Tips for preparing your 2019 social media strategy
2018 is almost at an end (already!) and it’s around this time of year that businesses start to think about their social media strategy for 2019. This of course includes beginning to look at how they produce and distribute their content on social for the next 12 months.
When it comes to social media a LOT can change in the space of a year. There’s always something new to tinker with and every platform is constantly evolving around you.
We’ve put together this little guide to help you get to grips with what’s going to work best for you and your business as you put together a strategy for your social media in the new year.
1. Take a step back and look at 2018
First things first, it would be a good idea to review the past year, both in terms of the content you’ve been putting out and the paid ads you’ve used to accompany it.
Pay attention to the content and ads which garnered the most attention and generated the most reach. Although organic reach is constantly decreasing thanks to algorithm updates from the likes of Facebook, there is still some data to be collected here as well as your paid reach. Do you see any patterns emerging? Could these type of strategies or content be replicated going forward?
Perhaps there’s some content that’s not quite resonating with your target market. Let’s investigate why this isn’t as affective as you’d hoped. Firstly, conduct some market research with companies such as Survey Monkey or a similar service in order to determine what your audience truly wants to see. Then use this feedback to refine your content offering and produce consistently engaging articles and video. Include details of this in a brief report that you can use to help compile your 2019 social media strategy.
Perception and context are everything when it comes to achieving engagement with your content. Sometimes it may be best to replace flashy graphics videos with simple relevant video footage accompanied by some well-written copy. Different audiences engage in different ways depending on the type of content used.
Don’t forget, Image Matters offer a FREE mini review of your current social media activity.
2. Invest in the Creative
So now you’ve got a good idea of what worked and what didn’t over the past 12 months. You’ve highlighted some areas for improvement both in your day to day content as well as your social media advertising. Next, we’d recommend that any business serious about their online presence should invest in the creation of content in all its forms.
Make sure that video and photo shoots feature heavily in your plan for the next year. Combine that with professional, well-written copy and you’ll start being noticed right away. Let’s not forget though, it’s not all about being seen in content marketing – it’s about being found. The more content you have live, be it on your website, blog, Facebook or YouTube the more chance you have of being discovered by someone in need of your products or services.
Of course, not every brand has a bottomless pit of money to draw from when creating content. It’s no real problem if you wish to repurpose content from last year (maybe updated based on your research). You’re only going to annoy someone if they see things multiple times over a short period of time. It is worth setting aside some of your annual marketing budget dedicated to just content creation. This includes things such as video, blogs and graphics for repeated ongoing use. You should have a separate budget ready to be used on your ad spend. Who knows when something you wrote six months ago could suddenly have prominent cultural relevance and could do with a paid boost to generate some valuable attention.
Maybe you even have some members of your staff who have the talent to create content that could be utilised effectively?
3. Begin Approaching Influencers
Influencer marketing is nothing new and, at least for the time being, it seems like it’s here to stay. It’s essentially product placement for the social media generation. Building partnerships with online influencers can be an incredibly powerful way of getting your products or services out there. It is important, however, to ensure both sides are keenly aware of what is expected from each other in any deal. It is just as important to ensure you thoroughly check out any influencers you use to ensure they have a genuine audience and are reliable to work with. Seek references!
Connect only with those influencers who have ‘pull’ in your industry or whose audience largely consists of your key demographic. Spend some time going through their content and monitor how well it engages with their fan base. Some will be willing to share screenshots of their analytics, this is always a good sign that they can be trustworthy partners.
It is absolutely worth including influencer marketing as part of your 2019 strategy. Just make sure you have a use for it and aren’t just buying into that latest buzz word.
4. Check out your Competitors
This isn’t anywhere near as covert as some people might assume. Keeping an eye on the competition is always a good idea. It can provide valuable insights and perhaps even inspire your content moving forward. That is, as long as you don’t just copy your competition’s strategies to use as your own! It may be hard to believe in this day and age but some businesses are still just sharing things they find online. This may occasionally be engaging, but it has no practical purpose in their inbound and social strategies.
What are your competitors seeing success from? Have they had any good ideas that you can adapt or build on? You’ll be surprised what you can find out just from watching competitors online activity. You’ll also notice plenty of things that they could be doing better that you can improve on and adapt for your own success!
The only catch here is that, although something they’ve posted may look successful on the surface, it may have been a huge failure in terms of their actual objectives. This is something that you can never truly know without access to their analytics and data. Likewise, they may seem to have had a seemingly weak response to a post that they actually considered successful. You can never be 100% clear without knowing their strategy and budget.
Of course, it goes without saying that you should never outright COPY something a competitor is doing! There’s nothing wrong with a bit of competition but don’t let what others are doing distract you. Your focus should be almost entirely on your own social media strategy and using others as a way to learn and improve.
5. Don’t wait to try something new
If 2018 was anything to go by, 2019 will likely throw lots of new changes our way. In the case of any new platforms that arrive on the scene though, we’d say get in there early. It’s easier to stop using something when it proves ineffective than it is to play catch-up once it becomes the next big thing.
It’s always a good idea to be open to new technology. Chatbots and AI are going to be the next big thing, followed closely by audio assistants like Amazon’s Alexa. Chatbots, for example, are a way of reducing your workload when it comes to customer communication but use these with caution. If you’re a small business only receiving a few daily messages there’s no need to adopt technology like this. However, if you have an endless stream of customer support requests coming in investing in chatbots can save you a lot of time and money.
Make sure to stay realistic. Keep a keen eye on what’s going on in the world of social media and marketing technologies. Don’t let your excitement for being forward-thinking let you rush into things that you may not even need.