It’s 2019, and the influence of social media on consumerism is pretty obvious. 30% of people say they use social media to engage with brands at least once a month. Statistics from Social Media Examiner also show that while 97% of small businesses rely on social media to attract customers, 85% of business managers don’t know which tools to use. With knowing how to create a social media marketing strategy, you’ll be unprepared to fully capture and leverage the potential social media marketing can have for your business.
The same report also says that 63% of consumers who search for brand information online get hooked to brands with social media presence.
The meaning? It’s now easy for brands to reach millions of prospects. But to build an online following, a strategy is needed.
What is a social media marketing strategy?
A social media marketing strategy is a summary of everything you plan on doing and hoping to achieve via social media. It includes the marketing goal and how the desired results are to be measured. Also, it guides us on which networks to use: After all, there’re so many. Finally, it helps you to understand your target audience, and how to gain followers one post at a time.
The above statistics show that you surely should have grown past the post and hope strategy. As a business, you should try to make every post impactful. The cheap yester-years tricks of getting the junior staff in your firm to control the business pages because you assume they’re all ”bout it, ”bout it does not work now. Such economization hacks are zero-sum thinking!
Any serious business that’s hoping to harness the power of social media and grow its brand’s following on social networks needs to:
- Create a plan
- Set clear goals
- Post consistently
- Perform regular analysis to gain insights
Otherwise, you might just be posting for the sake of posting. If that’s the case, you’ll have a much more difficult time establishing a mass following on sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Why your business needs a social media marketing strategy
Helps reduce advertising costs
Some social media ads come at a price, and if you lack a plan and don’t know where to start, ponying up cash for such ads won’t help you reach the audience you want. What a shame! And a waste of money too.
A social media marketing strategy points you where to start and lets you know what to expect. It helps if you start small but do an effective campaign since you understand your audience. And the advantage? A higher return on investment.
Social media can help businesses convert prospects to loyal customers, but companies don’t know how to achieve such results. Through a social media marketing strategy, you can set measurable objectives for the outcomes you want and target the online audience by demographics, interests and more thereby generating interest.
Ultimately, you should be focused on improving conversions all the way down the funnel through your social media strategy. From getting someone from visitor to follower, from follower to lead, from lead to customer.
Improve the business ranking on search engine results
Through an effective social media marketing strategy, the business aims to stay on top of search results to the most relevant prospects. Users rarely navigate to the second page of search results. A good strategy guides the creation of relevant content and timing in such that it’s impactful when posted. It also calls for establishing a link-worthy site.
Having an engaged audience built on social media allows you to get quick social signals to the content published through your content marketing efforts. Social signals are a factor when it comes to improving the SEO of your content.
In general, an effective social media marketing strategy helps create a social media following that’s important for a brand and increases the customer base. In turn, giving your brand an edge over its competitors.
Here’s how to create a social media marketing strategy:
1. Create Your Social Media Marketing Strategies and Goals
Just think of what you want to accomplish via social media. It could be to increase sales, generate interest and leads, provide support to customers, create followers, likes and retweets. Whatever goal you have in mind, you’ve got to set S.M.A.R.T. objectives (meaning Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound).
For example, if your business is a home decor business, then your goal and objectives could be something like: “To share customer photos that showcase our products in their homes, so as to get at least 100 likes and 20 comments. To do this, we shall be posting six client photos per week.”
2. Narrow Down Your Ideal Customer Demographics
Specifying which demographics, you want to target will help you choose the right social network to use. You need to be specific to age, gender, location, interests, earnings and more.
It’s much easier to apply a social media marketing strategy over an efficient and focused effort. To be successful with social media and a marketing channel for your business, you don’t need to use all social media networks. Use the ones that make the most sense for your business. This means understanding your audience well and what platforms they use and congregate on.
3. Perform a Social Media Audit
You want to compete as well as maximize your presence on relevant channels. Otherwise, you’re going to get overwhelmed. Assessing where you are will help you know where to go next. Here are a few different things you can take a look at and audit:
What’s your current state? Is your brand currently active on any social media channel? And are your networks linked and complete with URL, Bio and Images?
What’s your target audience and which social media channels do they frequent? You can use customer profile templates online and the above ideal demographics from step 2 to get a probable channel to use.
What about your competitors? Don’t be afraid to stalk your competition and find out what they’re doing to optimize their social media presence. This will help give you a template you can improve upon for your own social media strategy.
4. Choose the Social Media Channel to Use
Use the above guides when selecting the social network to use. Just ensure it suits your goals. For example, for a B2B wishing to generate leads, LinkedIn should do the trick.
Four our home decor business above, you want to get likes and comments, Instagram should do the trick. So, six Instagram posts of client photos per week! But you shouldn’t be limited to one channel, prospective clients frequent various social media networks, hunt for them there.
For new businesses, however, don’t get overwhelmed, you can focus on one channel and expand later when you’re comfortable. You want to find what works best for your type of business and industry and start there.
If you’re not sure where to start, see where your competitors are most active or have their biggest following.
5. Set up the Social Media Account
Creating and signing up for an account is a piece of cake. All major social networks are free to sign up, and it’s done straight from their homepage. If a personal account is required before you can create a business account, you can do so in a few minutes too.
Ensure you’re integrating your accounts with the right social media management tools as well. It’s often much easier to manage all this using one tool instead of managing everything from each social media platform’s app or website.
6. Declare Your Social Network Mission Statement
These are just one-sentence statements moulded after your ideal customer. It outlines why you’re on social media and keeps you on track towards your goal and objectives.
A mission statement gives purpose to every social media profile you create. Those profiles without a purpose can then get deleted. For example, a mission statement could be: To use LinkedIn to create a network of potential franchise leads and recruit them to help expand our business’ presence.
7. Come up with Engaging Content
Based on your mission statement, how well will you communicate with prospects? Do you need videos or just articles and images? Whatever doesn’t align with the mission statement should be nipped in the bud. What do all high-performing social media posts have in common?
All successful social media posts bring out emotions! They could be funny, inspiring, yet distinctly vulnerable at the same time. You should use transformational stories to show the power of the brand. Based on your target audience, the posts allowed and how frequently you want to post, you can use videos, images, GIFs, blog posts, infographics and more. If you don’t know what to do, just use the social network’s rule of thirds:
Make sure 1/3 of your posts is sell content: promote your products and services.
The other 1/3 should be Share Content that’s, emotional and entertaining. If you don’t have the resources or time, you can find and curate content to share with your audience.
Put tips, how-tos and other educational pieces on the last third.
8.Track and Optimise
It’s all trial and error, so you’ve got to gain insight on the performance so far. Analyze the data and use the insight to tweak your social media marketing strategy.
How many leads, clicks, interest level has it generated? You can use the Facebook Ads Manager to track this metric on Facebook ads.
You can also outsource the services of third-party social media analytics tools to track retweets, likes, shares and more.
Google Analytics, for example, tracks page visits that result from form ads and social media posts.
Lastly, marketing is dynamic; nothing has been carved on stone. Always change your strategy to suit current dynamics, new updates, prospects changing desires, age and more. And if you need to overhaul the strategy, don’t worry, you’ve got the above guide, and you could always use the following summary guide:
Short Guide to Create an Effective Social Media Marketing Strategy
1. Why do you need a social media profile? To increase sales, create brand awareness, Improve R.O.I., generate leads, share promotions?
2. What’s your target audience and what social networks do they frequent?
3. What about your competition? Do they have a like or follow us button? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
4. How are you going to assess performance? Increased Sales, leads, clicks, retweets, comments and shares.
5. What content are you going to use? Videos, photos, blog posts, webinars, case studies, ebooks.
6. When should you post? Time each post, so it’s impactful.
7. How to track and optimize the strategy? Various third-party tools can help you gain insight and curate your strategy accordingly.
You’re not all set to put together a detailed and effective social media marketing strategy. Feel free to add your own tips or share your social media marketing strategy below in the comments.