More than half of all the people in the world are on social media, making it a land of opportunity for businesses. However, you need an effective social media marketing strategy to get the best results.
Today, people don’t use social networks just to connect with other people. They also use it to research products and services, share reviews, and influence others in their consuming behavior.
That’s why social media channels must be a key part of your business development strategy. Social media marketing offers you a powerful way to reach your audience, build meaningful connections, drive long-term brand loyalty, and even increase sales.
So the big question is, are you doing it right?
In this post, we’ll explain why social media marketing is important and how you can create a winning strategy.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing consists of using social media channels to promote your brand, connect with your audience, and sell your products or services. It’s about sharing your story with your audience and helping them understand and identify with your brand.
It involves publishing content on your social networks; listening to and engaging with your audience; analysing results, and running targeted ad campaigns. If done right, it becomes a fast and cost-effective way to build your brand, drive website traffic, and increase sales.
Social media marketing ultimately allows you to:
- Improve brand awareness
- Build a community
- Increase sales
- Measure your brand’s perception
- Advertise products and services to target audiences
- Track & measure your performance
Why Does Social Media Matter for Businesses?
In 2021, an average of 13 new users joined social media every single second. There are now more than 4.5 billion people actively using social media all around the world (Kepios).
During this year’s edition of the Web Summit, Maggie Lower, CMO at Hootsuite, shared that by 2023, 60% of all people will be on some form of social media. And we’re not talking just about B2C opportunities.
As the executive pointed out during her session, 75% of B2B buyers are also present on social networks. So, with more consumers now on social media networks than ever before looking for reviews and recommendations, it’s crucial to have a strong presence on these platforms.
How to Do Your Social Media Marketing Right
When they want to know more about a brand or product, consumers turn to social media. As such, posting random content just for the sake of posting will never deliver any good results to you.
Social media is a crowded virtual space and you need to find an effective way to tell your story and stand out to your audience.
See next how you can create a successful social media marketing strategy.
1. Conduct a Social Media Audit
To develop a new and improved strategy, you need to have a clear picture of your current social media marketing activity. This is the starting point of your strategy.
Start by analysing your current social media profiles. Take note of key information such as:
- Which networks you’re active in;
- Which types of posts are generating the most engagement;
- What business goals have you achieved so far;
- Anything else that feels relevant to inform your new strategy.
Analysing your main competitors is equally important:
- What type of content are they putting out?
- What’s the frequency of their posts?
- What social networks do they use?
- What type of posts generates the most engagement on their profiles?
2. Research Your Audience
Next up, you need to know your audience and learn what they want to see on social media. This will allow you to create and share content that your audience will engage with.
Thankfully, getting to know your audience is fairly easy. Social media analytics can provide a lot of important information about your followers - who they are, where they live, what their interests are, and how they interact with your brand on social media.
Create personas to represent your target customers, so you can tailor your content to different members of your audience and fine-tune your social media campaigns.
To create your personas, you need to gather information about:
- Spending power
- Typical job title or industry
- Pain points/frustrations
- Personality traits
- Brands they support
3. Set SMART Goals
For you to be able to assess and evaluate the strategy you need to set goals and objectives. These must be clear and aligned with your overall business objectives.
Start by asking yourself what is it that you are looking to achieve from your social media presence. Then, define the goals that will contribute to the desired outcome.
To make sure that your goals are attainable within a certain time frame, we suggest you use the SMART framework to define each goal. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
According to the 2021 Sprout Social Index, the most common goals for social media are:
- Increasing brand awareness (58%)
- Community engagement (41%)
- Growing their audiences (35%)
Examples of SMART goals:
“By the end of the quarter, we will increase the average engagement rate per post on Instagram by 3%.”
“Within six months, we will have triple followers on Twitter.”
“By the end of the quarter, we will increase post impressions across socials by 20%.”
Setting SMART goals removes any ambiguity and helps focus your efforts, making it easier to monitor your progress, and continuously improve your social media strategy.
4. Choose the Right Channels
Imagine the amount of effort it would require to be present in every single social media platform. Probably it just wouldn’t pay off.
To choose the best platforms for your business, you need to take into consideration:
- The benefits each social network can provide;
- How those benefits align with your business strategy;
- Whether your target audience uses that social network.
Once you find the right social media channels, then you need to determine what you’ll be using each one for.
According to each network’s unique and specific features, you need to decide what type of content you will post there.
For example, you can determine that Twitter will be mainly used for customer support, Instagram to share live events, and LinkedIn to promote your company culture and attract new talent.
5. Create & Distribute Great Content
Now that you know who your target audience is, what type of content they look for on social media, and which channels you’ll be using to reach them, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and start crafting content to attract and engage your followers.
All the information you gathered before in your social media audit and in your competitor analysis is going to be extremely valuable at this stage.
It’s important to create unique posts adapted to each social media platform. Ideally, you should create a content strategy where you’ll define what content you’ll publish in each profile. From live videos, stories, and polls to user-generated content, there’s a lot you can do.
However, make sure some of your content supports your business goals. For instance, publish content to drive traffic to your blog, generate leads, and educate and entertain your audience.
Don’t forget to create a content calendar where you’ll plan what will be published, when and where. This will allow you to have a clear overview of your content strategy and will help you keep track of your efforts.
6. Track & Measure Your Performance
Your social media marketing strategy needs to be continuously improved. Tracking and analysing your results helps you figure out which strategies work and which don’t.
No one gets it right the first time, don’t worry. The key is to test different options and see which produce the best results. Then, adjust your strategy accordingly and keep on tracking your results.
Do this as regularly as possible. If you find posts that are not performing well, try to understand why based on your data.
To track your results, you can either take advantage of the native features of each social media platform or use a social media management tool, for example.
Pro tips to Boost Your 2023 Social Media Marketing Strategy
At the Web Summit, Maggie Lower shared some useful recommendations for companies looking to improve their social media marketing strategy. Take note of the key points delivered by the social media expert:
Bet on Employee Advocacy - all your employees together have more followers than your company. By turning them into ambassadors, you increase your brand exposure and amplify your organization’s messages. But even more important, it has a positive impact on growth and sales because of increased brand awareness and positive perceptions.
Test different ideas - social networks are testing spaces. It’s important to make data-driven decisions and social media A/B testing allows you to refine your content marketing and advertising strategies. By building a deep understanding of what works - and what doesn’t - you will make the most of your social media efforts.
Provide social media customer service - customers prefer to reach your team on the platforms they already use. It’s as simple as that. However, using social media for customer support might not be that easy if your team is not well prepared for instant communication. Make sure to have effective social media guidelines in place and align your customer service and marketing teams.
Engage in social selling - if you haven’t given it a try yet, it’s time to start leveraging social selling. It consists of connecting with potential customers on social media where they’re already active and engaging in conversations. It’s a proven technique that allows you to reach out to an audience who has an interest in what you’re offering and build a meaningful relationship. If done right, this approach to selling can be very effective. The key to the success of this approach? A thoughtful and authentic communication style.
Social media marketing is key to influencing consumer behaviour and helping you achieve your business goals.
Putting together a winning strategy sure does require hard work, but if you follow the steps we laid out, it will definitely be easier to come up with a strategy and a plan of action.
Keep in mind that you’re never done with your social media marketing strategy - it requires continuous development, so it needs to be revisited and adjusted regularly according to your results, and possible new goals.