Are you a business owner or side hustler that uses Instagram or Facebook as part of your strategy to attract clients, engage with your community and share your message?
Are you someone using social media personally but sharing your voice more and more and wanting to start thinking STRATEGICALLY about how you use those little squares or 15 second wheel Stories?
If you fit into either of these categories, this post was written for you.
As many of you know, I’ve spent the last decade working in the world of marketing and social media (in fact, I started my career when the ‘boost post’ function had just launched on Facebook and people were starting to use advertising for their business for the first time). Since then I’ve navigated the murky world of social content and advertising at the same time moving from a communications executive role in London through to a Head of Strategy role back in Perth (with a little detour via Sydney on the way).
I felt it was time I started sharing more about social. Specifically, the process I use and have implemented with clients over the last decade, tweaked for solopreneurs, small business owners, creatives, side-hustlers and millennial game-changers (that’s you!) I am also predominantly focusing on the platforms of Facebook and Instagram in the information I share below.
This process has strategy at its core and will serve you and your business DESPITE what the algorithm is doing at the time, and is the perfect place to start when devising your social media strategy.
Let’s dive into the 7-step process I use for social media success…
1. Determine your key objectives
All the exciting social media updates, tools and tech are useless without a clear understanding of WHY you are showing up on social in the first place. Wherever you are at on your social media journey or in your business, take a step back for a moment and ask yourself:
What purpose does social media serve for me/my business?
Why do I spend my time here?
Social media has previously existed as an ‘awareness’ tool, but over time we’ve had the incredible ability to use social to drive our clients through sales funnels through advertising. In its purest form though, your presence on social media will likely be to serve one or more of the following functions:
- Generate awareness of your brand and your messages
- Grow your community
- Create engagement within your community
- Facilitate conversations with people within your target community
- Ultimately, drive people through your marketing funnel to purchase your products
I know what you’re thinking – they are ALL my objectives! If so, that is totally ok. However, if you are in your first few years of business, I encourage you to choose one KEY objective to start with from the first four bullet points above. When it comes to marketing there is a funnel, and you cannot expect people to purchase your products if they haven’t gotten to know you properly yet. It’s all about allowing your audience to get to know you first.
2. Develop success markers
Now that you know what your objectives are, it’s time to set some goals or ‘success markers’ to measure your effectiveness at meeting your objectives.
Some examples of this might be:
Grow my Instagram community to 1,000 fans.
Generate more than 5% engagement on all posts.
Be able to pick out 10 people who found me through social media and are continuing to engage with me since becoming part of my community.
Whatever markers you choose – this is how you will measure yourself. Continue to come back to these when you experience overwhelm or start comparing yourself to what other people are doing on social media. You gotta stay in your own lane, girlfriend!
3. Define your ideal client and know your tone of voice
This one is essential and consists of two parts.
Part 1: In its simplest form it is this: having a really clear idea of who your target audience is and know what they want to hear from you. This means that instead of using language and sharing messages that appeal to people in a very broad and general way, it’s about getting specific AF and really connecting with the people you want to connect with.
Part 2: Once you know your ideal client in super specific detail (like what they would eat for breakfast, where they like to hang out and who their besties are – THAT level of detail) then for your type of business it is useful to consider the following:
What are their pain points?
What gets them out of bed in the morning?
What information do they want to hear from YOU?
What are their challenges that you can support them with?
What inspires them?
4. Create your content pillars
It’s at this point that you should recognise that your social media strategy is not about you/your life or your business, but instead it’s about the people you are serving. Every time you sit down to write your content you are doing so with the intention to give value to your ideal client.
With that in mind, what type of content are you going to share? These can be referred to as your ‘content pillars’ or ‘content buckets’. The little pockets of content topics that all your posts sit in, and it helps you come back to your reason for being.
You might have anywhere between 6-10 content pillars.
Mine include the following…
- My musings/current learnings (I only include anything that I think will be RELEVANT to my audience, although if you follow me on Instagram at the moment you could argue there are too many beach pics!)
- Business marketing
- Quote posts
As you would imagine, there is often overlap (sometimes a post might be a current learning ABOUT creativity, for example) but by having these content pillars sitting in the spreadsheet that I create my content in I am able to ensure I’m adding value in all of these areas on an ongoing basis.
5. Engage your community
It isn’t enough to simply to post your content and then step away from your social media platforms. At the heart of a business like yours is your community, and social media is one of the best channels we have available to us to be able to interact with our communities on a daily basis.
Take the time to create conversations with your community. The days of hierarchy are over, this is about creating connections at a peer to peer level and being able to form real relationships with these people. How privileged are we to get to do that!
6. Amplify your reach
I’m going to save this one for a separate blog post but I wanted to touch on it here. The other gift that social media has given us is the ability to use advertising to amplify our reach and communicate with more people. Specifically speaking, the ability to use Facebook and Instagram advertising.
Facebook and Instagram advertising is an incredibly powerful tool when it’s used properly. I’ve watched it become a game-changer in business, and it’s being used more often nowadays by solopreneurs to amplify their businesses and grow them to the next level. If you have an online product then I would highly recommend looking into how you can use Facebook advertising will work as part of your sales funnel (I can support you with this through my Business Marketing coaching too).
7. Analyse and pivot
Come back to your success markers time and time again. Check in to see which posts are connecting most with more audience. What do they like and comment on the most? What do they want to see more of?
Keep assessing which posts perform best, and then allow yourself to pivot accordingly. Your social media strategy doesn’t need to be stagnant. You have the option to be fluid and pivot quickly, much like the Facebook algorithm does.
There you have it – seven steps to start with before you even BEGIN to consider all the clever and innovative stuff like epic graphics, Instagram stories sequences and nailing the best time of day to post. These are all equally as important, but by starting from a place of strategy FIRST you will always be coming back to what is most important – creating a space to best serve your audience.
What has been your key takeaway from this? I’d love to know in the comments below.
Big love and success,