The science of social

Seven steps to having the best social media presence in your industry.

The last few months have seen social media move to the forefront of daily consumer behaviour, with nearly a 30 per cent increase in daily usage since January 2020. Now more than ever, we’ve seen the need for a dynamic and agile social strategy become the ultimate “must have” for businesses. Whether it’s driving mass reach and brand awareness or growing sales, a business’s social media strategy is their secret weapon to an evolving digital landscape.

The good news? Social media is a science, and with the right tools your brand can be amongst the big ones! With over 10 years of developing social media marketing strategies for some of the world’s most prominent brands, L&A Social has developed a seven-step process to mastering social media for brands. Here’s how this process can be applied to your business.

Step 1: Strategy and evaluation

Strategy and evaluation should always be first in developing a brand’s social media presence, as it ensures you have a roadmap to follow and you know what success looks like for your business. To develop your own social media strategy we recommend looking at these key points:

  • What is your big, hairy, audacious goal (BHAG) and how can social media help you achieve this?
  • What are the elements of your brand or business that make it unique?
  • Who are your target customers? Identify all of the customer groups you may have in your business.
  • What kind of messaging is interesting to your audience?
  • What are the goals you would like to achieve through social media?

Once you have the above, you’re on your way to success!

Step 2: Content development

Your content is how you show up on social media; it is the messaging your community sees and it represents the journey you take your followers on. The key to good content is to ensure it adds value to your community and that it is targeted, relevant and engaging.

“Now more than ever, we’ve seen the need for a dynamic and agile social strategy become the ultimate ‘must have’.”

In a recent social media census that we ran in partnership with Pureprofile (which surveyed over 1000 Australians on their social media consumption habits), we found that 75 per cent of social media users are more likely to follow a brand that posts quality content that is relevant to them; 66 per cent follow brands that have values they align with; and 62 per cent follow brands that entertain them.

We recommend developing engaging and relevant content by:

  • Developing your overall content ethos. This can be related to your BHAG and your overall brand vision.
  • From there, develop three to five content pillars that holistically cover your audience interests (remember, good content should entertain, educate and be relevant).
  • Finally, we strongly suggest developing your content strategy one month ahead to ensure it strategically flows and has a great visual aesthetic.

Step 3: Social networks

Choosing the right social networks is critical to success. Remember your audience and the kinds of content pillars you’ve chosen to accurately identify your social networks.

In Australia, the most used channels are Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. We recommend choosing a few social networks and doing them really well, rather than choosing all of them and neglecting each one.

Here we have outlined some of the key stats for the largest social channels in Australia:

  • 89 per cent of social users are active on Facebook, with people spending 85 minutes a day on the channel. Facebook also has a very equal split of users across all age demographics.
  • 65 per cent of social media users are active on YouTube, with users spending 90 minutes a day on the channel. YouTube is fairly equally split in age demographics, with users being aged 18–59.
  • 50 per cent of social media users are active on Instagram, with users spending 77 minutes a day on the channel. Instagram is slightly more female skewed, with a majority of users aged 18–39
  • 28 per cent of social media users are active on Linkedin, with people spending 38 minutes a day on the channel. The majority of users are aged 25–49.

Step 4: Posting and engagement

When posting your content, be sure to trial and test which days and times impact your metrics for the better. For example, if posting in the evening increases your engagement or is when you are tracking the most sales, then leverage this information to make informed decisions about how you schedule your content in the coming weeks and monitor the success.

This brings us to the next point of community engagement and management. By ensuring you are responsive to comments, reviews and overall community management, you are leveraging the opportunity to increase engagement on the page, gain insight into what your customers want to see from your brand and ultimately build trust and credibility for your brand.

Step 5: Advertising and amplification

Social media has a great amount of potential when it comes to organic amplification. But the reality is it’s a pay-to-play game and you have the opportunity to target relevant and authentic audiences that will resonate with your brand through advertising.

Developing a strong paid advertising strategy will ensure your content is being seen by the audience you need to attract, leading them through your consumer journey.

Our recommendation is to start your advertising journey by boosting content on your page and then moving to using Ads Manager to create “dark posts” by using Facebook objectives and bidding for space online.

Step 6: Campaign development

Whether you’re aligning to the latest season of The Bachelor with heart-shaped inspired merch or you’re partnering with an influencer to launch a new product, leveraging campaigns and adding this activity to your “always on” strategy is an effective way to amplify your social media presence and keep you on track to meet KPIs.

The sky’s the limit with this step! Think outside of the box, trial and test new ideas and executions, track and measure your success and take learnings for your next peak campaign period.

We recommend preparing for these in advance by using your marketing plan to build out time to ideate and execute your campaign strategy and ensure it aligns with your regular calendar content.

Step 7: Insights and analytics

Data makes the world go round, so why should it be any different on social?

The great thing about social media is that the data is in real time and is 99 per cent accurate through platform analytics or a connected third-party reporting platform.

First and foremost, you need to solidify your metrics and key performance indicators, based on your step one strategy questions. From here, we recommend revisiting these metrics softly each week, doing more of a deep dive each month into overall stats and trends, and then revisiting your larger strategy with these metrics each quarter.

This process gives you an on-the-ground look at how you’re tracking against your goals. It also gives you the opportunity to make small changes on a weekly or monthly basis to things like copywriting or hashtags, and then evolve the strategy at a higher level each quarter when you make changes to content execution or optimise your advertising funnel approach.

With all this in mind, you’ll be right on track to a successful social media presence. Remember: it is all about strategy, consistency and staying ahead of the curve.

Gina Lednyak, founder and CEO, L&A Social

This story first appeared in issue 30 of the Inside Small Business quarterly magazine