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There is no denying the impact social media has had on the way we do business. What was initially a means of socializing online has become a potent marketing tool that has become, in a way, quite indispensable for businesses seeking to establish their brand, among other things.

As with any endeavor of its kind, social media marketing requires a strategy that will serve as the blueprint for whatever it is you’re hoping to do and achieve to further your business on social media.

Your social media marketing strategy will dictate all your actions, which may range from connecting with social media influencers to engaging in Facebook advertising. Your strategy should also be able to help you tell whether you’re succeeding or failing with what you’re doing on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and all the other social media platforms.

If you’re raring to market your business on social media, but you don’t have a strategy in place yet, then you might be able to find these steps to create a social media marketing strategy useful.

Step 1: Figure out why you want to be on social media in the first place.

So you want to establish a presence for your business on social media. Why?

Before you create accounts on every social media platform you can get your hands on, you have to be clear about your social media goals first. Are you doing it to increase awareness for your brand and increase engagement for it? Is it a means for driving traffic to your website? Do you intend to use social media to boost sales and signups and therefore grow revenue?

In all likelihood, you’re going on social media to achieve all three goals, and more, such as generating new leads and providing social customer service.

It’s great to have multiple social media marketing goals, but it’s advisable to hold your horses when you’re just starting out as basically a one-person team. Unless you have an entire social media marketing team at your disposal, be more realistic, and focus your efforts on achieving just a handful of them at least at the beginning.

Step 2: Determine who you want to market your business to.

Identifying your ideal customers—and finding out what you can about them—is key to your entire social media marketing strategy. After all, knowing your audience is essentially the only way for you to know not only who to direct your content to, but also the type of content you ought to deliver to them.

One way of understanding your audience better is to create highly focused audience or buyer personas. These are generalized and fictional representations of your ideal customers which you can create by answering questions that cover their specific demographics, location, and interests. With the basic information contained in the personas you create, you should be able to tailor your content and everything you have to offer according to their specific needs.

Step 3: Choose the best social media platform for your business.

It’s a no-brainer that you have to establish a presence on the biggest social media platforms, but which one would be most appropriate for expanding your reach and growing your business?

When choosing a social media platform, you need to go for the ones that your target audience uses the most. And much as you would want to use all available channels that are popular among your target audience, it would best to stick with the top two initially so you can focus your efforts.

You will also need to understand the facts about each social network to determine which one is appropriate for your business. Facebook, for example, is the biggest of them all with more than 2 billion monthly active users, so there’s a great chance that most of your audience is on Facebook. Instagram has 1 billion users, and it’s a highly visual platform. If you want to reach out to B2B consumers, LinkedIn would be great.

Step 4: Post high-quality and engaging content, both original and curated.

So you’ve finally picked your social media platform, and you’re ready to post original and curated content. So what should it be?

Blog posts are par for the course, and so are images. Videos have also grown in popularity, and will likely be the most dominant form of content in the future. You can also post company news, eBooks, interviews, and infographics.

Assuming that you already know your audience, the content you share on your social media channels should align with their interests. Whether it’s original or curated, the content you post on your social media account has to provide value to their lives. High-quality, relevant, and engaging content will attract and hold their attention, which is why you’re reaching out to them on social media in the first place.

Creating a content calendar can help you plan which ones to share on which social media platform, and when.

Step 5: Measure your results.

So how would you know how you’re doing on social media? The only way to do that is to track your results, analyze the data, and make the necessary adjustments to your strategy. For social media success, tracking the data is probably the single most important thing you have to do.

There are so many social media success metrics to measure, including reach, time spent on website, shares, volume, and engagement. Of course, you’ll be having a tough time monitoring, much less measuring, these metrics without using a good social media analytics tool, so find the best one for you and invest in it.

Once you find out which social media channels are delivering the best results for you, consider doubling down on your participation in them.

One thing you should know about creating a social media strategy is that it’s always a work in progress. The ones listed above are just the basics, and you might want to add your own steps as you go along. So create your own social media strategy and prepare for a period of trial and error before you stumble upon the perfect social media approach for your brand.

Still looking for more on Social Media? Check out these posts

How to Build an Authentic Brand on Social Media

How to Hire an Experienced Social Media Marketer

Here’s Why Your Social Media Isn’t Bringing In New Customers

10 Reasons Why Your Business Needs A Social Media Specialist

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