Creating a social media marketing strategy
Social media is everywhere.
It has changed the way people live and communicate. 2.77 billion people have some active social media profile. It’s addictive.
Half of the social media users check their social media platforms first thing in the morning. 71% of social media users are likely to purchase a product or service based on social media referrals.
Social media is the new television now. People watch videos, search for the latest news, and consume commercials. It has its downside, too. It’s more work than creating and maintaining a TV commercial, but it’s cheaper and creates a relationship between your company and the customer.
In this article, I will show you how to plan your social media strategy, create the kind of shareable, relevant, and valuable content that makes costumers pay attention and share your content, creating a word-of-mouth effect.
Table of content:
- Identify social media goals
- The ideal customer
- Research your competitors
- Choose your channels
- Create a content strategy
- Interact with your customers
Which Social Media Channels Should I Invest In?
A report from eMarketer attempted to project social media penetration by social platform through 2022. Some results are likely as expected, but others may come as a surprise.
- For example, Facebook is expected to remain the standing king of social media, with 90% of social media users making use of the platform.
- However, Instagram is expected to continue to grow, rising from 32% penetration to 47% by 2022.
- Other social channels with baked-in advertising features, such as Pinterest and Twitter, will continue to have a presence, but with relatively low penetration, peaking out at around 33% of users by 2022.
This data suggests that for social media advertising, the strongest option should continue to be Facebook, followed by Instagram.
How do you create a social media marketing plan?
Step 1: Identify social media goals
There are no 2-week or 3-month campaigns on social media. If you want your social media marketing strategy to be successful, you have to run a 365-days-a-year campaign, providing new content several times a week. Like I said, it’s time consuming and requires some real effort. But it’s worth the work. Social media can have an incredible effect on your company’s visibility and success.
The first step to creating a social media marketing strategy is to set the goals you want to achieve.
Every piece of your social media strategy serves toward meeting the goals you set. Your posts, your tweets, your live videos – all are made to serve these goals.
By knowing your goals and the direction you are going, you can also react quickly when your social media campaigns are not meeting your expectations. Without goals, you can’t measure success or calculate your social media return on investment (ROI). To measure whether a campaign was successful or not, you have to know what successful means. Success means it meets your goals. But if you don’t have goals, how do you know if it was successful?
What is the number one need you want to achieve with social media and which platform(s) will be most effective for your specific needs and audience? If your target audience is 18-24 years old, they are more likely to be on Snapchat. If they are families, they are more likely to be on Facebook. If they are small companies, try to find them on Twitter. For bigger companies or managers, check out LinkedIn.
Your social media plan should be a part of your overall marketing strategy.
Think beyond Re-tweets and Likes. Focus on advanced metrics like generated leads, web referrals, and conversion rate. You can’t measure success by how many likes you received for your post, or how many re-tweets you received. You have to focus on metrics like how many people your post converted, how many clicked on your link, and purchased your product.
A simple way to start your social media marketing strategy is to write down two primary goals and two secondary goals to focus on. Be sure to ask yourself what the goal will look like when completed, and how you will track it.
Your tactics for each social channel are determined by your goals and objectives.
Be very specific when setting up goals. Having goals is not useful if you don’t have specific parameters that define when each is achieved. For example, if one of your goals is generating leads and sales, how many leads and sales do you have to generate before you consider that goal a success?
What kind of goals you should set up?
One technique that you can use to determine your objectives is the S-M-A-R-T approach. Your objectives should be:
Be specific by writing well-defined goals with detailed parameters.
Goals should be measurable. You have to be sure that there is a clear point when you know that you have achieved your goal, so you can measure the results.
Goals should be achievable. Set up goals you can achieve in the near future. Un-achievable goals lead to frustration and lack of success.
Be realistic with your goals.
Time-based. Give yourself enough time to achieve the goal. Enough time to succeed, but not too much time, which can lead to procrastinating.
Attaching a timeframe to your efforts is critical. How quickly do you intend to achieve your goals? Next month? By the end of this year? Within 5 years?
Step 2: Identify your ideal customers
Now you know where you’re going, but you still don’t know how to get there. A successful social media marketing strategy is all about targeting the right people with the right messages. To do this, you need to understand your audience.
When you know key demographic and psychographic information, like your target audience’s age, occupation, income, interests, pains, problems, obstacles, habits, likes, dislikes, motivations and objections, then it’s easier and cheaper to target them on social media, or any other media, for that matter.
To do this, develop a persona of your ideal customer. This means creating a detailed profile of them. Start by giving them a name. How old are they? Male or female? Do they have children? What social media channels they use? What motivates them? What are their fears? How an average day look like?
You will want to get as specific as possible. For example, if you identified your target market as new moms, that’s great. However, if you identify your ideal client as a new mom that lives in Orange County, California, is between 25 and 35 years of age, primarily uses Facebook and has an interest in outdoors activities, you will be far more successful.
Even the best social media marketing strategy plan will fail if you are marketing to the wrong audience. Fill in the the following details to help you come up with a highly focused description:
- Pain Points (that your product can solve)
- Most used social network
Step 3: Research your competition
When it comes to creating your social media marketing strategy, your competitors can tell you a lot about what works and what doesn’t. They’re targeting the same customers you are. They are talking to the same audience that you are. If you ignore your competition, you miss out on an opportunity to learn from their successes and mistakes.
Researching your competition gives you insight into what works, and what doesn’t, so you can integrate the successful tactics into your own marketing efforts (or use those tactics as to come up with your own unique approach, so you can be different from them). It also helps you know which pitfalls to avoid.
To research your competitors, start by picking three or four of the top ones. Find out which social networks they’re active on, and study their content. Is it funny or serious? Do they use success stories? Do they use pictures or videos? What kind? Look at their number of fans or followers, how often they post, and when. Figure out what marketing plan they have and how they use it. If it’s successful, go ahead and build it in yours!
Look at the level of engagement (comments, shares, likes) that your competitors get through each of their Facebook updates, or how much buzz they generate through their Twitter posts. How popular are their tweets or posts? How many of their followers engage with them? You can estimate how many leads they generate and can guess how much it boosted their sales.
Step 4: Choose your channels and tactics
Many businesses create accounts on every popular social network, and never research which platform will bring the greatest return. It’s not just silly, but also time consuming. Putting a lot of working hours into a marketing tool that doesn’t generate leads or sales is just not smart.
When your customers are using a specific network, that’s where you need to be.
By identify your ideal customer or buyer persona and researching them, you can have basic information about which platform they use, how they use it and when they are active.
Not all social-media platforms are the same. Each has its own language and its own audience. Each platform is unique, and requires a unique formula. What works on Facebook won’t necessarily work on Instagram.
You can’t just repost content you created for one platform to others. You don’t put your print ad in a TV commercial, or use a banner as a flyer. You don’t send the same message on Twitter and on Facebook. You have to use some guidelines and follow the rhythm of the current social media platform, and mix it with your brand’s personality. Be you.
If you don’t already have social media profiles on each network you focus on, build them from scratch, keeping your goals and audience in mind. If you do have existing accounts, update and refine them based on your new goals to get the best possible results.
Take care of your accounts like you are planting a seed. Take care of the new plant, and you can get the flower if you do your job well. The same applies in social media (basically for any marketing tools); you have to spend time with it, be consistent, and follow your goals.
Step 5: Create a content strategy
When it comes to marketing on social media, there is an important balance to keep in mind. Without great content, social media is meaningless. And without social media, nobody will know about your content.
Having great content to share is essential to your success. A good marketing story is the one that sells. It creates an emotion that makes the customer do what you ask them to do. It creates engagement, that bring your customers closer to your brand.
A story is best when it brings value to the customers. Your story has to move people’s spirit and build their trust, so when you finally ask them to buy from you, they will feel like you gave them so much it would be almost rude to refuse. Successful social media marketing requires creating many posts before converting the sale.
Your social media marketing strategy should include a content plan, as well as a campaign calendar.
Your content marketing plan should answer the following questions:
- What types of content you plan to post
- How often you will post your content
- Target audience for each type of content
- How you will promote the content
It’s critical in social media campaigns that how, when, and where you tell your story.
To maximize the effectiveness of your content on social media, create your campaign calendar, and then schedule your posts in advance rather than posting randomly. This gives you the opportunity to develop great content and share it at the right time, not just writing and posting new content on the fly whenever you have time.
Make sure your calendar reflects the goals you set up for each social profile. An example of a content goal for a social profile could be:
- 35 percent of your content drives back to your blog
- 15 percent of the content creates engagement by asking a question
- 20 percent of your content supports enterprise goals (selling, lead generation, etc.)
- 30 percent of your content focuses on educating and motivating your customers
The type of content will be the media you use to present that information—text only, images, links, video, live video, etc. And also the tone used in that media (cool, funny, serious, highly informational, or motivational). Test, and retest which content connects with your audience and what leaves them not interested.
Write a code for each content type, like VD for videos, LV for Live videos, TX for text, etc. Write them in your calendar.
- 35 percent of content will be video posts
- 30 percent of content will be Live Videos
- 20 percent of content will be pictures
- 15 percent of content will be text only
Step 6: Interact with your customers
Your social media marketing strategy can’t be successful if your audience isn’t getting excited about your content. A comment or share is usually a sign that people like what you are talking about.
Engaging your audience on social media is a great way to build a community around your brand, increase awareness, and generate new leads.
Here are a few tips how you can do that:
- If they commented, ask a question to keep the conversation going
- Use emojis, gifs in your posts and comments
- Tell your story in a video instead of writing it down
- Tell your story in a picture or a comic
- Schedule the right time to engage
- Ask for a specific reaction (comment, like, share)
- Share compelling data
- Give away something
- Create an event
Step 7: Measure and adjust your social media marketing plan
To understand what changes need to be made to your social media marketing strategy, you should constantly be measuring the effectiveness of your posts. For example, you could:
- Track the number of clicks your links get on a social media platform
- See how many likes or shares they get
- Track page visits driven to your website by social media, using Google Analytics
Online or offline surveys are also a great way to measure success. Ask your social media followers, email list, and website visitors how you’re doing on social media. Then ask your offline customers if social media played a factor in their purchase decision.
Record and analyze your successes and failures, and then adjust your content marketing plan accordingly. One of the beautiful aspects of social media is that you can make adjustments quickly and at minimal or even no cost.
Posting on social media requires constant experimentation and hours of observation. You have to try different variations based on the measurements. At what time do we see the highest level of response? How do the target customers like if we use slang? How does the same ad work with different headlines? Is there an increase in engagement if we stream a live video? The answers are out there if you learn how to analyze measurements properly.
The most important thing to understand about your social media marketing strategy plan is that it should be constantly changing and evolving. As you create new goals, you will need to set new targets and create new content.
You should review and rewrite your social media strategy on a regular basis to reflect your latest insights. Look at your posting time and frequency, and with each social media platform, what content, timing, and approach works best.