There has certainly been a craze about Social Media in recent times, and more particularly for businesses – both big and small. ‘Social Media Marketing’ is the go-to tool for energizing your marketing efforts.

The term Social Media refers to a wide range of electronic instruments of communication through which users create and share content, ideas, or exchange information. This includes the applications and websites which emphasize communication, networking, interaction and community input, sharing of content, and collaboration. Social Media is accessed through the Internet, and it consists of a wide range of ‘media’ types that are propagated through social exchanges. Some examples of Social Media are bookmarking sites, media sharing, microblogging, blog comments and forums, community blogs, social networks and review sites, and social news.

The popularity of Social Media has been increased by the creation of mobile applications like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. While many people use social media for interacting with friends and family and for entertainment, businesses are capitalizing on the widespread use of social media platforms to promote their cause, increase brand awareness and market their goods and services, etc.

But how do they do this? Firstly, to effectively and efficiently use social media for marketing, businesses need to develop a Social Media Marketing Strategy.

What is a Social Media Marketing Strategy?

A Social Media Strategy is a marketing plan geared toward setting and achieving long and short-term business goals on social media platforms. This strategy requires the definition of the marketing goals and objectives, identification of the audience (or target groups), and creation of a plan or strategy.

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy?

Your Social Media Marketing Strategy may not be the same across all your social media accounts. For example, what may work for Facebook, may not work for Instagram and vice versa. Here are the various steps that are required for creating your social media marketing strategy.

1. Defining your Audience

It is necessary to understand your audience before creating a plan to communicate with them. Essentially, your plan is to bridge the communication gaps between your marketing objectives and your market population/target groups. According to Ola Kozielska, a social media enthusiast and marketing graduate, you can start by gathering data on your existing customers, their age, gender, spending power, where they live, etc.

Knowing your audience and potential customers is an integral part of acquiring followers. You must study your audience to understand the content they would like, share or comment on. Creating an audience or buyer profile will help you to put yourself in the shoes of consumers and be able to assess their wants and needs. The bottom line is if you understand who you are marketing to then you can better connect with them.

If you try to sell (market) to everyone, then you’ll end up selling to no-one.” – https://fabrikbrands.com

Some questions you can ask to determine your audience includes:

  • Who are they? (E.g. job title, age, gender, salary, location, etc.)
  • What are they interested in that you can provide? (E.g. entertainment, educational content, case studies, information on new products, etc.)
  • Where do they usually hang out online? (E.g. Facebook, Instagram, etc. or niche platforms)
  • When do they look for the type of content you can provide? (E.g. weekends, during their daily commute, etc)
  • Why do they consume the content? (E.g. to get better at their job, to become healthy, to stay up to date with something, etc.)
  • How do they consume the content? (E.g. read social media posts, watch videos, etc.)
  • Who are their influencers? (E.g. who inspires them or who they follow on social media, etc.)
  • How will your product or service bring benefit to their lives? (This is particularly important for generating content that will help boost sales conversion rates.)

2.  Setting Goals or Objectives

The most important part of creating an effective Social Media strategy is setting realistic and achievable goals. Your business goals would vary according to the type of business. For example, a bakery will not have the same goals as an accounting company. However, goals fall under a few categories covering a wide area. Some examples of goals you can set include:

  • Generation of Leads and Sales – This means using social media to convert potential buyers into sales or customers.
  • Growth of AudiencePosting is practically useless if there is no one to view your content. To grow your audience, you need to find ways to introduce your brand to people who have never heard about it.
  • Increasing Brand Awareness – Making consumers aware of your brand means getting them familiar with the qualities of your goods and services.
  • Increasing Engagement – To do this, you need to experiment with the content and may include incorporating multiple post types and genres of content to evoke reactions.
  • Increasing Web Traffic – You can increase the number of visitors to your website using a Social Media Marketing Strategy consisting of actions that will drive traffic to your website. For example, ‘visit our website to find out more….’.

SMART Goals: Always remember to set SMART goals; that is, goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

Some examples of objectives are:
  1. Increase sales by 25% by the next 12 months
  2. Achieve a market share of 30% for Product C within three years of launch
  3. Increase the percentage of customers who rate our service as “excellent” from 80% to 85% within 18 months

3. Monitoring Metrics: MEASURE

One of the most important things in creating a Social Media Strategy is data and the ability to analyze it. Several metrics need to be regularly monitored.

  • Clicks – Clicks are the number of “clicks” made on your content, logo, or company name. To understand what encourages curiosity, it is essential to track links per campaign.
  • Engagement – This is the number of intersections divided by the number of impressions, which shows who interacted with your post and how your audience perceives your page.
  • Hashtag Performance – Hashtag Performance deals with the most used hashtags for your brand and which got the most engagements.
  • Organic and Paid Reach – Organic reach refers to the number of people who came across your post because they actively follow your page. Content can also be propagated by creating ads and sponsoring it on the social media platform.
  • Reach – This is the number of unique users who have seen your post. It shows the spread of your content across the social media network.
  • Sentiment – This is the assessment of users’ reactions to your brand, content, or even hashtag. Were they offended, surprised, or pleased?

4. Keep an Eye on Competitors

Conducting an analysis of your competitors will help you to learn what they are doing. You can learn what works and what does not simply by checking up on your competitors. You can see the gaps in their content strategy of meeting the needs of consumers, and you can know how to bridge these gaps in your content and ultimately winning over some of them.

5. Auditing your Social Media Channels

This step is necessary, especially if you already have active social media accounts and are using social media tools. To evaluate your social media efforts, ask yourself the following questions and make modifications where necessary:

  • What is working?
  • What is not working?
  • Who is connecting with you on social?
  • Which networks does your target audience use primarily?
  • How does your social media presence compare to your competitors’ presence?

6. Creating Content

“Content is King.” – Bill Gates

Like Bill Gates said, “Content is King.” In this case, content refers to articles, blog posts, audio, emails, basically anything that can be published online. The creation and sharing of content is a key part of any social media strategy. Not just any content should be shared but that which relates to your brand and your audience.

Creating A Social Media Content Calendar

A Social Media Content Calendar can be either a spreadsheet or an app to schedule posts in advance for different social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Not only creating a posting schedule but sticking to it is important. After creating a Social Media Content Calendar, you need to define what you are going to post, on which platforms, and when you are going to post.

What to Post?

Posting should not just be selecting random content to post. You need to decide what percentage of your overall content will be devoted to which goals. For example, you can decide:

  • 50% of the content will direct web traffic to your website.
  • 20% of the content will be to increase followers.
  • 20% of the content will be used to support the goal of your company, including lead generation, selling, and brand awareness.
  • 10% of the content can be used to enhance public relations by promoting the culture of your company.

Each image, video, or blog should have a purpose and be thoroughly researched. Studies have shown that video content normally acquires more Likes, Shares, and Comments (only if it connects with your audience).

Where to Post?

Different Content works best on different platforms. For example, if your Instagram Stories are a hit, it does not automatically mean your Facebook Stories will be as popular.

How Often to Post?

Some platforms like Twitter and Pinterest require content to be posted about three to ten times daily. However, this will vary across the different types of social media platform.

Some of the most effective posting frequency looks like:

  • Facebook – Once or twice per day
  • Instagram – Once or twice per day
  • Instagram Stories – Eight to 16 Stories, twice per week
  • LinkedIn – Once or twice per day
  • Pinterest – Five to ten times per day
  • Snapchat – Five to 20 times per week
  • Twitter – Three to ten times per day

When to Post?

Based on the Facebook Insight, fans for this page are predominantly online between 3PM and 7PM.

You should schedule your post when most of your audiences are active (are online). This varies for different industries, and you will have to fine-tune this over time by reviewing your page analytics. Below is only a guide on where you can start out for the different networks.

  • Twitter – 1-3pm weekdays
  • Facebook – 1-4pm weekdays
  • LinkedIn – 7-8:30am and 5-6pm Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday
  • Tumblr – 7-10pm weekdays and 4pm on Fridays
  • Instagram – 5-6pm weekdays and 8pm on Mondays with a sweet spot at 6pm
  • Pinterest – 2-4pm and 8-11pm weekdays with weekends being the best
  • Google+ – 9-11am weekdays

7. Analyze, Evaluate and Adapt

Creating a Social Media Marketing Strategy is not enough to maintain your brand on social media. You need to test various components of your strategy. For example, you can check the effectiveness of hashtags, and if they are not working, toss them out and create new ones until you find what works best for your business. Social media is in a state of constant change; what may work today may not work tomorrow. This is the reason why it is important to stay updated and test various strategies until you find one that will be most effective. Test the effectiveness of your post. Test the reach of your content, and test the engagement of your audience.

Conclusion

A Social Media Marketing Strategy is a vital part of a business’s social media presence. For a business looking to go digital, navigating the waters of the ever-changing social media world can be a challenge. Simply posting is not enough to garner followers or to maintain their attention. You need to provide content that will align with their interests. To do this, developing a Social Media Marketing Strategy becomes necessary. Before you create a Social Media Marketing Strategy, you need to define your goals. Do you want more sales, engagements, and leads? Then you need to understand your audience and who they are. Find out what works and what does not by studying your competitors. By fully optimizing all of your social media accounts, you build trust and encourage people to like your page. Lastly, the content creations should of great quality and should be posted at the optimal time. Constant evaluation of your strategy and content will help to improve your brand and your reputation on social media, allowing you to achieve the goals you set out to meet. After creating a Social Media Market Strategy, stay informed with the trends and be ready to actively improve it.

Do you need help with your Social Media Marketing? Contact us at GxMedia to connect your business with customers on Social Media today!

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