Social media is a powerful marketing tool—but many people equate “powerful” with complicated. Here’s the thing: it doesn’t have to be.

Below, we share our tips and tricks to get you thinking like a social strategist, helping you streamline your focus and create an effective social strategy with minimal stress, and ultimately help you chase away the “social scaries.”

It’s goal time

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the first step to any successful strategy is to set some goals. Whether you want to boost traffic to your website or grow  your email list, start by identifying clear, measurable goals—then use them as your North Star to keep you on track and help you measure success along the way.

Let’s get critical

If you’re already using social media to market your brand, we recommend doing an audit with your core audience in mind. Take a look at your existing channels, using engagement metrics to take an objective look at where your content resonates and assess where your attempts to engage failed to connect. An audit will streamline your efforts, helping you put out the right content on the right channels.

However, if your business is preparing to make its social media debut, we recommend first identifying your target audience. Once you have an audience in mind, discover where they spend most of their energy online. When you’re just getting started, focus on quality over quantity and choose one or two channels to start. For example, if your audience skews towards Zoomer territory, you may want to consider channels like Instagram or TikTok. Finding that Boomers make up more of your audience? In that case, we’d recommend focusing on Facebook and Twitter. 

What’s the story?

When planning your social media content, we recommend identifying monthly themes. Choosing a theme allows you to form a strong story throughout your marketing efforts, and can save you time when it comes to brainstorming content ideas.

For example, a technical apparel brand might consider developing monthly themes based on the seasonal weather and the activities your customers likely participate in. A non-profit, on the other hand, might choose themes based on timely social justice causes that align to their core purpose.

Build a content calendar

What’s broken down by days, weeks and months and helps you plan your social content? If you guessed a content calendar, you’ve made us proud. Content calendars are the holy grail of managing social strategy. By building a plan that clearly identifies what you’re going to say, when and where you’re going to say it, you can easily manage numerous pieces of content on multiple channels. Your content calendar will also help immensely when it comes to pre-scheduling content.

Automate your posts

Speaking of pre-scheduling, let’s talk about tools. It’s never been easier to manage your social media marketing, thanks in no small part to the variety of software options out there.

Our personal favourite: automation tools. Automation tools do exactly what their name suggests: they allow you to schedule bulk batches of content and have them automatically publish throughout the week. This way, you’re not waking up at two in the morning with a cold sweat realizing you forgot to post your launch announcement. Some of our favourite social automation tools include Sprout, Later, and Hootsuite, but we recommend playing around with a few to see which one works best for your business (they all have free trials). 

To note: just because you’re pre-scheduling content, doesn’t mean you should go fully hands off just yet. Check in with pre-scheduled content to make sure that things you have planned weeks in advance are still relevant and applicable closer to the publishing date.

A little reminder: don’t forget to bake time into your social media plan to boost your engagement rates by—you guessed it—engaging. If someone tags you in a post, show them some love. And always respond to your community’s comments to show them there are humans behind the brand that care.

It’s all in the numbers

Once you’ve consistently shared content for a full month, take some time to review your posts’ performance. Identify some key performance indicators (KPIs) and track against those. An analytics review will give you a strong understanding of what your audience is resonating with, help you build a baseline against which to measure your future quantitative goals and will give you insights into what content you may need to revisit next month. If you’re unsure what to track, revisit your social strategy goals and identify what metrics you need to track to meet your qualitative goals.

We hope this has left you feeling a bit more comfortable with social media marketing so you can stop heavy breathing into a brown paper bag at the thought of it (we’ve been there).

If you’re still unsure or need some more help, drop us a DM on Instagram.