Social media marketing has never been more important. By setting up a Facebook or Twitter account, businesses can reach a wider audience than ever before. A jaw-dropping 65% of American adults use social networking. That’s up from just 7% in 2005. Even crazier, 90% of young adults in the US use social media! Your customers are all on Twitter. Are you?
If you’ve never used social media as a marketing tool before, don’t panic. There’s an overwhelming amount of people on social media. But the right social media marketing strategy will help you target your ideal customers and, ultimately, make sales.
Follow these five steps to create your social strategy. You’ll be tweeting and posting in no time.
Step #1: Establish Goals For Your Social Media Marketing
Social media can be overwhelming. There are so many platforms, so many hashtags, so many different demographics to target. It’s easy to get lost in the woods.
The first thing you should do is define your social media marketing goals. Your goals will allow you to focus the rest of your strategy.
But make sure you’re specific about what you’re after. A vague goal like “bring in more followers” or “improve engagement” isn’t easy to track.
Focus on setting S.M.A.R.T goals.
S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Based. By focusing on S.M.A.R.T goals, you’re grounding your social strategy in reality.
For example, good goals for social might be:
- Bring in X number of leads in one month.
- Grow your Twitter followers by 25 people every two weeks for the next three months.
- Increase mentions of your brand name by 50% this quarter.
Now that you’ve created goals for your social media strategy, it’s time to set yourself up to meet those goals.
Step#2: Know Your Followers
Getting to know your followers and customers will help you target your strategy at the right people.
Paint a picture of your audience.
The personas you use for your content marketing will be helpful here. Your analytics data and demographic info you collect from leads and customers will help you, too. You can even check out your competition’s social profiles. Put all of this information together to figure out who your audience is.
This step will help you decide:
- What platforms you’ll use: Platforms like Tumblr and Snapchat are popular with millennials, whereas middle-aged professionals are more likely to be found on LinkedIn.
- Your tone/voice: If you know you’re talking to college kids, you’d use a different tone than if you sell luxury goods or target lawyers and doctors. (Remember: your voice should match your brand image.)
- What type of posts you’ll make: Are you targeting young moms or new professionals looking for advice articles? Or maybe busy commuters looking for short, funny posts?
Step #3: Content Marketing + Social Media = Marketing Dream Team
Your social media strategy has a soulmate… your content marketing strategy.
You want to get more eyes on your content, and social media is an amazing way to do that. You want to share meaningful information with your social followers, so sharing your own content is an excellent idea.
When you’re outlining your social media strategy, take the time to make sure it’s integrated well with your content strategy.
Add social sharing buttons to your blog so that your followers can share your posts easily. Think about how you’ll promote your own content on social media. Decide how often you’ll share your own blog posts.
Keep in mind: Your social channels aren’t merely tools to share your content.
Don’t focus so much on self-promotion that you forget to engage with your followers. Don’t forget to build relationships with other industry leaders and business by sharing their content, too. Focus too much on promoting your own stuff and you’ll lose people’s interest.
Step #4: How Much Time Will You Invest?
Now that you’ve got the bulk of your social strategy hammered out, it’s time to decide how much time you’ll invest in social marketing.
Do you want to spend five minutes in the mornings commenting on pictures and sharing a few retweets? Will you commit a little more time and answer customer’s questions on social media and engaging in conversations? You’ll also want to make sure you spend some time researching new developments and best practices for social media marketing.
As a rule of thumb, most social media marketers invest 1-5 hours per week.
Choose a commitment that works well for your schedule without sacrificing how effective your marketing is.
Once you know how much time you have to spend on social media, you can decide things like:
- How many times per day will you post? (Do you have time for 1 post? 3? On how many channels?)
- How much time will you spend on engagement?
- When will you do your social marketing? (Use demographic info from Step 2 to help determine this. When are your customers online to read your posts?)
You may want to save yourself time by using a tool like Hootsuite to schedule posts in advance.
Also, this would be a great time to create a social calendar. Try using a spreadsheet to track what you want to share and when.
Knowing how much time you have will help you prioritize and use your time wisely.
Step #5: Adjust Your Strategy As Needed
Now you’ve got a solid strategy, you can get cracking. Set up your accounts, write that bio, start interacting with your followers. This is the fun part.
But you’re not done strategizing yet. In fact, your social media strategy should always be a work in progress.
Track your results, and tweak your strategy if you’re not meeting your goals.
Social media is an exceptional marketing tool. How else could you interact with your customers on a personal level, and share posts to huge audiences, all on the same platform? Good social media marketing will help you meet your goals, whatever they may be.
Is your social strategy designed to help your business grow?