An essential aspect of success at anything is putting a strategy in place. A planned course of action, a roadmap to achieve predefined goals and objectives.

A social media marketing strategy is a summary of everything you plan to do and hope to achieve on social media. It guides your actions and lets you know whether you’re succeeding or failing. The more specific your strategy is, the more effective the execution will be.

There are five basic elements of a social media strategy that I’d like to share in this post. I call them the 5 Ws. The first W is Who; then you have Where, What, Why and When.

1. The WHO question refers to knowing your AUDIENCE.

In crafting your strategy, the first step is to IDENTIFY YOUR AUDIENCE. Identify who your customers to enable you to finetune your strategy to suit a definite audience.

Every business has an ideal customer profile. If you don’t know who you want, everyone becomes acceptable and you end up chasing shadows.

Even movies and songs have an ideal audience persona, so why shouldn’t you have one for your business? Nobody likes everything; some people prefer superhero movies to adventure movies; for some rock music is more fun than classical music.

To create an ideal customer persona avatar, profile your prospective client/customer based on age group, gender, occupation, monthly income, lifestyle preferences, etc. For existing businesses, get to know your “best/repeat customers” better to understand these details about them. This will help you fine-tune your strategy to meet their needs better.

Here’s a sample avatar worksheet as put together by DigitalMarketer.com.

WSIAxon Customer Avatar Worksheet Digital Marketer
Customer Avatar Worksheet

2. WHERE to find them, that is, what Social Media PLATFORMS to use. Once you have crafted a good audience persona, the next thing is to identify the platforms where you are most likely to find them. What platform do you want to reach them through? -Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, or web platforms like Youtube? Mobile platforms like WhatsApp?

You should be careful not to make the mistake of choosing a platform where your audience does not frequent. 

An example of a brand who has done this properly is Instablog Naija.

Screenshot showing Instablog9ja’s website

Considering how well-known and successful the Instablog Naija brand is, one would think they’d have a website as beautiful as say, ChannelsTV, right? But why not? Exactly! That’s not their focus. There are other examples. Rant HQ chose Facebook, Lasisi Elenu chose Instagram, Omojuwa, Femi Jacobs, etc, chose Twitter. Crafting a social media strategy for your business would require you to select one platform as your focus area before you move to other platforms. For B2B businesses, it is highly recommended that you prioritize LinkedIn and Twitter; and for B2Cs, you should tend towards Instagram and Facebook. 

3. WHAT kind of CONTENT to feed them?

Content, they say is king. Your ability to feed your audience with relatable, relevant content is crucial in the customer’s purchase journey. However, don’t be too sale-sy as this could drive away your customer.-

An example of a sale-sy person is someone who only sends broadcasts about his product or service on WhatsApp. No greetings, no hellos. No random chats. Nothing that educates, informs or interacts with the customer. Just come and buy.

It is very important that you feed your audience with educative, informative and interactive content. Usually, the norm is 80% informative/interactive and 20% promotional or sales-driven content.

Content can be video, or graphical with a written text. Video marketing is the in-thing now and videos do better on social than any other content type. In fact, video marketing is the main thing. If you observe the first five posts that appear on your Instagram feed, at least three of them will be videos. This is something you can test and prove.

Promotional vs. Informative Content

As a laundryman, you could write about simple things like, how to take care of your clothes better. For a fashion designer, post a video on IG on how to tack or replace a lost button, a travel agency should have lots of content around booking a ticket, finding your way through airport security, and so on. If you are a make-up artist, you could educate them about how to select the right foundation for their skin color for instance. As a designer or photographer, you can record your computer screen and mirror your design and editing journey to your audience. Probably when they see how much work you put into correcting a single image or picture, they’d pay you more?

So, build THOUGHT LEADERSHIP about your area of business. And the internet will reward you for it.

4. WHY do you want to reach your audience: This has to do with the objective of your strategy. What are your general and specific OBJECTIVES? For most businesses, it is sales. And some others include awareness and more followers. It is important that when crafting your social media strategy, you are very clear about what you want to achieve. Set SMART goals for being online. Don’t ever generalize. Be specific as this would inform what social media tools and tricks you will require to achieve your objectives. For sales and leads, for instance, you may just need some advertising on Facebook or Instagram, you may not need to trend on #Twitter. For awareness, you may just need to pull a stunt or use influencer marketing to help you reach your audience. So, there are different approaches to meeting the different marketing objectives.

It is important that when crafting your social media strategy, you are very clear about what you want to achieve.

5. WHEN you want to reach them

This has to do with planning and timing. how long do you want your strategy to run? How much time do you want to spend on each objective? How long are you going to spend building your brand online before you sell to them? what content do you post and when?

Use a social media content calendar to organize your ideas into posts.

For a new business, you may decide to run a brand awareness strategy for three months, then offer a freebie in the fourth month and then start to upsell in the fifth month. For instance for a training and consulting firm, you can start up with getting people to know the brand and what you do in the first three months. Then in the fourth month, you can offer a free WhatsApp Class and then from the fifth month offer paid courses.