Episode 257 - Planning your agency social media strategy
Being intentional with social media allows you to build your brand. You can build trust and generate valuable leads for your agency. In this episode I will share with you the basics of planning your social media strategy, including:
- Where to show up
- Who are you targeting
- Where do they connect
- What content to produce
- What do you help them with
- What will add value
- What will build trust
- Your posting schedule
- How often to post
- Scheduling software
- Engaging with your audience
- Why engage with your audience
- How to encourage engagement
- Making time to respond
- Paid campaigns vs free
- Pro’s and con comparison
- Basic paid ad strategy
If you are struggling to know where to start, and have adopted a “spray and pray” approach to social media, then this episode is for you.
Welcome to the Agency Trailblazer Podcast. This is your host Lee, and on today’s show we are talking planning your Social Media Strategy. Now I got to admit this is something that I have not done on purpose for so long. I’ve been a busy agency owner. I run two agencies and social media is absolutely at the bottom of the list. I think for most of us and yet we recognise the value in showing up online. We recognise that that is a place that we can build our brand and that we can generate leads and yet it’s still falls to the bottom of our list. So how can you as an agency owner prioritise social media in such a way that doesn’t impact on your day to day. How can you commit some time to social media and ensure that you get a better return on investment for the time that you are putting in?
And that’s what this episode is going to be all about. Now, we’ve been investing in social media now for many, many years, right from the beginning of this podcast where we partnered with Sarah Moore and she helped us for a very long time, work out what our strategies were even back then. And now over time has thoroughly evolved between the two agencies that I have, but also the advice that we’ve been providing to people over the years has also evolved. Frankly, social media evolves all the time, but we found that there are a few things that remain true no matter what year and no matter what social platform we are using. So today I want to share with you some of the basics of planning your social media strategy. We’re going to start with the age old question of where to show up. Then we’re going to talk about what content that you could be producing.
We’re going to talk about your posting schedule. Look at how you can engage your audience. And finally we will wrap up with some of the old paid versus free analogy. There are paid campaigns that you could be investing in. And so often people do that first without getting any of the basics right that we have just mentioned. So let’s crack on with the show. Get your notepad and pen and let’s talk about where you need to show up. I know when I started down the road of social media, I had the spray and pray approach. This means that I would post anything, everywhere and hope for the best and I would be super, super inconsistent. Problem is I didn’t really know what I needed to be talking about. I didn’t really know who I was targeting and I didn’t really know where I needed to show up.
So I was just showing up everywhere with kind of half-baked content that was not necessarily relevant. So the first thing we really need to understand is where do we show up? Are we wasting our time on Instagram or Twitter when our audience actually are rocking LinkedIn? And how do we work out that? Simply we do need to understand who our target audiences first. Remember in episode 200 we talk about How to Transform your Agency and we start with identity and understanding who you are, what you do, what your superpowers are, and also what you do for other people. Who are those other people? What benefits are they getting, what problems are you solving, what aspirations are you helping them achieve? So it’s in those customer avatars that we create from that that we can then work out. A, who it is we’re targeting and then B, look at where they are showing up.
So for example, you are an agency owner, you are listening to the Agency Trailblazer Podcast. You are probably in my Facebook group. That’s awesome. If you’re not, www.agencytrailblazer.com/group. You probably have some sort of presence as well on Twitter. And if you’re a designer, you’re also probably following us over on Instagram and you enjoy subscribing to a few of the hashtags such as logo inspiration, design inspiration and so on and so forth. I know all this because I know who my target audience is. I know what problems I’m trying to solve for them and I know that I need to show up in those particular locations. Now you may have LinkedIn profiles, etc, but for most circumstances, the designers that I am trying to attract, the agency owners that I am trying to attract will tend to have a lot of their recreational time and that inspirational time based in the areas that I have just mentioned as opposed to rocking in LinkedIn or Pinterest of all places.
Which sounds surprising. So yes, even though I know my target audience does appear across all of the social media platform. I know that a lot of them are really engaging and having conversations in those Facebook groups, in those comments on Instagram posts or having conversations, especially in the WordPress circles out there on Twitter. So those are three key social media areas, I guess that I need to be focused on as a business. You can go through this exact same exercise. Who are the people that you are targeting? What problems are you solving for them? Where do they go to talk about those problems? Where do they go to share those dreams and aspirations, design agencies, etc, are rocking the Facebook groups, sharing those aspirations, asking for help on those problems that that is where I need to show up. Where is that place for you?
So if you don’t have your avatar, if you’ve not nailed your niche, etc. then go ahead and listen to episode 200 that’s How to Transform your Agency and deep dive into the first stage, which is your identity. Get some of those customer avatars put together and then using that as your base, go ahead and have a look at social media and work out where is it that they are turning up and having these sorts of conversations. We always recommend when you’re doing social media that yes, it’s great to be able to share your content across all the platforms because there are multiple touch points, but you also want to make sure that you’re doing certain platforms really well. So our big focus is Facebook doing that really well, making sure that we’re keeping Instagram updated and also commenting and having conversations on there as well.
And also making sure that we’ve got some focus there on Twitter. Not as much, but certainly there is still an audience out there that we need to be fostering everywhere else. We will schedule stuff show up now and again, but we want to focus on our core audience, on the core platforms. We believe we’ll get the most engagement on. The next problem is what should I produce as content? What should I be sharing with my audience? And that can seem like an overwhelming thought process because you feel you’d need to create multiple blogs and videos and then shower, all of that stuff. Now what we forget is that content marketing and social media marketing is not just about creating a blog post and or a video and then sharing that on social media. We can also use social media to create conversations. You don’t have to share something that doesn’t have to be an image involved.
You could be asking the community a really relevant question and getting people to engage with you. You could also be sharing inspirational quotes or content from other people again, that are relevant to your target audience and that will add value. So the three questions I want you to ask yourself when you’re planning what content to produce would be. Number one, what are you helping your target audience with? What are you helping them achieve? What problems are you helping them solve? Because the content that you create, the messaging that you use is going to be inspired by those things. You want to attract the ideal client to your business. So you need to be talking in their language, talking and speaking into their dreams, into their problems. Leading on from that, you want to ensure that your content will add value to the person who is consuming that.
So it’s not necessarily important to say, “Hey, we are exhibiting at,” or “Hey, we’ve just moved office,” or “Hey look, here’s the office dog doing a rolly polly.” All of that actually great content and should actually be shared on social media. But at the same time, you want to add value into people’s lives. You want to speak encouragement, you want to give them quick wins that they can apply to their business. So what sort of content can you give away online that’s going to encourage people and that’s going to add value into their day to day, maybe feed what it is that you want to help them achieve. You don’t have to give everything away, but people are going to remember you for those quick wins. And then finally, what content can you be sharing that will build trust? Now if you are sharing stuff that is going to help them with that dreams and aspirations, help them solve their problems, that is adding value.
All of those will continue to build trust. Also with any posts that you’re putting out there as well. Try and represent you if there are personal brand or your business brand. So help them understand how it is that you work. And one of the best ways you can do that is to document what does go on in your office, how you manage particular projects, how you deliver websites, how you deliver brands, etc. Because all of that, not only have you helped them understand how they can achieve stuff, but equally you’ve then shown them behind the scenes, Hey, we are a friendly bunch of people who enjoy our work and we have standard operating procedures that we really focused on. We value excellence, we want to do a great job for our clients and this is all how we do it. By showcasing all of that as well, you are helping build trust and if you remember, I’ve mentioned the brand a few times now, Dubsado, they’ve got their own CRM system.
When you go ahead and watch what they’re up to, they share things that are going on in their office, on Instagram and on YouTube, etc, and you see that they really, really care. They really enjoy their job. It builds up that trust and also you as an individual want to align yourself with that brand. Align yourself with that team because they seem like a great bunch of people to work with, so they do this really well on social media. I recommend to go ahead and check them out, which then segues perfectly into your posting schedule. This is the age old question. How often should I post as well as what time should I be posting? Frankly, there is no direct answer for this because I is going to depend on your target audience, how often they’re on social media, what times they’re on social media, how they engage on social media and what platforms they are using.
As an example with Instagram they do not feed your content in time order. They show content based on algorithms that detect what people like, what they might engage with and what’s going to keep them inside of the Instagram app so that they might actually serve something you posted six weeks ago rather than something you posted five minutes ago. Now, Twitter is very different although they are changing their algorithm to say, “Hey, here’s something that you missed that you might have liked.” A lot of Twitter is very much around here is what’s popular right now and here’s what’s just come out right now. So there is definitely a time of the essence versus Instagram. So, like I said, there’s no right or wrong answer to this book. What you can do is test and iterate. So that means look to post one or two pieces of content a day.
That could be seven days a week initially, and then have a look at the insights that your social media platform provides you, which posts were the most popular types of posts, and also what times if you look at that information, that’s going to tell you what your target audience like and what they engage with the best. So what works, do more of it, what doesn’t work, do less or none of it. That is the best answer I can give you. Right now. What we’ve been testing is posting three times a day at different times, seven days a week. We have tested in the last week by not posting anything for a few days to see what happens to some of the older content on Instagram. So what we’re doing is just doing some hush tests and then we’re iterating, seeing what are the most popular types of images that we’re sharing and what are the most popular types of questions or episodes and all of that good stuff.
So this is something that you can be engaging with and it’s something that is going to change. It’s something that you will need to test over time, but if you can set yourself some time every single month to have a look at the statistics of each platform and say, okay, we can see that this type of content performs the best. We can see that this type of question, this type of image, this type of video, this type of tip, whatever it is, performs the best and this time performs the best. That means that you don’t have to go down the line of just constantly coming up with social media posts to put out there, but you could actually just do a few a week of those key types of content that work really well. Now scheduling software, we utilise Buffer. There are a whole load of others out there as well.
There’s Social Champ. I think there’s ContentCal and a whole load of this but for us we will use Buffer for everything that we do and they do actually have things like times that they will suggest. Bear in mind that our audience is quite global, so there are timezones to consider, etc. We do have a look at spreading stuff out throughout the day so that we’ll at least get one touch point for each area of the planet. But take a look at your scheduling software, does it give you some sort of recommendation, but also over time it should be building up some sort of history and some sort of pattern for you to be able to make suggestions in the future. And I know there are certain scheduling platforms that will give you some good analytics on your social media posting, so be sure to check those out.
So I’m really sorry that that wasn’t a simple answer. I would say if you want a simple solution to this post at least two to three times a day at some fixed times where you know your audience are going to be online and do that for a month or two and then see how it goes. Test and iterate from there. If you want at least a basic burger starting point. Let me also throw into the mix that if you’re going to do that, please at least batch a week, so batch a week ahead of time to ensure that all of that content is going to go out. I have so often gotten behind and then I’m having to do the social media for each day and it becomes a chore and I’m not sure what to create, etc. Whereas if I do everything at the beginning of the week, sometimes at the beginning of the month, if I know I’m going to be away, I know that it’s just all going to go out automatically and then I can be focused on engaging, which takes us on to our next topic, which is engaging with your audience.
You know what? It’s almost like I planned this episode, right? Let’s talk about engagement, so why engage with your audience because you want to build that trust. You want to build that audience and even more importantly something that people don’t realise is that it’s your perfect feedback loop. As you build an audience of people that know, like and trust you that look at your content that use your content and they engage with your content, they will feed back to you what they like. They will ask you questions. You will become an industry leader. That could be you as a personal brand. It could be you as a business become the go to company or people for your audience. It’s the same for myself with the Agency Trailblazer Podcast. I’ve built up a personal brand and people will ask questions. Now in that Facebook group that we have, which feeds the content that I put out, it’s become this perfect cycle of engagement, content questions, and then I now have another plan for the next 20 episodes because we’ve had so much feedback through social media, we know what we need to therefore plan this very episode is because of the feedback that we have been getting inside of the Facebook group, but also across our social media channels.
Questions like, is it important that I show up online? How do I show up online? What do I post? When do I post it? How often do I post it? How can I build my following? How can I create leads? All of these sorts of questions are questions that have come up because I’m engaging with my audience. I am asking them questions through my posts they’re answering and then I am also deep diving with them in the comments or tweeting back. However, that looks like we really need to engage with our audience. And if your audience are not engaging with you, we need to be asking them questions that will engage in. There are some really easy ways to do that. Simply ask them to share something about themselves. People love to share what is going on in their world. It helps to build up friendship, companionship, etc.
So ask them questions. How would you deal with such and such a situation? Or which logo do you like the best? And finally, when you have got some form of engagement, always make sure that you respond. If somebody is taking the time to comment back at the very minimum, like the post, put a heart on it, whatever. But also if you can, if you have the time, respond to them. Thank them for their comment. Add some extra value if you can. All of this helps build your brand. It helps build loyalty because people know that you are a brand that they can engage with. And again, that’s something that I’m constantly trying to do across our social media channels is to be somebody who does respond. Chris Ducker is a great example of this. He is an online brand. He’s very, very busy. He runs multiple businesses.
He has countless followers across multiple social media channels and yet he really tries to make an effort to respond to every single comment that he gets on his Twitter profile or on his Instagram profile, etc, because he recognises how important that feedback loop is and how important it is to encourage that engagement. And I know that more people post because they know he will respond. So be sure to encourage engagement because you’re going to get people coming back and you’re going to get that beautiful feedback loop, which is people asking you what they need and you can then deliver solutions to those problems. And finally coming into land, let’s discuss paid campaigns versus free, just general organic posting. So first of all, a comparison of the two. If you are building up a library of content, then that is essentially evergreen that content will be there for a very long time.
That’s great because it means you don’t have to keep paying to have that blog post available for people to consume. Same with the video, etc. That in itself is good. However, to build up an audience for that takes an awful long time. So let’s look at my podcast. Yet again is a great example. We’ve been doing this podcast now for four years and yes, I now have a big global audience without paying for the traffic. However, it’s taken a very long time. It’s certainly not a fast track to growing a global audience. However, if you are then to switch to a paid campaign, this is a way of growing your audience quicker. So you could be paying for Facebook ads and growing your audience that way, and attracting them to services that you offer, et cetera. However, this can get really expensive and when you stop paying for it, the Facebook ads also stop.
So how can you find that happy medium? What will allow you to build your audience and retain them. One of the best ways we found is retargeting, so what this means is we have a pixel. That’s a Facebook pixel as an example on our website and when somebody comes and listens to the podcast online, they get added to that pixel. This now means that over time I have a custom audience that I know have engaged with my brand and will recognise me if I was to pop up again in the social media feeds to share some other content that I’ve created that I might want them to go and consume or answer a question that I’ve asked the I might want them to engage with or maybe even buy a product. And we found that our cost for conversion on a Facebook ad is so much better if we are only targeting people who have previously engaged with our brand through those retargeted pixels.
If I was to compare creating a campaign where I’m trying to attract any designer in the world to buy my design widget, the cost to convert each one of those sales would be far higher than if I had first attracted that person or those people with prior content and now I’m marketing to them as somebody who they already know, like, and trust or they at least have some experience of. So the best paid strategy I could recommend would be create your organic evergreen content like blog posts, your podcasts or YouTube videos and so on. Then I would encourage you to drive people to your website. So anyone who watches that content should be driven to your website where you can build up that pixel. Then you want to spend a low amount of money to attract people to that content. So you can put some $5 campaigns down on say Facebook or your relevant social media platform of choice to encourage people to go and read that content.
If they do go and read that content that’s speaking to them. Remember all of that stuff we talked about right at the get go of what sort of content you should produce to attract them. Now, if they are engaging with that content, they’ll be coming onto your website and they’ll be built into that pixel. They are added to your audience. This means that as you grow that pixel, you grow that audience. You will then be able to come back later on and put some ads in front of them off things that you might want them to buy. You might want to take them down the next step in your funnel. That fold. That’s where you can start investing in paid ads to get conversions because you already have an audience that know, like and trust you that you have already warmed up. So organic will take time just like the podcast.
But if you can integrate the two as a strategy that will help you fast forward your audience growth. This is only something I learnt about a year and a half ago when we were marketing our very first conference and the wonderful Dave to me sat me down and told me the entire process that we should be engaging with for a combination of, you know, our free and our paid strategies and how they can compliment each other. So folks, we have come to the end of this episode. Let me do the Lee Jackson recap. We started with where to show up and we talked about who are you targeting and where do they connect because that is where you want to show up. We talked about the types of content that you should be producing and that should be stuff that speaks to their dreams and to their aspirations that adds value to their lives, that solves problems, that gives them quick wins and allows you to build that trust.
We then talked about the posting schedule and we sat, I’m sorry, but there’s no silver bullet for this. You’re going to have to suck it and see test and iterate and use some scheduling software to allow you to select times. And then monitor how well they do. We then went into engaging with your audience why it’s important because it’s a great feedback loop. It helps to build up your audience and it encourages more people to communicate with you and we said, Hey, it’s really important that you spend time responding to people, engaging with people. And then finally we talked about the benefits of paid campaigns versus free campaigns and we shared my strategy which came from Dave to me originally, which was how we could marry the two together in a much more cohesive plan, which would be far more cost effective as well as effective for growing our audience.
So folks, if you are inspired, don’t forget all of these notes are bulleted out for you in the show notes, so be sure to check that out over on www.agencytrailblazer.com if you are not part of our Facebook group, please do check that out. Also on www.agencytrailblazer.com/group please do visit and support our wonderful sponsor. That’s Cloudways we host all of our websites with them across both our businesses. We know like and trust them because they create good valuable content including a really good knowledge-base full of information and I will be sharing a post I’ve just written recently for them in our Facebook group so you can get access to that and enjoy the content in there all around how we deliver projects through our chosen hosts are tonnes of top tips in there, so be sure to check that out. I will post that when that’s live. Remember if you want to get hold of any of the current offers that Cloudways have. Be sure again to check the show notes because I will be sure to post that or go ahead and check out www.cloudways.com. Thanks for listening. Thanks for supporting. If we don’t see you in the Facebook group, we will see you in next week’s episode.
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