Social media is a great way to connect with your target audience and get people engaging with your brand. Social media marketing is part of a digital marketing strategy that helps attract customers and build relationships. But to do this successfully, you need to create a winning social media strategy.
What is social media marketing?
Social media marketing uses social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, to promote a business, brand, or product and is just one of the strategies you can use as part of a wider digital marketing strategy, alongside email marketing and content marketing.
Social media platforms can provide a golden opportunity for businesses to attract new customers and grow their online presence. That’s because people use social platforms to discover, learn, and follow the brands that appeal most to them. If you’re not on social media, you’re missing out!
But there’s more to successful social media marketing than just setting up a profile and posting occasionally. Creating the right strategy can allow you to leverage the benefits and reap the rewards of doing social media the right way.
The benefits of social media marketing
What are the benefits of a successful social media strategy?
- Build trustworthiness and credibility with audiences
- Grow your brand awareness
- Make your business more ‘human’
- Increase leads and customers
- Drive more traffic to your website
- Higher customer satisfaction
- Benefit from social proof
How do you create a successful social media strategy?
Now that you know the benefits of creating a winning social media strategy, it’s time to knuckle down and get into the real nitty gritty. Here’s how you can create a winning social media strategy that benefits your business:
Set your goals
The very first thing you need to do with a social media strategy is to set your goals. Setting goals gives you a clear focus on what you want your social media strategy to achieve. Measuring success and the return on investment (ROI) will be much easier with set goals.
Your goals should align with your marketing strategy and be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound). That means your goals will need to be as specific as possible. Include a KPI to measure success, and your business can reach the goal within a given timeframe.
An example of a SMART social media goal might be: Increase the number of unique site visitors to our website from social media channels by 3x within 3 months. Once set, you can track metrics to see how well you are achieving your goals either on social media channels or through analytics.
Social media metrics
Most of the time, many marketers will get too bogged down by vanity metrics, such as likes and followers. While these are easy to monitor, they provide little insight into how well your social media strategy is performing.
Instead, you need to start looking deeper at the metrics that show whether people are going beyond engaging on your social pages. Tracking metrics such as engagement, click-through rates, and conversions is the best way to determine success.
Having hundreds of followers is no good if you have very little success. Make sure the metrics you follow are matched to your goal:
- Awareness goals should measure the number of followers and shares.
- Engagement goals should measure the number of likes, shares, comments, and mentions.
- Conversion goals should measure click-through rate, number of sign-ups, and purchases.
- Brand reputation goals should measure social media reach, reviews, and sentiment analysis.
Sentiment analysis determines what people say about your brand or products and whether these opinions are positive, negative, or neutral. Sentiment analysis can be a great way to determine what people like or don’t like about your products/service so that you can improve upon it.
Understand your customers
Once you’ve got your goals all set, the next thing you need to do is understand your customers. Taking the time to delve into your customer’s pain points, needs, and preferences will help you develop content that better resonates with your audience and provides value.
But how can you understand your customers, you may ask? As we’re not mind readers, you’ll need to delve into insights, data, and research. The findings can then be transformed into a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customers or a buyer persona.
When done correctly, a buyer persona provides you with a wealth of information on your customers, including:
- Online habits
- Goals & challenges
If you’ve never created a buyer persona before, fear not. You can easily get started using HubSpot’s free Make My Persona tool.
Understand the different social platforms
There are endless social platforms out there, from Facebook to LinkedIn or Pinterest to Instagram; how do you know which platforms to use? Fortunately, if you know your audience, this decision becomes much easier (see why buyer personas are important yet?).
Let’s have a quick rundown of each of the main social platforms and the primary users of each platform:
Facebook is the most used social platform, with over 2.85 billion users. Ideal for targeting those between 25 and 34 or baby boomers. Best suited for info, live videos, and photos. Males have a slightly larger audience distribution than females.
YouTube is the second most visited website after Google and has over 2.5 billion users. Ideal for targeting those between 18 and 35. Best suited for video tutorials and long-form video content.
WhatsApp is a somewhat limited social platform compared to others, but it can still be beneficial. More than 2 billion people use WhatsApp globally, making it a golden opportunity to send direct marketing messages to customers.
Instagram is an ideal social media platform for sharing photo and short-form video content and is best for targeting those between 18 and 34 or millennials. With more than 1.35 billion users, Instagram can be used to target both males and females.
TikTok is a relative newcomer in the world of social media and has gained over 1 billion users since launching in 2016. This social media platform is ideal for sharing humorous and entertaining short-form video content that appeals to younger female audiences between 10 and 19.
Snapchat has experienced a decline in users in recent years but still has 363 million daily active users worldwide. Snapchat’s audience is mainly females between 13 and 25. Video ads and location-based marketing work best on Snapchat.
Pinterest is an image-sharing social platform that has a female-dominated demographic of 76.2%. Used by over 445 million users worldwide, Pinterest is ideal for sharing and promoting visual content.
Twitter is a microblogging social media platform with a male-dominated demographic of 63% male users. This social media platform is much better for targeting those between 25 and 49 and is better for news or discussion-based content.
The important thing to remember is that you don’t need to be on every single social platform. Focusing on the platforms more suited to your target audience is better. That way, you can focus on more awesome content to share on the channels that matter most.
See what your competitors are doing
If you’re not using social media marketing yet, chances are your competitors will be! If so, you could learn quite a lot from looking at your competitors’ social media. This is where a good old competitor analysis comes in.
Conducting a competitor analysis enables you to see what your competitors are doing well and not so well. It also provides a guideline for what audiences expect in your industry which will help shape the content you create and share.
You may spot some weaknesses you can exploit by conducting a competitor analysis. For example, one social media channel may not be as well cared for as another. In that case, you could serve audiences on that channel and win fans!
You don’t need to spend too long doing this, but it can help identify opportunities. While you want a competitive advantage, your first priority is to serve your audience. What might work for your competitors may not work for you.
Social listening is a good tool to use during a social media competitor analysis.
Conduct an audit
If you already use social media, conducting an audit may be a good idea. An audit will analyse your current social media efforts and determine how successful your existing efforts are. It will also help you to see whether your social media strategy aligns with your business goals.
A successful social media audit will cover these points:
- Your existing social media profiles (even the ones you don’t use!)
- The goal of each social media platform
- Whether the brand, tone of voice and language are consistent with your brand goals
- Look at the best performing & worse performing social posts
- Determine how much traffic your social channels drive
- If the content you are creating aligns with your target demographic
- Explore possible opportunities for your social media strategy
Check out this guide on Sprout Social to discover more about conducting a social media audit.
Setting up your profiles
After conducting your audit, you may discover that there is a social channel you can benefit from. In that case, there are a few tips you should consider when setting up a new social profile. These tips are also beneficial for improving existing social profiles too.
- Fill in all the details on your profile, including website, email, and business phone
- Use keywords in the descriptions that people would use when searching for your business
- Your profile name should be the same as your business (obviously!)
- Make sure your branding is consistent, including using the same logo as your profile pic
There will be slight differences when setting up different business social accounts or pages; for example, LinkedIn requires company size. Most of the steps, however, will be similar and straightforward. Remember, you don’t need to be on every single channel!
Start creating content
Once you’ve set your goals and got everything up and running, it’s time to start getting creative! After promoting your social channels to gain an initial following, you can begin planning the content you share.
Remember the 80-20 rule when creating content for social media. 80% of your content should be focused on delivering value to your audience. The other 20% can be promotional content. Otherwise, you’ll soon start losing followers.
You should consider setting up a content calendar to track what content will be published, on what channels, and at what time. This makes it much easier for your team to manage their efforts and keeps things organised.
Over time, you’ll gain insights into the best time to publish content based on your audience. You should seek to publish at these times to expose your content to the largest possible audience. You’ll also become better at finding out how often you should post.
Already have a library of content? See how you can repurpose content to share on social media.
We hope our guide will help you create a winning social media strategy! And always remember to go back to the data and analytics. Measuring your performance against your goals and KPIs will help you measure the success and ROI of your social media efforts. Happy posting!