The key to successful social media marketing is to have an excellent marketing strategy. Without a proper strategy, you may only be posting on social media platforms for the sake of having something to post. Your social media marketing strategy, essentially, is a summarization of what it is that you plan on doing for your business, brand, or blog. It also includes what you want to achieve through social media marketing.
Your strategy should help to determine and guide your actions when posting and networking. Every post and comment should convey a message and every like and reply should have a purpose relevant to improving your business.
An effective execution will only be achievable with a specific, carefully-planned strategy. Keep your plans concise. Make sure that it is not completely constricting, but that it’s also not immeasurable. You don’t want your strategy to be so broad and inconcise that it becomes impossible to attain your big goals because you overlooked the small ones.
In this article, we are going to explore an eight-step marketing strategy plan. This plan will help guide you in creating your successful social media marketing strategy.
Step 1: Establish marketing goals which match your business objectives
Use the S.M.A.R.T. goals framework
In order to create an excellent strategy, you need to establish goals and objectives that you can follow. Otherwise, you’ll have no means of measuring success or ROI, which is return on your investment.
This S.M.A.R.T. goal framework is about creating achievable goals. They should support your business objectives. The acronym breaks down as follows:
Specific: Be concise and clear. Make achievable social media goals. Whether that means gaining 100 new followers or 1,000, you should be able to reasonably track your progress.
Measurable: Every goal you have should be measured by some kind of metric.
Attainable: Your goals for social media should require some stretching but in an achievable and attainable way. Don’t set unrealistic goals that will be too far out of your reach.
Relevant: Make sure that your social media posts, comments, likes, and replies stay relevant to your business. They should benefit your end goal in some way.
Timely: Deadlines help to keep you and any employees you may have accountable. Set up a timeframe for the completion of your goals and make sure to check on your success at or just before the deadlines. You can also use milestones along your path to success as well for incremental check-ins.
Effective goals should embody all of the S.M.A.R.T. framework qualities. Following this framework when creating your goals will ensure real results and improve the way you and your business take action.
Track Your Metrics
Once you’ve made sure to arrange the goals of social media for your business with your marketing strategy, you’ll have an easy time showing the value of your work. This will streamline the ability to get investments if necessary.
Vanity metrics, such as likes, retweets, and shares, are easy to track. But, they’re difficult to prove the actual value of. In contrast, you should focus more on things like web referrals, generated leads, and conversion rates. Engagement, awareness, and conversion are all important metrics that you should be measuring your success by.
Step 2: Discover your audience
Compose Personas of Your Audience
Knowing your audience is the key to success. You’ve chosen a niche, you offer insight or products for that niche, and you want to improve or maybe even expand. But, you have to know the audience you currently want to reach as well as the audience you’re hoping to expand to.
Your ideal customers want certain things from your social media accounts. Being able to identify what these things are is key in getting engagements such as likes, comments, and shares. Additionally, the more engagement you have, the more likely you will be to have new and returning customers, not just an increased follower count.
But how do you get into your customers’ heads? You could try creating customer personas. It will let you see your customers, viewers, and general audience as real, genuine people with needs and concerns that need to be met. As a result, you’ll be able to more certainly and clearly consider what you offer them in terms of products, services, and presence.
Gather Useful, Real-World Insights and Data
Try not to make assumptions about what websites or social media platforms your audience uses. The analytics of social media can provide an immense amount of priceless information. This information may include who your followers are, what languages they read and speak or otherwise engage in, where in the world they live, and how they usually interact with your business across different media platforms.
With these insights, you will be able to clarify and pinpoint your strategies and tactics. You’ll be able to more precisely target your social media ads as well. The more targeted and precise your ads are, the lower the overall referral cost.
Step 3: Investigate your competitors
Conduct An Analysis of Your Competition
When you understand your competition and how they operate, you can utilize what you glean from their practices for your own success. Additionally, you’ll be able to see what exactly they’re doing wrong and can avoid making those mistakes for yourself.
Plus, competition analysis can open up new doors for you and your business. It can allow you to spot opportunities that you can use for your business for growth or promotions.
Practice Social Listening Techniques
Engaging in social listening will allow you to keep tabs on your competition. There are services available to help with monitoring your competition.
Tracking competitor accounts and industry-relevant keywords can help you to notice shifts in trends and the way that social media channels are used. You may also notice specific posts or campaigns that have had a particularly successful run. Some, in contrast, will fall flat on their face.
Keep a close eye on this kind of information and make sure that you use it to evaluate your goals and plans.
Examine Your Current Social Media Efforts
Look at what you have already managed to accomplish with the social media tools that you already use. Be sure to take a step back every now and then and ask yourself:
- Who is connecting with your company on social media?
- Which social media networks do your current and future audiences use?
- What’s working for your brand? What isn’t?
- Compared to your competition, how is your overall presence on social media?
Once you have all of the relevant information, you’ll have a fantastic starting point for all of your future planning. You also need to consider what purpose that your social media accounts serve. If it’s unclear, you probably don’t need it. But, to be sure, you can ask yourself these questions:
- Is your audience on this platform?
- If they’re using the platform in question, how are they using it?
- Can you use your account on this social media platform to help realize your business goals?
Being able to ask, and subsequently answer, these difficult questions can help to keep your strategy focused and clear.
Search for Copy Cats and Imposter Accounts
During your competition audit, you might discover that there are fraudulent accounts on social media. They may be using your business or brand name, or the names and images of your products or services.
Imposters can be extremely harmful to your brand or business. They can also steal your followers or customers that would otherwise be your own. You should not hesitate to report these fake accounts.
Additionally, you should seek verification through media accounts that allow it, as it will help to ensure that your followers and customers know that your accounts are the only valid ones pertaining to your branded products, services, and business as a whole.
Step 5: Improve existing profiles and set up proper accounts
Choose Which Social Media Platforms to Use
(And How You Should Be Using Them)
You need to distinguish your social media strategies based on which channels you choose to utilize. Each network may require its own unique strategy.
Some platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook Messenger, are best used for customer relations and service needs, press releases, and similar functions. For tutorials, images, and behind-the-scenes excerpts, however, you’ll likely have more success using platforms like Snapchat and Instagram.
It may be a good idea to create specific mission statements to use on each individual social media platform and stick to those statements. They will assist you in staying focused on specific goals for each of your business accounts on those platforms.
Create and Optimize Your Media Accounts
After deciding which social media networks you want to focus on, you should be ready to create your business profiles on those platforms. Or, if you already have business accounts on certain platforms, you can improve what you already have. Make sure that the profiles, in either scenario, fit with and align to your current business plans and strategies.
- Fill each of the fields for your profile, even those that may be seem unnecessary
- Use keywords that are relevant to the industry and your business to draw in potential followers and customers during Internet searches
- Use images and videos that are appropriately sized and formatted for each media platform
Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed. You don’t need a social media presence on all of the platforms right away, and may not need all of those networks at all.
Step 6: Find motivation through other leaders
Your brand needs to be unique, and that is important. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t draw relevant inspiration or motivation from other businesses and influencers.
Media Success Stories
Typically found on the business sections of social media platforms, social media network successes can be a great source of inspiration for you and your new business or brand.
Performing case studies of these stories can provide you with valuable insights relevant to your competitors. You can use these insights to apply your goals and plans for each of your profiles across different networks.
Look at Award-Winning Accounts, Campaigns, and More
You can also look at some of the winners of certain social media platform business awards, such as the Facebook Awards or the Shorty Awards. These are great examples of brands that have excellent proven social media marketing strategies that lead to success and recognition.
Track Your Favorite Brands on Social Media Platforms
Evaluate what brands and businesses you follow on social media. Why do you choose these companies to follow? What marketing strategies do they use to get followers, likes, shares, and retweets?
On Instagram, you can use amazing imagery with engaging captions. Show off case study results and customer stories on Facebook. Solve customer problems, answer questions, and announce changes on Twitter.
Remember to keep a consistent tone, voice, and style while operating your social media accounts. Consistency is imperative to making sure that your followers understand exactly what to expect from you and your brand.
Consistency will give your followers a reason to continue following you, and they’ll see the value in doing so. It also helps to give your brand a consistent feel that your social media team, if applicable, can follow along with.
Get Advice – Ask Your Followers
Your consumers and customers can be just as inspiring as existing brands and businesses. Find out what your customers are talking about online. What can you learn through their discussions about their needs and wants?
Whether you have your own social media presence to draw from or need to check out forums and other brand profiles to find these answers, there are ways to find out what your followers and customers want and expect from you. Ask what they’re looking for, what they want and what they need.
Make sure that if you go this route, you deliver what’s being asked of you.
Create and Execute a Posting Schedule
Because sharing impressive content on social media platforms is essential, you should have a plan in place for when this content will be shared in order to have the maximum impact. Your calendar should also account for the time you and your social media team will need to interact with customer comments, follower questions, and more.
Your posting calendar should list the times and dates that you plan to publish content on each platform and should highlight what kind of content is being published as well. The calendar will help you make sure that your posts are spaced out and published during appropriate, peak times of use.
Plan Your Content Variety
Be certain that your content calendar reflects your mission statement for the relevant social media profile, and that your posts also reflect that mission statement. Everything that you post should be geared toward supporting your business goals and business strategies.
Decide which posts will be geared toward driving traffic to your website or blog and which ones will support your enterprise-related goals such as generating leads and making sales. Provide your followers with content about your company’s culture and human resources. Additionally, you can curate posts from other resources where necessary or beneficial.
Once your calendar is decided and set, you can use bulk scheduling or other tools for social media scheduling to prepare any posting or messaging in advance. This takes away from the time you would otherwise spend updating your profiles throughout the day, and frees up time for you to choose proper formatting and language for your posts.
Step 8: Evaluate, test, and adjust your strategies
Once you start enacting strategies and tracking results, you will likely find some strategies and plans didn’t work out as you may have originally thought. Others may be working better than you anticipated. You can always adjust your plans and strategies, but you need to be sure that you’re tracking the relevant data first so you know where to make changes.
Each social media platform has a section dedicated to analytics, but you can also use third-party systems to track visitors to your site. They’ll also help to track which posts got those visitors to the website, to begin with.
Lather, Rinse, Repeat
Once the data starts rolling in, you’ll start to see trends in how your strategies are working every day, week, or month. You can then re-evaluate accordingly. Use the data to test various posts and campaigns against each other to see which ones are more effective and why that is.
Additionally, surveys can be helpful when testing and determining how effective your strategies are and how your audience is reacting to it. Reach out to your email lists, social media followers, and visitors to your website about how they feel about your campaigns and brand, whether your business is meeting their expectations, wants, and needs, and what they would like improved or more of in the future. As always, make sure to supply results and follow through.
If and when you decide to update the social media marketing strategy for your business, make sure that you keep your team informed of any changes you’ve decided to make. When you do that, it helps to make sure that everyone is on the same page and can work jointly to help your brand and business thrive.