Entrepreneurs are generally aware of the positive effect that social media can have on their business, but sometimes lack a clear strategy to guide their output.
In this article, we’re going to look at social media strategies in a bit more detail, covering what a social media strategy is, why you need one and how to react and adjust your strategy depending on changes in your business.
Before we do so, and before you start creating your own social media plan, let’s establish how we – and your potential customers – use these platforms.
Statista cites that there are 45 million active social media users (67pc of the UK population) and 39 million active social media users on mobile (58pc of the population).
Statista cites that, as of January 2023, there were 57.1m active social media users (83 per cent of the UK population).
In 2023, Facebook is still the most widely used social platform in the UK – ambiguity surrounds whether WhatsApp is a social media platform so we won’t count it. Here are some key figures:
- A sizeable 66 per cent of all internet users in the UK use Facebook (Social Shepherd)
- Meanwhile, there are 30.6m Instagram users in the UK, which is about 46 per cent of the UK. (Social Films)
- 23.15m users are on X/Twitter (Statista)
- There were 38.1m LinkedIn users in the UK in June 2023 (Statista)
According to Meltwater, there are around 57.10m YouTube in 2023.
What is a social media strategy?
With statistics like the above, it’s no surprise that social media can help small businesses grow online. But to really get the most out of the channel, you need a social strategy. Why? We’ll answer that in a moment.
A social media strategy is a plan of how you’re going to handle your output over a set period of time – it could be a week, a month, a year or another suitable measure.
It’ll typically include your goals and a content calendar of the posts that you’re going to publish and when they’ll be published.
Social strategies also tend to document the vital stats of your audience to keep who you’re targeting in check, which can help you separate your content types (videos, infographics, guides, etc.) and adjust your language according to what works for different demographics.
As well as your posts, a social strategy will help you set out time to respond to interactions, complaints and requests.
Ideally, you should be creating a social media strategy before you start posting but having experience with your audience has its advantages too. Use the knowhow you’ve gained already to sharpen your strategy.
If there are multiple people involved in your social media output, put the strategy in a shared file or programme so that you can all make adjustments to it.
When you’re getting started you can save yourself hours of needless work by finding a social media template – there are countless examples online.
Why do I need a social media strategy?
Having a strategy makes your social management easier and more efficient.
It also means that people in your team aren’t just posting whatever pops into their heads. This protects you from saying something that might come across as offensive or harmful. What’s more, planning in advance evens out your posts to reduce the risk of spamming – or deserting – your followers.
At a base level, having a social media strategy helps you navigate the tangled world of web and social media. Experiment with different elements to see how they perform and track individual campaigns, rather than posting bits and pieces here and there.
A strategy also lets your relevant team see what’s happening on the social media front and gives them the chance to share their thoughts on upcoming posts. And for handovers and new staff, a written plan is much simpler to follow than verbal instructions.
Laying plans out clearly lets you know what’s going on in terms of competition as well as in your own social media performance. It could well act as an early indicator of market trends, giving you the advantage against your competitors.
Dealing with mishaps
Your social media strategy should include (or be paired with) information specifying what to do if something goes wrong. For instance, a member of your team might say something inappropriate or post from a different account by accident. Detail how to deal with customer and user complaints here too.
Remember to mention procedural bits like the protocol around creating passwords and how often you update them.
Changing your strategy
It’s vital that you regularly review your strategy to keep up with changes in your business, your products and your audience. If there’s a certain type of content that performs well or boosts sales, consider putting more focus on it.
Speaking of which, it’s a good time to consider adding sales features like Instagram shopping, if they’re relevant to your business and industry. Some companies have reported growth of hundreds of percentage points through social media shopping.
When thinking about your strategy, keep these 2023 stats – cited in Moneyzine – in mind. In the UK:
- 29 per cent of people use social media to research brands
- The average UK user spends one hour and 48 minutes every day on social media
- People in the UK use 6.3 social media platforms on average
- 73 per cent of people in the UK use Facebook or Instagram daily
An obvious marker for measuring success is your analytics and these will vary from platform to platform. Aside from specific analytics, keep track of how many followers you have, engagement, click-through rate and how quickly you’re responding to customer service enquiries. Let this shape what happens in the future of your social media planning.
It doesn’t solely have to be about changing your strategy: take the opportunity to purge fake accounts and followers, look at new scheduling platforms or purchase a programme to monitor your social media – anything relevant that needs attention, really.
Whatever your process, try and review your strategy every six months. This will keep you informed, motivated and inspired while helping your business to grow.
For more tips on your social media management, head over to The UK Domain and check out their social guides. You can also find more help and advice on social strategies in this online guide, complete with a checklist you can follow to create, execute and monitor your very own social media strategy in just eight steps.
This article was brought to you in partnership with the UK Domain.