Social Media Strategy: The Ultimate Resource Guide for Marketers & Entrepreneurs
It’s virtually impossible to have a successful business and not be on social media. For many consumers, a social media presence is the hallmark of a company that plans to be around for a while.
However, there’s a lot more to your corporate social media presence than just the occasional post. In fact, you can separate the amateurs from the pros by their social media marketing strategy. (Don’t panic; you can download our social media strategy template to become a pro.)
What is a Social Media Marketing Strategy?
A social media marketing strategy summarizes all your plans and goals you’re looking to achieve from social media. It also influences your activities, outlines your success metrics and keeps you on target to your goals.
How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy
Creating an effective social media marketing strategy need not be painful. Follow our five-step guide on how to create a social media plan:
1. Creating a Social Media Plan and Marketing Strategy Tie-In
Ideally, your presence on social media results from a two-pronged approach.
- Social media plan
The plan details how you will implement all the goals of your strategy. It outlines measurable benchmarks that let you check off the various steps you intend to take.
- Social media strategy
In contrast, the strategy defines where you’ll take your social media presence. You can implement it at any time. If you notice that you’ve been somewhat haphazard about adding posts, you can change your approach at a moment’s notice.
A possible approach to your strategy could be a back-to-basics approach that defines why you want to place your business on one or more social media platforms in the first place. Besides that, you identify who your targeted demographic will be. Similarly, categorize the types of posts that you’ll share with this audience.
Interestingly, doing so determines precisely where you’ll share them. Mind you, the times when you would share the same post across multiple platforms has fallen out of favor. This approach led to generic multi-platform posts that turn off today’s online shopper. Therefore, it’s essential to pinpoint your targeting more meticulously. In the same vein, decide when you’ll release new posts to your audience.
Does this sound like a tall order? It doesn’t have to be. However, it requires a lot more attention to the initial planning than you may have done in the past. After all, when social media was newer, it was more of a badge of honor to be on it than a calculated marketing and branding effort.
2. Define: Why is Your Business on Social Media?
You already know that every company with an eye on growth has to be on social media. However, do you know why this is the case? Essentially, a social media presence empowers you to dial in on a variety of goals.
- Lead generation
Your social media presence is a feeder element of your sales pipeline. It encourages communication with interested consumers and might assist you with moving them through the various stages of the sales pipeline.
- Website traffic
Driving website traffic with social media is an important goal that also sends good search signals to Google. In some cases, this may refer to specific landing pages for products or services. Besides that, you can boost your social media brand and awareness among general audiences by being a fixture in their social media feeds. Over time, these consumers may become customers and brand ambassadors, which increases sales and brand engagement.
- Community development
Some products lend themselves to the development of a loyal following. If your business falls into this category, you can create a great community by providing the social media platform. By the way, doing so enables you to hear what your customers are thinking and talking about. It’s an invaluable tool for customer service as well as product and services development.
3. Where are You on Social Media?
“Location, location, location” is a saying that doesn’t just pertain to real estate. It’s also a vital consideration when allocating your social media marketing budget. There are big platforms that you can’t afford to ignore such as:
- YouTube – If you frequently release videos.
However, there are also smaller social media platforms. Not every business needs to invest in being on there. In fact, there’s such a thing as spreading yourself too thin. That said, you could substantially boost your presence if you can find a niche platform that caters to your target audience. You’ll gain an almost immediate niche following that can help you meet your goals in record time.
If you’re an avid blogger and like to present your messages in this way, Medium is an excellent investment of time and effort. You can express yourself with images as well. Pair the two for best results. Rakuten Viber lets you leverage your brand with shareable sticker content that quickly becomes seen in communities and by individuals. It’s an entirely different audience than you would encounter at Medium.
4. Sharing with Your Target Audience (and doing it at the right time)
You’ve narrowed down your reasons for being on social media. Besides that, you’ve selected the platforms that offer the most considerable influence on your targeted demographic. Do you know who your target audience is in the first place? (Download our social media strategy template to put it all together!)
When you put together your marketing plan, you undoubtedly created the ideal customer profile. It defines your target audience. It tells you what the shopper’s age, gender, occupation, and perhaps even socio-economic background is. Knowing who is most likely to buy your products–or would be an excellent customer who could benefit from what you have to offer–informs how you address the shopper.
Let’s say that you sell green widgets. It’s a product that primarily appeals to millennial men. Next, you add another product line, yellow widgets, which appeals to millennial women. Therefore, your ideal consumer is the millennial shopper. However, keep in mind that you may have to address men and women differently. To find ways of interacting with this demographic, you need to learn a little something about its online habits.
- Buying power
What’s the median income of millennials in the area where you’re marketing your products or services? How does the income vary between men and women? Are there areas where this consideration is invalid?
- Online behavior
How do millennials use the online marketplace? Besides that, which are the social media platforms this demographic prefers? Once again, factor in a gender gap. The more detailed you can be in your persona definition, the more targeted you can become in the ways you talk to shoppers.
When do millennials spend most of their time online? Sure, the internet’s always on. However, consider that you want to target your demographic when it’s on live. This may be different for men and women. Therefore, it’s ideal to release new posts and special offers when your customers are actively browsing.
It’s interesting to note that addressing your customer persona also influences your content creation. What types of online content do millennials prefer? Is it heavily video-driven or does text do the trick? Obviously, it’s always a good idea to have an attractive mix – though video content will be the primary driver. Even so, it’s best to create the type of online engagement that appeals to the audience members the most. Watch for shifts in social trends to keep your content fresh and up to the minute.
Do you have to go into so much detail when determining your ideal buyer persona? Although some marketers might suggest taking a broader approach with an emphasis on gathering more shoppers, consider that it’s your perfect buyer who’ll become the qualified lead. You don’t just want online traffic to your website. Rather, you want this traffic to consist of individuals who’ll engage with your brand and eventually move into your sales pipeline.
In the same vein, consider that knowing the exact makeup of your target demographic determines what kind of content you’ll release. If you decide to boost your visual sharing as opposed to text, you might opt for videos (YouTube’s an excellent platform) and photos (great for Instagram). Nevertheless, do not just put up any picture you have. In fact, be wary of stock images. Frequently, you see these displayed by direct competitors. Therefore, you may hamper the brand awareness building.
Instead, choose your visual displays in a way that they support a theme. Become known for your creativity, tongue-in-cheek humor, or meme-worthy displays. Conversely, you might become the thought leader in the industry for informative videos, how-to guides, and expert advice. Sure, you can occasionally break out of this mold and post something that’s a little out of the ordinary. However, it shouldn’t interrupt the overall flow of your theme.
When you know who your audience is, you can develop a good understanding of what it’s looking for when individuals search online for widgets. Therefore, you can provide the answers to the questions they have and solutions to the problems they might experience. It’s one of the primary reasons that consumers will make contact with you. Moreover, it will provide you with the online exposure you need to stand. It makes you the instant authority that the consumer will approach for current and future widget needs.
5. Defining the Tone of Your Social Media Marketing Strategy
You know what your corporate voice is. You’ve already identified it as part of your mission statement. But have you found a tone that goes with it? In other words, does your voice have a personality? Besides that, how does this personality approach the consumer online?
Let your personality and voice flow into your overall message, headline, call-to-actions and even visual elements. The goal is always to have a positive impact on your audience and reflect a tone that resonates.
For example, the green widget might be the workhorse of your customer’s high-tech home. It ties all the other gadgets together. In this case, the tone would be no nonsense. In contrast, its yellow widget counterpart might be a boutique product that adds to the consumer’s at-home tech experience. You might make the tone more playful and even a little daring. It’s perfectly acceptable for different products to have a slightly different tone. However, the brand’s tone should be unique in itself and a direct outcropping of your corporate voice.
In fact, it pays to be very careful when defining your tone. Check in on your nearest competitor. How is this company positioning its social brand? Is there anything you can learn?
Avoid make a social media mistake – you don’t want to imitate this business’ presentation. Not only would it raise a few eyebrows, but it would also make brand awareness difficult for your selected group of shoppers. You don’t want to send prospective buyers accidentally to the competition simply because the feel of your website and social media presence is too similar.
Putting it All Together
You have a plan. Now, you also have a strategy to go with it. In the process, you define your target audience, create a tone that appeals to it, and find social media platforms that let you get the messages out.
Choose the right time for your posts and don’t get lost in the minutiae. It’s essential to look to the big picture, monitor your social media ROI and keep your eyes on the overall goals you’ve set. Are you meeting them? Are you exceeding them?
If you notice that there’s a hiccup along the way, remember that making small changes can have a significant impact on your results. You don’t have to scrap your entire strategy. Make small changes first before you decide to go big.