These days, one of the essential components of any marketing strategy is a solid social media strategy plan.
With over 4.6+ billion social media users worldwide, there is a vast potential market that every business can harness.
Sadly, most businesses fail to harness the full potential of social media because they lack an effective social media strategy.
But don’t worry, we’re here to assist you.
This guide will help you whether you’re new to social media or not sure you are doing it right.
Why You Need a Working Social Media Strategy
A social media strategy is a roadmap that keeps you on track throughout your social media marketing campaign.
One of the benefits of social media marketing is the endless awareness possibilities that come with it. As of July, 2022, 59% of the world’s population had accounts on social media platforms.
Interestingly, most internet users spend about one-third of their total internet time on social media. So imagine the enormous potential that awaits you in the vast numbers of people that see your post every day.
If your company isn’t leveraging social media at the moment, your traffic will most likely be confined to current consumers.
However, integrating social media into your marketing plan allows you to attract new consumers from anywhere in the world. And unlike ads on Google or Facebook, traffic from social media is generally free.
In addition, posting on various social media sites enables people of different age groups to find your business naturally.
How Do You Create an Effective Social Media Strategy?
Now that you know a social media strategy is key to your marketing success, let’s discuss the steps involved.
Step 1: Establish S.M.A.R.T. Social Media Objectives
Before posting, nail down what you want and how you intend to achieve them. In other words, set goals for your campaign.
This is critical for many reasons. First, setting goals gives you a clearer perspective of your problem.
It also allows you to put your energy and resources into what matters instead of just posting without results. Lastly, goals help you measure progress to see if you are doing well.
So, how do you develop social media objectives?
Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals and Objectives
The acronym S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. As a result, SMART goals and objectives integrate all of these factors to help concentrate your efforts and boost your chances of success.
Ideally, the goals of your social media strategy must have the following qualities:
- Specific: It can be tempting to want many things but ensure you have a particular focus. This will help you decide what matters along the line and help you gather the needed resources for this goal.
Specific goals answer the question of what do you aim to achieve? For instance, “we want to have new followers every month on Facebook.”
- Measurable: Your goals must have clear definitions of success or failure. This helps you know if you are doing the right thing. To make the above example measurable, we could say, “we want to gain 200 new followers every month on Facebook.”
- Attainable: It’s good to be ambitious, but at the same time, a goal that you cannot achieve is a waste of time. For instance, it would be useless to aim for 100k new followers every month when you are yet to cross the 10k mark.
So, at this point, review your goals and see if there are any barriers to achieving them.
- Timely: Your goals must have a date attached to them. That is when you intend to achieve the goal. Without adding a timeframe to your goals, you might not have the motivation to see them through.
This part of the process is where you answer the question of when you intend to achieve the goal. Again, using a similar example, the goal becomes timely when we put it this way “we want to have 200 new followers every month on Facebook by the end of Q3 of 202X.”
Your goals should be unique to your company and also complement your overall business objectives.
The following are some common social media objectives ideas you may consider. You can craft the goals appropriately using the SMART approach:
- Improving brand recognition
- Increasing sales to a certain level
- Increasing your social media marketing ROI
Develop a Reasonable Budget
The extent of the success of your social media strategy depends on how much you are willing to spend on it. You must be prepared to spend some part of your marketing budget seeing results. At the same time, you do not want to spend too much on your social media strategy.
For instance, if you aim to drive sales, investing the exact amount you would gain from sales into your social media strategy might not be a financially savvy move. This is where your budget comes into the goal-setting process.
After creating your SMART objectives, consider how much of your total digital marketing budget will be for social media.
Step 2: Define Your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
The next step of the process is to define the indicators that will tell if your strategy is working or not.
This step is a grey area of concern because your key performance indicators will depend on your objectives, your company, and the type of platform you intend to use.
When social analytics comes to mind, most people think of vanity metrics like the number of followers, likes, comments, etc. While these figures are easy to measure, they do not give you actionable insights.
So instead, concentrate more on actionable metrics like engagement, conversion, and click-through rate. As you go, these values will help you monitor your objectives across networks.
It could also show you how successful your strategy is on particular networks. For example, if your Instagram page is connected to your website, the click-through rate will be an essential metric.
If your goal is to improve your brand awareness on Instagram, track the number of views on your stories. And if your goal is to generate leads to your website, measure the click-through rate.
Step 3: Define your Target Audience and Know What They Want.
This is where you will understand why followers and like counts are regarded as vanity metrics. The audience in this context refers to those who will be viewing your post.
Most businesses feel that having a lot of followers is key to the success of their social media strategy. However, the number of your followers is just as significant as the type of followers.
For instance, an eCommerce store that sells safety rails and has 5,000 followers between the ages of 19 and 29 might not meet their sales objective no matter what they do.
Similarly, an account that sells beauty products to 1000 followers that are predominantly male may not make enough sales even if they have lots of comments and likes on their posts.
To fully understand your audience, you need to ask these questions:
- Who are the prospective users of my product or service?
- What platforms are your target audiences on?
- What kind of content suits your audience?
- When is your audience most active online?
- What content format does your audience prefer? (Video, pictures, or text)
- What are the topics that your audience loves to hear?
This will help you avoid time-wasting as some companies do not have audiences on all platforms.
For instance, if you sell products to C.E.O.s of top brands, TikTok is not the appropriate medium for you.
Similarly, if you sell sneakers to high school students, you won’t find your audience on LinkedIn.
Lastly, you can use tools like Google Analytics 4 to get a good base for curving out your target audience.
Step 4: Establish a Unique Voice for Your Brand
Once you have known your audience, you must create a voice for addressing them. To do that, you will have to do these two things.
Create a style guide
Your style guide provides guidelines for all of your postings on your social media platforms. It includes the colors, fonts, and other factors you think are essential.
If you already have a brand handbook, you can start there and use the material to fit the specifics of each social media campaign and platform.
When starting out a new style guide, try using an online photo editor to edit your basic content and experiment with different combinations of tools to establish a personality.
Creating and adhering to your style guide will help you remain consistent across all social media channels. For example, consider how huge businesses, such as Coca-Cola, maintain a consistent identity.
Create a brand personality
Every brand needs a personality, a voice, and a sense of character. To get the proper persona for your brand, consider the adjectives that best describe your business. This should also align with the kind of persona your audience has.
For instance, if your audience is people with amusing and playful personalities, use a brand persona that matches them. Discord is an excellent example of a company that does this.
You will agree that most discord users are people who enjoy memes and jokes. So, the following tweets from their account would appeal to their audience.
Step 5: Check What Your Competitors are Doing
The next stage in developing a good plan is to research your competitors. The idea here is to see how they use social media to their advantage and see how you can do better than them.
Knowing when and how to do things better than your competitors gives you an edge and helps you stand out.
Ideally, you will want to do the following:
Collect essential data about them:
You’ll need to collect relevant information like the following:
- Which social media networks do they use
- What type of content do they release?
- Do they use specific services like Instagram Stories or Facebook Shopping?
- You should also consider their audience growth, engagement, and hashtags or keywords.
Social Blade is a fantastic free tool for this purpose. The website provides an in-depth look at the different indicators, allowing you to understand your rivals’ social presence.
For the most realistic comparison, compare your social strategy solely with firms that actively use social media.
Further Reading: How to Spy On Your Competitors on Instagram In 4 Steps
Step 6: Engage with your Audience
A part of your strategy must involve how you intend to engage with your audience.
People do not want to follow accounts that are operated by robots. So, create social media content that connects people with your brand.
Remember, the idea behind social media is to connect with people in the first place. So, if your brand is not giving your customers this sense of connection, they will ignore your posts.
To increase your engagement with your audience, you can do the following:
- Ask for feedback on specific issues that affect your customers
- Ask questions about your product and services frequently
- Instead of just sharing information about your products or services, use compelling copywriting to show how your product solves their problem
- Like and share the post of some of your followers
- Build communities across platforms
- Have live sessions for questions and answers on Facebook and Instagram.
Further Reading: 15 Social Media Content Ideas to Increase Engagement
Step 7: Brand advocates/ influencers
Do not underestimate the role of influence in sales. For instance, 88% of customers tend to buy products when their friends and family recommend them.
So, one of your goals should be to turn customers to brand ambassadors. That way, they can influence new customers.
Also, you can pay influencers to talk about your brand. This is effective since about 49% of consumers make purchases based on recommendations from influencers.
One rule of thumb is to give influencers the room to be creative. They know how to connect better with their audience than you do.
Are you looking for where to begin your search for influencers? Check out some of the influencer marketplaces on this list.
Further Reading: Influencer Marketing Strategy for 2024: A Comprehensive Guide
Step 8: Determine the Timing and Dates for Your Content
Timing is crucial for your content. Posting when your audience is inactive is just the same as not posting anything.
So, what do you do?
Determine the best time to post and where to post
Most social media platforms have analytic tools that recommend the best time for publishing content. However, be careful with using these recommendations.
It’s not just enough to post at the best time; you need to publish at a time when your team is available to react to comments, complaints and questions.
Statistics show that 47% of people believe that excellent customer service is essential for the success of a brand. This is why big brands like Instagram do well to reply to relevant comments after posting their content.
The following is an example of an Instagram Shop replying to a comment on their posts.
Create a social media content calendar
Make a content schedule for social media. Fill up an annual calendar with significant events for your company and items.
For example, if you offer maple goods, you could wish to mention International Pancake Day. These sorts of social media postings may aid in developing brand awareness. There is also a range of social media scheduling tools that can help you do this effectively and automate the process of posting to each account.
Step 9: Test the Performance of your Strategy
Testing is the final part of the job, and it usually takes the longest time. As long as you use these strategies, you need to test them and evaluate your success on all platforms.
During testing, ask questions like:
- On which platforms are you faring the best, judging by your KPIs?
- Which strategy works best for you?
- Where do you need improvements?
As you answer these questions truthfully, be willing to change your social media strategy as necessary. Adjust when you publish, which hashtags you use, or other essential changes.
Further Reading: 12 Social Media Strategy Examples to Empower Your Marketing
Developing a social media marketing strategy is crucial for any business that plans to thrive in today’s business world. But, as we have shown you, creating an effective strategy is not as difficult as many think.
All you have to do is get started and develop a social media marketing plan that you can be proud of. Always remember that every business is unique, and as such, there is not one general blueprint for everyone. To achieve success, you need to stay consistent, conduct thorough research, test, and readjust the process.
With 10+ years of eCommerce & marketing experience, Bhujal is passionate about helping businesses get more revenue and profit through customized strategies. Bhujal lives in Toronto, ON, and writes about affiliate marketing programs and scaling your eCom business at mydigitalkube.com
Hero Photo by Jenny Ueberberg on Unsplash
Social Media Strategy FAQs
Deciding on which social media platforms to use for business purposes can be daunting. Where does your business need to be present? What are other companies in your industry doing? To create an effective social media strategy, it’s important to first understand which platforms will work best for your business and then create content that is both engaging and on brand.
These are the 10 steps to a successful social media strategy:
1. Define your goals.
2. Know your audience.
3. Research your competition.
4. Choose the right platform.
5. Create great content.
6. Promote your content.
7. Monitor your performance.
8. Be flexible and adaptable.
9. Respond to feedback (positive and negative).
10. Keep at it! Creating a successful social media presence takes time, effort, and dedication; don’t expect overnight results!
Social media strategies are the plans and goals that businesses use to guide their social media activities. Tactics, on the other hand, are the specific actions taken to implement those strategies. A solid social media strategy should be based on a thorough understanding of your audience and your business goals. Once you know who you’re trying to reach and what you want to achieve, you can start developing content and engagement tactics that will help you reach your goals.
The 4 P’s of social media marketing are Product, Price, Place, and Promotion.
1. Product – refers to the content that you create and share on social media.
2. Price – the amount that you charge for your products or services.
3. Place – the platform or channels that you use to reach your target audience.
4. Promotion – the way that you spread the word about your business on social media.
Social media strategy is important because it allows businesses to reach a larger audience, connect with potential customers, and create a more personal brand. By engaging with customers on social media, businesses can build relationships and trust. Additionally, social media provides an excellent platform for businesses to share their products and services with a wider audience. A well-executed strategy can help to increase brand awareness, improve customer loyalty, and generate leads.