There you are in your office, enviously looking at the cool social media accounts of your competitors and their huge amount of followers. You want that too. Maybe you’re thinking about diving head first into the pool of social media; tweeting, posting and snapchatting tout de suite. Nothing good would come of crude action though; social media for businesses is a complex topic. To help you out, we prepared a guide on how to enter the world of social media in 3 simple steps!
Step 1: Planning
A strategy without planning is like hiking without looking at a map first. You’re going to get lost and it’ll be awful. Don’t do that to yourself. If you have a good plan however, social media marketing will be easy – fun, even!
There are 5 points in a good social media marketing plan
A persona is a made up character based on your data research who represents the archetype of your reader. You give your persona a name, professional and personal details, personality traits, goals, struggles, and motivations. The more vivid, the better.
Remember when you used to have imaginary friends? How real they seemed? Your social media persona should be just as real to you and your company. A well thought out persona, we’ll call her Fabida Torres, could look like this:
The currency of social media is shares, not likes as too many people believe. So, when you create content, you’ll always ask yourself “Would Fabida share this post?”.
Creating a persona is easy if you have a structured template. For this purpose, we have our in-house Content Creation Canvas linked for you to download at the end of this guide!
Different platforms require different content. While you can post long scientific articles on Linkedin, you’re limited to 280 characters on Twitter and to videos on Youtube. You need to adapt. Here is an overview of the most important platforms, their type of content and their audience:
The social media king with 2.37 billion active users per month. That’s more than all the people living in India and China together!
Content: On Facebook, posts range from single line text to over 20 minutes long videos.
Audience: Facebook has the broadest audience you can imagine. My mom, your mom, fortune 500 CEOs, and gangster bosses are probably all on FB. It also has a great tool called Facebook Insights to help you determine what kind of audience sees your posts.
Comes in second with 1.9 billion active users per month.
Content: Videos in all length and degree of professionalism.
Audience: Again, almost everyone goes on Youtube to watch funny cat videos or easy tutorials.
Overlooked by many, with 1.5 billion users, one of the most relevant platforms out there.
Content: Chats! The more you sound like a real person, the better. The great thing is, everyone opens their Whatsapp messages. Untapped potential right there!
Audience: Who doesn’t use Whatsapp? At least in Switzerland…
Just pictures and videos, but 1 billion users.
Content: Instagram is exclusively visual with videos up to one minute and photos. The caption to each post adds value and context, so be sure to prepare a well-written text.
Audience: Generation Z is constantly glued to the screen, mostly Instagram. There is even a phobia – called Nomophobia – to describe the fear of not being near your phone. As Instagram belongs to Facebook, the previously mentioned insight tool helps you here as well.
Although not as many users, Twitter is with 335 million not to neglect.
Content: Twitter posts – or tweets – are limited to 280 characters. Be crisp and direct! Photos and gifs are welcome to support your message.
Audience: Politicians, journalists, and brands are the main users posting on Twitter. But don’t write off Twitter just yet! A lot of private users have an account just to stay up to date and interact with their favorite brands, even though they rarely tweet themselves.
With almost 300 million users is Linkedin the biggest professional platform.
Content: Mostly used for professional content in the form of articles or personal information. Look at Linkedin as the business version of Facebook with the difference that you brag about your career instead of your kids.
Audience: Professional people, mostly office workers.
That’s still used? Yes, by 255 million people every month in fact! Don’t miss out.
Content: Videos and pictures which “self-destruct” after 24h.
Audience: Teenagers who are into gossip and what their favorite fashion stars are up to. Or people sending nude photos.
It’s a big selection of platforms and it can get overwhelming. But you don’t need to be on every single one. Assess which platforms are best for your company and stick to those. Create your accounts as detailed as possible and download the corresponding apps to stay up-to-date with your followers and react as fast as possible.
Now that you know where you post, the next step is to figure out what you’ll be posting. Ask yourself, “What would make Fabida stop scrolling the Instagram feed to look at what I have to say?” Just knowing what kind of information she would like to see isn’t enough though, it must be presented in a visually appealing way or she’ll scroll right past it without a second glance.
Social media his highly visual. Everything has to look pretty. You have to plan the structure of your posts and your profile in advance to achieve a beautiful continuity.
That’s a lot to take into account. Remember the Content Creation Canvas? It’s not just to create a persona. The other half of the sheet is for content planning! When fully filled out, your whole social media strategy will fit on a single A4 paper and you won’t have to worry about missing anything.
4. Delivery Schedule
You know where and what you post. But when do you post? Statistics suggest that you post around three times per week. There are good tools that let you create posts in advance and then schedule them to be published automatically:
- Iconosquare: Our all-time favorite social media post scheduler for Facebook and Instagram! Iconosquare even shows you the best time of the day to post based on average user interaction.
- Buffer: Similar to Iconosquare but with the ability to post on Twitter and Linkedin as well.
- CoSchedule: You can’t just schedule, but also automate. When you publish a blog article, a corresponding post will appear magically – if you set it up correctly – on the platforms you wish. This tool comes with a broad palette of functions and is recommended for advanced users.
Find the tool that suits your needs. If you take some time at the beginning of each month to prepare and schedule 12 posts, you’re already way ahead of your competition.
Oh, you thought social media marketing is free? It used to be, but over the years it developed into almost a “pay to play” thing. Platforms are adapting their algorithm to restrict organic reach. Instead, you have to turn to paid advertising on the platforms to get your message spread. That’s their way to make money. But don’t fret, the ROI is crazy high if done right, so your money is well invested.
Step 2: Content Creation
The map is all drawn out and it’s time to embark on the journey. There are plenty of ways to gather ideas for good content:
- Competitor Analysis: Analyse what your competition posts and how well it’s received by the audience, then do it better.
- Google: A simple Google search for “Social Media Content Ideas” gives you about 1’380’000’000 results in 0.35 seconds.
- Hire a professional: A graphic designer or social media expert is a safe bet if you have the budget.
If you do the posts yourself, we recommend you take a look at Canva. Select what type of post you want to create and on which platform and you’ll get hundreds of nice looking templates.
When you write your posts and captions, remember to be human. You aren’t talking to a bunch of robots, but to real people. Always use natural language and be relatable!
As Romain Pittet, our senior copywriter, says:
“A truly unique brand doesn’t stand out with its looks alone: language is also a major differentiation factor.”
Step 3: Posting & Management
Your strategy is written down on the Content Creation Canvas, content for the next month is created and scheduled, the apps are downloaded and the accounts ready. Your big moment is here, you’re going online!
Your first post is up, everyone in the office is cheering, bottles are popping, confetti falling. The job is done, together we took the first step into the world of social media.
Get the Content Creation Canvas template and start your journey!