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A social media marketing strategy is a summary of everything you plan to do and hope to achieve on social media. It guides your actions and lets you know whether you’re succeeding or failing.
The more specific your plan is, the more effective it will be. Keep it concise. Don’t make it so lofty and broad that it’s unattainable or impossible to measure.
In this post, we’ll walk you through 15 step plan to create a winning social media marketing strategy of your own.
How to create a social media marketing strategy?
It’s interesting to note that a social media marketing strategy and a social media marketing plan have a lot of crossovers.
You can think of it this way: A strategy is where you’re headed. A plan is how you’ll get there.
One of the simplest ways to create your social media marketing strategy is to ask yourself the 5Ws:
- Why do you want to be on social media?
- Who is your target audience?
- What are you going to share?
- Where are you going share?
- When are you going share?
15 Social Media Marketing Strategy for Companies:
Select Relevant and Realistic Social Media Marketing Goals
One of the most significant problems faced by many businesses engaged in social media is that they have never spent the time to set relevant and realistic social media marketing goals. They know they need to be on social media, but have no idea why they are there.
Of course, your social media marketing goals need to fit into your business planning as a whole. Ideally, you will have set strategic goals for how you want your business to progress. Your social media marketing goals should complement your overarching business goals.
Make Sure Your Goals Are SMART
All too often, people set woolly business goals that have little meaning if you scrutinize them. Remember, you’re not creating goals merely for the sake of it. You are building them to help you devise the most suitable social media strategy for your business. Therefore, you will want to ensure that your goals are SMART:
The SMARTer your goals, the more likely you will be able to meet them – and just as importantly, know that you are meeting them.
While you want to challenge yourself, it is essential that you set attainable, realistic goals. You might love to have one million Facebook followers, but that is unlikely to be achievable within the next year for most businesses, even those that perform exceptionally well.
This is where it is prudent to set some limitations. Don’t attempt to succeed on every social network. There are too many, and you spread your resources too thinly. You just need to perform well on the same social networks your target market spends their time.
Suitable Social Media Goals Your Business Could Set
Your goals will be personal to your business and complement your overarching business goals. However, typical types of social media goals you could consider (couched in a suitable SMART-style) include:
- Increasing brand awareness
- Achieving a set higher quantity of sales
- Improving your ROI
- Driving people to increase in-store sales
- Grow your fan base
Determine Your Most Relevant Metrics
Too many businesses create a social presence and spend time and other resources on using their social accounts, without ever establishing whether they see any success or not.
Unfortunately, social analytics can be a gray area because they are not the same for every business. Once again, your most relevant social metrics will relate to the goals you have set yourself. The Influencer Marketing Hub has written a free e-book to help you here – How to Measure Influencer Marketing ROI.
Don’t be sucked in by easy-to-measure vanity metrics, such as the number of followers someone has. We have previously written about why buying Instagram followers is a really bad idea. The existence of fake followers on any social network means that follower numbers have little value as a metric.
Ideally, you should look at the marketing goals you set above, and determine which metrics will provide you with the answer as to whether you are meeting that goal. For example, if you have a goal that aims to increase your brand awareness, then Post Reach is a relevant statistic. It will tell you how far your content is spreading across social channels.
If your goals are more sales-based, or you want to drive people to take a particular action, then you should take notice of the number of Clicks. Tracking Clicks per campaign will give you a good indication of what drives people to buy or do what you ask of them.
You will often take most interest in the engagements on your posts. This shows how people interact with your content and whether it resounds with them.
Decide Who You Want as Your Social Media Audience
One of the most common mistakes made by firms on social media is to think that all followers will be good for them. There is a good reason why pundits deemphasize the metric Follower Numbers and call them vanity metrics. There is little point having somebody as a follower unless he is likely to take an interest in the content you share.
This is probably the biggest problem with buying fake followers. As we wrote in 8 Reasons You Shouldn’t Buy Instagram Followers, fake followers don’t engage with your account. Some aren’t real people at all, merely bots. They certainly won’t make future customers. These people, whether they are real or fake accounts, will not spend any money on your products. They will not refer people to you. They are of no value to you at all.
Understand Your Social Media Audience
Not all social media audiences are alike. Different types of people use social media in varying ways. If you’re going to meet your goals, you need to be using the same social media networks as your target audience. Similarly, if you intend to engage in influencer marketing, you need to ensure that you engage influencers whose audience matches your target market.
You might be a middle-aged executive who uses Facebook. However, if you personally don’t match the target market of your business, you can’t automatically assume that your customers will also be spending their time on Facebook. Sure, there may have been 2.27 billion monthly active Facebook users in Q3 2018, but if you target a young demographic, you are far more likely to reach them on Snapchat or Instagram. However, if your business targets people aged 25 to 34, they make 29.7% of Facebook users, and are their most common age demographic.
Select the Right Social Media Networks for Your Audience
You could start with your audience’s most preferred network and then widen to include others where a sufficiently large number operates active social accounts. You generally wouldn’t need to go further than three to five social networks, however.
We are taking a reasonably broad definition of social networks here. Obviously, you include well-known ones like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in your considerations. You could also look at video platforms like YouTube and TikTok if your target audience uses them in large numbers. In some cases, live streaming apps like Twitch or Mixer might be suitable for your audience, too.
Pew Research has collected valuable data on the use of different online platforms by demographic groups (for US adults) that may be of value to you in deciding the best social media networks for your audience.
Don’t Waste Time on Social Networks Your Audience Don’t Use
Investigate How Your Competitors Approach Social Media
You can quickly conduct a competitor analysis to help you better understand their strengths and weaknesses. This should give you a better understanding of what potential customers expect from businesses in your industry.
You might spot your competitors’ weak social areas and be able to exploit the gaps. For instance, one of your competitors might be influential on Twitter, but have a weak Facebook presence, despite your target market using that network. In that case, it may pay you to put more resources into Facebook rather than competing head to head on Twitter.
You could use a tool like Buzzsumo to spy on your competitors and discover their most successful social pieces of content. Once you know what types of content resound for them on which social networks, you can produce and share similar, but better, material.
Plan the Types of Content You Intend to Share
Of course, to be successful on social media, you will need high-quality content to share. One of the biggest mistakes that businesses do is to share excessive promotional material. Remember, social networks are designed to be social – they were never intended to be a marketplace for you to sell your products.
Therefore, you need to balance the content you share socially, to be a mixture of informative and entertaining items, with a small percentage of promotional material added in. You will also need to like and share other peoples’ content.
This is probably the most significant reason that most influencers gain that status. They know their audience well and create the perfect content to interest their followers. As a brand, you need to do the same.
If you have previously determined your goals and discovered what works (and what doesn’t) for your competition, you should have a reasonable idea of the type of content that will resonate with your target audience. There is little point creating content for other types of people who will never help you meet your goals.
Be Realistic About What You Can Produce
Don’t Mix Your Personal Tastes with Those of Your Target Audience
Set Up Your Accounts Properly Before You Make and Promote Content
It is vital that you set your accounts up correctly. You will want a consistent visual look across all of your social channels. Use the correct colors, logos, and similar graphics on each network.
Don’t waste any of your social real estate. Take the time to fill in your bios and profiles fully. Make sure that you link to relevant places, perhaps even create specific landing pages on your website for people who click through from your social accounts.
It is worth taking the time to ensure that you have uploaded all the images on your bios and profiles at the best resolution for the social network. We include these optimum sizes in our post, Best Image Sizes for Social Media – The Ultimate Guide for Marketers.
Keep in mind your target audience as you set up each account. Ask yourself whether your page will interest these people, based on what you show on your bio or profile.
Establish the Best Times to Post and Set Up a Content Calendar
Sharing great content is essential, of course, but it’s equally important to have a plan in place for when you’ll share content to get the maximum impact.
Your social media content calendar also needs to account for the time you spend interacting with the audience (although you need to allow for some spontaneous engagement as well).
Set your posting schedule
Your social media content calendar lists the dates and times at which you will publish types of content on each channel. It’s the perfect place to plan all of your social media activities—from images and link sharing to blog posts and videos. It includes both your day-to-day posting and content for social media campaigns.
Your calendar also ensures your posts are spaced out appropriately and published at the optimal times.
Determine the right content mix
Make sure your calendar reflects the mission statement you’ve assigned to each social profile, so that everything you post is working to support your business goals.
You might decide that:
- 50% of content will drive traffic back to your website
- 25% of content will be curated from other sources
- 20% of content will support lead-generation goals (newsletter sign ups, ebook downloads, etc.)
- 5% of content will be about your company culture
Placing these different post types in your content calendar will ensure you maintain the right mix.
If you’re starting from scratch and you’re not sure what types of content to post, try the 80-20 rule:
- 80% of your posts should inform, educate, or entertain your audience
- 20% can directly promote your brand.
Here’s a quick video overview of how scheduling works in Hootsuite’s post composing tool.
Create Suitable Content to Share with Your Followers
There are four questions you should ask yourself when creating content:
- What is the optimal character count per social media channel?
- What is the number of hashtags for messages on each social channel?
- Should I be using emoji in my social media messages?
- What is the best content type for each channel?
Don’t forget the importance of images and videos. Visual content is more than 40 times more likely to be shared on social media than other types of content. Instagram has rapidly grown in importance over the last few years, and it has a significant visual focus. Top brands on Instagram report a per-follower engagement rate of 4.21%. That is 58 times higher than on Facebook and 120 times higher than on Twitter.
Each year, video content appears to increase in popularity, too. According to YouTube, mobile video consumption grows by 100% every year. 64% of customers say they are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it.
Promote Your Social Channels
Although good content will ultimately sell your social channels, you still need to gain your initial following. People have to find your channels before they can choose to follow you.
You can promote your channels in various ways, some highly visible, others more subtly.
You should place buttons for all your audial accounts at various places on your website – on your home page, in your footer, on your About and Communications pages, for example. If you have an email list, you should include a reference to your social channels in any emails and newsletters you send. You can easily add buttons to your social channels in the footer of every email.
Of course, you can also promote your social channels offline. Include them in your store signage and old-school advertisements.
Many firms cross-promote their social channels. For example, you can make tweets promoting your YouTube channel. You might notice that most YouTube channels list the channel owner’s other social accounts on their profile page.
You can even run ads on your social channels, with a highly targeted audience, to build brand recognition and increase your social followers.
Engage with Your Audiences
People don’t just go onto social networks to read, look at, or watch content. They go online to interact with other people and to be social. Successful businesses do not just broadcast to their social audiences. They engage with them too.
This is why you should not attempt to cover every social network unless you have a very diverse target market and an army of personnel dedicated to this task. By focusing your attention on the social networks your target market frequents, you can use your resources efficiently.
Some firms have found it very useful to create custom hashtags. Not only can these encourage discussions and sharing, but they also make it easier for you to search for posts that reference your business.
Ideally, you should respond to all social mentions of your business and demonstrate that customer care is a priority for you.
Consider Paid Promotion to Boost Your Audiences
Most social networks allow you to buy some form of paid ads. Most will enable you to demographically target your ads, making them only visible to your preferred target audience.
Paid promotions allow you to reach relevant audiences to whom you don’t currently connect. You can use advertisements to build brand recognition, promote particular posts/videos, or even to sell products.
Consider Working with Influencers to Widen Your Reach
We obviously understand the advantages of working with influencers and engaging in influencer marketing. If you select the right influencers, you have the chance to reach a whole new audience, who hopefully will have an interest in your business and its products.
Influencers have already mastered the art of social media marketing – that is their strength. They have built a solid reputation online, and have a large number of keen and interested followers.
You might consider working with influencers, having them to direct their followers to your social sites. You will, of course, have to create content that will interest them when they arrive at your pages, however.
If you select influencers whose followers match your target audience, and you provide quality content to people that the influencers direct your way, you have a chance that these people will then become your social followers too.
Track Your Results and Adapt
Of course, no matter how much you plan your social efforts, there is no guarantee that things will work as you expected. If you don’t track your results, however, you will never know the success of your social campaigns.
You began the process by setting goals and then determined your most relevant metrics. Therefore, you will want to keep a constant eye on how these metrics are progressing. Are your social campaigns having the desired effects on these metrics?
Focus on the big picture
Developing a social media marketing strategy is probably one of the hardest things to do because it requires you to step back and look at the big picture. You have to shift your mindset away from your daily tasks like scheduling and replying to comments to higher-level thinking.
But it’s greatly rewarding and helpful to have a social media marketing strategy so that you aren’t just posting content just for the sake of posting content. It’ll help you achieve your social media and business goals.