Table of Contents
- What is Social Media Marketing?
- What is a Social Media Marketing Strategy?
- Why Do You Need a Social Media Strategy?
- How to Create a Social Media Strategy?
- Finalizing Your Social Media Strategy
- Tools for Social Media Marketing
- Social Media Strategy Templates
- Key Takeaways
- Frequently Asked Questions
With around 53% (Datareportal) of the world on social media and 54% of them researching a product (GlobalWebIndex), it is fundamental for all businesses to have an effective social media strategy in place that can help you connect with the right audience.
However, what exactly is this social media strategy? It is a marketing plan or a model that outlines your goals, charts a plan to achieve these goals, and measures the progress. It is your guiding light while you navigate the mysterious waters of social media.
Figuratively, social media doesn’t look as complicated, right? But getting quantifiable results and accomplishing goals is a ninja technique. If you are still not convinced whether you need a social media marketing strategy or not, read on!
What is Social Media Marketing?
Have you ever stumbled upon a fitness influencer on Instagram talking about how amazing their new protein powder is? That’s pretty much what social media marketing is, in a nutshell. It’s a means of marketing your products or services through social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and many others. In reality, it’s a lot more nuanced than just putting up a post about your products and services. It requires incorporating a holistic strategy that will help increase engagement, sales, website traffic and ultimately help elevate your brand to greater heights.
What is a Social Media Strategy?
A social media strategy is a detailed blueprint that describes the goals, directions, and individual action plans involved in growing an audience on social media, to ultimately elevate your brand or business and effectively sell products and services.
A social media strategy could be something as simple as posting twice a week. But it could also be a lot more than that, incorporating content types, customer analyses, competitor behavior, cost analysis, and several other factors. A good social media strategy can be an incredibly helpful tool in the journey of your business.
Why Do You Need a Social Media Strategy?
Social media marketing is a powerful way for businesses to reach their target demographic. The pandemic has restrained people to their physical homes and virtual worlds for more than a year now. This has resulted in increased social media engagement among individuals. Thus, having a strong social media strategy is a great way to engage your customers and prospects, create brand advocates, and drive sales. Here is a detailed description of why a social media strategy is important.
- Promote and sell products and services
Arguably one of the most important opportunities that social media affords you is the ability to sell. According to SmallBizGenuis, over 50% of revenue across 14 major industries comes from social sales.
With a good social media marketing strategy, you can analyze your audience’s likes and dislikes and effectively cater content in a way that will engage them and encourage them to buy your products and services. The beauty of social media is that you don’t have to restrict yourself to the conventional “Hey, look at this product, it’s amazing” approach. You can go ham, engaging your creative senses. This allows your products to shine through your content, which is a lot more attractive than just talking about the product.
- Brand awareness
Social media allows you to consistently remind your customers that you exist. A Hootsuite study claims that 90% of brands use social media to build brand awareness, while 77% use it to maintain brand reputation.
Social media is essentially taking on the role of an email marketing campaign but offers a lot more opportunity in terms of creativity and engagement. We live in a fast-paced world, and no matter how good your product is, if you don’t regularly remind customers of your existence, your brand could be forgotten.
An important aspect of the marketing strategy enabled by social media is the passing on of information and awareness. Through shared stories or posts from a customer or interested party to a prospective customer, knowledge of your brand and business’ existence, products and services get dispersed to a wide demographic of individuals. Depending on the quality of your content and users’ interest, you can acquire a large customer base. A social media strategy like conducting regular customer analysis can help you cater to your customers better. It ensures that they acquire value from your brand and consequently share their positive experience.
- Build relationships with customers
The only thing that could prevent you from being forgotten even if you don’t engage with your audience for a bit is strong customer relationships. Not that you should stop posting because you’ve built relationships with your customers, but having a relationship with your audience and customers builds trust. These relationships are important considering that 71% of consumers with a positive brand experience on social media recommend the brand to their friends and family, says Oberlo.
An effective social marketing strategy allows you to build a rapport with your customers so that every time they’re looking for a related solution; they approach your business rather than another.
An understated part of social media for brands is that it allows you to tell your story. Your posts don’t always have to be an advertisement for your brand. Creating some genuine content about your brand and business journey helps customers trust your brand and develop a closer relationship with it. It helps the audience see that the brand is built up of human beings rather than products and services.
- Customer persona
Building a customer persona is a key aspect of the marketing strategy of a business. It allows you to develop an idea of what your ideal customer(s) looks like in terms of the kind of people that are most likely to engage with your business and its products/services. This persona could be built using demographics such as age, gender, nationality, occupation, income, solutions they seek, and many other factors. You’ll notice that many of the factors involved in developing an effective customer persona are available through social media. LinkedIn could be an especially powerful source of information in this regard.
A good social media strategy can help you elicit this information. You can then use that information to cater to the right audiences, have a greater engagement rate, and build your brand.
Growing a business isn’t all about money, but money is definitely a big part of it.
Social media affords you the ability to grow your audience on a shoestring budget. According to Lyfemarketing, it is one of the only types of media that can help you reach over 1,000 people for less than $3.
Sure, you could spend a lot of money advertising your posts or employing people to help make your content. But this isn’t a necessity. Posting on social media isn’t about grandeur. It’s about making creative and engaging posts and directing them towards the right audience. This is where an effective social media strategy comes into play.
Apart from enabling low-budget communication of your brand, there’s another reason that social media is cost-effective. If you do plan on making use of paid advertisement, the return on investment is often higher than the actual investment.
- Insights into competitor behavior
There is a lot to be learned from your competitors as well. It helps you develop a wider view of your industry and understand various strategies that they use to build their own audiences.
How to Create a Social Media Strategy
Now that the cards are on the table and you are on board, here is a step-by-step guide to help create an effective social media strategy:
Step 1. Choose your goals
The first step in making a winning social media methodology is to fix your targets and objectives. Without objectives, you have no real way to gauge achievement and return on investments (ROI).
Ask yourself questions like:
- Are you a start-up that needs to build brand awareness?
How well-known is your brand? Your content strategy will have to be designed according to how educated your audience is about your brand. Among other things, a lack of brand awareness could call for more personal posts about the brand and its growth, as against plain promotional content.
- Do you have a good number of followers?
Social media marketing is all about the audience. You need to decide whether your primary goal is to sell to your audience or grow your audience. You will inevitably have to do both at a certain stage, but this is something that needs to be considered while setting up goals.
- Would you like to collaborate with influencers inside your industry?
According to InfluencerMarketingHub, influencer marketing had grown to a market size of $9.7 billion in 2020 from a fractional $1.7 billion in 2016. This proves that collaboration is never a bad thing, but it is not for everybody. How much do you think your business and brand could benefit from it?
- Would you like to direct people to your website?
Your CTAs are likely to change over time and according to posting schedules. But it can be helpful to redirect potential customers to a singular source such as a website.
On the other hand, if you’re a freelancer, it could be more appropriate to direct them to your DMs. Find out what works best for your business.
Having clear-cut goals ensures a focused marketing approach and greater results.
Step 2. Learn about your audience
When you know your goals, you need to know who is your intended target audience. It is useful to create client personas, anecdotal individuals that address your optimal client’s requirements, objectives, and practices. It also incorporates how, why, and when they use social media. Using buyer personas in your content marketing Increases website traffic by 210% says ITSMA.
Different social groups use different social media platforms for different purposes, and thus, a study into the behavior and habits of your audience would be immensely helpful. By understanding your target demographic, you can center your reasoning and characterize significant proportions of progress. It is as simple as understanding that you can’t sell to your ideal buyer without knowing them first.
Understanding your audience requires more than just analysis of engagement. It’s necessary to keep up with trends, gain insights into what kind of information they like to consume and what they don’t. This kind of understanding can help you get a clearer idea of what your ideal customers look like.
Step 3. Gauge your competition
They say that you need to keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Although your competition isn’t necessarily your enemy, there is a lot to be learned from them. They may have certain insights that happen to be in your blind spot.
Perform a competitive analysis that allows you to comprehend who the opposition is and what they are doing (or not doing) right. This will help you get a good idea of what’s being anticipated in your industry. This, in turn, will help you set web-based media focuses of your own. Similarly, it will help you spot openings as well.
Analyzing your competition will also give you a general idea of what kind of content your target audience responds to well. You can use this data to project and maintain your brand identity on various platforms. Being ahead of the game is the smartest decision that you can make for your brand.
Step 4. Do a social media audit
This step is also helpful in case you already have a social media presence all along! Consider your endeavors up until this point and ask yourself the following questions:
- What type of content is thriving and what is not?
- Who is engaging with your content and brand?
- Which platforms does your target demographic use?
- How well are you doing in comparison to your counterparts?
- Is your content relevant to current trends and outlooks?
Step 5. Set your metrics and KPIs
It all comes down to the stats! Setting clear targets empowers you to track and gauge your achievements and/or setbacks.
These should be S.M.A.R.T. :
Setting concrete goals for your company and brand is important because it lends direction.
It is important to have a quantifiable measure of your progress to have a clear idea of where you stand concerning your goals.
This point is paramount. Being ambitious is fantastic, but being overambitious can leave you feeling disheartened if you don’t manage to reach those goals.
Do your research to ensure that your goals are relevant to the kind of progress you want to make.
Set realistic deadlines to reach these targets.
The Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) should be fixed with a target. For instance, the viability of a brand’s particular campaign ought to be estimated by reach and impressions, and engagement in terms of shares, likes, and comments.
Step 6. Choose your platform
Organizations make pages on numerous platforms and haphazardly post on each. This approach is far from the ideal, that is, driving a regular conversation on the ones that will probably convey the best outcomes for your brand.
Pick platforms that adjust to your business type; for instance, Pinterest and Instagram are extraordinary if you have a visual business with a constant flow of pictures to post. On the contrary, B2B administrations perform well on LinkedIn, a platform that works best with conversations on practical business issues. So acquire insights into which platform works best for your brand and business and make the most of the platform’s features.
Step 7. Engage your audience
Businesses often get lost trying to find solutions within themselves when these solutions are readily available at the click of a button. Customers can offer a significant amount and quality of online media inspiration. What are your objective clients discussing on the web? What would you be able to find out about their wants and needs?
This can be carried out with feedback and analysis on customer movements. Social media offers the ability to run polls and ask questions directly to the audience. The audience’s likes, dislikes, and behavior have never been easier to understand.
You could likewise ask your followers what they need from you. Simply ensure that you follow through and convey what they desire.
Step 8. Market your profile
It is naturally expected to have some growth on online media without paying for advertisements. However, tragically enough, we are seeing a decrease in organic growth. This stems from platforms refreshing their algorithms to support paid ads or rich media like Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, or Twitter Moments.
Ads today are content. Any time you post content, it reflects on your business and brand. So whether or not you’re running what is considered an “ad”, your business is being advertised with each post. You, therefore, need to ensure that every post is an accurate reflection of the brand.
Step 9. Create a social media content calendar
Consider making a content plan, topics you want to write about, comment on, significant focal points in your timeline that will require promotional work. For example, seasonal activities, significant events, or product launches combined with flash offers and incentives.
The ultimate success of social media relies on getting great content in front of your target audience. Only about 20% of content should be about you or your business. So follow your calendar and plow through the content.
Regular and consistent posting is extremely important. It doesn’t always have to be an outstanding piece of content. You may end up posting less frequently if you constantly worry about the perfection of the posts. Having a calendar helps as it allows you to post consistently, be seen by the audience, and ultimately increase your engagement.
Step 10. Evaluate and adjust your strategy
Test your content strategy on your platform by posting and then viewing platform analytics data based on your KOI settings. Post more effective content and reflect on less successful posts. As you begin to utilize this data, use it and reevaluate your strategy regularly. You can use this information to test different post-campaign strategies against each other.
Continuous testing allows you to improve your strategy in real-time because you can understand what works and what doesn’t.
It is important to adjust your strategy in alignment with current trends constantly. This doesn’t mean that you have to copy content. For example, you could use a popular song or dance trend and put your own spin on it, thus keeping you relevant but still original.
Finalizing your Social Media Strategy
A social media marketing strategy is essentially never ‘finalized’ per se. It needs to keep evolving with times, trends, and goals. As your business grows, you will have to adjust your strategy accordingly.
That being said, it is indeed important to have concrete short-term strategies and effectively execute them, as discussed earlier. Once you have created your initial strategy, gauge how things work out practically. If you are organized about it, you will easily pinpoint the shortcomings and strengths of your strategy. You can then rework your strategy and stick to it until you achieve your goal and rework the target. It might not happen immediately at first, but it will certainly get better over time.
Tools for Social Media Marketing
Although you can execute an effective social media strategy without the help of any tools, these tools can be of immense help in smoothing out the process and capitalizing on your gains.
Understanding how your posts are faring among the audience, how far they are reaching, and other such statistics are crucial to a social media campaign strategy. There are ways in which this can be done manually, but it could be time-consuming and present some blind spots.
BuzzSumo is a tool that helps you understand how well your posts are doing and who is engaging with them. It offers the following functions:
- Recognizing which of your content has been shared most across social media platforms
- Find influencers that can relate to your content
- Keyword analysis
- Competitor analysis
This helps you ensure that all the time and effort you spent creating those wonderful posts results in the attention they deserve.
Content is king, they say. Without engaging and creative content, there is no point in a social media marketing strategy. Even if you are extremely creative and enterprising, we all have our bad days and writers’ blocks. This is where a tool such as Biteable comes in handy.
This tool allows you to create engaging and creative videos for your social media posts. It’s not like picking out a generic video for you to post. It offers a wide range of studio-quality templates, music, and animations without the need for using expensive equipment. It is extremely user-friendly and also cost-effective.
One of the most taxing and boring parts of a social media strategy is setting up a schedule for your posts. Although it sounds as easy as sharing your post as soon as it’s ready, scheduling involves a lot more. It requires you to consider days and times of maximum engagement, according to the type of content posted.
Hootsuite is a godsend in this aspect. It helps you optimize the sharing of posts by determining the best times to share them.
But it does a lot more than just that. It also allows you to have an integrated view across all your social media platforms with access to the following features:
- Displaying all your comments and likes in one place
- Analytics of audience engagement
- Integration with community-based platforms such as Reddit and Tumblr
Have you ever found yourself being excited by the prospects of creating content, but when it comes to posting, all the technical details such as hashtags, descriptions, formats, etc., bog you down? Missinglttr effectively takes care of this for you by automating the whole process.
Advertising on social media is not always the simplest task. As we mentioned earlier, you can make it a cost-effective process if you go about it the right way. AdEspresso helps you do that by helping you run A/B tests. These tests allow you to determine which directions yield the most effective engagement and return on investment outcomes.
Social Media Strategy Template
It would be helpful to design a poster or document of some kind that acts as a tangible reminder of your goals and strategies. Here is an example of a social media strategy template:
The importance of social media, simply put, can be understood by the fact that your target audience is already using these platforms. All you need to do is reach out to them where they are and build your brand. And with this guide, you are more than ready for it.
- Social media marketing is a means of selling your products and services and increasing awareness of your brand using various social media platforms.
- A social media strategy is a blueprint that encourages you to plan your goals and actions so as to grow your brand using social media.
- A social media strategy is important because it helps:
- Promote products and services
- Build brand awareness
- Build relationships with customers
- Acquire competitor insights
- Enable cost-effective operations
- Build customer personas
- Steps to create a social media strategy:
- Choose your goals
- Learn about your audience
- Gain insights into competitor behavior
- Perform social media audits
- Set your metrics
- Choose your platform
- Engage your audience
- Market your profile
- Create a content calendar
- Evaluate and adjust your strategy
- Make use of social media marketing tools to improve marketing outcomes.
It is a summary of your goals for social media promotion and your plan to achieve them.
It Is the continuous and regular process of showing up on social media to engage your audience.
1. Choose stories over promotion
2. Educate your audience
3. Create diverse content types
4. Capitalize on customer loyalty
5. Embrace live streaming
1. Social media marketing
2. Email marketing
3. Search engine marketing
A social media strategy helps:
1. Promote products and services
2. Build brand awareness
3. Build relationships with customers
4. Acquire competitor insights
5. Enable cost-effective operations
6. Build customer personas
1. Choosing goals
2. Learning about the audience
3. Setting metrics
4. Using appropriate platforms
5. Evaluating and adjusting your strategy