Your social media marketing strategy is a plan. You need to start at the beginning with planning, obviously, and as with most things, the better foundation that you build for yourself in the beginning, the better the understanding you have of the things that you want to achieve and who your brand is going to be: the better your strategy would be and, therefore, the better your chance of success is.
While it can seem tedious, it is worth taking the time to put in the effort to create a comprehensive strategy to have a successful business eventually.
The important thing, to begin with, is what your goals are. What do you want to achieve from your business and how can you use your marketing strategy to do so? This will be what you are striving to meet with your strategy.
There are more examples of specific and smart goals in later posts, but these could give you a hint about some things that you should be thinking about achieving.
Possible overall goals to set for your social media profiles include:
- Increase brand awareness
- Grow revenue
- Get new traffic to your website/or other platforms
- Increase the clickthrough rate
- Increase mentions
- Build a community with your audience
But how will you achieve such things? Although they are overall goals, they are not specific, nor do they provide any real incentive. They may give you an indication, but they do not give any real inspiration for what you explicitly are aiming for. Instead, your goals should have specific numbers and timelines.
Below are some ideas for sub-goals you can create, they are listed without timelines, but you should endeavor to create them.
Possible sub-goals include:
- Increasing your overall follower count
- Increasing reach
- Reaching x people per month
- Increasing comments
- Increasing mentions
- Increasing overall likes
- Improving your follower-to-like ratio
- Driving traffic to your website
- How many people click the links to your website?
- Where do these people come from?
- How long do they stay on your website?
- Growing revenue
- Revenue from social media
- Revenue from ads
- Revenue from people buying your products or service
- Growing leads
- People using your hashtags or contests
Goals will obviously differ for everyone and each business will have different goals. Try to make them as specific and time-sensitive as possible, this will ensure that you are on track to meet them.
The research phase of your business strategy will be incredibly important. It will be the foundation of your business, in conjunction with your marketing, which is why you need to spend adequate time getting to the bottom of your goals and how are you going to achieve them.
First, you need to research your industry. While it is likely that you have already done this—you can never be too prepared. It would be valuable to check marketing trends within your industry. This includes things like popular kinds of campaigns, hashtags, and locations to post.
You will also need to research your audience. We will discuss this more below, but you need to have a very clear understanding of who your audience is and how they use social media in order for you to be able to market to them effectively.
Additionally, you should be researching your competition. Figure out who your main competition is (both direct and indirect) and analyze their successes and their failures, and it may even be prudent and valuable to analyze their data, too.
This will give you some hints of things to avoid and things that you should (and should not) be focusing on.
Any advantage that you can give yourself will be invaluable; do not waste time doing things that have been proven not to work before. This does not mean that you should not take risks, but simply that you should be careful about the ones that you do take.
While it almost goes without saying, it is imperative that you understand your target audience. If you are lacking an understanding of where your target audience is spending their time online, what kind of content they enjoy, and what kind of businesses they like, your marketing strategy will not be successful.
You need to be able to paint an incredibly detailed picture of your target audience in order to be able to reach them effectively. You need to understand them from a demographic perspective, but your understanding will also need to include things like their income, their propensity to comment, and share posts, and their geographical location.
Understanding the times of day that they use social media. For example, there is no use posting a competition on Instagram at 10:00 am that closes a few hours later requiring them to share and comment, or tagging a friend on a post if your audience typically does not share posts or does know how to and works regular business hours and may not be online during that time and aren’t typically tag people all know how to.
While that was a convoluted explanation, often, social media usage patterns are convoluted too! These are the smaller things that you need to take into consideration.
You also need to use the social media platforms that your audience is using. It may seem obvious, but looking into the data that shows where your audience is most online and how they use social media is the best way to enjoy a successful marketing strategy. After all, what is the point of posting if your audience does not see it?
In addition to this, you also need to fill out your profiles completely, even on social media sites, you may not be using them. As it is better to have claimed the username and have a basic profile with consistent branding than to not. Not only does this open you to more possible searches, but it also looks professional.