What are the best strategies for social media marketing?
A social media strategy is everything you plan to do and hope to accomplish on social media marketing. It will guide your actions and let you know whether you’re succeeding or failing.
The more specific your plan is, the more effective it will be. Keep it concise. Don’t make it so lofty and broad that it’s unattainable or impossible to measure.
Choose social media marketing goals that align to business objectives.
Start with creating S.M.A.R.T. goals. Each of your goals should be:
That way you can measure your success and know what your ROI (return on investment) is. Vanity metrics like the number of followers and likes are easy to track, but it’s hard to prove their real value. Instead, focus on things like engagement, click-through, and conversion rates.
You may want to track different goals for different networks, or even different uses for each network. social media marketing goals should align with your overall marketing objectives. Start developing your social media marketing plan by writing down at least three goals for social media marketing.
Learn everything you can about your audience
Knowing who your audience is and what they want to see on social media marketing is key. That way you can create content that they will like, comment on, and share. It’s also critical if you want to turn social media followers into customers for your business.
When it comes to your target customer, you should know things like:
- average income,
- typical job title or industry,
- interests, etc.
Get to know your fans, followers, and customers as real people with real wants and needs, and you will know how to target and engage them on social media. Don’t make assumptions. social media marketing analytics can also provide a ton of valuable information about who your followers are, where they live, and how they interact with your brand on social media. These insights allow you to refine your strategy and better target your audience.
Know your competition for social media marketing
Odds are your competitors are already using social media marketing, and that means you can learn from what they’re doing.
A competitive analysis allows you to understand who the competition is and what they’re doing well (and not so well). You’ll get a good sense of what’s expected in your industry, which will help you set social media marketing targets of your own. It will also help you spot opportunities.
Maybe one of your competitors is dominant on Facebook, for example, but has put little effort into Twitter or Instagram. You might want to focus on the networks where your audience is underserved, rather than trying to win fans away from a dominant player. Do searches of the competition’s company name, account handles, and other relevant keywords on social media.
Find out what they’re sharing and what other people are saying about them. As you track, you may notice shifts in the way channels are used. Or, you might spot a specific post or campaign that really hits the mark—or totally bombs. Use this kind of intel to inform your own social media marketing strategy.
Do a social media marketing audit
If you’re already using social media marketing, take stock of your efforts so far. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What’s working, and what’s not?
- Who is engaging with your?
- Which networks does your target audience use?
- How does your social media presence compare to the competition?
Once you collect that information, you’ll be ready to start thinking about ways to improve. Your audit should give you a clear picture of what purpose each of your social accounts serves. If the purpose of an account isn’t clear, think about whether it’s worth keeping.
Set up accounts and improve profiles
As you decide which social networks to use, you will also need to define your strategy for each. Write out a mission statement for each network. A one-sentence declaration to keep you focused on a specific goal. If you can’t create a solid mission statement for a particular channel, you may want to ask yourself if it’s worth it.
Example: “We will use Twitter for customer support to keep email and call volumes down.”
Once you’ve decided which networks to focus on, it’s time to create your profiles. Or improve existing ones so they align with your strategy.
- Make sure you fill out all profile fields
- Include keywords people would use to search for your business
- Use consistent branding (logos, images, etc.) across networks so your profiles are easily recognizable
Use high-quality images that follow the recommended dimensions for each network. Remember, it’s better to use fewer channels well than to stretch yourself thin trying to maintain a presence on every network.
Create a social media marketing content calendar
Sharing great content is essential, of course, but it’s equally important to have a plan in place for when you’ll share content to get the maximum impact. Your social media content calendar also needs to account for the time you spend interacting with the audience (although you need to allow for some spontaneous engagement as well).
Your social media content calendar lists the dates and times at which you will publish types of content on each channel. It’s the perfect place to plan all of your social media activities—from images and link sharing to blog posts and videos. It includes both your day-to-day posting and content for social media campaigns. Your calendar also ensures your posts are spaced out appropriately and published at the optimal times.
Make sure your calendar reflects the mission statement you’ve assigned to each social profile, so that everything you post is working to support your business goals. Placing these different post types in your content calendar will ensure you maintain the right mix. If you’re starting from scratch and you’re not sure what types of content to post, try the 80-20 rule:
- 80% of your posts should inform, educate, or entertain your audience
- 20% can directly promote your brand.
You could also try the social media rule of thirds:
- One-third of your content promotes your business, converts readers, and generates profit.
- One-third of your content shares ideas and stories from thought leaders in your industry or like-minded businesses.
- One-third of your content is personal interactions with your audience
Once you have your calendar set, use a scheduling tool to prepare messages in advance rather than updating constantly throughout the day.
Evaluate and adjust your strategy
Your social media strategy is a hugely important document for your business, and you can’t assume you’ll get it exactly right on the first try. As you start to implement your plan and track your results, you may find that some strategies don’t work as well as you’d anticipated, while others are working even better than expected.
- Look at performance metrics. In addition to the analytics within each social network you can use UTM parameters to track social visitors as they move through your website, so you can see exactly which social posts drive the most traffic to your website.
- Re-evaluate, test, and do it all again. Once this data starts coming in, use it to re-evaluate your strategy regularly. You can also use this information to test different posts, campaigns, and strategies against one another. Constant testing allows you to understand what works and what doesn’t, so you can refine your strategy in real time.
- Surveys can also be a great way to find out how well your strategy is working. Ask your followers, email list, and website visitors whether you’re meeting their needs and expectations, and what they’d like to see more of. Then make sure to deliver on what they tell you.
Social media moves fast. New networks emerge others go through demographic shifts. Your business will go through periods of change as well. All of this means that your social media strategy should be a living document that you review and adjust as needed. Refer to it often to stay on track, but don’t be afraid to make changes so that it better reflects new goals, tools, or plans. When you update your social strategy, make sure to let everyone on your team know. That way they can all work together to help your business make the most of your accounts.