I’m a content creator in the beauty sphere and one of my main goals for 2021 is to grow my Instagram and Youtube channel. At the beginning of the year, I noticed I was getting little to no results, and I decided it was time to create a social media strategy for growth. To do this, I spent this past month learning about social media marketing strategies and creating some for my brand, Making It Up.
And here I am, almost a month later with two complete social media marketing strategies –– one for each platform –– ready to fully implement them to start growing at a faster rate. It sounds simple, but I went through a lot of trial, error, and hard work to perfect each of my strategies. I want to share my thought process while building each stage on today’s blog post.
So if you want to learn more about social media strategies or get some ideas to recreate for your strategy, make sure to stick around cause this might be helpful.
Before I started building my strategy I did a bunch of research to understand all the different elements of a social media marketing strategy and different templates to help me build them. I loosely based my strategies on this template as well as this one. They’re two very different templates but both are complete and easy to recreate.
The only thing I didn’t like about them is how they looked. So I took some of their ideas and ran with them, but I made them look better.
S.M.A.R.T stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely and that’s exactly what you want your goals to be. Setting up your goals is the first and most important step to create a social media marketing strategy. You need to be clear on what you’re trying to accomplish with your strategy so you can build upon it. Without setting up your goals you won’t know what comes next.
I set two goals per social media platform so I could really hone in on them and perfect them. I recommend you set no more than three so you can manage them easily.
All of my goals revolve around growth but writing ‘grow my Youtube subscriber count’ was too broad of a goal and I could’ve gone about it many different ways. I got specific so that I can measure my goals as time goes by.
To better understand my goals I also made a ‘how goals align to my platform objectives’. I took my smart goals and defined what the objectives are and the metrics I’m gonna use to measure my progress. I would say this isn’t a necessary part of a strategy but in my case, it gave me a wider understanding of why I set those goals and what I need to focus on to see improvement.
Social Media Audit
Before defining where you want to go, you need to know where you currently stand and you can do that through a social media audit. Doing an audit is the best way to understand where your platforms stand at the moment and see what you’re doing well and what’s not working.
For my strategies, I did two kinds of audits. I did a more data-driven audit with things like the number of likes, views, followers, etc. And I did a broader audit of things that are working, the types of content to share, and things that aren’t working. The second one was based more on observation than on facts but it’s still very important.
Doing both of these audits gave me a complete view of where I’m currently standing and it will make it easier to measure my progress in the long run. Because now it’s easier to visualize the steps I need to take to get to where I wanna go.
Auditing your platforms is a must when building a strategy. I recommend you add and customize any information that’s important to your specific social media platforms. So if you’re doing an audit for Youtube focus on views instead of likes, and if you’re on Twitter focus on retweets instead of saves.
When I saw this idea in another template I was against it at first and didn’t wanna include it in my strategy. I added my competitor analysis as a last-minute thing because I realized how important it is.
A competitor analysis is not an exercise of comparison to see how your competitors are succeeding and you’re failing. It is just an objective view of someone else’s platform to see what they’ve done to succeed and understand how you can adapt that to your strategy.
For my competitor analysis, I took a similar approach and template that I did with my audits. I added a ‘what they do well/could improve’ category at the bottom of the analysis to get some ideas on what to implement and what not to implement. I picked competitors that have similar content to mine and that have a similar follower count to mine for a more accurate and helpful analysis.
Doing this competitor analysis gave me a lot of insight into what my followers want from me and what I need to start/stop doing to succeed.
If you’re starting your journey creating a social media marketing strategy I recommend doing a competitor analysis. Especially if you’re a new brand or creator and your platforms aren’t live yet because you don’t have any other data to draw information from.
Your competitors are not your enemies, they’re your friends. And their content is free for you to dig into.
I did a whole blog post on how to do a buyer persona so I’m not going super in-depth for this step here.
To be able to cater to your audience, you first need to understand them. Where they come from, what they like, and what they don’t like. A buyer persona helps you know who your followers are regardless of if you’re selling them something.
There are many ways to go about buyer personas. I created two specific buyer personas with names and faces and a more detailed story but you can also create a general persona for your audience.
To get the information to fill out my persona I did a deep dive into my analytics on Youtube and Instagram and I also went through my audience’s profiles and stalked them a little. A combination of those gave me everything I need to create full, fake human beings to better understand my followers.
After I gathered all the information I got creative filling in my persona’s demographics, pain points, needs, preferred social networks, budget, and unique characteristics.
I customized the details of my personas to fit my social media platforms so feel free to customize yours for your platforms or, if you use your social media to sell something, for actual customers.
Coming up with my personas was one of the coolest parts of building my strategy because it got my creative juices flowing and I came out of it feeling like I understood my audience better.
The key to success lies in your analytics. This is something I learned while building my social media strategy.
As a content creator I never really paid much attention to the numbers. I didn’t even know how to read analytics until this month. But don’t be fooled, because the numbers and the data are really important.
As it turns out my Youtube and Instagram analytics are the cheat sheets to understanding my followers. By reading the data I learned about their demographics, the content they engage with the most, keywords they use, when they’re most active online, etc. These things are musts!
I went through my analytics and took note of different things that were useful depending on the platform. For Instagram, I focused a lot on follower count and engagement rate. For Youtube, I mostly focused on watch time, traffic source, and subscribers. I wrote down every piece of data that I thought would be helpful for me to have on hand.
Every social media has an analytics system and, for the most part, they’re fairly easy to read once you understand them. So if you’re not an analytics person, become one. This is not only a must if you want to build your strategy but also if you want to stay in tune with your audience.
Content Strategy + Plan
After gathering all of that information on my followers, understanding where I stand, and defining where I want to be, I got to work on my content strategy.
I created a simple content strategy defining the kinds of content I want to share, when exactly I’m going to share it, and who I’m going to be sharing it with. The more specific you get with these, the better. I pulled information from my analytic insights and my buyer personas, and I kept in mind my goals while defining these.
I wanted to take my content strategy one step further so I decided to create a more detailed plan. You can leave it at that but I think it’s important to get the strategy in action. And the best way to do that is through a plan.
My plan looks a whole lot like content calendars. I also did a whole in-depth blog post on why content calendars are important so check that out if you’re not familiar with them.
I basically planned out a whole month’s worth of content for my Youtube channel and a few week’s worth of content for my Instagram. This is something that I’ll continue doing month to month but I wanted to include it as part of my strategy to remind me and show that this is the way I’m putting my strategy into action. By planning and creating content that will help me reach my goals.
If you use a content calendar or you wanna start using one, feel free to leave it out of your social media strategy if you want to. It’s not a must, but it’s a great reminder to turn your ideas into plans and your plans into actions.
After all, if you only create your strategy and you don’t make a plan for it, what did you create it for?
After creating my strategy and plan, all I have left to do is execute it. I just recently finished my social media marketing strategy so I’ve only been able to test it for about a week or so. Still, I wanted to do a mini-test to see how well my strategy has worked in this short amount of time.
Check it out!
As my platforms grow I’m sure my goals will grow with them so I’m gonna be revising and updating this strategy every three months, to make sure it’s adding value to me and helping my platforms perform better.
Before taking on this project, I wasn’t sure a social media marketing strategy was right for me because I didn’t have customers and wasn’t trying to sell anything through social media. And even though my goal is not to get more customers I want my platforms to grow and I want people to engage with my content. A strategy like this one has given me all the data and a plan to make that happen.
If you’re a content creator or someone who has specific goals for their social media platforms that aren’t being met, I recommend you create your social media marketing strategy. It might be the answer to all your prayers.
Curious about my social media marketing project? Click here to read about my entire journey!