Social media has become one of the most effective and important ways for a business to reach its customers—past, present, and future. There is so much that goes into an effective social media strategy, it can seem overwhelming at first. You can use this guide to help you create a functional social media strategy for your business that will allow you to engage your customers, build your brand, and maximize revenues.
You don’t need an extensive 30-page plan to effectively manage your social media, rather you should follow a few basic rules and formulate a helpful plan for you to implement your strategy. The majority of your customer base is likely using social media and you are missing a key opportunity to reach them if your business is not active on social media. Consider the following when crafting your social media strategy for your business.
Set Meaningful Marketing Goals
The first step to creating any successful social media strategy begins with identifying your goals. What are you trying to get by using social media? There are a number of things that social media is great for, and a few things where social is not the best choice. Determining what you want to get from your social media presence is crucial to designing and implementing the appropriate strategy.
Setting realistic goals is also important when designing an effective social media strategy. If the goals you set are unrealistic, you may incorrectly design your marketing strategy and be heavily disappointed when you do not see the results you want or need. Some goals you may have for your social media might include increasing brand awareness, generating leads and sales, grow your audience, increase community engagement, and increase web traffic.
Increase Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is how familiar consumers are with your brand, products, or services. Think of brand awareness as what people think of your brand and how many people know about your brand. When your goal is to increase brand awareness, you should focus on posting messages that emphasize your brand’s values and personality. When trying to increase brand awareness, you want people to identify with your brand—one of the easiest ways to do this is through shared values and likable personality traits.
Generate Sales and Leads
Another goal of social media marketing is to generate sales and leads. Generating sales and leads is less straightforward when utilizing social platforms but can still be done effectively. When trying to generate sales through social media, you will want to highlight your new products and services and direct people to your website to complete the sale.
Grow Your Brand’s Audience
Similar to increasing brand awareness, growing your brand’s audience, entails getting more people to like or follow you on social media and increase your brand’s direct audience. Effectively growing your audience includes listening to the conversation surrounding your brand, product, service, or industry. To learn about what people are saying, you may analyze keywords and hashtags.
Increase Community Engagement
Increasing community engagement is all about engaging with the audience you already have built. How much of the conversation surrounding your brand is two-way? Are you listening to your customers, and are they listening to your brand? You can promote community engagement by posting user-generated content, asking questions, commenting, and using hashtags to stay relevant and in the conversation.
Increase Web Traffic
Your website is your digital storefront, and getting your customers there should be a priority. You can and should be using social media to bring traffic to your website where customers can learn more about your brand, products, or services and make a purchase.
Research Your Target Audience
To effectively reach your target audience, you first need to know some things about them. Knowing your target audience well is going to help you to use social media platforms to reach them. Every platform has a different user base, and knowing who you want to reach will help determine what social channels to use.
Generally, social media demographics break down as follows:
- Instagram has a younger user base, made up largely of millennials and Gen Z users.
- Facebook and YouTube users tend to have higher incomes than other places, making advertising here somewhat more lucrative.
- Far more women than men use Pinterest.
- LinkedIn Users tend to be highly educated and career-oriented, making this a great place for industry-specific and in-depth content not suitable for Facebook or Instagram.
Look at the Important Metrics
Gathering and interpreting data is a crucial piece of any successful social media strategy. What is even more important is gathering the right data. Things that may show surface-level interest or success, such as “likes,” are not always the best way to judge your social media performance. There are more important factors in measuring your social performance: reach, clicks, engagement, hashtag performance, organic and paid likes, and sentiment. Looking at metrics such as these will give you far more information than a “like” ever could. These metrics examine how many people have seen your content, how many people interacted with your account and content, and clicks to show a general level of interest in your content and company.
Keep an Eye on the Competition
Before you begin creating content, you need to see what your competition is doing. While there are great third-party tools out there to evaluate your competition, a simple look through their social media channels will be fine. Take note of the kinds of content your competitors are posting and evaluate what works well for them. Take note of what types of content your competition is posting that generates a considerable number of likes, shares, and comments. You should not copy our competitor’s social media content and style; rather, find things you like and incorporate them into your own social media strategy.
You may already have a good idea of who your competition is, but finding them is relatively easy if you don’t. All you have to do is a Google search for keywords related to your business or search relevant hashtags on a few different platforms to get an idea of who your competition is.
Create and Curate Relevant, Engaging Content
Take a moment to imagine what your favorite social media platform would look like without content. It probably looks pretty empty, right? That’s because content is what makes social media, and the content you post should be both relevant and engaging.
Every social platform will have algorithms that filter out content and display a feed to its users. This algorithm is important, as it shows users content that is likely relevant to them. So how do you make your content stand out in this endless sea of new pictures, videos, stories, and posts? You have to create high-quality, thoughtful, relevant, and engaging content. The more interactions your content receives organically, the better it fares in the algorithms and will be shown to more people. Getting those first few engagements on your content could be the difference between your content going viral or never being seen.
Your content should loosely follow some theme or style; otherwise, your brand will look disorganized and incohesive, neither of which promote trust or encourage people to spend money with you. Choosing a color from your brand to carry through your content or posting similar content styles will help you solidify your brand and be remembered among consumers.
User-generated content is a great way to boost interaction with your page and community engagement. Sharing content that your fans and followers make is great for a few reasons. First and foremost, the person who created the content feels appreciated and excited about the brand. Secondly, other consumers will see the brand sharing user-generated content and believe that the brand is listening to its customers and taking them seriously (even if they are just sharing a funny photo). This goes a long way in the decreasingly personalized digital world.
Use stories to post engaging content that will be pushed to the top of users’ screens on virtually every platform that incorporates a story feature. Stories are also a way to promote engagement with your brand as they allow you to ask questions, create polls, and vote. You can also use stories to provide a behind-the-scenes look at your brand by posting more personal and less-polished content on your story.
Video should be an important component of your content marketing strategy. By utilizing video in your social media marketing strategy, you are able to tell stories—both long and short—offer an in-depth look at your brand and products or services, and highlight your brand in a number of different ways. Video is extremely shareable and is one of the best ways to engage users.
Timeliness is Crucial
When it comes to social media marketing, timeliness is one of the most important factors. You need to be sure that your brand responds to consumers as quickly as possible—some platforms will even show how responsive you are to messages right on your profile page. Timeliness is also crucial when it comes to posting your content. You want to post when it reaches the most people. While every audience will have different times of peak activity, certain times of day make more sense to post than others. A good way to go about posting at the right time is to use common sense until you can get a better feel for your audience. Posting something at 3 a.m. is not going to be very effective, as most of your audience is probably sleeping. Posting at noon is a much better idea, as most of your audience is probably on their lunch break and scrolling social media. Knowing when to post is very helpful in maximizing your reach and effectiveness.
Do you have a social media strategy?
Drafting and implementing a carefully planned and holistic social media marketing strategy is a must for any business wishing to effectively communicate with their customers. By creating a plan, you provide yourself with a guide for how you want your brand’s social media to be managed and how you want customers to see and interact with your brand. Careful planning is the first step to success! If you want to save yourself time and have your social media accounts managed professionally, contact Biewer & Associates for professional social media management services and ensure your customers get your message!