Properly deployed, social media marketing can allow you to build engaged audiences. On the platforms where your potential followers are already active. Create multiple sources of traffic that continually attract new customers, and grow your business through the power online networks.
However, if implemented poorly, social media marketing risks becoming a tedious and time-consuming obligation. That results in an ineffective presence that your target customers don’t even know exists or pay attention to.
The key to success is creating a social media marketing strategy that focuses on your actions. Combined with a process that makes it easy for you to implement. Without taking your focus away from running your business.
It is often difficult to start from scratch, given the multitude of social platforms where it is possible. To establish a presence and the investment of resources that each of them requires.
That’s why we’ve created this guide, which walks you through the steps to establishing. Your own social media marketing strategy, as well as the tips and tools you’ll need.
How to Make a Social Media Marketing Strategy
Before you post anything, it’s best to set goals and identify the best way to achieve those results.
Your online store should be at the center of your social marketing strategy, which in turn should link each of your social media actions to a related goal.
Social media marketing can serve all sorts of purposes for your business, including the following:
- Generate traffic and sales on your online store,
- Increase awareness of your brand,
- Build an engaged audience
- Be in touch with your clients and options,
- Provide support,
- And much more!
Social media marketing requires a variety of channels to incorporate, each with unique powers, vulnerabilities, and chances to think.
The pillars of your social media marketing strategy
For your first steps in social media marketing, here are five essential pillars to consider as you set out to create your strategy:
- Goals: Set goals for your actions and how you will measure the effectiveness of your efforts.
- Target audiences: Study your target customers and create a profile for them.
- Content Mix: Create a social content calendar based on recurring content patterns.
- Channels: Choose the best social platforms available that you want to spend your time and resources on and determine what you will use them for.
- Process: Set up the infrastructure and tools that will allow you to effectively implement your strategy by a brand strategist.
These pillars are used to lay the groundwork for the success of your business on social networks. After studying this guide, you should have a better understanding of how all these considerations interrelate and how they can mutually contribute to better decision-making and the personalization of your social media strategy over time.
Set objectives for your social media marketing plan
All your social posts should relate to one of your business goals. To begin, define these objectives and the performance indicators that you will use to evaluate your actions. Social media marketing requires an experimental approach, and it will be difficult for you to improve any aspect of your social marketing without first defining the right performance indicators to track. You can even use these metrics (which will vary by platform) to set measurable goals for your social presence to stay motivated and on track.
Here are some of the goals you might consider incorporating now or in the future into your social media marketing strategy:
- Increase brand awareness: Reach more consumers to maximize the likelihood of your brand being seen by your target customers. To gauge how your efforts are performing against this goal, you can use certain metrics such as impressions or reach, likes, shares, other mentions, or any other similar metric that signals that ‘An active user interacted with or viewed your post.
- Build demand for your products: Engage people in your products through inspiring or educational content, and measure how well your efforts are performing against that goal with metrics such as clicks to your online store, adding products to the shopping cart, or comments and messages left by potential customers.
- Acquire leads: Convert your audience members into email subscribers and convert those email subscribers into customers for free through social media promotions, or by using remarketing ad campaigns.
- Generate sales: These are the sales that come from your social media marketing strategy. The number and number of orders placed are performance indicators associated with this objective.
- Drive traffic offline: If you’re a merchant with a brick-and-mortar location or host events, one of your goals might be to drive users to a physical outlet or location determined.
- Network and form partnerships: interact with influencers or brands complementary to yours to deploy influence marketing or co-marketing actions.
- Build a Loyal Audience: Build an engaged audience that genuinely cares about what you have to say; and avoid increasing the size of your social audience by buying followers. You need to build an authentic community of members who are passionate about your products, who will be happy to promote your content and offers to those around them. The performance indicators associated with this objective may include the decrease or increase in the number of followers during a specific period and the engagement rate (which is calculated by dividing the Total Number of Interactions by the Number of Subscribers).
- Establish social proof: Collect content generated by your customers or influencers, or positive testimonials that put your brand in the best light and that you could potentially use in other marketing activities.
- Provide customer service: the presence on social networks generates questions, complaints, and requests from customers. One of your objectives will therefore be to aid your customers or to transfer their requests to another channel of your choice for follow-up. Response time to direct messages is a performance indicator associated with this objective (ex: on Facebook, this indicator can be displayed as a badge on your business page).
Become a thought leader in your target market: social media gives you a voice that you can use not only to join in conversations, but also to present innovative viewpoints and build credibility for your products and services.
Each of your decisions should be geared toward one of these goals, and any ideas and new tactics you plan to test should be evaluated for their potential to achieve these goals. Some actions will take the form of long-term investments, while others will focus on more immediate results.
Keep these goals in mind as we move on to the next step: identifying the audiences you’re going to target.
Identify your target audiences
Marketing, deployed on social media or beyond, starts with understanding your target customer. While it takes time to fully define and understand your target audience, there are steps within your reach that will get you started faster.
Spend time studying your audience, looking for demographics. And psychographics or repeating patterns so you can build detailed profiles of your potential customers. In addition to informing your initial strategy. This exercise will also allow you to develop a brand tone and voice that resonates with your potential buyers.
If your business serves a specific niche audience by default (e.g., cat owners). The task will be more accessible since you won’t have to convince a vague audience like the airlines have to do. You should explore places where your target customers are active. Such as forums or blog comment sections, to understand what interests them.
Facebook, as a massive social network with 2.6 billion active users, is a great playground to study your audience. Check out your competitors’ pages and click on the profiles of some of their most engaged followers to better understand their identity and interests.
Once you have advanced in your research, gather your data to create a qualified target customer profile that identifies the consumer most likely to purchase your products. Although it is not essential to directly complete all the details of your target profile, it is important to form a sufficiently representative image of it to guide the actions of your company.
Here are some of the most important data to gather:
- Location: Where do your target customers live? Just knowing their country of residence can help you. However, if you manage a local business or only want to serve a specific area, you should define your perimeters of activity.
- Age: What is the age range of your target customers? Be intentionally vague in your estimate unless your business serves consumers who are at a key life stage.
- Gender: depending on your activity, this criterion could be relevant.
- Interests: What are the interests, hobbies, and passions of your target customers? This data is useful for audience targeting and content ideas (e.g., cooking, hip-hop dancing, yoga).
- Career and Industry: What industry do your target customers work in and what positions have they held? Again, this data could be relevant depending on your activity.
- Income Level: What is the income level of your target customers? Are they price sensitive, or are they willing to spend more on premium products?
- Relationship status: Are your target customers single, in a relationship, or already married? This data could be relevant for a niche like marriage, for example.
- Favorite apps and sites: What kinds of websites do your target customers favorite? Do they browse Instagram or Pinterest daily? Are there certain apps they can’t part with?
- Motivation to buy: what are the reasons that could motivate your target customers to buy your products? For example, would they like to learn how to cook healthier meals to lose weight, or adopt a workout routine that they could follow despite a busy schedule?
- Obstacles to purchase: why would your target profiles choose not to buy your product? Are they concerned about quality?
- Other information: add any information that we haven’t covered but that might be relevant, such as level of education, life stage (e.g., parents with newborn children), type of favorite events, etc.
While there is always some margin for error when creating target customers, the main purpose of this exercise is still to bring out your best conclusions about the types of people who would be easiest to convert into customers.
Most of these characteristics can be targeted directly or indirectly through social media ads. When written down and at your fingertips, they can also inform the type of content to be shared and the tone to be used.
Create your target profiles by being intentionally vague. You’ll probably need to modify them, evolve them, and improve their level of accuracy as you execute your strategy and get feedback from real customers.
You may discover that one of your conclusions was inaccurate, or that your customers share another characteristic that you hadn’t thought of.
You can take this approach further by developing multiple audiences or “target segments” to reach, such as consumers who buy your products to give as gifts, customers who already buy from one of your competitors, and complementary brands and the influencers you would like to connect with.
But by already defining a primary target audience. You’ll be in a good position to consider the next part of your social media strategy: content creation.
Produce content for social media
On each channel, you can produce a series of content with a weekly schedule, and you can syndicate your content to other channels (eg cross-posting from Snapchat to Instagram).
Selecting your content mix (the recurring content formats and post types you will use most often) will activate your thinking and production of your social content, while adding momentum to your publishing schedule in a way that ensures variety and consistency to your audience. By not doing so, you risk wasting time looking for new content to post daily.
Most social accounts that have a large following make an implicit promise to their audience and make sure to continually deliver on it. As a business owner, you need to start by asking yourself one key question:
Beyond your products, how can you consistently deliver value to your target audience?
It’s not just about what you post, but also how you allocate your resources (time, money, creativity) to maintain your social presence on each platform. Some ideas will deserve a bigger investment if they can allow you to achieve several of your goals simultaneously.
As part of your content mix, there should also be publishing templates that can be planned, replicated, and scheduled for regular posting.
For example, you could post a customer testimonial every Tuesday, and share a quote in an attractive graphic format every Wednesday and Friday. These pieces of content that can be easily created will help fill your social content calendar, while you work on creating more elaborate assets, such as a promotional video or a blog post.
The content mix you develop can incorporate the following categories:
- News: information focused on new developments in your sector, and publications relating to current trends.
- Inspiration: Inspirational content that highlights your products or a certain lifestyle, such as inspirational quotes presented in an interesting graphic format, and attractive photos from all over the world.
- Education: you can share interesting statistics, tutorials, and facts; as well as how-to posts from your blog or YouTube channel.
- Posts that are promotional or related to your products: Photos that show your products in use in context, how-to videos, testimonials, and feature explanations are all pieces of content that can help you reach your goal of achieving Sales. You can often run these posts as advertisements after you create them.
- Contests and Giveaways: Entering a contest or offering a free download in exchange for an email address are excellent promotional methods that provide value to all parties.
- Customer & Influencer Highlights: Snaps or videos that highlight your customers or influencers your audience admires.
- Events: Share information related to meetups, fundraisers, or training and learning opportunities, especially if you run a local business.
- Q&A: Ask your audience a question or encourage a specific action by sharing a request like “Tag a friend” or answer a common question your customers ask you.
- Behind the scenes: Share the process of making your product or the actions you take to grow your business to ensure transparency that your audience would be very likely to appreciate. You could also share with your audience a glimpse of the team working to grow your business to build your trust capital or build your personal brand as a founder.
- And more: be creative and try to put together a mix of content that differentiates you from your competitors.
Define between 5 and 7 content templates to start with, balancing your content mix between post formats that you can quickly create and others that require more time to produce, such as a product demo video. Also include posts intended to generate sales and others whose purpose is simply to delight and grow your audience.
Some of these ideas might not work. Others could prove to be a resounding success. The main purpose is to define goal-oriented concepts that can be tested.
Vary your programming so that it is not dependent on promotional publications. When potential new followers visit your account for the first time, it’s the last 3-6 posts on your profile that are most likely to shape their perception of your brand (depending on the platform). If all these posts are trying to sell your products or services, they might get disappointed and opt out.
Note: keep in mind that the content you create can be reused many times over time and served to your audience or other channels. Don’t be intimidated by the idea of reposting existing content, especially if certain posts have proven to be very effective in driving traffic, engagement, or a spike in sales.
To help you find inspiration when setting up your content mix, here are some ideas you could borrow from brands that excel on social networks.
Encourage customers to contribute with their content
Some cosmetic brands encourage their customers to share before/after photos on Instagram using a personalized hashtag. These photos are then shared on the Instagram account or on the online store of these brands.
If your products can benefit from sharing on social media, you should leverage this advantage to acquire user-generated content and use it to feed your social content calendar, crediting the author of each post to highlight it.
Photos focused on the use of the product
While it’s great to have multiple content formats that add variety to your social media marketing mix, in practice all you need to do is identify one effective content template and post it on a regular basis. increase the size of your audience.
Some brands build their posts around a recurring theme that helps facilitate long-term content production without hurting engagement.
By sharing photos focused on the use of your products, you create a strong engagement with your audience, develop your clientele by structuring your Instagram account around a clear and coherent theme, and stimulate your sales by showing the product in context.
Humor that resonates with your target audience
Humor can be very effective in getting your audience to engage with what you post. If humor fits into your brand tone, you should reserve a place for entertaining posts in your social content.
At an initial stage, you will probably run out of time and budget to produce professional and personalized content for each social network. Start small by testing a few ideas. As long as you maintain a regular editorial calendar and track the performance of your posts, you will be able to adapt your content mix over time.
Additional tips and resources
- Be visual: Even if you’re not a professional, you can use free graphic design tools to produce shareable or viral content.
- Orient your content: Associate each post in your content mix with your target audience and one or more of the objectives you have defined. Choosing the right performance indicators to track will help you gauge the success of a particular idea and inform your strategy over time through trade advertising.
- Select and Create: To avoid feeling overwhelmed by the workload required to create original content, you should attempt to select and assemble existing content. Be sure to tag and credit original sources though and ask permission if in doubt.
Additional tips and resources:
Consider content marketing channels if you have the time and resources to drive them. For example, you can start a blog or a YouTube channel that you will be able to integrate into your social media strategy. Content marketing channels can contribute to your social editorial calendar, while social media can be used for distributing your content marketing and getting ideas, photos, and more.
- Take a focused approach: Take the time to test and master one or two platforms at a time. It is better to excel in one channel than to have a mediocre presence in many.
- Optimize your profiles: complete your social profiles with all the information your customers might want to know and try to register the same username on each platform by associating each profile URL with a unique tracking link. Write a clear biography that describes who you are and what you do. Also make sure you have an avatar and a cover photo when applicable. You can use Canva to create social profile visuals and graphics with the right dimensions for each social channel you choose.
Creating a process for implementing your social media strategy
With your understanding of your goals, your target audience. And how you’ll use the different channels you’ve chosen. It’s time to structure the management and planning of your social content calendar.
There are plenty of tools you can use for this purpose, though we recommend Trello for scheduling content creation; and Hootsuite, or Buffer for scheduling social posts. As all these tools come on a free plan and have all the features you’ll ever need.
Generate ideas and plan content
Ideas often arise unexpectedly. So, you need to have a place to jot them down and expand on them as the inspiration strikes. Trello is very useful in this regard since in addition to allowing you to save your ideas in Trello boards. The tool also allows you to add links, files, and notes to each idea as you go. give it life. This gives you the flexibility to be as meticulous. Or as minimalist as you want when approaching the management of social content creation.
The content templates you have developed will prove very useful in this stage of content planning. But you can also step away from it to pursue new ideas and opportunities. There will always be aspects of your social marketing that are reactive, organic, and experimental.
Either way, you should create a process where you can build a library of ideas in reserve. And develop them until they’re ready to be planned for release. If you plan to post the same content on multiple platforms. Be sure to optimize the format and message for each channel. On Trello, you can add variations to each card created to consider. For each platform so that you can find your way around when you start planning your posts.
Social content planning: when, where, and how often to post?
Now that you’ve started the process of creating content to feed your social editorial calendar. It’s time to plan your posts. Once you have prepared the posts, images, and all other required content elements. You can start planning your posts with the following two tools:
Buffer, for user-friendly and automatic content scheduling.
Hootsuite, if user interactions and social listening are a big part of your strategy.
What publication frequency should you set for the channels you have chosen?
There is no unanimous answer to this question. That’s why you need to start small and increase the frequency of posting as you develop your routine and figure out the most effective days and times to post.
You need to find the right balance, without being too self-effacing or too aggressive in the way you post. Initially, don’t worry if you only have time to post once or twice a week. You can increase your frequency gradually until you reach one post per day. And then run tests to see if higher posting frequency would get you better results on certain platforms.
The best times to post for your audiences can only be identified through an experimental approach. Popular posting times also vary with seasons and other variables.
If you’re looking for a good starting point, think about when people check their social feeds: in the morning. At lunchtime, while commuting, and before bed.
Besides, one of the most important practices to follow is to plan your publications. At least a week in advance. Each time you work on this task, put in a few hours at a time to finish it in one go. So you can manage other aspects of your business while your social media posts follow each other. automated way.
Automate everything you can to free up your time managing non-automated tasks. The reality of social media marketing indeed implies the existence of activities that simply cannot be automated. These activities are meant to ensure the effectiveness of your social marketing. And include submitting responses to questions and comments from your audience, managing your community. Serving ads, and of course creating content. You should set aside enough time to manage these activities. Although you can outsource them once you’ve mastered them.
Initially, social media marketing requires strategic management of your time. You should constantly seek to use your time more efficiently by repurposing or repurposing your existing content. Or dedicating some of your budget to paid advertising. To get a better return on the time invested in content creation.
Additional tips and resources
Create templates: Where possible. Create content and design templates based on top performing posts. To facilitate the continuous rotation of new content formats. Especially as part of a series of posts recurring. For example, you could save the Instagram hashtags you use the most. So you always have them handy when posting. Or apply the same filter to your photos to ensure your visuals are consistent.
Keep an eye on important calendar dates: Holidays, parties, and celebrations are great opportunities to create posts. Pay special attention to upcoming events so you can think ahead to new social marketing ideas. Sprout Social is a tool that offers a handy calendar including hashtags related to parties. And celebrations in case you are looking for a solution that makes it easier for you.
Customize your posts for each platform: You can share the same post or image on different social networks. If you take the time to optimize the message, images, or videos for the platform you are posting on.
Take the time to have proactive interactions: social networks are powered by exchanges and interactions. And in this sense, you must interact with members of your audience. And users within the framework of your posts and beyond to reap the fruits of your social presence. In practice, this basically boils down to commenting on posts from other accounts and users. Tweeting mentions of members of your community, and just being social on whatever networks you choose.
The best social strategies are established on the ground
It sounds obvious, but it bears repeating using social media for your business. For marketing purposes is drastically different from using it for personal purposes.
Your goal now is to get a positive return on the time, money. And effort you invest in your social marketing plan. It requires an intention behind every action.
Your social media strategy must be flexible enough to adapt to updates in algorithms and news feed. The emergence of new social channels, and the ever-changing needs of audiences who are on the lookout. Stay flexible and monitor major trends with the aim of constantly optimizing your efforts without being distracted by fleeting trends.
Finally, although changes on social networks are constant. Here are the three practices that will always shape your strategy: be authentic; meet the needs of your audience; and when in doubt, hypothesize, test, evaluate, and optimize by learning.