5 steps to formulating your social media strategy

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When you’re managing a social media presence, it’s important to have key objectives – what is all your hard work actually trying to achieve? By putting together a social media strategy, you’ll ensure you’re able to measure the benefits of your activity, providing you with direction when sourcing and producing content.

Here are five steps to setting up your social media strategy:

Step one: set your social media goals and objectives

The very first consideration is to outline your goals and objectives. Are you aiming to raise the profile of your department’s research? Or are you aiming to communicate with students? Once you’ve decided on a purpose and outlined your intended audience, your content strategy becomes much more straightforward.

Questions to consider:

  • What is the purpose of your social media account?
  • What do you want to achieve?
  • Are your objectives S.M.A.R.T: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound?
  • Who is your intended audience?

Step two: account management

Never neglect your social media account admin. Although it won’t determine your content strategy, it’ll keep your account secure. If you’re running a feed on behalf of a department this will be even more essential, you don’t want to be locked out of the account if you or another team member leaves.

Questions to consider:

  • Which social profiles do you currently manage?
  • Is control over the passwords centralised? Who has access?
  • Who is primarily responsible for the account (lead administrator)?
  • Do you have a content checking process before anything is posted?

Step three: profile set-up

This step is primarily for those starting from scratch, but still relevant to those with an established social media presence. An unfinished account looks unprofessional and will make followers think twice before choosing to follow you.

Questions to consider:

  • Are your profiles filled out properly and thoroughly?
  • Are all of the accounts and profiles on brand?
    • Profile images
    • Descriptions
    • Tone of voice
    • Writing style
    • Content
    • Would a new visitor follow me after seeing this profile?

Step four: considering content

Now is the time to start thinking about the type of content you’re looking to post via your social channels. What you want to say might not match with what your audience what to hear – try and find a way to combine both. The best content on social media is either informative or entertaining (or both) – stick with what most suits your brand.

Questions to consider:

  • What type of content do you want to post to each social network?
  • What do your audience want to see – how can you add value?
  • How often will you post content?
  • How are you going to plan content?
    • Do you have an editorial calendar and/or a social media content calendar?

Step five: measuring success

You’ve been posting content for weeks, but seen no increase in followers or engagement. It’s probably time to change your content planning. Analytics are the key to success with social media, so don’t ignore them. Look at what works well and what doesn’t, test new approaches, times and formats and see what your audience would most like to find in their newsfeed.

Questions to consider:

  • How will you measure your social media success?
    • Which metrics will you consider? (e.g. new followers, engagements)
    • How often will you analyse your results?
    • Are you prepared to quickly change your strategy in response to these results?

If you’re just getting started with social media, take a look at our Social Media Toolkit for staff.