Your social media marketing strategy is the difference between a successful social media campaign and a dud. There’s no time like the present to turn your boring social media profiles into a successful way to share your brand story and reach your goals.
How to Create an Effective Social Media Marketing Strategy
Step 1: Set Goals
Ask yourself what you expect and need from social media. Consider all of the things that you can accomplish with social, such as increasing sales and engaging customers. Social media planning starts with the right goals for your business.
The most important thing that you can do for your business is set realistic goals. If you’re new to social media marketing, make sure that you focus on small objectives that will allow you to scale your efforts. Here are some social media marketing goals that you can choose from:
Increase brand awareness: Brand awareness means getting your business out there and in front of as many eyes as possible so that people can recognize your brand every time you advertise or every time they come across one of your marketing campaigns. To create lasting impressions, you’ll need to avoid publishing promotional messages only. These are typically ignored and will do you no favors. Instead, focus on quality content that emphasizes your business’ values.
Generate leads and promote sales: Social media followers don’t make purchases online accidentally. Social media marketing can help you increase your customers’ trust in you and help you generate leads and sales.
Grow your audience: Getting new followers means that you can introduce your business to more people who don’t know about your business. A larger audience is key to helping you learn more about your customers and what they expect from you.
Drive traffic to your website: If your goal is to increase leads and traffic, your social media can be a valuable tool. Whether you optimize your ads or create educational posts, make sure that you track your URL clicks so that you can determine just how much of your traffic comes from social media.
Step 2: Research Your Target Audience
Never assume who your target audience is, especially when it comes to social. Social media takes the guesswork out of figuring out who your target audience is so that you can tailor your message to them.
Social media can be a valuable source of data and insights about your customers. It’s also important to note that different platforms attract different audiences. Facebook, for example, is one of a few social media platforms that does beset with ads because users have a high earning. On the other hand, Instagram’s users are millennials and Gen Z.
Instead of focusing on all of the networks available, find those that work best for you.
Don’t rely only on your social media analytics to learn more about your target audience. Instead, combine analytics from Google Analytics, Email, and your website itself.
Step 3: Research the Competition
Competitive analysis can help you determine the types of social posts that perform well on certain social media platforms. List out a few of your competitors and look for their social media profiles. Here are a few things you should pay attention to:
- What social media channel(s) they use
- Which posts perform the best
- The types of posts
Step 4: Establish Important KPIs
No matter what your social media marketing strategy goals are, you’ll need a way to measure them to determine your ROI. Your social media strategy should always be based on analytics, which means focusing on the metrics that matter most. Metrics that you can consider are:
Reach: The number of unique social media users who saw your ad or post. This lets you know how far your content really goes.
Clicks: The number of clicks on your social media content or account, which allows you to understand what encourages people to take action.
Engagement: The number of interactions divided by impressions, which lets you know how many people interact with your brand.
Organic & paid likes: Likes are attributed to paid or organic content. Organic content is much harder to increase, which is why you should consider turning to ads. In some cases, likes can be considered vanity metrics, especially if your social media marketing strategy uses ads to increase conversions.
Create Engaging Content
Your social media marketing strategy depends on the content you share. Based on your goals, brand identity, and which platforms you’ve chosen to use, you should have a good idea about what types of content you should create.
Your social media marketing strategy should include a content strategy, which can include:
If you’ve ever come across a social media post or ad and recognized the brand that posted it immediately, then they have successful branding. The key to branding is consistency when it comes to:
You can keep your branding consistent no matter which types of content you share. For example, if you cycle between curated content, product photos, and user-generated content, you can stick to a rotating color scheme or add your logo to increase brand recognition.
Types of content:
There are a number of different types of content that you can choose from. Remember, the types of content you choose will depend on the social media channels you include in your social media strategy.
Stories and time-sensitive content: Stories are an important piece of the social media puzzle. Because stories disappear after a set amount of time, stories tap into your followers’ fear of missing out (FOMO).
Ultimately, they see that you have posted a story and know that it’ll disappear eventually. You might be posting a deal or a special offer that will disappear in as little as 24 hours. This prompts them to take a look at what you have to offer.
Video: Videos are just as important as photos on social media and provide your followers with a variety of content that’s engaging. Both long and short videos dominate on most social media channels.
Human-centric posts: Your followers don’t want to see commercial content that they can find anywhere else when they search for your brand. Yes, good-looking advertisements tend to do well on every medium, including billboards and social media. However, social media is a personal experience, so it’s important to show your brand’s human side.
Note: Instead of posting videos and photos done by real photographers and videographers, try using your mobile device to take photos and videos. Posting those will have a much larger impact than something that’s overly designed because your followers and customers expect you to be more personable on social media.
Timeliness is another important factor of a successful social media marketing strategy. While you should have posts for the month planned out and schedule ahead of time, you should never set it and forget it when it comes to social. You need to always be available to your followers.
You cannot expect customers to operate when your business does, so expect comments and messages after hours. If you have a small team or just tone person managing your social media, then it can be difficult to maintain these relationships with your followers. Here are a few tips to help you maximize your time on social:
Find the best times to post
Make sure that you have time set aside every day for your focus to be on just social media. You can find some recommended times to post if you use any social media management platform. However, if you’ve found that your followers are most likely to engage after 5 PM and your business closes at 5 PM, there’s no point in posting at that time.
Instead, make sure that you’re available to answer questions and comments as soon as you post on your social media. Engagement after posting is just as critical as posting at the right time.
Social media is a marketing strategy that depends on your timeliness. If someone sends you a message, they expect a response immediately.
If the person running your social media isn’t able to answer questions as soon as possible, make sure that someone can. You may need to recruit the help of your customer service associate to help answer messages and comments throughout the day.
Set up automated responses
As we mentioned, social media is all about timing. If someone messages you, they expect a response immediately, or else they’ll either a. lose interest or b. message your competition who can message them back immediately.
Not all businesses have the resources to have someone answer questions and comments immediately. If your business can’t get to these customers as soon as possible, then you should have canned and automated responses prepared to answer the most common questions people ask about your business.
You can set up automated responses that will come through your Facebook messenger in your Business Manager account. First, you’ll set up questions that customers can ask and then the answers to those questions.
For your automated responses to be effective, you have to listen to your followers’ needs. Go through all of your messages and determine the types of questions your followers ask. Then, you can turn those into automated responses.
Assess Your Social Media Marketing Strategy
Once you’ve begun posting regularly on social media, you’ll receive valuable data from whichever channel you’re using. Make sure that you use this data to learn more about your social media marketing plan and understand what works and what doesn’t.
After you’ve posted for a month, take a look at your analytics and adapt your strategy as you progress. You should always be measuring your social media at least once per month. Without analyzing your efforts, you won’t know how one post did over another or how one campaign did over another.
Social media takes a lot of trial and error. If you haven’t started building your strategy yet, now is the time so that you can learn about your target audience and find out what they want to see from you.
Your social media strategy is only as effective as the time and effort that you put into it.