Entrepreneurs are generally aware of the positive effect that social media can have on their business, but sometimes lack a clear strategy to guide their output.

In this article, we’re going to look at social media strategies in a bit more detail, covering what one is, why you need one and how to react and adjust your strategy depending on changes in your business.

Before we do so, and before you start creating your own social media plan, let’s establish how we – and your potential customers – use these platforms.

Statista cites that there are 45 million active social media users (67pc of the UK population) and 39 million active social media users on mobile (58pc of the population).

In 2019, Facebook is still the most widely used social platform in the UK. Here are some key figures:

  • Over three quarters (78pc) of all internet users in the UK use Facebook (Avocado Social)
  • Meanwhile, there are 24m Instagram users in the UK, with the overwhelming majority (80pc) of users following a business or brand (Avocado Social)
  • 7m users are on Twitter (Statista)
  • Engagement on LinkedIn is at record high, with more than 610m professionals now interacting within the platform (Avocado Social)

Research from Flint also shows that  79pc of UK adults (18+) used YouTube in 2018.

What is a social media strategy?

With statistics like the above, it’s no surprise that social media can help small businesses grow online. But to really get the most out of the channel, you need a social strategy. Why? We’ll answer that below.

A social media strategy is a plan of how you’re going to handle your output over a set period of time – it could be a week, a month, a year or another suitable measure.

>See also: Social Media Metrics – It’s Time to Measure What Matters

It’ll typically include your goals and a content calendar of the posts that you’re going to publish and when they’ll be published.

Social strategies also tend to document the vital stats of your audience to keep who you’re targeting in check, which can help you  separate your content types (videos, infographics, guides, etc.) and adjust your language according to what works for different demographics.

As well as your posts, a social strategy will help you set out time to respond to interactions, complaints and requests.

Ideally, you should be creating a social media strategy before you start posting but having experience with your audience has its advantages too. Use the knowhow you’ve gained already to sharpen your strategy.

If there are multiple people involved in your social media output, put the strategy in a shared file or programme so that you can all make adjustments to it.

When you’re getting started you can save yourself hours of needless work by finding a social media template – there are countless examples online.

>See also: 8 steps to creating a social media strategy for your small business

Why do I need a social media strategy?

Having a strategy makes your social management easier and more efficient.

It also means that people in your team aren’t just posting whatever pops into their heads. This protects you from saying something that might come across as offensive or harmful. What’s more, planning in advance evens out your posts to reduce the risk of spamming – or deserting – your followers.

At a base level, having a social media strategy helps you navigate the tangled world of web and social media. Experiment with different elements to see how they perform and track individual campaigns, rather than posting bits and pieces here and there.

A strategy also lets your relevant team see what’s happening on the social media front and gives them the chance to share their thoughts on upcoming posts. And for handovers and new staff, a written plan is much simpler to follow than verbal instructions.

Laying plans out clearly lets you know what’s going on in terms of competition as well as in your own social media performance. It could well act as an early indicator of market trends, giving you the advantage against your competitors.

Dealing with mishaps

Your social media strategy should include (or be paired with) information specifying what to do if something goes wrong. For instance, a member of your team might say something inappropriate or post from a different account by accident. Detail how to deal with customer and user complaints here too.

Remember to mention procedural bits like the protocol around creating passwords and how often you update them.

Changing your strategy

It’s vital that you regularly review your strategy to keep up with changes in your business, your products and your audience. If there’s a certain type of content that performs well or boosts sales, consider putting more focus on it.

Speaking of which, it’s a good time to consider adding sales features like Instagram shopping, if they’re relevant to your business and industry. Some companies have reported growth of hundreds of percentage points through social media shopping.

When thinking about your strategy, keep these 2019 stats from Avocado Social in mind. In the UK:

  • 71pc of UK adults (that’s 13 years old or over) can be reached with adverts on Facebook
  • 42pc of the UK population can be reached with advertising on Instagram
  • 51pc of UK adults (aged 18+) are reachable by LinkedIn adverts
  • 6m people in the UK population aged 13+ (24pc) are accessible on Twitter.

An obvious marker for measuring success is your analytics and these will vary from platform to platform. Aside from specific analytics, keep track of how many followers you have, engagement, click-through rate and how quickly you’re responding to customer service enquiries. Let this shape what happens in the future of your social media planning.

It doesn’t solely have to be about changing your strategy: take the opportunity to purge fake accounts and followers, look at new scheduling platforms or purchase a programme to monitor your social media – anything relevant that needs attention, really.

Whatever your process, try and review your strategy every six months. This will keep you informed, motivated and inspired while helping your business to grow.

For more tips on your social media management, head over to The UK Domain and check out their social guides. You can also find more help and advice on social strategies in this online guide, complete with a checklist you can follow to create, execute and monitor your very own social media strategy in just eight steps.

This article was brought to you in partnership with the UK Domain.

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How to create a social media strategy as a business leader

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