Whether you’re new to social media or looking to fine-tune your strategy, this guide outlines the basic steps for creating a social media strategy and links to related guides for more details.
8 steps to successful social media
Social media is an indispensable part of any business marketing playbook. But developing a social media strategy can be overwhelming. That’s why you need to make a plan. We recommend starting small and growing from there. Keep your sights set on the four basic principles below and explore our entire set of social media guides. And don’t forget that you have teams of experienced colleagues around the world who can help. Start with your country or BU marketing teams, and feel free to reach out to the Digital Communications Team at Corporate Communications, Sustainability and Brand if you need further assistance.
The basic principles of a solid social media strategy
- Know your objectives
- Know your audience
- Know your channels
- Know your voice
8 steps to successful social media
The following eight steps are intended to guide your social media marketing activities and may be adapted to fit your needs. Follow the links to related guides for more details about each step.
1. Set your objectives
The first step to successful social media is setting goals that align with your business objectives. For example, why do you want to be on social networks like Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok? Do you want to raise brand awareness, boost loyalty, build relationships with customers, enhance your customer service, or something else? Whatever your objectives may be, you can’t measure success without goals.
We recommend setting SMART goals:
A common mistake when goal-setting is vagueness. For example, avoid setting goals like this: “We will use TikTok to raise brand awareness.”
Here’s an example of a SMART goal:
“We want to drive more young adults to our website and increase sales by 5% within this demographic in the next six months. To do this, we will use TikTok to share light-hearted content that raises interest and brand awareness, and then TikTok Ads drive users to our website.”
2. Know your audience
Social media delivers the content that each user desires based on their interests. That means identifying and understanding our target audiences is critical. You first need to distinguish who your target groups are. Then you need to learn their social behavior and what motivates them. When you genuinely know your audience, you will know how to reach them (network), how to talk to them (wording, tonality), and what to talk about (relevant, engaging, and impactful storytelling).
We have identified the four broad target groups to help guide our global social media communications:
- Media and opinion leaders
- B2B customers
- B2C customers
- Current employees & potential candidates
Each group has individual needs and requires customized communication via the right channels. That said, the social behavior of the individuals in each group will overlap. For example, each company we do business with includes individuals who may use our services or even be interested in working for us.
The social behavior and motivations vary from country to country and region to region. Use these four groups as a basic guide before defining who your specific target audiences are.
3. Choose your channels
It may sound obvious, but to reach a specific target audience on social media, you have to engage them on the channels they use. Although many people are active in many different social media networks, it’s essential to understand each channel’s suitability. There are hundreds of social networks around the world. Be sure to study the social media landscape in your country or region to determine which local channels you could use to boost your social media communications and marketing. The Choosing Your Channels guide gives you some advice for selecting the right channels, profiles the top global social media networks, and initial guidance for planning your activities and starting an official DHL account. And in case you’re wondering what to do with an inactive channel, check out the Housekeeping guide.
IMPORTANT: Please note that you will need approval from your BU before you can set up a new DHL account. Contact the global marketing team in your BU or the Digital Communications Team at Corporate Communications, Sustainability and Brand for support.
4. Plan and Prepare
Don’t underestimate the resources you will need to achieve your social media goals. Social media marketing requires dedicated resources, ongoing content planning, and continuous community management and monitoring. Setting up a Twitter account or a Facebook page, for example, requires a long-term commitment. Inactive or deleted accounts risk damaging our company’s image. At this point, you may have set your goals, identified your target audience, and selected the right channels. Now you need to make sure you plan your activities sufficiently, understand how to measure success, and pick tools to help you keep track of and manage your social media channels. This is also an excellent time to begin planning for potential crises.
5. Create engaging content
Having a presence on social media and posting content is not enough. If you want your content to have an impact, you need users to engage with it. Likes, shares, comments, and clicks tell us that people notice and act on our content. Also, as more people notice and take action, the more likely our content will be seen by others. By engaging our audiences, we can turn consumers into customers and customers into fans.
If you’re struggling to produce engaging content, you’re not alone. Most content and social media marketers say it’s one of their greatest challenges. Our Creating Content guides will hopefully make it a little easier.
6. Manage your communities
Operating a social media channel goes beyond creating engaging content. It also requires engaging with fans and followers. Managing your communities means interacting with them, responding to their comments, liking their posts, and more. How well you engage your community depends on how well you understand your community. Get started by checking out the communication guidelines in Engaging With Your Community.
Managing a social media community also means preparing for and eventually dealing with a crisis. Use our guides to begin developing and optimizing your crisis response procedures.
7. Understand data privacy and legal requirements
In most cases, the use of social media involves the processing of personal data, sometimes on a large scale. Even if users accept the social network’s data processing conditions when they open an account, they are entitled to certain fundamental rights and freedoms – particularly their right to protect personal data.
Before opening a DHL social media account, please review and understand your country’s copyright and data protection laws and regulations. Also, be sure to familiarize yourself with the rules for each social media network you are using.
8. Measure & Improve
You can’t measure success and improve if you don’t monitor your performance. Key performance indicators (KPIs) tell you whether or not you’re meeting your goals – and they demonstrate the value and impact of your marketing efforts. Make sure you understand how to continuously track and use social media metrics to measure and improve your social media activities.
Managing one or more social media channels and measuring the return on investment (ROI) isn’t easy. That’s why many tools have been developed to help you monitor, track, and analyze your channels and activities. These tools can be used to manage and plan content, monitor performance, and analyze data. However, to efficiently execute your social media strategy and demonstrate social ROI, it’s best to understand what tools are available and determine the right ones for you.