One can easily get overwhelmed when figuring out a strategy to promote one’s business. Nonetheless, creating a successful social media marketing strategy doesn’t have to be a painful process.
Your strategy is like a plan that covers everything from your goals to actions.
The more clear your plan is, the more result-oriented it will be. Plan things in a way that is attainable and measurable. And once you have a clear plan in place, it is crucial to have a all-in-one ecosystem that will run your online business smoothly.
Here is a 7-step plan to develop a winning social media marketing strategy:
Step 1: Set Clear Goals And Metrics
What do you want to gain from your social media presence? Whether you want to increase your reach with followers or earn more dollars and cents, clearly define your goals and metrics.
Why is your company active on social media in the first place? Without having a clear goal in your mind, you won’t be able to determine the right direction.
Therefore, set your goals using the S.M.A.R.T goal framework, which means each of your goals should be:
- Specific: the more specific you are with your goals, the easier it will be to set a clear strategy and expectations. If you want to increase brand awareness, be specific on how you want to do that. Let’s say your goal is to increase your Instagram following by 250 new followers per month.
- Measurable: When you set specific goals, it becomes easier to measure your success. If you’re not getting 250 new followers per month, you can tweak your strategy to improve results.
- Attainable: Sometimes companies get too ambitious and end up setting unrealistic, unattainable goals. Be sure your target is achievable given your resources. Now, it’s quite attainable to generate 250 new followers on Instagram.
- Relevant: How your social media marketing goals are going to impact your bottom line? Will increasing your Instagram following help you achieve your business goals? Relevant goals are aligned closely to a business’s objectives.
- Time-bound: Make sure to set deadlines. Again, be realistic when doing so.
It might be difficult to find out how much value the increase in your social media following would bring to the table. Therefore, it’s advisable to focus on metrics like conversion rates, click-through, and engagement.
You may set different goals for each social media network and track your performance accordingly.
Step 2: Research Target Audience
Learn as much about your audience as possible.
Your social media target audience is a group of people who are most likely to be interested in your business. They would share common demographics and behaviors.
As you research your target audience, don’t hesitate to be highly specific. It will allow you to get into finer details and craft relevant content.
You can’t target everyone. Or, your target audience is not everyone active on social media, especially when you run a small business.
Here are a couple of steps to identify and target the right audience: Create audience personas
Creating audience personas is about developing a fictional representation of your ideal customers. In other words, personas draw a clear picture of your perfect customers.
Whether your audience is baby boomers or millennials, high school students, or senior citizens, create a persona to hone in on a more actionable, focused strategy. Use factors like age, location, language, average income, interests, spending power, and pain points.
Let’s say your audience is a group of single moms in their late 20s who live in big cities and do a full-time job. Take these abstract collections of demographics and characteristics to create a persona.
Don’t just assume things when researching your target audience. Instead, use data to make well-informed decisions.
Let’s say your target audience is millennials.
Now, use data to select the right social media channels for your strategy.
Social media analytics gives you tons of actionable information about who your followers are, what they do, where they live, and how they interact with businesses on social media. Use these insights to better identify your audience.
Step 3: Research Competitors
Your competitors are using social media.
Dig deep into what your competition is up to.
You can gain valuable insight by simply reviewing your competitors’ social presence. Competitors analysis tools can be of great help in this regard. Conduct a competitive analysis
There’s a lot you can learn from your competitors; for example, what strategies are and aren’t working for them.
A competitive analysis not only identifies your competitors but also gives you a good sense of what you can expect from your social presence.
Follow these steps to have a clear picture of who you’re competing against:
- Identify your competitive keywords: prepare a list of relevant keywords with data on competition and search volume. These keywords will help you narrow your definition of competitors.
- Find out who’s ranking for your targeted keywords: Select the top 10 keywords that are most relevant to your business. Plug them into Google to find your top competition.
- Browse social using your keywords: Now use your top keywords to see who comes up top in social results. For instance, plug those keywords in the Facebook search bar to see who shows up.
- Find out brands your audience is following: Twitter Analytics and Facebook Audience Insights help marketers find what other brands their audience follows.
You would be able to build a long list of potential customers after trying these techniques.
However, narrow your list down to only five brands that are most closely competing with you on social media.
And then you can perform a SWOT analysis to analyze your business and the competition in terms of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Analyzing the way your competitors are using social media to boost business growth will help you spot opportunities. This doesn’t mean you need to copycat your competitors.
If your competitors focus largely on Facebook, for example, you might try other networks where your audience is underserved.
Pro Tip: Watch the comments and reviews of your competitors’ social media pages to see what their customers are complaining about or requesting. Social listening is an effective way to keep an eye on your competition.
When you figure that out, go and create content on those specific requests and close the gap. This gives you a major advantage over your competitors.
Step 4: Determine Which Social Media Platforms You Will Advertise On
As discussed earlier, not all social channels are created the same.
Each platform has its own rhythm and a particular set of users with their own characteristics as to how they interact with content.
A person using YouTube to watch their favorite show might not use Linkedin for the same reason.
Since there are hundreds of social media platforms out there, you can’t just include every platform to your strategy.
Also, you can’t publish the exact same content on every platform. So, it’s important to do some homework when choosing ideal platforms for your marketing strategy.
Here are some tips for selecting the right social media platform: Consider audience demographics
What do you know about your customers? Are they younger, older, male, or female? We’ve already covered how a brand can develop a better understanding of its audience.
When you study demographics, you’ll be able to identify the platforms that fit your strategy.
For example, developing a Snapchat presence for your business might not be a good idea if your largest customer segment is 60 years or older women. Likewise, Building a presence on Pinterest would be a waste of your efforts if your target audience is only men.
In many cases, Facebook and YouTube will deliver the best return; in others, it might be Google or Linkedin. Again, data is your best friend when it comes to finding out what social media platforms your target audience loves to spend time on. Align on your business goals
It’s also crucial to consider your business goals when adding social networks to your strategy. For instance, you can prioritize Twitter to improve your customer care efforts. If you want to show your offerings in a visually compelling way, Instagram would be a great choice.
The key here is to align platform benefits with your business goals.
Pro Tip: Find a happy medium between where your customers are and what you’re comfortable with using or advertising on.
Step 5: Create Engaging Content
At this point, you should have a good idea of what platforms to cover. It’s time to talk about content and how to make it more relevant and engaging.
Creating shareable and enjoyable content boils down to understanding the psychology of your audience. You can then understand exactly what makes them happy and excited.
Content is whatever you post: a tweet, a photo of your product on Instagram, a Facebook status update, a blog post on LinkedIn, and so on. You need to custom-tailor your content to each platform AND keep it relevant to your audience.
Perform keyword research
While keyword research and analysis is critical to achieving success with search advertising, conducting keyword research can dramatically improve your visibility on social media.
Whether your target audience is on Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube, determine which keywords your audience use to find their favorite content on social media.
It will enable you to uncover the wants and needs of your audience.
Researching and identifying the right social media keywords will give you a clear idea of how to structure your message effectively.
The process guides you across activities from optimizing videos to image tagging.
Let’s say you want to create a blog post. Keyword research will help you create exactly what your audience is searching for. There are a bunch of amazing keyword research tools that can make your life easier.
You want to create content that people need and want. So, spend some time finding the exact phrases your social media audience is using to find content.
Setup social media pixel
A pixel is a code that you place on your website to track users as they interact with your Facebook ads and website.
This will help you track conversions from Facebook Ads, optimize ads, remarket to your page visitors, know which pages they have visited, and to see if someone has completed your desired action.
You can install Facebook pixel even if you’re not using Facebook ads.
It will start gathering data right away so that you don’t have to start from scratch when creating your first Facebook ad.
Pro tip: Context is more important than content.
Step 6: Advertise Social Media Posts
It’s hard to get your content noticed on the web, especially on social media where almost half of the content gets zero shares.
To make the most of your social media, follow the 80/20 rule which says, “spend 20% of your time creating content and the rest (80%) promoting it”.
I am sure you have heard the phrase, “If content is king, distribution is queen”.
Content creation is a time-consuming process. If you create great content in the first place, it would become a lot easier to drive engagement. Unfortunately, most people don’t post high-quality content and end up producing nothing for their business.
So, first of all, your content should offer exactly what your audience is looking for. And then you can boost engagement and visibility using paid social.
Most of the leading social media platforms allow you to run advertisements. You can run paid social campaigns to meet specific business goals at a relatively low cost.
Pro Tip: When creating ads, create different versions of ads with different messaging to ensure the most and best engagement. This helps you speak to each person individually.
Step 7: Analyze Results Frequently
Your social media marketing strategy is a major part of your overall marketing plan. It’s hard to get it right the first time.
As you start to implement your strategy and measure performance, you may find that some of your tactics don’t work as well as anticipated.
Therefore, it’s essential to analyze your results so that you identify and fix issues.
What Should You Be Tracking?
From post engagement percentage to follower counts, social media metrics can be confusing. However, you must determine and track the right metrics based on your goals.
For every goal, you need a related metric.
Let’s say your goal is to increase conversions from social by 25% in a 2-month span.
To achieve this, you launch a campaign that includes ads and influencers. To analyze your results, you need to look at the social traffic and conversion rate metric in your website analytics.
Metrics that really matter:
- Volume: How many people are talking about your brand or campaigns? Volume is the easiest metric to measure. Facebook Insights, for example, measures how many unique users have posted something to their walls that talk about your brand.
- Reach: It is a measure of potential audience size. It answers how far is your content disseminating.
- Engagement: What is your audience doing to engage and spread your content? Facebook shares and Twitter retweets tell you who is spreading your content, while likes, comments, and reactions are helpful to know who is responding to your content.
- Influence: Is your social media content powerful enough to encourage your followers to actually do anything? Having millions of followers is one thing, creating an impactful social media presence is another.
- Share of voice: What percentage of the overall conversation about your industry talks about your business compared to your leading competitors. Share of voice is a key metric if you want to know how well your social media marketing strategy is doing.
It’s important to re-evaluate your strategy regularly based on data and insights. You can also use analytics to test things against one another.
Refine your strategy based on what’s working and what’s not.
How Often Should You Post On Social Media?
If you post too infrequently, your followers will forget your brand. If you post too often, they might find your brand overcrowding their feed.
On Facebook, businesses with less than 10,000 followers that post more than 60 times a month receive 60% fewer clicks per post than those companies that post 5 or fewer times a month.
Don’t overwhelm your audience with content. Be selective about what you’re sharing.
Let’s put it this way: creating a single loveable video is better than stuffing your audience with 100 videos that don’t deliver any value.
Pro tips for creating the best social media experiences for your audience
- Be responsive: Engage with those who respond to your content or share something on your pages – responsiveness encourages more conversions.
- Have clear goals: Make sure you know what you’re going after.
- Be consistent: Post often and at a comfortable rate. Schedule your posts in advance if possible.
- Have a theme: Choose themes for specific days of the week to boost engagement.
- Tell a story: Engage customers on social media with brand storytelling.
- Do it with passion: Or not at all.
- Communicate: Share everything with your team; goals, FAILURES, and success.
- Be a trendsetter: Don’t just follow trends, be a source of inspiration for others.
- Use remarketing audiences: Don’t forget to use your remarketing audiences.
Final Thoughts + Resources
I hope this guide will help you finally create a social media marketing strategy that works.
There are over 200 social media websites. Build your presence on at least a few of them. Be where your audience is. Stay up-to-date with all the latest trends and technologies to succeed.
There’s no better growth strategy for your business than social media marketing that is incorporated with a killer influencer marketing strategy.