How to Set Your Social Media Strategy for 2019 and Beyond

Setting your social media strategy in the new year can seem like a daunting task. Below we outline a few resources and places to start when researching and formulating a winning strategy for yourself, your company, or your clients.

Here are the steps necessary to creating a wholistic social media approach in the new year:

Identify what matters in your social media strategy.

When formulating your social media strategy, it’s important to focus on the right things. Who is your target audience? Where are they? How do you reach them? These are the questions we must answer before simply looking at “the next big thing” on social media. Just because everyone is on Instagram doesn’t mean you have to be (this can sometimes be the case particularly in the B2B marketing space).

This can and should be applied to metrics and setting goals as well. While it may seem inherently “good” to increase impressions and broaden your audience, the true value of social media marketing comes from actually reaching your target audience and directly interacting with stakeholders that can push the needle and help you make a sale.

For example, it might be great to gain 100 followers in a month, but what if they aren’t related to your industry or your target audience at all?

So, what are your over-arching goals? What do you want from social media? What platforms and strategies will help you to get there? It’s a time-consuming space, and you need to be clear about what you’re after before putting the resources and efforts behind it.

Set your social media goals and communicate them.

Now that you know what you want to do with your social media strategy and efforts, take a look at where exactly you’d like to go as far as metrics are concerned.

Look at historical data including year over year and month over month changes and trends in things like clicks, engagements, follower trends, and referral traffic. This gives you a look into your past strategies and how they performed, allowing you to forecast your growth for the future.

Take into account your paid efforts as well as significant market changes and contributing factors to performance when analyzing your findings. These can include anything from large industry events that increased impressions, to webinars you hosted that were promoted via paid advertising.

You’ll also want to look outside of your own data and performance by digging into industry standards and platform trends.

A social media platform report such as the AdStage Benchmark Report released every quarter is one example of a resource that can help you to take a detailed look at how your performance is matching up to the competition, and where you need to shift and adapt.

Once you’ve set your goals based on historical and industry-wide data, ­­communicate them to your internal team and if applicable, your client. Understand the “why” behind them and start brainstorming strategies to get there.

Take it one step further by looking at what you’ve uncovered while analyzing data to set your goals, and retracing your steps. Think about your social strategies for the past year and even prior to that. What worked? What didn’t? Be honest about your failures and successes and let these insights guide your tactics for this year’s social media strategy.

Pay attention to the market and how competitors are showing up on social media.

The new year is a great time to perform a competitive analysis of your direct and indirect social media competitors as well as the industry as a whole. You want to take a look at a few different things, including: 

  • How often are they posting?
  • What type of content are they posting? Third party, original content, or both?
  • Who are they interacting with and how often?
  • What type of visuals are they using?
  • Are they using industry hashtags?
  • Are they covering industry events or participating in Twitter chats?
  • How many followers do they have?
  • The list goes on.

From your research, think about what insights and actionable takeaways you can put together to inform your social media strategy. You might want to incorporate new tactics, or you might want to take some away depending on what you’re seeing in your competitive analysis.

Brush up on current and future digital marketing and social media trends.

At this point, we’ve taken a look at your past performance and strategies, platform and industry benchmarks, and the competitive landscape on social media. In addition to all of these areas, it’s critical to spend time making sure you are up-to-date on social media and digital marketing trends as a whole.

Some of my favorite resources for staying up-to-date and researching what’s coming next in the world of social media are Social Media Today, Facebook Business News and Social Media Examiner. At the start of each year, these publications and outlets will often put together articles such as this one, which breakdown the year to come and what trends to watch for.

This should be applied to the rest of the digital marketing landscape as well. Staying up on all aspects of digital marketing such as trends in SEO and content, specifically focusing on how these can and should relate to your social strategy is best practice.

This should not only be a part of setting your social media strategy for 2019, but should become an ongoing habit throughout the year. Social media changes fast, and often, your strategy must adapt with it.

When going through these different resources and types of digital marketing, ask yourself these questions:

  • What’s happening or developing in terms of digital marketing strategy now?
  • What happened last year?
  • What’s going to happen or develop in the new year?
  • Which of these developments make sense for my strategy and my goals? 

Take these answers with you when creating your social media strategy to remain on top of future trends and remember what has worked and what hasn’t.

Integrate your social media plan with the rest of your digital marketing efforts.

On top of researching different areas of digital marketing, take it one step further and ensure you are integrating your social efforts with that of SEO, content, and other marketing efforts as a whole.

Think industry events, PR, and any other communications your client may have going on.

Social media is meant to be a mouthpiece for what is going on within a company, so taking it all into account when creating your social media content calendar, network buildout, and other strategies is important.

Get going.

2019 has already begun. It’s time to ramp up your social media strategy and get ahead of the competition. Taking these steps to ensure you’re on the right track and in front of the right people will get you there.

To take a look at individual social media platform strategies, start by reading all about breaking through the noise on Twitter… we can smell some follow-up blogs on platform specific strategies coming up.

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