How to Build a Winning Social Media Marketing Strategy for Your Business
At this point, social media is practically an inescapable part of life. It’s hard to go a day without hearing about what so-and-so posted on Twitter or about a life-hack that went viral on TikTok. Plus, we’d be willing to bet that you’ve made a few purchases based on what you’ve seen on your feed. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. About 74% of consumers also rely on social media to make their buying decisions.
Alternatively, social media has also been the catalyst for quite a few messes. But despite countless controversies, a majority of Americans are still users, with Pew Research Center finding that 70% use some kind of social media site. With those numbers, it’s a no-brainer that connecting with new and current customers means having a social media presence.
On the surface, social media marketing seems simple enough. It’s probably tempting to just make an account on every platform possible, cross-post all the same content, and call it a day. But we’re here to save you from that all-too-easy trap, kemosabe.
Social media marketing is about more than just constantly posting pretty pictures or promotions. To really make your social media work for your business, you need an effective social media marketing strategy. Having a solid game plan for social is the not-so-secret key to getting results without wasting your precious time, money, and efforts. Here are seven essential elements of an effective social media marketing strategy.
1. Keeping Your Eye on the Prize
With outspoken users and a massive roster of brands brawling for attention, the world of social media can be an overwhelming place if you jump into it without a plan. At the core of any strategy needs to be your goals and objectives. What are you trying to achieve with your social media marketing efforts? Can your end goals be broken down into measurable and realistic objectives?
These main goals will define your strategy and affect the platforms you use, as well as the content you create. Ideally, goals should align with the buyer journey, with common ones including:
- Building Brand Awareness: Use social media to shed some light on your brand and show the world what you’re all about, especially if you’re just getting started.
- Boosting Engagement: Connect with potential customers online to generate demand and even encourage loyalty.
- Driving Conversions: From posting about new products to sharing promotions, social media can directly generate conversions and sales for your business.
- Improving Customer Experience: Online interactions between you and your customer on social media are an extension of the brand experience. These platforms can be a vital tool in making their experience with you special… and everyone wants to feel special.
Remember to be realistic about your goals and avoid trying to do it all. Keep things simple. Overall, focusing on a few of the most relevant goals for your business makes it way easier to optimize your strategy and, ultimately, see results.
2. Paying Attention to the Crowd
Once you’ve got your goals down, you want to define your target audience. You’ve entered the stadium of social media, but who are you doing this all for? Who are you trying to get to engage with and follow you? Knowing your target audience will inform other aspects of your strategy, including what platforms you want to be on and the kind of content you should be posting.
While a good starting point for knowing your audience is considering your target customer, if you already have social media accounts, don’t forget to take a look at the actual make-up of your social audience. Most platforms will break down the demographics of your followers, allowing you to see if there is a gap between your target audience and your real audience.
Use any insights about your actual online audience, whether it’s social media or Google analytics, to adjust your strategy appropriately. For example, while you may make a product for women of all ages, you might consider focusing on women over 35 as your social media audience after learning that they make up most of your followers on a particular platform.
Only when you decide on and have a clear idea of your target audience can you really start to optimize your social media marketing strategy. Getting a lock on your audience will help you be where they are and create content that resonates. Plus, it never hurts to have a safeguard against looking like a fish outta water!
3. Picking the Right Platforms
Each social media platform has its own mojo, but a common foul that brands make is treating social media as a monolith. Different sites attract different audiences and are optimal for certain kinds of content and engagements. A wildly ineffective strategy is to be on every single platform while posting all the same content.
Keep your goals and target audience top-of-mind when looking into which social media platforms to focus on. Review findings on user demographics and consider these key characteristics of the most popular sites:
- Facebook: One of the world’s largest social platforms has become increasingly popular among older demographics and a prime place for ads. The nature of Facebook encourages sharing opinions, posting longer content, and growing a community.
- Instagram: Photos are the name of the game with Instagram. It’s become one of the most optimal platforms for consumer brands, with influencers and shopping features affecting purchase behavior. While its users skew younger than Facebook’s, the platform is starting to face some competition from newer platforms like TikTok.
- TikTok: An app that is most popular among younger users, the short-form video platform is also seeing use among older adults grow quickly. TikTok has had a powerful influence on consumer behavior, with an ability to spread trends like wildfire and make all kinds of products go viral.
- Twitter: A microblogging platform, content that is short and to-the-point thrives on Twitter and is typically witty or socially relevant in nature. It has a reputation for being a platform to discuss current events and publish commentary, with trending topics moving fast.
- LinkedIn: Designed to be a business-oriented networking site, LinkedIn is a goldmine for B2B marketers. With college-educated, wealthy, and career-focused users, the platform is full of industry-specific content that provides useful insights and an audience primed to make business connections and decisions.
When picking which platforms to focus on as part of your social media marketing strategy, consider your target audience and goals. On which sites can your customers be found? Which platforms will be best for your particular goals? Try not to spread yourself too thin and, instead, pick a few platforms that align the best with your overall strategy.
Of course, the ones we listed above are just some of the most popular social platforms as of this writing. There are countless other networks that you can have a presence on, as well as new ones popping up faster than the time it takes to learn a viral TikTok dance. Some of the others — Snapchat, Clubhouse, Twitch, YouTube, Pinterest, etc. — can be of great value to your business. While it’d be impossible for us to cover the details of every social media platform out there, trust us when we say we know how to find the right jam for your bread.
4. Playing the Content Game
Without a doubt, the ultimate MVP of social media marketing is the content. Great content is the difference between having people go out to buy a personalized cola can and swiping left on your story faster than you can hashtag “#ShareACoke.” While there’s plenty of room to play around and experiment with different content, your audience, the platforms, and your own branding should always inform what you create.
The type of content will depend on the platforms you decide to focus on. For example, on Instagram, you can post images with captions, stories, reels, and even host live streams. TikTok content, on the other hand, consists only of short-form videos and live streams. Be sure to have a content plan for each platform based on the type of media that lives on it.
Different posting cultures and trends on social media platforms will also affect the kind of content you put out. For instance, while LinkedIn posts tend to be all ‘business business’ and professional, TikTok videos have a raw and extremely casual quality to them. And in contrast to Instagram’s focus on aesthetic images and lifestyle content, photos play more of a supporting role on Twitter, where succinct copy and social commentary rule. Learn the ins & outs of each platform and apply those insights in your content creation.
Underscoring your content strategy will be your audience and goals. The social media content you put out should be what your audience wants to see, as well as what will help you reach your specific goals. Do some competitive or consumer research to understand what kind of content is most valuable to your customer. Consider how you can deliver that content in a way that will achieve your objectives, whether it’s to increase brand awareness or boost conversions.
And let’s not forget, your content should seamlessly fit with your own branding, from the tone of the copy to the visuals. Does it make sense for your brand to be using humor and posting memes? Does the content align with how you present yourself as a brand? Consistency is key here. If your social media content is inconsistent with who you are as a brand, it can have negative effects on brand awareness, trust, and, ultimately, your bottom line.
5. Building that Camaraderie
Social media is an open court, built for player interactions and establishing community. As you hope for your audience to engage with your content, be ready to interact with them ASAP! Responding to comments, questions, and mentions is part of developing a deeper relationship with your customers, giving them the service that they expect, and adding value to their experience.
Beyond proving to your customers that you care, these interactions can also be leveraged into opportunities for greater results. Asking for customer input and feedback can be integral to improving your strategy. Resharing a nice compliment with gratitude can be a two-bird-one-stone situation where you not only strengthen that relationship but also share to the world a testimonial that improves your brand reputation.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to note the best days and times to post so that you can maximize results. This will vary based on the platform and industry, with various reports showing when users are the most active. Most sites will also provide detailed analytics that tell you when your particular followers are active, so consult both resources as you plan out your content calendar.
A strong social media strategy means an emphasis on the social—on the meaningful interactions between the users and the brand. Whether you’re into roasting everyone on Twitter like Wendy’s or want to serve up something a lil sweeter, consider when the best time to be present on these platforms is and have the resources on hand to engage accordingly.
6. Keeping Score and Analyzing Those Stats
As with any strategy, a solid social media marketing strategy should include tracking metrics. You can collect an insane amount of data with social media regarding your content performance. Each platform has its own analytics that can help you understand what you’re doing right and what needs work. With your goals and the platform in mind, identify the most important metrics you want to keep an eye on and focus your efforts.
Reach and Impressions, for example, are key ways to measure brand awareness on social media by giving you an idea of the extent of your audience. Social Interactions such as clicks, likes, reactions, and shares, and then Engagement Rate, the number of social interactions divided by impressions or reach, are both indicators of whether your content is a snooze-fest or if it’s actually resonating with your audience.
There are also plenty of other metrics to track, including Volume and Sentiment, which give you a picture of how many people are talking about you, how often, and what they’re saying. If a big goal is for users to go on your website and make a purchase, you’ll want to keep a close eye on Click-Through Rates and track your social media Referrals and Conversions.
Don’t get so caught up with the game that you forget to keep score and review your performance! Investing in efforts to track and analyze these metrics regularly is essential for a strong social media marketing strategy.
7. Staying Flexible for the Future
Having an effective social media marketing strategy also means being flexible with that strategy. While change is imminent in most aspects of life, my friend, it often seems like the world of social media is spinning at twice the pace as everything else. There’s a different trending topic every day, while new features, updates, and platforms seem to pop up every few months!
As you analyze your metrics, make conclusions about what’s working and what’s not. Don’t be afraid to call for a time-out. Be willing and ready to adjust your tactics on the fly and make changes to your strategy when necessary.
Going through trial and error is part of the nature of social media marketing. But as long as you have systems in place to detect errors and can apply your learnings into future strategies, then you’ve got a good chance of coming out like the King of Pop!
The Power of Teamwork
A solid game plan is only as good as the players on the team who see it through. Whether you need someone to coach you through your strategy or a full team’s support, PH3 Agency + Brewery is here to help you with the winning formula for your social media marketing. Just hit our line and we’ll be ready to rally to your side!