Before you dive right in and publish content to your social media platforms, take a step back and look at the bigger picture. This is where your social media marketing strategy comes into play.
Whether you are running the social media platforms for a B2B or B2C company, it is vital to have a comprehensive social media strategy in place.
What Is a Social Media Marketing Strategy?
If you don’t already have a social media strategy or are looking to improve your current strategy, you’re in the right place.
Social media allows brands to develop deeper, more meaningful relationships with their customers. Your social media strategy doesn’t have to be only about marketing. Your strategy can benefit every department of your organization—from your product development team to public relations.
Implementing social media marketing can help you build your brand, drive website traffic, and increase sales. Social media, as a whole, has become much more than a place to share content. Your social platforms can help your brand achieve its goals in many ways. For example, if an organization is concerned about what consumers are saying about them, they can monitor conversations on social media and respond to relevant mentions (this is called social listening).
How Your Business Can Benefit From a Social Media Marketing Strategy
Numerous benefits come from having a social media strategy. To start, your customers are on social media. Why wouldn’t you be marketing on the channels that your customers are already using? It is projected that almost 3.43 billion people will be using social media by 2023. With such a large number of the global population hanging out online, it would be a shame for your business to miss out on this marketing opportunity.
More Inbound Traffic
Generating inbound traffic and lead generation is the most crucial aspect of any business. Marketing on social media allows your business to broaden inbound traffic beyond your regular customers. Every social media platform your organization starts using adds another gateway that leads to your website. By marketing your business on different social media platforms, you’re allowing your company to be seen by many different people that belong to various demographics.
Social media can become one of your largest traffic sources if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to maintain it.
Increased Brand Awareness
Because social media gives you the ability to engage with a broad audience, your brand recognition will significantly increase when you implement a social media strategy. When you first create your accounts, you can have your business partners and employees like and share posts to start spreading awareness about your brand throughout the different platforms. Having people interact with your content will help build credibility along with brand awareness. As you probably know, the more people that know about your business, the better.
Improved Brand Loyalty
Brand loyalty and customer satisfaction usually go hand in hand, which means it’s essential that you’re interacting with your customers and building a bond. This is where social media strategy comes in! It’s far easier to create relationships with your customer base than ever before, thanks to social media.
Important note: Your social media profiles are more than a channel to promote your products or services. Your customers see social platforms as a service channel where they can communicate directly with your business.
The Importance of Social Media Marketing
With a highly competitive market, you need to be covering all of your bases. Simply having a social media strategy can put you lightyears ahead of your competitors. With a social media strategy in place, you’re increasing your brand’s visibility.
On any social media platform, as the years go on, users come and go, new features are released, and elements are removed. As these platforms evolve, your strategy needs to involve too so, your organization can get the most out of them.
Your social media marketing strategy will outline your goals and set measurable objectives that will help you reach your desired outcomes.
The Value Social Media Marketing Brings
Besides monetary ROI, social media creates the ability for your brand to foster a community and engage with them regularly. As I already mentioned, social media marketing allows you to build relationships with your customers. In addition, if a prospective customer has something to say to or about you, you can respond immediately.
Gaining Support for Your Customers
When your customers follow your business on social media, they will begin to like the persona of your business (if you’re doing things right). You can build a bond with your audience through engagement. These bonds are typically based on positive experiences. These bonds are important because people can move quickly from merely “liking” your business to defending it. Once a customer is in the “defend” stage of supporting your business, not only are they consistently engaging with your content, they are willing to fight for your organization.
Generating Word-of-Mouth for Your Products/Services
Word-of-mouth goes along with gaining support. As people support you, they will inevitably start talking about you. All this talk will likely get you on the radar of socially influential people that can share your content with their large audiences. An influential re-post can be extremely valuable to your social media strategy.
Higher Conversion Rates
With the increased visibility that social media brings to your business, you gain more opportunities for conversion. As you share content and comment on your different platforms, your brand becomes personified. It’s a fact that people prefer to do business with other people rather than a company. When you make a good impression on a visitor, that person is more likely to convert to a customer when their need for your product or service arises. Placing your brand in a space where people are liking, sharing, and talking can only improve the conversion rates on your current traffic.
Steps to Build Your Social Media Marketing Strategy
Your social media marketing strategy isn’t going to be created overnight. There is a fair amount of work that needs to go into developing a social media strategy that brings in sales and builds a loyal following. But trust us, developing a strategy is well worth your efforts.
1. Create Marketing Objectives and Goals
First, you need to establish the goals and objectives you want to achieve with your social media efforts. You can pinpoint what these goals are by asking yourself why you want your business to be on social media in the first place.
Your answer will likely be a combination of the following:
- Increase brand engagement
- Drive traffic to your website
- Increase revenue
- Increase brand awareness
- See what consumers are saying about your brand
- Generate leads
- Develop a community
- Provide quick and convenient customer service
If you have a small team, it’s best to focus on a handful of goals; otherwise, your strategy may become too overwhelming, and you could struggle to achieve any of your KPIs. If you need more examples of company KPIs, review our guide: 70 Digital Marketing KPIs for Small to Mid-Sized Businesses.
An example of a KPI for a gym would be:
“We want to increase brand awareness. We will do this by sharing photos on Instagram of our real customers utilizing our facility and posting photos of our trainers three times a week. Our goal is to get at least 30 likes and two comments per post.”
2. Audit Your Current Social Media Platforms
To develop an audit that is useful and actionable, consider including:
- Current social media platforms your company is utilizing
- Current social media performance by platform (followers, engagement rate, and top content)
- How your performance compares to your competitors on each platform
Once you’ve completed your audit, you’ll have data and a clearer picture as to which platforms you should focus most of your attention on.
Note that it is far better to have a maximized presence on a few channels rather than a limited presence on many channels. Just because you can be on a social platform doesn’t mean you should!
3. Pinpoint Your Ideal Customer
Your ideal customer is essentially your buyer persona. Your company has probably already identified its buyer personas, but if not, check out our buyer persona template for specifics on creating one (or more) for your business. Once you understand your target audience, you will know their pain points and be able to market your business to the right audience in the right way.
4. Determine the Type of Content Your Business Will Share
Your social media audit will be able to help you out here. Determine which types of content perform the best with your audience. If you’re starting from scratch, you can test various types of content on your audience to get an understanding of what they prefer.
You can test different:
- Calls to action
Also, determine if videos, images, text updates, or links to resources are best for your audience. Learning what type of content your audience likes best will help the performance of the content you do post. If you know your audience likes image updates over text, you’ll receive a higher engagement rate and, therefore, more impressions.
You can also poll your audience directly to see what they want to see from your business. Once you have detected the types of content your audience wants, focus your efforts on their preferences.
5. Create a Mission Statement
Your mission statement may be one of the most critical aspects of your social media marketing strategy. It will clearly outline what you intend to use your social media platform for. A mission statement is typically a one-sentence statement revolving around the ideal customer. This statement will help you guide your actions and keep you on track with your goals.
Start by determining the purpose each social media platform will serve for your business. If you can’t figure out what a particular role should be for a specific platform, your company will probably not be successful in it.
An example mission statement for a gym would be “We will use Instagram to inform existing and potential members of our current promotions and proper workout forms.”
Once you have determined this statement, it will be much easier for you to decide what type of content you want to create and share with your audience.
If a piece of content doesn’t align with your mission statement, don’t post it. Always remember that you want to position yourself as a thought leader in your space and create a trustworthy brand that is authentic to your business’s core values and beliefs.
6. Create Content
Many people want to fast-forward to this step when thinking about their social media strategy. That is the wrong approach to social media.
You need a strong content plan to be successful with your marketing efforts. At this point, you know who your ideal buyers are, the type of content you will be creating, and your goals. With this knowledge, you can finally start creating meaningful content.
Begin creating your content by deciding which types of content you will be sharing.
Here are examples of different types of content:
- Blogs Posts
As you can see, the types of content you can share are endless. It’s vital to keep your mission statement in mind when you’re deciding which types of content to create. You should also create a content calendar that lays out everything you will be posting to each platform.
When creating a content calendar, it’s a good idea to follow the social media rule of thirds. This means that one-third of your content should promote your products or services,one-third should share resources, tips, and industry news, and one-third should be interactive content that entertains your audience and encourages them to interact.
Creating high-quality, engaging content should be your top priority when it comes to your social media strategy. Don’t forget to share user-generated content (UGC) that your customers are creating as well. It’s also a good idea to create a simple brand-specific hashtag and encourage your customers to use it whenever they talk about your products or services. A hashtag will allow you to track what your customers are saying about your company more efficiently.
7. Track, Analyze, and Optimize
The final and most impactful phase of your social media strategy is to start tracking, analyzing, and optimizing your content. When you’re first starting out, you will be testing different techniques. Trial and error is one of the best ways to learn what performs best for your business.
Be sure to reevaluate each phase of your strategy and make necessary tweaks. The great thing about social media is that nothing needs to be permanent. If the style of videos your company is posting is not resonating with your audience, change it up. It’s crucial that you are able to make quick changes, as social media platforms and algorithms are continually evolving.
Now that you know how to create a social media marketing strategy, go try it out! Remember, you have to create great content and share it with the world to reach your goals.