If you want to engage in social media, you need to have a social media strategy. If you want to use social media to market your company, you need to have a marketing strategy in order to most effectively use social media for marketing. Whether you have a formal strategy written down or not, here are some tips to help make your social media content more strategic.
The Template for a Successful Social Media Marketing Strategy
1. Know your target audience
The first step towards creating a successful social media marketing strategy is knowing who your target audience is, or determining who your product is meant for. How do you go about deciding who your product will appeal to?
- What your industry deals with.
Before diving into the type of people you should be targeting, you need to have a clear understanding of why your product or service exists, and who it exists for. What problems does it solve? The answer to this question will help you move on to points #2 and #3: deciding your audience demographic and audience type.
- Audience Demographics (age, gender, location etc)
Your product will sit well with certain segments of the population, and may not be very relevant to other segments. For example, if you’re an e-commerce store that sells make-up, you’d want to focus your efforts on reaching out to women, say between the ages of 16 and 50, and use platforms that fit this demographic, like Facebook or Instagram.
- Type of audience
Once you know what your industry deals with, this step should be relatively easy. You need to figure out what type of audience will benefit the most from your product. Bloggers, Working professionals, Individual consumers? Or, if you’re looking at a larger scale then SMB’s, Businesses, and Brands?
After you’ve narrowed that down, the next step is to decide what social channels you should focus on.
2. Decide which social media networks work best for your social media marketing strategy
There will be 4.4 billion social media users in the coming years,
and that number will only grow. Sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are all highly relevant platforms when it comes to spreading brand awareness or engaging with your customers. The question remains, though: what platforms should you be promoting on?
It may seem like being active on all of them is a good idea, since this will broaden your reach and help spread the word, but that is not necessarily the best strategy. Being present on every social platform will make it harder to manage all of them effectively and you’ll find yourself in a “Jack of all trades, master of none” situation.
One of the most strategic tips is to select a few social channels for your marketing strategy that will work well for you based on your Target Audience, and focus your efforts on promoting your product there.
3. Launch and optimize your profiles
Setting up your site is a great step, but launching your sites and platforms alone will not be enough to start out strong with your strategy. To fully realize the potential of your marketing strategies and to effectively drive traffic to your site, you must employ optimization practices for your social strategies.
Whether you are focusing primarily on Pinterest marketing, or placing most of your emphasis on Facebook strategies, it is vital to make sure your profiles are targeted in their approach. Your services and sales must be designed to continually improve traffic using optimization strategies, like optimizing visual content, utilizing blog posts, and even using videos to reach out to your audience.
The term “optimization” can make people feel overwhelmed, but the process of optimizing your social networks is not as difficult as it might sound and is likely well within your ability. To optimize your profiles once you’ve launched them, spend some time evaluating the people you want to reach, and how you can best reach out to those people.
Social media posts can be targeted and optimized using relevant hashtags, making sure images rank well using alt text, and including common keywords in your posts. Whether you use videos on YouTube as a source of marketing, or posts on Facebook are your bread and butter, profile optimization is essential.
4. Create valuable content for your social media management strategy
Now that you’ve decided who you should be targeting and where you should be promoting your product, you can start working on creating content for your social media marketing strategy. This is one of the most powerful social media tips, because content truly is the currency of social media marketing across all platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and more.
The type of content you create depends on the social accounts you’re posting to. Posts perform differently on different social profiles, so it makes sense to tailor content specific to each social profile. For example, posting quotes on Instagram is a good way to garner engagement, but doing the same on Facebook may not guarantee similar reach. Posting links on Facebook is quick and easy, but linking on Instagram requires several extra steps for both the poster and the consumer–though both successfully use stories to connect.
There are a number of tools that you can use to create quality content types easily. My friends at Viraltag use Canva for creating engaging and attractive posts. They’ve integrated them into our dashboard, as well, so it’s easy to create tailored posts for each social profile.
5. Automate posting to your social media channels
In theory, posting content to social media seems simple enough: you design a post, and upload it online every few hours to engage your customers. But how do you know when to post? And if you have to keep posting throughout the day, how do you do so without having to login and out of each social profile and manually upload posts? Perhaps most importantly: How do you decrease the time spent on social media goals, but make sure you still drive traffic to your website? These are invaluable questions to ask as you go about searching for scheduling tools.
The answer? A social media marketing tool. Tools like Viraltag, Buffer, Hootsuite, or AgoraPulse make it easier to curate, manage, and schedule content from a single dashboard, effectively saving you up to 5-6 hours each week without losing any readers, missing out on news, or losing money! These sites are typically designed to manage numerous platforms, including common ones like Facebook, and even including less common (but no less useful) sites like Pinterest, and are the tools often trusted by social media experts.
You can schedule content for weeks in advance, and the tool will automatically send those posts out to social media at the designated time. All you have to do is make sure you have enough posts and adequate topics lined up in your content queue to fill out those weeks.
You can also recycle your old posts to make sure you never run out of topics to discuss. Repurposing your old content is a good way to make sure that all your visitors–old and new–get to see your posts. This way, you get maximum mileage out of your best performing posts and increase traffic to your website, while your content gets more reach.
It’s also important to keep in mind, in consideration of all of these social media marketing tips, that the frequency of posting to different social profiles requires different strategies. For example, you can send out more pins to Pinterest per day than you can post to Facebook. Determine the most important sites, budget your time, and create original content beforehand to increase clicks and adhere to your content strategy, all without sacrificing organization and time.
It’s easy to set up a posting schedule according to the times suggested for maximum engagement. For example, here’s a sample posting schedule for LinkedIn :
You can create a personalized time table for each social profile you want to post to and schedule posts accordingly.
6. Boost your following with contests and sweepstakes
Everyone loves a contest, as most people are more than happy to get something for free–even if that something comes from a business they were previously unfamiliar with. Giving away your products or services–or even giving away something you love from another product or service–is a great way to boost your engagement, increase your loyal followers, and target your ideal audience.
To effectively use this tool, you must encourage people who see your post to share it, as well. Whether you use Facebook, Instagram, or another site that makes sharing simple and easy, make sharing your giveaway post an integral part of your contest or sweepstakes. This makes sure you reach the optimal number of followers in your giveaways.
Before you create your giveaway post on your social networks, try to determine what will be the most valuable to your followers and how often you are able to give something away. If you are not yet established as a brand, your followers may be less interested in entering a contest or sweepstakes involving your products or services, and doing a giveaway more than once a month might dip too far into your revenue.
To successfully do a giveaway, you can include your products or services alongside another product or service to both increase the interest people might have in your giveaway, and get your brand, products, or services out there, whether that means doing a giveaway once each month, or once each quarter.
7. Connect with influencers in your niche
Connecting and networking with influencers in your niche is probably one of the most effective ways to get your organization’s social posts noticed and spread brand awareness. If you’ve got an influencer on your team, endorsing you or talking about your product/service, word is going to spread, and it’s going to spread fast!
This is because influencers have already built a firm relationship with their followers. When they talk about a product in their video content, their audience knows that the product is worth trying out, because they trust the influencer’s judgement. When you have this confidence on your side, you’ve struck gold.
To make sure your product gets seen by the influencer and stands out from the crowd, you need to establish long-standing relationships with the team you’ve built. This is how social media platforms like Facebook can convert images and stories into likes, clicks, and visitors to boost your sales and the influencers’ loyal following.
Here’s a 4-step approach to how you can network with an influencer to promote your product (with emphasis on how you can connect on social media) :
Step #1 is figuring out who influencers in your industry are. You can use tools like Buzzsumo and NinjaOutreach to do a keyword search and determine who your key influencers are, and how substantial their current lists of followers are and what trends they follow and represent.
2) Connect with them on Social Media
LinkedIn: If you’re marketing a B2B product, LinkedIn is an essential platform you should be connecting with your influencers on to develop a solid marketing team. Send the influencers you’ve selected a connection request, with a personalized message about how you know them, and what you like about their work. Follow their LinkedIn page, and share their posts, as well. Effective partnerships with people require you to give as good as you get.
Facebook: Engage with influencers on Facebook.Using Facebook is a brilliant way to get in front of a target audience, and reach both the B2B and the B2C community. Search for the influencer’s Facebook page, follow it, and comment on/like their posts and photos. It’s also a good idea to share their Facebook images, and tag them, as it’s a great opportunity to be noticed.
Twitter: Twitter is probably the best social media platform to interact directly with influencers. Follow their Twitter handle, retweet the content they post (including images), and make sure you mention them when you share their content, so they get a notification and you get noticed.
Instagram: It goes without saying that to get an influencer’s attention, you must follow their feed, and like and comment on their posts. Reposting their posts with apps like Repost is a good way to make them notice your efforts.
3) Pitch your influencers
After you’ve followed and networked with them on social media, from Facebook to LinkedIn (and don’t forget blogs and Pinterest!), send them a personalized email pitch. Here are three case studies of influencer outreach done right!
4) Maintain your social media relationship
Make sure you still interact with influencers you are hoping to work with on social media, to maintain your relationship. You do not want it to look like you cut ties with them once they agreed to start promoting your products or businesses.
A robust social media marketing strategy doesn’t involve rocket science, but it does require planning, research, and, most of all, discipline to stick to the plan until you see results. Should you not see the results you desire, go back and do this exercise again, to see where you might have miscalculated the assumptions in your businesses’ social media marketing strategies!
8. Measure, analyze and optimize
Once you have established a rhythm, set aside a specific time frame to measure, analyze, and optimize your marketing and networking strategies. These three steps are essential to effectively manage your social strategies, as they ensure that you are checking in with all of your ongoing marketing efforts, evaluating their efficacy, and eliminating or changing the strategies that are not effectively promoting your business or increasing your reach. Whether you are focusing on Facebook, videos on YouTube, or working primarily through LinkedIn, you must constantly evaluate your business objectives and the tactics you are using to reach your goals.
Measuring the efficacy of your social media accounts can be difficult, and it requires evaluating your business with a fine-tooth comb–a process that can require you to set aside your ego. After all, not every strategy you develop will work, and you must be prepared to make sacrifices to make your sales goals, increase your traffic, and produce content that impacts communities and consistently garners results.
9. Use Paid Social to help your reach key objectives
Although it can be tempting to try to complete all of your marketing efforts on your own, there is something to be said for using paid social management services and companies to manage and oversee your marketing strategies. Your use of hashtags, visual content, and daily and weekly posts are important, but you may not have the expertise required to regularly encourage comments from followers. You may not know how to use hashtags as effectively as possible, your visual content may not present a cohesive front, and your overall message may be obscured. All of these together can diminish comments, make your followers’ engagement rate plummet, and dramatically interfere with your marketing goals.
A paid social media marketing company has the expertise required to manage numerous industries and brands, and may have more effective strategies to increase your comments, help your engagement rate skyrocket, and maintain a consistent voice across all of your platforms. These companies will usually ask questions about your brand or business and your goals, then create a marketing plan for you to approve. From there, they can manage your Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and more, and make sure your marketing photos are consistent, your social media presence is impactful, and your ideas are consistently generating likes, comments, and followers.
This is one template that you can use over and over again for your social media marketing strategy. Were there any important pieces of a social media marketing strategy that I missed? Any other social media marketing tips that you think should be added to this list? Please comment below and let us know!
This is a post contributed from one of my marketing partners.
Hero photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash