Since 2004, social media has been increasingly playing a vital marketing channel for businesses of all sizes. However, many companies in marketing are still trying to market on social media without a solid documented social media marketing strategy. This makes the to drug behind of most of their competitors.
A social media marketing strategy is a plan of what you need to do and how you want to achieve it on social media. It guides your efforts and helps you track your business performance. Without a solid strategy, you may fail to understand what your goals are, who your target audience is, and what they really like. As a result, it will be hard to achieve results on your social media channels. Therefore, whether you want to grow your brand from scratch through social media or to level up as a social media marketer, developing a robust social media marketing strategy is very essential.
So the question is; how can our business improve and grow with a social media marketing strategy?
In this post, we have presented you comprehensive steps your business needs to take to plan for an effective and winning social media marketing strategy. Read on to know them.
Step 1: Set a social media marketing goals that go hand in hand with your business objectives
Before even thinking of creating your content, you need to know why your business is on social media. Some of the examples of common goals and objectives you can set include;
Drive engaging conversions; engaging conversation with your potential customers will keep your business on the right track on social media. Be sure to have all the tools that will make you responsive online.
- Raise brand awareness; to create authentic and long-lasting brand awareness, you need to focus on content which helps to emphasise your personality as well as putting your followers ahead of the hard sell.
- Establish brand authority; this will help your brand to promote user-generated content; hence making your audience react positively.
- Build connections with potential customers; having organic leads that are convertible is one of the things your business need to utilise on social media.
- Aim for higher ROI; positive social media ROI doesn’t happen overnight. Setting up solid goals and objectives can help you improve your monthly or yearly ROI.
Therefore, setting worthwhile goals is very crucial for your business. The most recommended a winning strategy is to follow the SMART goals plan. SMART strategy helps you to be;
Step 2: Audit your social media platforms
Before you even strategize about where you are going, it is also essential to take a quick look at where you are. You need to evaluate your current social media efforts thoroughly. Some of the must-areas to consider when auditing your business’s social media presence are:
- Which social network are you currently active on.
- Choose which one you should keep and which one you need to drop.
- Determine which you should add to your pipeline.
- Check if your networks are optimised (photo and cover images, bio, URL, etc.)
- Which social networks are currently bringing you the best value.
- How are your social media profiles compared to your close competitors’ profiles?
Once you come up with this information, you are guaranteed with a good starting point that will help you improve your business results on social media.
Auditing your social media accounts help to have a clear picture of what purpose each of your channels serves. Suppose the goal of one social account is not clear, consider thinking about is it is a good idea keeping it.
To help you choose, as yourself the following tough questions; these type of questions help to keep your strategy precise and on track:
Are my audience in this account?
If so, how are they using and benefiting from this channel?
Then, can I use this account to achieve meaningful business goals?
Moreover, during your auditing, you may discover impostor accounts which are harmful to your brand. It is advisable to spot such kind of fraudulent activities and report them to the relevant authority. Also, you can get your social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter verified to ensure that your fans and followers are sure to be dealing with the real you.
Step 3: Create your social media mission statement
Your social media mission statement can motivate you hence helping you to drive your future actions. Therefore, make sure you invest your thought into it. The primary reason for having a mission statement is to help you make it clear exactly how and what you plan to use your social media efforts for and should reflect your brand identity.
And when creating your mission statements, you should consider your ideal customer when.
An example of a mission statement can be “to use social media to educate customers about digital marketing, with a strong focus on social media marketing.”
Once you document this statement down, it will make it easy for you to decide what to create and share with your audience. If the statement does not align with your mission statement, forget about it. Businesses that post randomly without a guiding mission cannot grow because people will always follow experts, not generalists.
Step 4: Research your audience
Business will never grow when it is operated from assumptions. Marketers should stay away from making assumptions to any market.
How can they avoid assumptions? Thanks to the social media analytic tools which are available to guide you through in your research and help you make decisions. These tools give you all you need to know about your market and audience.
Researching your audience will eventually help you to decide with whom you will be interacting with social media. It will help you identify the demographic and psychographic characteristics of your current or prospective customers.
Investing your time to configure your audience personas, including their online behaviour, challenges and as well as values they get from you, will also help you determine not only how to talk to your audiences but also where to carry on these conversations. It is essential to understand that audiences of specific demographics and behaviours are more easily activated on some channels than others.
Step 5: Create and Curate Engaging Content
You have researched your ideal audience, and you know who they are and what they like. You also have a solid mission statement documented. Armed with this information, what do you think will follow next?
This information should now help you to begin creating and curating content. It is sad that many businesses nowadays jump straight to creating content without investing in knowing their customers.
Some of the examples of content you can create on your social media include:
- Blog Posts
- Company News
There is a long list of content ideas but be sure to focus only on forms of content that are in line with your mission statement, as well as your objectives. The moment you realise that content is what fuels your social media, you will consider creating high quality and engaging content as your top priority.
Step 6: Create a social media content calendar
Sharing quality content with your target audience is excellent. Equally, it is also important to schedule your posts. Having a content calendar that outlines how often you will post to each network, which topics you will share and when you will share them will help you get the maximum impact on your social media presence. Put in mind that your social media calendar should put into consideration the time you will spend interacting and engaging with your audience.
Step 7: Track, analyse and optimise your performance
When it comes to succeeding on social media, this step may be the most essential stage you need to implement. Even the best social media marketers started by relying on trial and error method. It might not seem necessary, but tracking your results, analysing the data you gathered from your market and audience and then making tweaks to optimise them is crucial for your online business efforts.
Each previous step should be re-evaluated after you have had time to analyse the results of your marketing efforts. You need to invest and trust in your data. If your data tells you that Facebook or Twitter is your most effective channel, consider doubling down your effort.
Tools used to plan and execute a social media strategy?
Now that you have all you need in planning, you want to make sure that your toolbox is complete.
Therefore, the following tools are highly recommended for your strategy:
Social media calendar
Planning and executing your strategy on a central schedule makes it easy to see all your social media posts alongside your other content and projects. You can help to achieve this by using a spreadsheet-based calendar template or an app like CoSchedule.
These tools make it easy to curate content and fill gaps on your calendar.
Google analytics can help you t gather useful information on your social media referral traffic; hence helping you to find where your audience is most active.
Most of these top social media channels feature robust analytics tools full of useful audience and performance data. Also, external providers of these tools such as CoSchedule give advanced automated analytics and reporting tools which can help you can you to track your performance on social media.
An effective social media strategy can never happen overnight. It requires constant work in progress that changes when necessary. Therefore, we believe that our seven steps will help you create a solid social media marketing strategy. So get out there, create a plan and start implementing it as you continue to grow your business as well as your business, market and audience.