Developing a social media marketing strategy can feel extremely daunting if you’re new to the idea. You may already have some goals in mind, but no idea about how to achieve them. Or you may not even be sure what you want to achieve with social media, but just feel that it’ll be a good thing for your business. The question is, where do you start?

First Things First

Your initial consideration is which social media platform to choose. Or to put it another way, where are you likely to find your target demographic? Resources such as the Pew Research Centre can help here, as this organisation has some excellent breakdowns of demographics for various platforms.

Your Brand Identity

Once you’ve picked a platform, it’s time to think about the kind of voice and tone you want your brand to display on social media. The voice of your brand will dictate the tone you use in your social media content, and it’s important to get this right from the start. Here it can help to think of your brand as a person, and try to describe it in terms of human personality characteristics.

What about Content?

For the most part, social media content falls into one of five types: status updates, links, quotes, images, and reshares of existing content. For most brands, one particular kind of update ends up being used most frequently, with additional content types being used less frequently.

This strategy has a number of benefits: it’s a way of displaying your brand identity, your audience comes to know what they can expect from you, and it can even make content creation more efficient. Note, however, that some kinds of content are more popular and engaging than others. On Facebook, for example, posts that contain images get more comments, likes, and shares than any other kind of content, so regardless of your main content style, including images whenever possible is always a good strategy.

Frequency and Timing

The ideal update frequency varies across platforms: twice a day is generally desirable on Facebook, while on Twitter—a much faster-paced platform—upwards of five times a day is preferred.

Think about timing, too, in terms of when your target audience is most likely to be available to engage with you. The goal is to post content when they have downtime—for example, before work, during lunch, and in the evenings. But don’t forget to take your specific audience demographics into account; for example, if your audience is comprised mostly of stay-at-home parents, your posting schedule may look different.