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6 Steps to Build a Successful Social Media Marketing Strategy

During the Coronavirus Pandemic, marketers have seen one of the most significant changes in how consumers research products and brands. The Global State of Digital 2021 report shows that social networks play an increasingly important role in people’s brand research behaviors and are now second only to search engines.

What’s more, social networks are now the top choice amongst internet users aged 16 to 24 regarding brand research – even ahead of search engines – with younger women particularly likely to turn to social media for their research needs.

For the first time – more than half of the world’s population now uses social media, with more people using social media than not.

Growth trends indicate that an average of more than 1 million people started using social media for the first time every single day over the past 12 months, equating to almost 12 new users every second.

The takeaway for marketers is that consumers use a wider variety of tools to help inform their purchase decisions. As a result, marketers must leverage social media to promote products and services and engage directly with their customers and vice-versa.

6 Steps to Build a Successful Social Media Strategy

Follow the six steps below to create a winning social media marketing strategy. Your social media strategy will serve as a plan for everything you want to do and hope to achieve on social media, and it guides your actions and lets you know whether you’re succeeding or failing.

6 Easy to Follow Steps to Creating a Winning Strategy

  1. Set goals
  2. Audit your competition’s social media sites
  3. Determine the best social media channels for your business
  4. Establish social media policies
  5. Develop your social media platforms
  6. Set-up Process for Monitoring and Measurement

1. Set Goals

Set clear goals for your organization. Goals should encompass all aspects of social media. Keep the target community in mind. If the product has a niche market, a goal could be to research and appeal to that specific market. Goals should be realistic while incorporating company values. By creating SMART goals, you will be able to measure and monitor the success of a campaign.

Create SMART Social Media Goals

The components of SMART goals include:

  • Specific
  • Measureable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time Bound

Specific: The goal needs to be clear and easily understood by all working to achieve it.

  • To focus your efforts, set two to three goals per social network.
  • Who is involved, What do I want to accomplish, Where will it be done, Why am I doing this — reasons, purpose, Which constraints and/or requirements do I have?

A few examples of Social Media goals would be:

  • Increase brand awareness – let your fans get to know you, test content that emphasizes your brand personality and let’s your followers get to know you better.
  • Get a higher quality of sales – by monitoring and listening to what your fans and followers are saying you can better target what they what.
  • Drive POS Sales and Events – social media is a great place to promote events and in-person sales to your customers and fans.

Measurable: Identify key metrics you will use to track progress and measure outcomes. You can evaluate the success of your social media based on your goals related to the sales funnel. The key categories of metrics are exposure, influence, engagement, and conversion. The chart below provides a list of the five key metrics for each section of the sales funnel.

Five Ways to Measure Social Media’s Impact

Source: Social Media Examiner

Achievable: It is critical to set goals that are in your power to achieve. Is the goal reasonable enough to be accomplished?

Relevant: Each goal should be consistent with the other goals you have established and fit within your immediate and long-term plans.

Time-Bound: Your objective should include a time limit. Decide exactly when you want to achieve the goal. To track progress, create deadlines for action steps to be completed.

Tips for How to Creating Social Media Goals

2. Audit Competition’s Social Media

Your social media strategy needs to connect and meet the expectations of your loyal customer. Customers are social media savvy, and copying a social media tactic from another organization would be disastrous. Instead, your goals are to identify gaps in your competitor’s strategy and opportunities for your brand to engage with your customers and add value to the customer relationship.

There are four core areas to look at when auditing your competitor’s social media:

  1. social media presence (what channels they are using and how they present themselves),
  2. content (what are they talking about and how often),
  3. performance (how many followers, fans, subscribers) and
  4. engagement (what content gets likes, shares, comments). 

Related Content: How To Create A Social Media Channel Strategy

3. Determine the Best Social Media Channels for Your Business

Deciding on the right social media marketing platforms for your business can be tricky. First, focus on core understanding — who you’re trying to reach, what you’re trying to accomplish, and how you want to engage your target audience.

YouTube and Facebook continue to dominate the online landscape, with 81% and 69%, respectively, reporting ever using these sites. Smaller shares of Americans use sites such as Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Most Popular Social Media Platforms

most widely used online social media platforms

Usage of the major social media platforms varies by factors such as age, gender, and educational attainment. Your social media strategy will be more effective if you select platforms that reflect your target demographics. By aligning your social media marketing to address the specific needs and habits of varying demographics on each social media network, you will be more relevant and increase your chances of conversion.

Demographics of Social Media Platforms

chart of demographics by social media channel 2021

It is worth noting, however, that many of these platforms’ audiences overlap. Only a small fraction of each platform’s user base is unique, with more than 98.9 percent of Facebook’s users reporting that they use at least one other social platform. 

That figure is even higher for smaller platforms, with the latest data indicating that marketers can now reach more than 99 percent of the users of Reddit, Snapchat, Twitter, and TikTok via other social media platforms. 

The key takeaway is that marketers should focus on each platform’s creative and contextual opportunities to engage their customers. Marketers should evaluate the specific creative possibilities offered by each platform’s content formats and the engagement opportunities available on more ‘niche’ platforms.

Social Media Platform Audiences Overlap

Social Media Platform Audiences Overlap

4. Establish Social Media Policies

One loud voice can be the end of your social media reputation. However, social media should be incorporated both internally and externally. All employees can be on social media, and a social media policy should be put in place to protect both the employee and the organization. The marketing team should handle all external communications from the organization, but internal social platforms can promote workplace satisfaction and productivity.

Related Article: How to Structure Your Social Media Team

5. Develop Your Social Media Platforms

Next, develop your social media platforms. After all, it is in the name, and this is, arguably, the most essential step. Having a solid following on social media builds credibility and reputation. Organizations can do this by both producing quality content and by responding to comments from customers.

Engage Your Customers and Followers

Tell your story in a genuine, intimate, compelling way, and people will engage and follow you on social media. A tribe is built around your brand, and they will talk about you when you’re not around. They will share your messages, and when you do have some self-promotion that needs sharing, they will happily wave your flag for you and with you. This all comes from finding out what makes your business unique, what things set you apart from your competitors, why you went into business in the first place, and delivering that in a genuine, honest, compelling way.

6. Set-up Process for Monitoring and Measurement

There are many tools to help organizations enhance their social media platforms. Google Analytics provides freemium tools to improve search engine optimization (SEO) and drive return on investment (ROI). Through Google Analytics, organizations can monitor what customers are viewing and where they are going. Further, social media managing platforms, such as Hootsuite, allow organizations to maintain all of their platforms at once, giving the organization the edge in keeping up with comments.

The Most Important Social Media Metrics to Track

Measure Social Media Marketing Impact

Every good social media marketing strategy has planned events to drive customer engagement. Events range from online giveaways to in-person conferences. The sky is the limit, and the most successful organizations are the ones that develop creative events to develop social media chatter, hint you should use hashtags.

In today’s changing technological landscape, keeping up with social media is important for organizations to communicate with customers on a personal level. Developing a social media strategy is a worthwhile investment for organizations wanting to keep up in the digital age.

Customer Insight Group, Social Media Experts

Social media is unlike any other communications medium your company has ever used. It has tremendous power to grab the hearts and minds of your customers. But to make it work, you need an experienced guide. Our Social Media Navigator gets your company up to speed and competitive in all things social media in the shortest possible time. In just a few short weeks, your company will go from social media newbies to pros.

Let’s Work Together and We’ll Help You:

  • Learn how your customers are already using social media, including their interactions with your competitors.
  • Identify the best social media channels for your brand to engage your customers.
  • Discover the best social media management tools for your brand.
  • See how to integrate it with your existing communications channels.
  • Develop a plan to build and nurture a community of customers.
  • Create fresh and relevant content.
  • Set up a dashboard to track and measure results.
  • And a great deal more in a program customized for your company.
Editorial Staff