I’m 3 years deep in my digital career and can only liken the ever-changing realm of social media  to climbing a summitless mountain. You reach the top of one peak only to see another peeking out from behind, and so the hike begins again. So how do you conquer this? My answer; you never take off those hiking boots! Social media may be an ever-growing mountain, but there are ways for you to prep for the climb, stay on level footing and push forward to reach dizzying heights!  I’ve put together a guide for those of you setting out maybe even as a first time climber.

Before you start; Scope out the Terrain

If you’re the type of person to run ahead before putting in the necessary prep, then I salute you for jumping in feet first! But be ready to call an air ambulance because enthusiasm will never compensate for lack of strategy.  Before you tackle the social media terrain, you need to know it up close and intimately. In 2019 we saw mass changes across all the platforms, which will change the way consumers interact with your channels.

We saw the rise of conversational commerce thanks to developments in AI, which have made it easier for brands to sell their wares to a mass audience while making them feel like they are the only customer on their radar. Stories have started to pop up everywhere with records highlighting one billion stories being posted every day (yeah, that’s a lot of dog face filters), but consumers have become obsessed and so might you! So, map out the terrain, see which trends work for you and implement these into your social strategy.

To go the distance; Pack a Good Lunch

Hiking essentials normally consist of a slow release energy fueled pack lunch.  When getting ready to set out on your social media hike, look upon your content as your packed lunch; it needs prepped (love a bit of food prep!), considerable thought put into it and only then will you be fueled to make the most of your climb.

Content marketing has become a major buzz word in marketing over the past few years. For sure it’s an effective tool to assist you in engaging with your audience, if you know me you’ll know I like to always keep them laughing! But do remember different platforms require different content, (You wouldn’t wear the same outfit to every place you show up) Instagram is clearly the stage for slick photography and clever captions, while Facebook craves video content and in 2020 we’re going to see a lot more video in brands content strategies.

Plan ahead, create stand-out but be careful not to go off-track and ramble too far away from your intended route.

And Always spend a lot on Shoes*. (*in life in general!)

Okay, so good hiking shoes are important, but we don’t mean for you to run out and buy a pair (if you want to, we totally suggest North Face, just saying!) No, in this case, I like to see your shoes as your promotional spend. Social channels are increasingly becoming a pay to play. You have some killer content, you want to brag about it; we’re with you! But to boast and I mean really brag, you’re going to need a promotional spend strategy.

Facebook is leading the way in this respect with 93% of social media marketers (that’s you) opting to use Facebook ads, that percentage has resulted in over 27 billion pounds in revenue being generated! We know that’s a lot of shoes, but don’t you worry; you just need the sensible pair built to go the distance.

Carefully targeted audiences, and capping your bids you can see a great ROI with as small a budget as £150 per month, and that costs less than dare I say, most of my shoes!

Plan your Route and Rest Stops

Okay, so great gear- check! scoped terrain – check! Route planned to within an inch – check! Now lets plan those rest stops! In this case, your routes are your audiences, an all-important part of successfully owning social media. Here’s my top tip for you: use Facebook Insights to see what makes your audience tick, what age they are, are they married, do they like hiking (we know, weird) but these interests will help establish the foundation to getting your content tailored and made more relevant.

Build your ads around your goals, Facebook have beautifully crafted 12 goals to keep that dollar rolling in for them but flip side it will help you achieve your business dreams. Brand awareness? Yes there’s a goal for that! Website conversions? Yup a goal for that too.  Time to get going!  Rest stops?  Well you’re going to have to constantly monitor those ads to work out when to go and when to rest.

Never ‘set it and forget it’ or you’re walking with your head down and not looking where you’re going. I personally check out ad performance for the many campaigns I’m running daily and I love to tinker and tweak as I go.  I’m getting excited just thinking about it!

Time for the Climb!

My last bit of advice before I wave you off to explore those great new heights; be warned the terrain will change but the fundamentals needed to keep you on good footing…. well, they will change less so.  Once you reach the first peak, take in the view, celebrate the results and plug in the learnings for pushing forward.  Now Spotify playlist  ‘Climb Every Mountain’… Anyone?!