A social media strategy is a gateway for how you interact with potential customers, create brand awareness and build trust and loyalty. It can supplement your marketing plan, allowing it fly high or flounder if no plan exists or is poorly created.
In today’s online savvy world, a marketing strategy that includes social media is necessary in order to drive traffic to your website and build awareness of who you are and how you can solve problems for your potential customers. With so many social networks available, how do you know which one is the best for your marketing strategy? And, what type of content should you share?
Let’s dive into how to create an effective social media marketing strategy for your business, from defining who you aim to reach to measuring your success.
Define Your Audience
Defining the key demographics of who you want to reach is the first step in creating a social media marketing plan for your business. As you do this, it’s important to develop a buyer persona.
Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers based on real data about customer demographics, online behavior, personal histories, motivations and concerns. While buyer personas are your target audience, they should not be vague descriptions. Instead, your buyer personas should define ideal customers based on well-researched information.
As you develop your buyer personas, consider their challenges and problems. This is important as it will give you clues into what content you should be making to attract them. Do not include exceptions or outliers. Otherwise, you’ll end up with too many buyer personas and this tool will not be effective.
Determine Your Social Media Channels
Once you have your buyer personas, the next step is to determine where they hang out online.
According to the HubSpot State of Marketing Report, Facebook is the primary content distribution channel for marketers today. With 2 billion monthly active users, Facebook is many businesses’ go-to social media channel.
However, several social media networks are available, with more and more being developed yearly. While many businesses find success using big names like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, other companies have success using social media networks like Snapchat or TikTok. According to a PEW report, 69% of teens use Snapchat.
If your buyer persona includes younger customers or even the parents of younger customers who take buying cues from their kids, using a social media channel like Snapchat or Instagram might be beneficial.
On the other hand, LinkedIn may be the better choice if your company gears its marketing toward other B2B companies. Pinterest could be a great choice for online retailers.
If you’re unsure what social media sites your potential customers use, you can send questionnaires to your clients about what social media platforms are most useful to them.
Share Engaging Content
Now that you know your target market and what social media channels you want to use in your marketing strategy, it’s time to create and share the content on your social media sites.
Your social media strategy is only as good as the content that you create. Your goal should be to educate, inform and entertain your prospects. Your content should also be shareable in order to expand your reach.
What type of content should you share? Blogging offers a great opportunity to create new, fresh content on a consistent basis. What is a blog? A blog is an online journal that serves as a platform for a person’s thoughts. It is an important tool for businesses to engage prospects and customers by delivering information relevant to their needs.
Regularly creating interesting and relevant blog posts on your website is a great way to help boost your social media performance. However, do not use your blog posts to talk about yourself. Instead, focus on problems that your targeted customers may be experiencing or on educating them about industry-related topics.
At the end of your blog posts, be sure to include a call-to-action. A call-to-action can allow the reader to download more helpful information in the form of an eBook, whitepaper or video, for example. When a reader clicks on the call-to-action, it should take the reader to a landing page on your website where you can collect the reader’s contact information in exchange for the piece of content they want to download.
Video content is one of the fastest growing segments in marketing today. Developing targeted video content can not only generate new customers, but it can also be an additional income stream if done well. Think of Rick Shields, a golf professional who develops golf content for his audience and now has over 2 million subscribers. Or Bourbon Moth, a woodworking channel with over 800,000 subscribers. If you monetize your videos, you could see a very healthy supplemental income stream over time.
Additional note: Don’t be afraid to share interesting content you find on other sites since social media presence is all about interaction and conversation. Sharing interesting content that is relevant to your mission will keep your prospective customers informed. You may also see the added benefit of spreading the content around through reciprocal shares.
Analyze Your Results … And Adjust Accordingly
Business analytics are important tools in determining the success of your social media marketing strategy. There are many analytics tools available, including Google Analytics, Hubspot, YouTube, SEMRush, Adobe Analytics and more.
Look at how much traffic your social media accounts are driving to your company’s website. Look for trends in what people are responding to and interacting with and what keywords are generating more interest than others. Try different thumbnail designs for your YouTube videos, make one change to a landing page and test the conversion results.
Easier metrics to check include how many followers you gain in a certain time period and how many websites visits you’re getting directly from social media posts.
Keep in mind that social media strategies don’t begin working overnight. You’ll need to build up a following and experiment with channels, the content that you post and what messaging works. Adjust your goals accordingly as you gather information. This will help you fine tune your overall strategy, which will promote more consistent results.
5 Common Mistakes To Avoid
With the blueprint outlined above in mind, you are well on your way to creating a successful social media marketing strategy for your business. However, it’s a good idea to keep in mind common mistakes you should avoid along the way.
- Don’t use follower count as your key indicator. Having followers is important, but it doesn’t necessarily equal success. Building a community around your business or brand is far more important than collecting followers.
- Don’t buy followers. Most of the followers you buy will be fake, and even if the accounts are real, they will have zero interest in your company or brand awareness.
- Don’t join every social network. While it can be tempting to try them all out at once, it’s far better to focus your time and efforts on where your clients hang out.
- Don’t forget helpful tools. Social media sites provides many tools for you to analyze what’s working and what’s not working. For example, Facebook offers a Meta Business Suite that centralizes Facebook, Instagram and messaging tools all in one place.
- Don’t hesitate to get help. Social media and putting a marketing strategy into motion can feel overwhelming. An experienced inbound marketing agency will modernize your strategy, help you keep payroll costs down and produce long-term results … ensuring a sound, long-term investment in your business.
Social media is a marathon, not a sprint. As a small business owner, one of the last things you have is a lot of time on your hands. Hiring an agency is a lot more affordable than you think and can free up the time you need to run your business.
You can learn more about the benefits of working with an experienced marketing firm can provide in our article, Why Should I Hire A Marketing Agency For My Small Business?