Nothing ever stays the same for too long when it comes to marketing. Between the never-ending stream of new devices being introduced and social media platforms being created, the way people consume media is constantly changing. As a result, the way they choose which brands to align with has changed.
That’s why to have an effective brand strategy, a social media plan is vital. Blindly posting about your business on Facebook and paying for random ads isn’t going to cut it anymore.
Here’s what three marketing experts have to say about ensuring your social media plan is designed to keep up with the times.
Assess your business goals first
The first step in creating any brand strategy is assessing your business goals. That step should definitely not be skipped when starting to align your social media plan, according to Kar Brulhart, founder of KB Brand Marketing and Instagram expert and coach.
“An effective social media plan takes into account business goals and plans content to suit those goals—whether [those plans are] for brand awareness, conversion, or retention and nurturing,” Brulhart says. “At the end of the day, everything should be measurable, and the content that performs—brings in saves, shares, followers, and clicks to the website—should be repeated often.”
Once you can determine specific, concrete goals and how you’ll plan to measure their success, then you can get to the fun part—planning your content.
Prioritize your online community
Sitting at a blank whiteboard to determine those goals for your brand strategy can seem daunting, but it all starts with asking a few simple questions—especially when it involves your social media plan.
For Lucy Rendler-Kaplan, founder of Arkay Marketing and PR, theher launching off point boils down to these three questions:
- Is this necessary?
- Is this needed?
- Is this helpful?
According to Rendler-Kaplan, while those first two questions might seem to be the same, they're pretty different.
“Is it necessary?” comes from a utility perspective. Ask yourself: do I have the opportunity to help people find information on something I haven't myself been able to find information on?
The question “Is this needed?” is more centered on a community standpoint. Ask yourself: have I been listening and talking with my communities, and have I found that they're asking for this type of information?
“If I can answer 'yes' to each of those three questions, I'm more confident in sitting down to write,” Rendler-Kaplan says. “When I'm writing for a brand, I always try to keep on top of my mind—‘this isn't about me. This is about my customers.'"
Brulhart agrees that keeping your audience at the forefront of your social media plan is essential when creating any content.
“It's no longer enough to just focus on aesthetics or vibes," Brulhart argues. “Users on Instagram want to feel like everything is personalized for them. The brands that will see the most success will have an ear close to trending topics, timely news content and make use of all of the latest features in the app as soon as they are released.”
Understand your audience
To keep your community the focal point for your social media plan, you first need to truly understand your audience and how best to reach them.
“There's no point focusing on Twitter if your audience is all on Facebook,” Rendler-Kaplan says. “Knowing where to share is as important as what you're sharing.”
But knowing where your audience is interacting is only half the battle. Staying in the know with what your audience is into is also important. For a social media plan to be effective, a brand needs to understand its target demographic’s preferences on pop culture and trending topics. If you can accomplish that, your brand’s social media platforms become like an extension of that community’s identity, according to Brulhart.
“The ones that get this wrong will be slow to pivot and ultimately get left behind,” Brulhart adds.
Embrace and evolve with trends
While understanding how social media platforms are changing and following the differences between TikTok vs. Instagram is important, you'll need to factor in other considerations to truly develop a well-rounded social media plan. Ashley Purnell, the social media and community manager at POLYWOOD, encourages getting creative with various social media platforms' opportunities.
Here, a few ways to do this:
Stickers on Instagram/Facebook Stories
Making use of stickers on Instagram and Facebook Stories can be a good way to take advantage of platforms’ specific features. Purnell says that part of POLYWOOD’s brand strategy is to intentionally make Instagram Stories more interactive by including various stickers to help them learn more about their audience while also increasing engagement.
“To kick off this strategy, we shared a simple word search and added the ‘ask me a question’ sticker for our followers to submit their answers. Since the word search was ‘the first word you see describes your outdoor style,’ whenever someone submitted their answer, we would choose a product that matched their style and share their sticker with an image of the product,” Purnell says. “Of course, we also included our shop button to each chosen product. Not only did we receive a ton of responses, but we also saw an increase in engagement, link clicks, and revenue.”
Purnell says POLYWOOD often polls their followers as well. Sometimes, they make it more like a game with “this or that” themed content. Not only does it showcase their products in a fun way, it consistently engages their audience while also simultaneously preventing them from simply scrolling past.
Social media posts aren’t limited to pictures and words anymore. Purnell recommends making sure you don’t skimp on the inclusion of videos in your social media plan, particularly since shorter video content can boost engagement across different audiences.
“In 2021 and continuing into 2022, video content continues to reign supreme,” Purnell says. “Reels grew in popularity last year, and we have a strong suspicion that they will continue to thrive in 2022.”
According to Vimeo, the optimal video length is between 15 seconds and 3 minutes. Anything over 3 minutes will most likely not be watched entirely. TikTok’s rapid rise has further proven how very short videos have power—creators have seen even 7-second videos go viral.
Videos for social media don’t have to be elaborate. Whether they’re simply showing an aesthetic or featuring someone on your team speaking or doing a lip sync trend, it’s essential to put this kind of content out there to better connect with your audience—even if it is only for a couple of seconds.
Influencer marketing is another tactic that should be incorporated into a modern social media plan.
“Influencer marketing has been a powerful tool since its inception, and it doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon,” Purnell says. “At POLYWOOD, we have partnered with influencers of every level, including interior designers and HGTV stars.”
Not only can influencers make their own content to help promote and highlight your brand, but there are creative ways to get them more involved with your brand’s social media platform too. Purnell says that influencer “takeovers” is something POLYWOOD uses in their brand strategy.
The key is to be willing to try something new and be creative with your use of social media.
Need more support for your brand?
The team at Press Hook is here to help your brand succeed at gaining more authentic earned media opportunities. Contact us today to find out how we can fit with your brand strategy.