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Cover image - social media marketing strategy

How to effectively develop your social media marketing strategy?

On the agenda for this article:

Looking to refine your social media marketing strategy?

Great ! Now is the perfect time to do it.

In a landscape where competition, content and networks are more numerous than ever, a effective strategy gives you the focus to say “no” to efforts that don’t serve your goals.

That's why we've put together a comprehensive guide to creating a social media marketing plan from scratch.

  1. What is social media marketing?
  2. Set goals that make sense for your business.
  3. Take the time to study your target audience.
  4. Establish your most important performance indicators and key performance indicators.
  5. Create (and maintain) engaging social content.
  6. Make your social presence as timely as possible.
  7. Evaluate what works, what doesn't and how to continue to improve.
  8. Use other services.

1. What is social media marketing?

Let's start by answering the big question:

“What is social media marketing, anyway?”

Put simply, social media marketing is all about leveraging social media platforms to promote your brand and sell your product or service. Just as you prepare the other aspects of your Marketing strategy, you need to have a plan for your social media marketing. Luckily, this guide tells you how to create that blueprint.

2. Set goals that make sense for your business

Social media strategy planning starts with your goals.

The most common goals for social networking are to increase brand awareness (58 %) and increase community engagement (41 %). Whether you want to build a larger audience or a more active community, taking the time to define your social goals is the first step to achieving them.

Either way, your goals will define your social media marketing strategy and the time and energy you need to devote to your campaigns.

Examples of social media goals

What really matters is that you set realistic social media goals.

The emphasis is on the word “realistic,” by the way. We recommend tackling smaller goals that will allow you to scale up your social media efforts in a way that is both reasonable and affordable.

Below are some examples of goals that businesses of all shapes and sizes can pursue.

Increase brand awareness: this means you need to get your name out there. To create authentic and lasting awareness, avoid posting only promotional messages. Instead, focus on content that first highlights your personality and values.

Generate leads and sales: whether online, in-store or directly on your social profiles, fans don't make purchases by chance. For example, do you usually notify customers of new products and promotions? Do you integrate your product catalog with your social profiles? Do you offer exclusive offers to your subscribers?

Grow your brand’s audience: To attract new subscribers, you need to find ways to introduce your brand to people who haven't yet heard of it.

Growing your audience also means discovering the conversations around your business and industry that matter most. It's almost impossible to dig through your social channels without monitoring or listening for specific keywords, phrases, or hashtags. Taking the pulse of these conversations allows you to expand your audience base (and reach adjacent audiences) much faster.

Drive community engagement: Index data shows that 46% of consumers believe that brands that engage their audiences are best in class on social media. So, it’s worth exploring new ways to grab the attention of your current followers. This means experimenting with messaging and content. For example, does your brand encourage user-generated content and hashtags ?

Even something as simple as asking a question can increase your engagement rate. Your customers can be your best cheerleaders, but only if you give them something to do.

Drive traffic to your site: it's quite simple. If your goal is to generate leads or traffic to your website, social media can help with that. Whether through promotional posts or social ads, keeping an eye on conversions and URL clicks can help you better determine social media ROI.

Any combination of these goals is a good one and can help you better understand which networks you need to tackle. When in doubt, keep your social media marketing strategy simple rather than complicating it with too many objectives that could distract you. Pick one or two and rally your team around them.

3. Take the time to research your target audience

Making assumptions is bad news for marketers.

Only 55% of marketers use social data to better understand their target audience, which represents a huge opportunity for leaders and practitioners. Much of what you need to know about your audience to influence your social media marketing strategy is already available. You just need to know where to look.

With the right tool, marketers can quickly research their audience. No need for formal market research or data science skills.

Remember that different platforms appeal to different audiences

Here are some key things to remember for your social media marketing strategy:

  • Both Facebook and YouTube are prime venues for ads, particularly because of their high-paying user bases.
  • The most popular social networks among Millennials and Gen Z are Instagram and YouTube, which speaks to the power of bold, eye-catching content that oozes personality.
  • Women significantly outnumber men on Pinterest, which has the highest average order value for social shoppers.
  • LinkedIn's user base is highly educated, making it a platform for in-depth, industry-specific content that may be more niche than what you see on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Don't spread yourself too thin. Instead, focus on networks where your core audience is already active.

Do your homework on your existing social media audience

While the demographics above give you insight into each channel, what about your own customers? Further analysis is needed before you can determine what your social customers actually look like in the real world.

That's why many brands use a social media dashboard that provides insight into who follows you and how they interact with you on each channel.

Social media marketing audience statistics

There are many other valuable audience data sources to supplement your social media insights. These include your Google and email analytics, your CRM, your customer service platform, or even your best-selling products.

All of the above will ultimately influence everything from your marketing message to how you approach customer service or social commerce.

4. Establish your most important metrics and key performance indicators.

Regardless of your goals or industry, your social media strategy should be data-driven.

This means focusing on the social media metrics that matter. Rather than focusing on vanity metrics, dig into the data that directly aligns with your goals.

What indicators are we talking about? Check out the breakdown below:

  • Scope : Post reach is the number of unique users who saw your post. How much of your content actually reaches user feeds?
  • Clicks: This is the number of clicks on your content or account. Tracking clicks by campaign is essential to understanding what sparks curiosity or encourages people to buy.
  • Commitment : This is the total number of social interactions divided by the number of impressions. This highlights how your audience perceives you and their willingness to interact.
  • Hashtag performance: what were your most used hashtags? What are the hashtags most associated with your brand? Having these answers can help shape the direction of your content moving forward.
  • Organic and paid “likes”: beyond a standard number of “Likes”, the algorithms consider that these interactions come from organic and paid content. With organic engagement much harder to achieve, many brands are turning to advertising. Knowing these differences can help you budget both your ad spend and the time you invest in the different formats.
  • Feeling : this is the measurement of user reaction to your content, brand or hashtag. Did customers find your recent campaign offensive? What type of feeling do people associate with your campaign hashtag? It's always better to dig deeper and find out how people talk about or feel about your brand.

 

An effective social media marketing strategy relies on numbers. That said, these numbers need to be placed in a context that aligns with your initial goals.

5. Create (and maintain) engaging social content

No surprise here. Your social media marketing strategy relies on your content.

At this point, you should have a pretty good idea of what to post based on your goals, audience, and brand identity. You probably also know which networks to cover.

But what about your content strategy? Below are some ideas and inspirations that can help you.

Content ideas for social media marketing

To help you clarify what you need to post and ensure that you develop innovative content, here are some trends to consider on social media.

Limited Time Stories and Messages

Stories aren't going away anytime soon. Leveraging FOMO or fear of missing out (the fear of missing out) of your followers, Stories content is both interactive and essential. Appearing first in your followers’ feed by default, this content can help your brand’s account “jump the line” and stay top of mind with your audience.

Stories are especially useful for taking your followers behind the scenes and making your social feed more personal. For example, think about how you can use Stories to cover an event or take your followers on a trip without them having to leave the comfort of the 'gram.

Short video

54% marketers say video is the most valuable type of content for achieving social goals, and for good reason. Social video is booming, especially with the rise of TikTok and coils Instagram. Long-form and short-form productions continue to dominate the social space across all platforms due to their high engagement rates.

Types of content - social media marketing

Plus, thanks to advances in DIY and remote video production, you don't need a huge video production budget to be successful. All you need is a laptop or smartphone and a few tricks of the trade.

Messages that show your human side

Personal, customizable content should be the cornerstone of your social media marketing strategy. Don't be afraid to remind your followers of the people behind your messages.

Tip: Do a competitive analysis to help your content stand out

Before you start creating content, you need to have a good idea of what your competitors are doing.

While some brands might want to turn to sophisticated analytics tools to dig deeper into competitive numbers, you can learn a lot from simply looking at competitors' social presence.

The easiest way to find competitors is to do a Google search. Research the most valuable keywords, phrases, and industry terms to see who pops up.

Then, see how their social channels compare to your own promotion strategy. The goal here is not to copy or steal your competitors' ideas. No two companies' social media marketing strategies can (or should) be the same. Instead, figure out what works for them and what conclusions you can draw from that to tailor your own campaigns accordingly.

After identifying some of your industry competitors, you can use competitive analysis tools to quickly compare competitors' performance to yours.

Look at what they post on Facebook. Compare your Twitter engagement with theirs. Find out how they tag their content on Instagram. Optimize your own strategy. Rinse and repeat.

6. Make your social presence as timely as possible

News is arguably more important than ever for marketers.

You are not only expected to regularly release fresh content, but also to always be available for your customers.

But you can't always expect clients to operate at your pace. Meeting deadlines is a big challenge when you're short on resources or part of a small team.

Let's look at some ideas for optimizing your schedule and the time you spend on social media.

Post at the best times to generate interest

Quick question: When is your brand available to engage and interact with customers?

You might see some recommended times to post late in the evening, for example. But if your team isn't there to communicate, what's the point of posting at the “preferred” time?

Instead, try to make sure your social media or community managers are available and ready to answer any questions or concerns about the product when you tweet or post. Take the time to review the best times to post on social media. However, it's just as important to engage after publishing.

And that brings us to the next point.

Respond to customer questions and comments as soon as possible

Your customers want quick answers. In fact, 47 %s believe that great customer service defines a top-notch brand on social media.

Your brand can't forget these fundamental elements of community building. Effort must be made to ensure that conversations or opportunities for engagement are not left unanswered.

On social media, you earn a brand's respect by being out there and talking to your audience. This is why social customer service is so important for brands wanting to increase awareness among their audiences – word travels fast about great service.

Whether it's leveraging a compliment or answering a question, businesses shouldn't leave customers in the lurch. Based on our research, social media is consumers' number one preferred channel for sharing feedback and reporting a service issue or question. But did you know that most users think brands should respond to social media messages within four hours?

By assigning specific response tasks to teams, you can help your staff operate like a well-oiled social media team, whether you're a group of one or 100 people.

As social media algorithms evolve, organic content is finding it increasingly difficult to reach the majority of your audience. The last thing you want to do is ignore those who engage and lose the opportunity to send more of them down your marketing funnel.

7. Assess what works, what doesn't and how to continue to improve

You should now have an overview of your social media strategy.

However, it is important that you can adapt your strategy throughout the year.

Without ongoing analysis of your efforts, you would never know how one campaign performed compared to another. Having an overview of your social media activity helps put things into perspective. This means looking at your best-performing content and adjusting your campaigns when your content is stagnating.

There’s no denying that refining a social media strategy comes through trial and error. Tracking your campaign metrics in real time allows you to make small changes to your social media marketing strategy rather than time-consuming sweeping changes.

A big part of social media marketing starts with good data management. You can be reactive in the short term to get the most out of your ongoing campaigns, then proactively use these elements to inform your next strategy review.

Analytics - social networks

Data reporting is also important in order to share valuable social insights with your colleagues and collaborators.

Based on your data, you can better assess whether your KPIs are truly on par with your company's overall goals or whether they need to be changed.

8. Involve other departments

Social media teams have a unique advantage when it comes to understanding customer sentiment. You are the eyes and ears of your brand online. This information can do more than inform marketing strategy. They can transform your business.

Yet, according to Index data, only 39% of marketers use social data to support other departments.

Social data statistics - social media marketing

Social media teams that stand out will approach cross-departmental collaboration with enthusiasm and intention.

Social media teams that stand out will approach cross-departmental collaboration with enthusiasm and intention.

The short answer? All. But don't bite off more than you can chew. Instead, start where you think you can have the most impact. Here are some ideas to get your strategy started.

HR

We are in the midst of an incredibly competitive job market. Collaborating with HR on social employer branding initiatives can do more than quickly fill open positions. It can also attract stronger and more qualified candidates.

Sales

A survey of 250 business executives found that in the future, 90 % of them predict that social media will be the primary channel for communicating with customers. Sharing social insights with your sales organization can enable reps to work smarter in the context of increasingly digital customer journeys.

Products and goods

You've probably received quite a few feature or product requests while managing your brand's social inbox. With a social media management tool, you can distill these messages into actionable insights for your product or service teams. merchandising. This information can complement existing roadmap research, creating a customer-focused plan that will delight you.

And that's the end of your guide to your social media strategy

This guide highlights that a modern social presence has many moving parts.

That said, setting up yours doesn't have to be a chore.

If you set achievable goals and address each of the steps above, you'll already have a head start on your social media marketing strategy.

And if you need a boost for your social media marketing strategy, Geekworkers offers to accompany you in the development of a very precise and effective strategy to serve your e-reputation

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