How to create a successful social media strategy (from someone who did it)
So you’re about to create a social media strategy for the first time.
You’ve got PowerPoint (or Google Slides) open.
You’ve downloaded a bunch of resources.
You’ve got your clients (or your own) social media accounts in front of you.
And then suddenly it all feels too much, like this…
But don’t panic. Or tear your hair out.
A social strategy can be effective if you set some business and social goals, and look at why you’re on each channel. (Remember you don’t have to be on every channel.)
Here, you’ll take a dive into the secret sauce for a social media strategy that delivers results like…
- Grow your Instagram account up to 550% in just 3 months without having to buy followers and without getting shadowbanned.
- Get your Twitter hashtags to become the no.1 trending topic without having to hijack Trump-related ones. #heavensent
- Get 75% more page impressions on Facebook without having to spend $300 on ads.
So you’ll feel like this…
So, who was this social media strategy for?
This strategy was created for the Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR). It’s a non-profit, non-government association dedicated to supporting the growth and development of Australia’s independent recording sector.
AIR represents Australian-owned record labels and independent artists based in Australia. An annual awards ceremony is held to celebrate these artists.
Indie-Con Australia was the first-ever Australian conference providing insights into the for the independent music sector.
Held over two days for the first time in 2017, it provided panels with international delegates discussing things from Blockchain to what it really means to be independent.
What was new in 2017 that needed to be considered in the strategy…
The introduction of Indie-Con and promotion of the event to ensure it sold out.
The introduction of four after-parties, all within 1km of the Awards night.
Change of city
In 2017, the awards were moved from its hometown of Melbourne, Australia, to Adelaide. So we had to introduce this city to our audience and promoting it an entertainment and music destination on our social channels.
Instagram is the overall engagement winner for brands, with 10x higher engagement than Facebook; 54x higher than Pinterest, and 84x higher than Twitter.
South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) was a major sponsor with specific contractual milestones.
So, looking at the sponsorship agreement, I set some business goals, which were:
- Brand awareness
- Increase visitation to South Australia
- Awards and Indie-Con awareness
- Promote South Australia
And from there, the social goals became:
- Likes, RT, follows, shares
- Actions (attend conference, visit South Australia)
And because I am an #overachiever, I set my own goals, which were to get Indie-Con to sell out, and reach 400 Instagram followers (from zero).
Now here’s where we get to the good stuff…
For Instagram, make sure you have access to a library of photos (after working with AIR for five previous years, I had access to plenty of images). So I began creating a grid of photos in Planoly, and researching hashtags, as well as 2+ hours per day of engagement with accounts that were also posted under related hashtags.
If you don’t have a library, you can start taking some shots, but make sure you ask yourself ‘what does this mean to my audience?’
For example, if you have a photo of gorgeous white flowers, and you’re targeting business owners, your photo caption might be about the importance of white space in a working area.
Be sure to use a different hashtag set each time you post. You can also try Gary Vaynerchuk’s 18 Cent Instagram Strategy when you’re starting out, which is posing 9 images over 9 days using 10 different hashtag sets.
I tried this strategy recently for my own Instagram, and I gained at least one new (high-value) follower each day and many more likes. But be warned ﹘ it is time-intensive.
You can see my review of this strategy on my Instagram Story Highlights here.
TIP: Ask yourself ‘why are you on this platform? For what purpose?’ before you post. For AIR, it was about behind the scenes and community ﹘ two big things that the organisation prides itself on.
Here is a snapshot of AIR’s results in just 3 months of being on Instagram:
For Instagram Stories, you should geotag your location so your story and your account has a better chance of being discovered. The same goes for using hashtags in Instagram Stories.
For AIR, this meant we got 150+ views of our story the first time we posted it, and started to get people from Adelaide interested in AIR.
AIR uses Twitter to post about the weekly indie charts, and feature singles. For the lead-up to the awards and Indie-Con, the channel was used to promote interviews with nominated artists, and to announce performers and keynote speakers.
Twitter is a good engagement channel if you’re regularly posting. So from AIR’s regular posting, in June and July, the account gained 121 new followers taking follower count to 22.4k, with tweet impressions up by 191.5% to 127k.
During Indie-Con on July 27, #indieconaus was the no.1 Twitter trending topic in Australia, and by 9pm that evening, #airawards was the no.1 Twitter trending topic in Australia extending to after 9am the next morning.
TIP: To encourage live coverage and a better chance of trending at your event, include your hashtags on all materials (programs, on screens and banners in the venue etc).
For Facebook, I decided to try a different traffic strategy for the AIR Awards night photo gallery post, so we didn’t have to spend money boosting the post to increase reach. I uploaded the photos to a Facebook gallery, and shared the gallery on Facebook as our engagement was already high.
I then created a Buffer link for the same gallery (you can use a Google or Bitly link instead) and placed the gallery link in AIR’s Instagram profile, so I was driving organic traffic to Facebook. I then made the same link a pinned post in Twitter.
From this, the most popular Facebook post was the AIR Awards photo gallery with 8.1k reach and 166 shares.
TIP: To include more than one link in any of your social profiles to drive traffic to Facebook or any other website, use Linktree.
What you can do before starting any strategy:
- Ask yourself, ‘what are my business goals? What are my social goals? Why am I on this channel? What do I want to say to my audience?’
- Check your client’s (or your own) social channels and see which posts get the most authentic engagement (likes, comments). That way you can see what people are responding to.
- You can use analytics too, but just scrolling through these channels can give you a hint of what gets your audience HOT. Which has the most likes? The most genuine comments?
- Make sure your posts always add value to your audience.
Your #1 takeaway
“Everything I wrote about wasn’t about me, but about the people listening.”
— Chuck Berry
Chuck Berry had it right. As a business, your social profiles aren’t about you ﹘ they are about your ideal clients (your audience) and the value you bring to them.