The social media landscape changes so frequently that as soon as you think you have mastered one platform, a new one pops up that you have to learn from scratch.

In just the past few years, we’ve seen the rise and growth of numerous social media platforms. We’ve also seen significant changes to the old-reliables, such as the introduction of Facebook Live, the throttling of the Facebook news feed, and the expansion of character limits on Twitter (though with restrictions).

If you want to stay ahead of the competition and continue attracting followers and encouraging user engagement on social media, you need to stay aware of these changes and adapt as needed.

Here’s what you need to do to create a successful social media strategy for 2017:

Always Start with Clear Goals

Whether you are looking at 2017 or 3017 (assuming social media is still a thing), you always need to start by establishing clear goals before you can create a strategy.

Otherwise, how do you know it’s successful?

Be as specific as possible when defining your goals for your campaign. Do you want to increase your followers? If so, you need to say by how much and by when. For example, you can set a goal to increase your followers by 50 percent within six months.

If you want to increase engagement, you need to state how you will measure engagement, such as in the number of likes, the number of shares, or the number of mentions.

Other goals can include increasing conversions from social media, increasing sales, or increasing ad revenue.

Within your goals, you will also need to identify a goal audience, or target audience. You need to be as clear as possible here, too, including all the information you can about the type of person you want to reach on social media.

Use Google and social media analytics to discover potential audience traits and to ensure that the people you are reaching have those traits.

Offer Diverse Content

You can’t share memes over and over again and expect to get a ton of followers.

Nor can you share the same types of posts over and over again. For example, you can’t share funny posts all day, every day – unless, of course, you are a humor brand.

You need to vary the type of posts you share, as well as the format. That means sharing a mix of posts that are informative, funny, inspirational, and promotional.

Share a variety of formats, such as written content, links to articles, photos, videos, memes, gifs, cartoons, comics and more. The more interactive the content, the better.

Sharing a variety of content types and formats will help you reach people who have different learning styles, who prefer different content types, and who just don’t always have the time to engage with certain types of content. Offering this variety ensures that you capture more of your audience.

Coming into 2017, visual content such as videos and photos perform best. Make sure you include plenty of this kind of content.

Focus on Mobile

Mobile users will soon outpace desktop users – and mobile search has already become bigger than desktop search. Mobile is far more popular among social media users.

In order for your social media strategy to be successful, it must put the needs and preferences of mobile users front and center. That means sharing photos and videos that are optimized for mobile users, both in terms of a size that suits the screen and a file size that is faster to load.

You also need to think carefully about how you share links and what those pages look like when users click on them. Make sure that navigation and shopping are easy.

Create a Dedicated Budget

Many marketers just lump social media in with their overall strategy, and they consider it an add-on or an afterthought. However, social media should be considered a major player and given time and a budget of its own.

Make sure that budget is dedicated to social media and you aren’t dipping into it to pay for other things. You can use the budget to pay for content creation (such as special videos and graphics), to purchase items for giveaways, or to promote your posts or your page.

The more time and money you put into your social media strategy, the more results you are likely to get. Just make sure you are crafting a careful strategy and not just throwing money at the issue.

Social media can be an invaluable tool for you to reach customers if you use it properly. But you can’t just create a profile and expect the followers to come. Dedicate a team to your social media and give it a dedicated budget, and you’ll soon start getting the results you want with these tips.

Social Media How to Craft a Successful Social Media Strategy for 2017