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How to Build a Social Media Strategy

Social media marketing incorporates social media platforms and websites to promote products and services, allowing organizations to communicate directly with customers and vice-versa. Social media marketing is done on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+, Linkedin, and much more. This form of marketing is integrated with an overall marketing plan to achieve business goals.

Social media is ever important in the changing landscape of consumer engagement. In 2022, social media will continue to be a part of consumers’ daily routines. For example, seven in ten Facebook users – and around six-in-ten Instagram and Snapchat users – visit these sites at least once a day.

Seven-in-ten Facebook Users Visit Site Daily

use of social media channels 2021

Even though these channels are popular, it doesn’t mean that these are your go-to channels for your brand. Channel popularity varies by consumer demographic and industry. So while these benchmarks for overall consumer behaviors are a good place to start, you’ll need to focus on where your customer engages on social media.

Marketers Invest in Social Media Marketing

The pandemic and social distancing rules have transformed buying journeys for both B2B and B2C customers. Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey shows that CMOS and marketing leaders are reprioritizing channels, programs, and resources to remain competitive and efficient. Marketers invest 72.2% in digital channels, and social media accounts for 11.3% of the total marketing budget.

93% of marketers use social media for business, and YouTube and Facebook are the most widely used online platforms. Industries spread from startups to e-commerce businesses, nonprofits, and banks to retailers — all have at least one social media channel in their marketing.

6 Steps to Build Your Social Media Strategy

These six steps will help you develop a strategic plan that summarizes everything you plan to do and hope to achieve on social media. Your social media strategy will guide your actions and help you determine whether you’re succeeding or failing.

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.

The chart below highlights common social media marketing goals. As a marketer, you need to decide which of these are most aligned with your business goals.

Common Social Media Goals

common social media goals

How to Create SMART Social Media Goals

Specific

  • The goal needs to be clear and easily understood by all that will be 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

  • How am I going to track the progress and measure the outcome?
  • What are the key metrics that I will be evaluating, i.e.  conversion assists, website traffic from social media, number of followers, engagement metrics like mentions, shares, comments, likes, etc?

Achievable

  • Is the goal reasonable enough to be accomplished?
  • Is it in your power to achieve it or do you need help?

Relevant

  • Is the goal worthwhile and will it meet your needs?
  • Is each goal consistent with the other goals you have established and fits within your immediate and long-term plans?

Time-Bound

  • Your objective should include a time limit. Decided exactly when you want to achieve the goal.
  • To track progress, create deadlines for actions 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 more fully with your customers. There are four core areas to look at when auditing your competitor’s social media: social media presence (what channels they are using and how they present themselves), content (what are they talking about and how often), performance (how many followers, fans, subscribers) and engagement (likes, shares, comments). A thorough audit of your competitors gives you insight into what your target audience cares about and engages with. You can also review some industry benchmarks to get a benchmark of engagement. With this insight, you know what works and what doesn’t work, and now you can leverage social media best practices along with competitor research to develop a strategy you know will work.

Social Media Marketing Engagement by Industry

social media content engagement by industry

3. Determine the Best Social Media Channels for Your Business

With hundreds of social media sites, deciding on the right social media marketing channel 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.

Seven-in-ten Americans say they use social media – a share that has remained relatively stable over the past five years, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults. Since the usage of the major social media platforms varies by age, gender, and educational attainment, marketers need to focus their time and resources on the channels their customers use.

Social Media Use Varies by Demographics

 social medial use in 2021 by demogrpahics

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, but a social media policy must be put in place to protect both the employee and the organization. The marketing team should handle all outward communications from the organization. For example, Walmart includes its social media policy as part of its corporate guidelines.

5. Develop Your Social Media Platforms

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

In addition, 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.

6. Set-up Process for Monitoring and Measurement

Several social media management tools make the social media manager’s job easier, improving marketing productivity, performance and keeping up with comments. These tools also help marketers analyze and participate in social conversations. This is done through social listening, publishing, engagement (of broader audiences and social user communities), reporting and analytics capabilities, and support for workflow and automation of SMM processes. Listed below are a few of the popular tools. You can read reviews, ratings and demo the tools to pick the best one for your organization.

  • Hootsuite
  • Zoho Social
  • Khoros Social Marketing
  • Sprout Social
  • Salesforce Social Studio
  • Adobe Social (Legacy)

Google Analytics provides freemium tools to enhance search engine optimization (SEO) and drive return on investment (ROI). Through Google Analytics, organizations can measure, monitor what customers are viewing and where they are going.

Use Google Analytics for Social Media Measurement

google analytics to measure and monitor social media metrics

Conclusion

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

Sallie Burnett
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