’re ready to post it – but this tends to be quite time consuming. There’s many scheduling tools which you can use:
Check out this table with a few of the different social media posting tools available:
|Free: ||Free||Free - none||Free - none|
Also has $50, $100, and $250 plans
|$49/month||Auto post on Facebook Pages,
Facebook Groups, Facebook Events,
Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ and
Pinterest all from one place
Lastly, you’ll want to remember to implement the 70/20/10 rule when sharing your information:
When posting ask yourself:
This is where you get busy and implement the plan you created for building your social media strategy. One of the best ways to implement your plan is by using a social media calendar. HootSuite has a free social media calendar on Google Docs which you can use.
To use the template, simply click File in the upper left-hand corner,
then select Make a copy from the drop-down menu.
Check out their article about How to Create a Social Media Content Calendar.
As you’re building your social media strategy calendar don’t forget the 70/20/10 rule. Here’s an example of how you would put that into action if you’re posting six times a day on one network (such as Facebook):
Making things perfect is not the goal here – simply do your best to follow your plan for building your social media strategy
You’re all finished building your social media strategy, right? Wrong! The third step of the Deming Cycle is to check-in and measure. What results have you reached? Compare those results with the goals you’d set out to accomplish.
Buffer offers a free Social Media Report along with an article about how to use it that I have found to be quite useful in my own social media strategy.
This part is fairly simple – take the information you learned in step 3, compare it to your original goals, go back and revise your social media strategy in order to get closer to what you’d hoped to achieve.
If you find you’re trying to do too much and can’t keep up, you’ll need to scale back to a schedule that’s more comfortable and workable for what you’re able to handle. Adjust your posting times to coincide with your followers; scheduling your posts is a good idea if you’re not at your desk during ideal times.
Continually monitor your efforts and tweak what you’re doing as you begin to see results.
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Building your social media strategy can be accomplished with four simple steps
focus on who, what, when, where and how for the information you wish to share
Implement the strategy you create and use the right tools such as a content calendar
Measure your progress and build a report to ensure that you’re reaching the goals you wish to achieve with building your social media strategy
Monitor what you’re doing and make adjusts in order to reach your goals