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How to create a social media strategy for the new normal

Change — it’s inevitable. And now, it’s happening even faster than ever before. What worked last month didn’t work last week, and we don’t know how things will look a month from now. But even with all the changes, that doesn’t mean you need to create a social media strategy from scratch. It just means that we need to change how we approach it to be successful today, tomorrow and no matter what the future throws at us.

So, let’s take a look at how this affects your content decisions, and then some specific steps you can take today to make your social media marketing strategy and implementation easier.

How to create a social media strategy for the new normal

  • Start with humanity.
  • Be understanding.
  • Outward focus.
  • Add value.
  • Focus on engagement.
  • Provide more support.
  • Customize your content.
  • Build collaborations.
  • Listen.
  • Be flexible.
  • Take a break when you need to.
  • Consider paid advertising.
  • 5 tips for social media success for the new normal.
    1. Build a content calendar.
    2. Use scheduling tools.
    3. Consider outsourcing.
    4. Respond and engage.
    5. Show personality. 

Let’s jump in.

Start with humanity

People are at the heart of every business. The people who built it. The people who run it. And the people who buy from it every day. In fact, every brand is a human brand, whether we’ve been treating them as such or not.

When you’re working to create your social media strategy moving forward, consider what feels the most human.

Even when we can’t connect face to face — and perhaps, especially when we can’t — we turn to social media to help build connections.

You can be human by embracing the less polished side of social media, including doing live videos from where you are; whether that’s in your office, retail space or home.

Be understanding

A key part of being human is handling all the emotions that come with it — from sadness to anger to despondence, and, of course, joy, happiness and exuberance.

Not only accepting but embracing and supporting the range of emotions that your customers are feeling as you create a social media strategy will help you build stronger relationships with them in the short- and long-term.

Outward focus

The days of your social media messages focusing on what your business is all about are over. Starting today, your social posts should focus on your customers and your audience.

Share their stories as well as the benefits of working with you, and the benefits your customers will achieve.

This is a great time to review and embrace your brand story — especially applying the lessons from “Building a StoryBrand” to ensure that your followers can see where they fit.

Related: How to establish your brand on social media

Add value

Adding value isn’t about selling to add to your bottom line. As consumers, we go on social media to:

  • Build relationships
  • Learn
  • Be entertained

As business owners, we can add value to the platforms through the tone and content of our messages through how we create a social media strategy. This could be as simple as explaining how to do something related to your industry … or sharing a list of local sites that offer COVID-19 testing.

Focus on engagement

Woman Wearing Headphones Having Conversation On Laptop

Your customers all have at least one thing in common — they all support your business. Through the types of posts that drive engagement and communication, you can help them connect with you and each other.

When you’re maintaining brand awareness and engagement, sales will come naturally. We want to support the businesses that make us feel good.

Related: How to get the word out that your small business is open again

Provide more support

While your in-person business may look different, you can also open up additional communication channels for your customers. Tools and programs like Facebook Messenger, scheduled Twitter chats, and opening up your Instagram direct messages can give your customers more ways to connect with you.

Customize your content

You’re going to see a lot of generic advice — including the advice in this article — about how to post on social media in the future. But to really be successful, you need to take the elements that work from that advice and customize it to your own brand as you work to create a social media strategy.

Consider how you can build long-lasting relationships with your customers. What do they always ask you about? How can you change the way you serve them?

A restaurant manager might share technique videos and recipes on social media — just don’t give away Grandpa’s secret catfish rub ingredients!

If you’re a local craft supply shop, you can create kits and tutorials for people to create their own face masks and other at-home projects.

Gyms, fitness instructors and physical therapists can create at-home routines to share online along with virtual challenges to build and maintain their communities. The possibilities are endless with a touch of creativity.

Build collaborations

One of the best ways to expand your community is through partnerships. You can work with:

  • Individuals with complementary businesses, like a restaurant and a specialty spice shop
  • Partners, like artists teaching virtual classes with their art supply shops or galleries.

With your social media, you’re not limited to people in your own area. You can build collaborations with people in other states or even other countries. Find businesses and individuals who have brand messages that align with your brand so that both your audiences benefit.

Listen

Social media isn’t just about broadcasting your messages. It’s also a powerful listening tool to better understand what your customers and communities need. No matter what type of business you’re in, you’ll be able to create new products and services and improve your existing lineup when you’re engaging in the conversation rather than using your social feed as a megaphone.

Be flexible

The rules of engagement in our world are changing faster than ever before.

Pay attention to changing signals, changing rules and changing norms.

Even if you’ve got your social media scheduled out for the next several weeks, you’ll need to be flexible in your approach. Be willing to pause, to change direction, to adjust — and to be human.

If you make a mistake, own up to it. Apologize. Figure out how to do better.

Take a break when you need to

It’s okay to take a breather from social media from time to time. By using scheduling tools, you can make this seem (almost) seamless. You’ll just need to check in regularly to address any comments or questions you get.

You can also be transparent and let your followers know that you’re taking a break from social media and give them other channels to contact you. Pausing certain channels is a great tactic to use if you’ve scaled back on staffing and don’t have the resources to manage multiple platforms.

Consider paid advertising

With more individuals and brands working to be heard on social media platforms while big advertisers are shifting their ad spends, you might consider using paid advertising to increase your visibility and reach.

Whether you use retargeting ads to close sales or look-alike audiences to generate more reach as you create a social media strategy, ads are a powerful tool to grow your business. Plus you can set budgets and schedules that work for your immediate business needs.

Related: How to use Twitter for business

5 tips for social media success for the new normal

So, how do we take all these general guidelines and put them into action?

1. Build a content calendar

Smartphone Resting On Calendar

Now isn’t the time to “wing it” and let your social media be impromptu. When you’re writing off-the-cuff, you’re more likely to say the wrong thing or phrase it the wrong way.

With a content calendar, you give yourself time to think through what you’re saying and address it properly. Plus, with a calendar, you can quickly and easily review what you’ve got coming up and adjust as the world changes.

2. Use scheduling tools

Schedules are all sorts of crazy these days. The last thing on your mind is making sure that you remember to post to Instagram.

With scheduling tools, you can keep your social media going even when you step away from the computer for a few hours.

Just remember when you’ve got content scheduled so that you can pause or delete posts if they’re no longer appropriate. Your content calendar can help with that!

3. Consider outsourcing

Another option is to hire someone to help with your social media, like GoDaddy Social or a virtual assistant. If you’re running a small business and adjusting to near-constant updates and shifts, it’s okay to let someone else handle a few tasks on your behalf.

4. Respond and engage

The goal of social media is to build relationships and community for your business — which means you need to have conversations! Make sure you’re checking in regularly for new questions, comments and feedback.

This is especially important if you’ve opened up your brand for private conversations like Facebook Messenger or Instagram direct messages. When people talk directly to you, you need to respond.

5. Show personality

Earlier I talked about the need for your brand to be human, now more than ever. You can achieve this infusing every post with your brand personality. You can do this by using emojis, select language, and even on-brand memes.

While the use of humor can go a long way in showing personality, remember to make sure your messages are tasteful to avoid alienating your audience and pushing them to someone more aligned with their values.

Next steps

So, where do you go from here? Start by evaluating how you’ve been doing with social media so far, and how you want to change. Then, clearly define your brand voice and map out your content calendar. With those ingredients, you’ll create a winning social media strategy in no time.