2023 is slowly but surely creeping up on us which means it is time to review (or set up) your social media strategy for the new year! I know this can seem daunting, so let's do it together.
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From my experience, the Christmas period is one of THE most stressful periods of the year for small business owners, especially if you are selling products that make good Christmas gifts. In addition to that, a lot of people take time off during the holidays to visit family and friends, so you might have to do a little bit of work in advance or prepare some things for when you come back. All of these things are the reason why I wanted to get a step ahead and get your social media ready so you can hit the ground running when the new year comes around. Let's do this!
1) Make a thorough analysis of your year:
The very first thing before you even start thinking of the new year and what you want to achieve is taking your time to do a thorough analysis of how the past year has been. We sometimes rely too much on our gut feeling when it comes to our performance but let me tell you this: your gut feeling is never going to be as accurate as data.
I know it can be very uncomfortable to sit down and see those numbers, especially if they aren't what you were hoping for but this will really help you to, first of all, repeat the things that have worked and secondly, not repeat the mistakes that you have made in the past year.
Depending on the type of business, products, and services you will have different metrics and data that you need to have a look at but here are a few example:
*Remember: in this very first step we don't JUST want to look at social media but the whole business:
Sales/income per month and in total, before & after tax
Other finances: Your expenses, taxes paid, …
Leads: How many? How often converted? Which main sources?
Website analytics: Clicks, time spent, abandoned carts, repurchase rate,…
Followers on your socials/subscribers to your email list
Average email open rates & click rates
Social media: Average engagement rate, reach, engagement, what types of posts have worked well this year/which ones haven’t, website clicks, profile visits, growth,…
After this very thorough analysis, you will have a much better understanding of where your business is at right now and what you need to be doing in the next year.
2) Review your business goals so you can align social media goals:
One of the most common reasons why you are feeling frustrated that your social media is not helping you to achieve your business goals is that the two aren't really aligned. So before you dive into setting up a completely new social media strategy, have a look at what goals you have achieved this year, which goals you haven't achieved and what goals you want to set for yourself and your business for 2023.
With business goals, I mean something like a specific sales target or making a certain income. Alternatively, you might be interested in selling out your services, launching a new course, offering a completely new service, or launching a podcast. Please don't include any social media goals in this step yet, we'll do that in step #3. In this step right here, we want to look at our business goals and ideally, already add some action steps that will help us achieve them.
3) Review your social media goals:
Now that we have had a look at our business in the last year and we have established new business goals, it's time to set some social media goals. The reason why I wanted you to first sit down and establish business goals is because I see social media as a supporting activity that helps you to achieve said business goals. So if you don't have any, to begin with, you don't really know what social media action you have to take to get you there.
Again, depending on the goals that you have for yourself and your business, your social media goals will look very different to another business but there are a few common goals that most businesses like to set for themselves:
Increase brand awareness
Build an engaged community
Sell products and services
Provide additional customer service/customer touchpoints
Educate & inspire (this is a goal that NGOs or government agencies often pursue)
Ideally, you would set yourself some broader goals first like "grow my following" and then work your way down to defining them as much as possible. I am sure you have heard of SMART goals before but just in case you haven't (or as a little reminder) SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
When it comes to goal setting you should make sure that the goal that you have in mind matches all of these things. For social media, this could look like the following:
Specific: Instead of saying “I want more followers”, say “I want 500 more followers”
Measurable: A number like “500 more followers” is well-measurable but something like “I want to have more brand awareness” isn't really. Define clear metrics that you can measure.
Achievable: "Achievable" is one of the reasons why it is so important to look at the past performance of your business and your social media accounts before defining your goals. If you have found that in the last year you have grown your Instagram account from 1,000 followers to 1,500 followers, it is not very realistic that you will grow your account to 100,000 followers in the following year.
Relevant: "Relevant" shows us why it is important to first set yourself some business goals. If your business goal is to "grow an engaged community and to educate this community on social media", then “increasing website clicks from your social media” is not really a relevant goal.
Time-bound: Adding a time frame to your goal will help you to not only evaluate throughout the year if you are on track to achieve this goal but it also keeps you accountable.
4) Set up or review your social media strategy:
Having a strategy is incredibly important but we don't need to overcomplicate what it actually is. To put it as simply as possible: your strategy is your game plan. Once you know where you're at, which is what we did in step #1, and where you want to go which is what we did in step #2 & #3, the only thing left to do is to put together the HOW: how am I going to get from point A to point B? And that is your strategy. Easy, right?
Well, in theory, it is really easy to set up a strategy but actually putting things into practice is what most of my clients struggle with before they work with me. This is why I offer strategy sessions as part of my services. Sometimes, it is helpful to have someone who stands on the outside of your business and who has no ego in it look into it. If this is something that you would like to do together so that you can hit the ground running in 2023, book a session with me through my calendar.
The main things that you need to consider to set up your strategy are the following:
Who do you want to target? = your target audience (find out as much as possible about them. What other accounts do they follow? What content do they like? What do they need to hear?...)
What will you post on your pages? = content pillars & themes
How often will you post? = number of posts/week
Which formats will you use? = popular formats, e.g. talking-head reels, focus on twitter-style captions, shareable graphics,…
What hashtags will you use? = hashtag strategy
How & how often will you engage? = engagement strategy
5) Put your strategy into practice:
This last step is probably the most important one of this whole blog post: putting your strategy into practice. This will look different for each person but what it usually involves is breaking your strategy down into smaller parts and integrating them into your daily/weekly routines.
For example, if your engagement strategy is to have three engagement sessions per week of each 15 minutes, then you need to write those sessions onto your to-do list and actually follow through with them. Another example: if you are wanting to post 4 times a week, you need to plan a content creation session each week.
And that was it! You are now ready to put your plan into action & make 2023 your most successful social media year yet!