Most companies have an immature and casual approach to social media. They know that social media marketing is a crucial part of inbound marketing, but they don't know how to leverage social platforms to achieve their business goals.
Sometimes they recruit Gen X to manage their social accounts, thinking that younger generations are far more social media savvy. However, without a proper social media strategy, this practice can be extremely harmful. We are already past the first stage of social media, wherein publishing a post was enough to generate awareness and achieve many business goals.
These days, social media platforms are crowded like never before, and everybody is striving to gain some visibility and attention from users. So, we can't sit back and hope for miracles to happen. Brands should learn to run their social media accounts in an effective, well-planned, and measured way.
Here are some of the stats that would immensely help the marketers. 71% of customers will happily recommend a brand if they get an excellent service experience on social media. Unfortunately, more than 95% of people who participated in brand conversations didn't follow the social accounts of those brands. For the sake of branding and maintaining a personal touch, you should manage some of the social media accounts yourself.
Given the challenges lying ahead, here is a 13-step social media marketing strategy for businesses to succeed and give your brand a voice in 2022:-
- Perform Competitive Research
- Decide on a Rational and Feasible Budget
- Decide the Type of Content to Share
- Follow a Social Content Calendar
- Set Realistic Social Media Goals
- Find the Most Relevant Social Metrics You Should Target
- Understand Your Social Media Audience
- Set Your Accounts in a Professional Manner
- Promote Your Social Properties
- Engage With Your Audiences
- Ā Build a Community
- Ā Rope in Influencers to Increase Your Reach
- Ā Measure Your Results and Adapt
So, without further ado, let's dive in.
1. Perform Competitive Research
Do you know the secret recipe to beat your competition, hands down? You need to conduct competitor analysis to succeed on social media without wasting time in hit and trial. If you think that everybody should have a unique approach to digital marketing, you should keep in mind that your competitors have already done their research. They understand customer psychology better than you.
Competitive research helps you in many ways, including finding the key phrases your competitors are using and the strategy they are implementing to succeed. It will save you time and energy when making your strategy.
Competitor analysis involves the following steps:
- Identify your competitors
- Perform SWOT analysis of your competitors
- Assess your competitors' website and customer experience
- Determine the market positioning of your rivals
- Check their pricing and current offers
- Learn about the technology they are employing
- Review feedback on social media
The primary purpose of competition analysis is to identify your brand's major competitors and determine the best strategies to beat them. It also helps you understand why customers choose them and what you can offer instead to persuade your target audience to buy from you.
Exploit the gaps you find with the help of competitive research and do your best to meet customer expectations.
You can also use tools such as BuzzSumo to discover the most effective content your competitors are creating and sharing on social media.
For example, here is the screenshot of the search results returned by BuzzSumo for the keyword brand engagement online.ā Ā We have chosen the option of most shared content,ā and the first result that appears is an article published on Moz in 2015, whereas the second most shared article was published on Forbes in 2016.
You can choose similar topics and can develop even better content that resonates with your audience.
2. Decide on a Rational and Feasible Budget
When it is a matter of serious business, lip service doesn't work. Allocating a feasible budget for your social media accounts is important. However, you shouldn't spend more than what you earn from social channels. Sometimes, you are unable to calculate your income directly from social media marketing, but you can easily estimate the average returns by contributing to achieving your business goals.
For example, you can assess the contribution of social media channels in increasing your brand awareness and brand recognition. So, the best way is to calculate the ROI of your social media expenditure. First, decide your budget for digital marketing and then decide how much should be allocated to social media.
According to WebStrategies, a company allocates around 5% to 15% of its annual income to marketing. Then, they spend 35-45% of this budget on digital marketing, and only 15-25% of this amount goes to social media marketing, including the paid campaigns.
3. Decide the Type of Content to Share
Social media is not a marketplace where you spoil everything and tarnish your brand image by selling. Social media users do not use the platform to buy anything. So, you must be thoughtful about what you post on social media and avoid promotional content at all costs. You can try a mix of informational and entertaining content to engage people who follow your account.
Occasionally, you can post promotional material and other people's content, but that should be a fraction of the entire content you publish on social platforms. To engage users, follow a social calendar and punctuate it with trending content. You can also follow the influencers in your industry to take inspiration on the type of content you should share on your social media platforms. These influencers know their audience, so they create perfect content to engage them. That's the reason influencers are so successful.
Another important thing is to be realistic about what kind of content you can create. Many businesses want to launch their video channels and produce quality videos. However, creating professional videos require equipment, expertise, people, and time, which makes it an arduous and time-consuming task. In that case, you should altogether avoid this option as there is a lot of competition on YouTube, and just one or two poorly created videos will only tarnish your image.
You should also make sure that you don't post personal stuff or something that interests you personally. So, the personal accounts and the company accounts should strictly be kept separate. We should assess every post from our target audience's viewpoint.
Tip 1: The probability of visual content to be shared online is 40 times higher than text-based content. So, try to create visual content which is getting popular day by day. It also has a very high engagement rate.
Tip 2: As per an official statement by YouTube, mobile video consumption increases by almost 100% annually. It is also linked with a high conversion rate as 64% of customers conceded that they are more likely to shop a product online after watching a video about it.
Tip 3: Bring diversity to the content you create, as only one type of content can reduce the user's interest. For example, you can try a mix of entertaining videos, fascinating imagery, and a compelling text copy. You can also try memes, slides, or carousel and introduce humor, drama, and fun elements.
Tip 4: Customize your content according to the social network you're using. For example, attract people through enticing visual content on Instagram, keep it brief on Twitter, add short videos and links on Facebook, and post educational content on professional networks such as Linkedin
4. Follow a Social Content Calendar
Following a social calendar and choosing the best time to post will result in increased audience engagement. If you spend time on social media, you will quickly identify the best time to post so that the majority of the people are able to view your post.
Most social networks use algorithms that control users' feeds. If you don't post when your target audience is most likely to be active, chances are your followers might never see your post. It's therefore recommended that you use social scheduling software to schedule multiple posts at different time intervals when your audience is likely active on that social platform. These tools are Buffer, CoSchedule, Hootsuite, Agorapulse, Sendible and Sprout Social, etc. You can also use ContentCal.
You should also decide the frequency of your posts for each of your clients on different social platforms and post a variety of content both for entertainment and information. Focus on high-quality content and visually appealing graphics. You can use a social scheduling tool such as Buffer or Hootsuite to make your life easier.
5. Set Realistic Social Media Goals
Goal setting is an area most people overlook, but you should remember that it is the first step to your social media marketing success. Many people do not know where to start because they have very little knowledge about social media and what they can achieve.
You should set the goals in the light of your business plan. Setting strategic goals will help you take your business to the next level. So, in a way, your social media goals should complement your overall business objectives.
Learn to set SMART goals, i.e., Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
Setting SMART goals is crucial because it means that your goals are attainable and realistic. Setting unrealistic goals may sound glamorous in the beginning, but you may not be able to achieve them, leading to disappointment later on. That's why setting limits to your goals and choosing the right social platforms become so critical. You can't succeed on all the social channels, so don't spread yourself too thin. Choose the network your audience spends the most time on.
Here are a few examples of social media SMART goals:
- Creating brand awareness
- Improving ROI on marketing campaigns
- Achieving high sales targets
- Increasing footfall to boost in-store sales
- Expanding your fan base
Attach a realistic figure to each such goal and then try to accomplish it using analytics. Social media may help you achieve all such objectives.
6. Find the Most Relevant Social Metrics You Should Target
If you think you will achieve your business goals by creating a social presence and spending your precious resources and time on it, you are on the wrong track. Social analytics can be a bit confusing over here, so to ensure success from social media, you need to choose the most relevant metric and focus on it.
It's a folly for marketers to focus on vanity metrics such as the number of followers, likes, etc. You should also avoid unethical practices like buying fake followers. So, to increase your brand awareness, the right metric to focus on is "Post Reach."
It will provide you with information about your content's reach across different social channels and demographics.
If you are using social media to achieve your sales targets that involve driving people to perform a specific action, the number of clicks would be the most desired metric to track.
Fake followers or audiences other than those you want to target won't help you achieve anything at all. That's why marketers call it vanity metrics.
7. Understand Your Social Media Audience
The right mantra for succeeding on social media platforms and driving meaningful results from influencer marketing is using the same social platform as your target audience. For example, if your audience loves to spend time on Instagram, you should also choose Instagram as your marketing channel and find Instagram influencers in your niche.
If your target audience is Gen Z, then the best platforms for you would be Instagram and Snapchat rather than Facebook. Even with its 2.27 billion active monthly users, Facebook may not be that effective for you as a channel if your target audience is Gen Z. Facebook is known for a bit of a mature audience, say 25 to 34 years old.
The better you learn about the psychographics and demographics of your audience, the easier it would be for you to choose the right marketing channel.
Tip 1: Instead of worrying about managing different social platforms, find the one that is majorly used by your target audience and focus on it.
Tip 2: If you don't know which social platforms your target audience uses, conduct a survey.
Tip 3:Ā You can start with your audience's most preferred social platform and then expand it to the other networks they visit. You don't need more than three channels to tap them.
Tip 4: Apart from the top social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Snapchat, you can also tap other popular platforms such as TikTok, WeChat, QQ and Telegram, etc.
Tip 5: You can use the research papers such as the one released by Pew Research to explore data about social networks usage by different demographic groups in the US.
Tip 6: Don't waste your time on the network your audience doesn't use.
Tip 7: You can create multiple accounts on a single platform or multiple YouTube channels to target different interest groups if you have the required resources.
8. Set Your Accounts in a Professional Manner
Your social media accounts represent your brand, so they should follow your branding consistently and professionally. It applies to the colors, logos, and graphics used on your social profile or page.
You should appropriately fill your profiles and bios. Link your social profiles to the relevant properties such as the related landing pages on your website, etc. Upload high-resolution images that are correctly optimized for banners, background, and profile pictures. Make sure your target audience loves your social media page.
9. Promote Your Social Properties
You need to vigorously promote your social handles. Add buttons for your social media real estate all over your website, especially at the most visible places such as the home page, About Us page, and footer and blog page.
Similarly, you should also include buttons of your social accounts in your emails. You can easily do it in the email settings and add these buttons in the footer below your name and contact details.
Tip 1: Promote your accounts both online and offline. Add them everywhere ā€” store signage, pamphlets, brochures, visiting cards, banners, posters, etc.
Tip 2: Cross-promote it on different channels. For example, you can mention them on your YouTube channel's profile page. Promote your YouTube channel on Instagram and Twitter and vice versa.
10. Engage With Your Audiences
Most of the social networks are meant for engagement and not just for watching and scrolling content. All successful businesses try to engage people as much as possible rather than act as a broadcaster.
A social media strategy that aims to cover every social network can be a big disaster as we all have limited time, energy, and resources. Therefore, focus only on the platforms frequented by your target audience.
To further improve the engagement, you can also try custom hashtags that promote healthy discussions and sharing.
Tip 1: Don't ignore any mention and respond to them everywhere. There are multiple tools that you can use to find your brand mentions.
Tip 2: Ā Provide top-notch customer support and make customers feel valued.
Tip 3:Ā Encourage customers to talk and participate in discussions. Resolve their queries and aim to achieve customer delight.
11. Build a Community
Another perk of using social platforms is your ability as a business to build a community. You can always put in efforts to make your social media property a go-to place for your audience, so you can engage and nurture leads and, above all, build long-term relationships.
Tip 1: Create interactive posts and include your followers and fans.
Tip 2: Use quizzes and questions to know the opinions of your audience
Tip 3: Don't repeat your ads on social media. Make it enjoyable, so people find value in your content and frequently return to your posts.
Tip 4: Hire people to run your social accounts that match your target audience's social demographics. For example, if your target audience is roofing contractors, the existing homeowners would be your best choice as your social media professionals.
Tip 5: Never underestimate the importance of paid promotion. It allows you to target audiences you can never reach otherwise.
Tip 6: You can use paid advertising to create brand awareness, achieve sales targets, generate leads, and promote posts and videos.
Tip 7: Create interest-based groups such as Facebook groups. It's a great way to build a community without being promotional.
12. Rope in Influencers to Increase Your Reach
Engaging with the right influencers has its advantages. Influencers know the craft of social media marketing, which makes them highly reliable for brand promotion. They have a distinct style their audience is primarily familiar with, so their posts are pretty effective and engaging. People follow their advice because of the reputation they enjoy in their respective fields.
Tip 1: Collaborate with influencers whose followers match your target audience.
Tip 2: Create exciting content for your influencers so they can convince their audience to consider buying from you.
13. Measure Your Results and Adapt
Even the best marketers on the planet can't predict the outcome of their campaigns. Something or the other might go wrong. That's the reason periodically measuring your results is important to tweak your strategy accordingly. You've already set your goals and determined the key metrics to focus on.
You can use an appropriate analytics tool to measure the performance of your campaigns, especially concerning the metrics you've chosen. If you're not getting the desired success, you can change your campaign strategy. Most of the social networks have inbuilt analytics tools, and they offer relevant data about the campaigns. On Facebook, it's known as "Insights." Twitter and YouTube also have their inbuilt tracking software.
If you find that some of the content pieces perform well on the platforms, create more such content. On the flip side, if your content is not performing, try to figure out the reason behind that and switch to a better content strategy. You can also conduct an online survey for that.
Regardless of the goal you set, you can fearlessly dive in and invest in social media marketing as it has a massive impact on brand awareness, followers count, and sales. Your social media strategy is directly related to brand awareness, lead generation, lead nurturing, and conversion. Apart from that, social channels have long been used to provide instant and quality customer support to build a loyal customer base. Constantly track your results and improve your campaigns. Implement the 13-step social media strategy discussed above and be ready to embrace success.