In the final part of a four part series, we continue the theme of Planning for 2021. Today, I will take a look at your social media strategy for 2021. If you missed the posts on Deadlines and Dead Certs, Site Content Planning, or Goal Setting, I recommend you click through and give those a read too. Let’s take a look at planning your social media strategy for the year ahead …
Why Do I Need a Social Media Strategy?
Being active on social media is one way to organically grow your strong online presence. It will enable you to easily share content you create to drive people towards your website, blog, shop etc. However, failure to be consistent on social media is one of the main reasons social media accounts stop growing. Therefore, it is really important not to rely on just “winging it” and instead, to have a fully thought out plan in place.
Whilst it may take you some time to create your content calendar, in the long run, it will save you time. You will be far more organised and far less likely to find yourself sitting in front of your laptop or phone drawing a complete blank as to what you’re going to post that day. Thinking ahead will save you time, keep you consistent and allow you to post better content.
A strategy and schedule will therefore help keep you on track, be more consistent, and ultimately help your social accounts to grow.
How Do I Create a Social Media Strategy?
- Goals: Putting a social media strategy in place will help you to achieve the goals that we talked about in last week’s post. Consider what those goals are before you begin to plan your social media strategy. Make sure that your social media goals are right for your own business. In other words, don’t follow the crowd and think that you need to have 20k followers to have “made it”. Consider what goals will work for your business and what you want to achieve with your social media plan. Growing your following could be one goal, but what about increasing engagement in your online community? Or generating more sales or more leads? Or even just driving more traffic to your website? Social media does not have to always be about the number of followers you have.
- Metrics: Work out which metrics are most important for your blog and have a schedule to keep an eye on how your posts are doing. Metrics can include reach, engagement, hashtag performance, likes and clicks. Don’t concern yourself with the vanity metrics such as likes and follows, concentrate on the data that matters.
- Competition: It’s always good to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. Even if you don’t think you have competitors as such, look at what other similar accounts are doing. If you’re an author, look at our author accounts in your genre, if you’re a bookstagrammer look at other bookstagram accounts. Dig deep into what works well for them, and what doesn’t. Consider what you can do in your own strategy that plays on those good points.
- Content: The basics of all social media success if the creation and sharing of good quality content. Your goals, brand identity and niche will be the driving force behind the content you create but also consider your overall theme and aesthetic; creating interactive content to drive engagement (asking questions and using polls are create for this); use stories for more personal and behind-the-scenes content; use time-sensitive content; and mix up the type of content you post – use images, graphics and video. We’ll take a closer look at content in a moment.
- Time: There are two parts to this category. Firstly, consider the optimum time to post your content – analysing your metrics and data is fabulous for this. Posting when your audience is most active will you give you maximum exposure. Secondly, respond to comments, messages and shout-outs as quickly as you can. Always try to engage with your followers within a small time window so they feel appreciated and valued.
- Analyse and Adapt: Although it’s great to plan ahead, do always keep an eye on how your posts are performing. If necessary, tweak and adapt your plan to take account of what’s working and what isn’t. Don’t think that because you’ve made a plan, you don’t need to do anything with it other than implement it during the year. Keep evaluating and adapting if needs be.
Social Media Content Calendar
Use a calendar to map out your content for the week/month/year. You can do this the old fashioned way with a pen and paper (a diary, a notebook, a wall chart), using a spreadsheet or using software (there are plenty to choose from online). I personally like the pen and paper approach but I know that doesn’t work for everyone. Find what works for you.
You can use the calendar to not only plan out what content you are going to post each day but also to keep a track of how each post performs. I will admit that I personally don’t do this. I mainly use social media to engage with followers rather than to drive them to a specific goal. This might change over time, but for now I am all about the engagement. However, there is no doubt that if I took more notice of the stats, I might change things up and post differently.
When planning your content, consider the following:
- holidays – national holidays and special awareness days (such as #worldmentalhealthday) should go onto your planner straight away. Content that is relevant to that festival or day is always well received.
- events – these are events you already have in your diary, such a book launches, appearances etc. Ensure you schedule in content relevant to these events in the build up to them and on the day itself.
- sales – any sales you are having, be they annual or one-offs should be planned in advance so your content can build up to the sale and you have content running during the sale period.
- themes – this can help you keep “everyday” content consistent and easy to plan. Keep them relevant and switch up what you post about from time to time.
- channels – do consider what channels you are using when planning content. Remember that with Twitter you have limited character space for text, Pinterest needs to be eye-catching graphic and optimised text, and Instagram is all about the visual. You will need to plan for adaptations to your content for each channel you post on.
Planning your social media strategy for 2021 is an important part of your new year planning. Taking consideration of your goals and audience as well as honing in on your content is an integral part of making your social media a success.
How is your planning for the new year going? Have you started? Have you finished? Have you thought about your social media strategy for 2021? Let me know how your 2021 plans are going in the comments.