The importance of social media marketing is undeniable. However, beginner digital marketers as well as business owners frequently have no idea where to start from with their social media marketing plan. That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate guide to creating a social media strategy that really works.
What Is a Social Media Strategy?
If you are new to the immense world of social media marketing, you might be wondering what this is. In simple words, a social media strategy is a plan of what you hope to achieve by posting content on different networks and what actions you intend to take to reach your goals. Your strategy must include a few major components which are listed below.
How to Put Together a Social Media Marketing Strategy
1. Set Up Your Goals
The first step to creating any strategy – including a social media one – is to decide what exactly you want to achieve with your activities. Businesses set up different social media posts goals depending on their stage of development, other marketing channels, type of products, and customers. For example, your objective could be to inform the largest audience possible about the existence of your product and the many benefits it can bring to people or companies. Alternatively, you can aim to enhance engagement from your social media users on your accounts to build a community around your business. If you are an ecommerce store, your goal will probably be to bring leads to your website. No matter what exactly you are trying to achieve, deciding on it and putting it down in writing is the first and most important step in creating a social media strategy.
Furthermore, remember that your goals need to be SMART. What does SMART goals mean?
- Specific: Don’t be vague in your objectives. The more specific your goals are, the easier it is to design activities which will help you achieve them.
- Measurable: You need to be able to measure how far you’ve gone in achieving your goals.
- Attainable: Your objectives should be realistic. Otherwise, you and your team will get discouraged too fast and reach nowhere.
- Relevant: Your aims should be related to your overall business plan and connected with one another. Moreover, all actions you plan should be contributing to achieving your goals.
- Time-bound: There needs to be a specific timeline of what you plan to achieve when. Otherwise, you will keep postponing planning activities and reaching targets and will never achieve anything.
2. Identify Metrics
The next step in your social media marketing plan should be to decide on the metrics which you are going to use to track performance in relation to your goals. That’s the way to know if the actions under your strategy are contributing towards achieving the goals of this strategy. Moreover, they help answer other important questions such as:
- Are you moving fast enough towards achieving your goals?
- Which social media posts contribute the most and which the least towards your targets?
- What more should you do to make sure that you reach your objectives before the set deadlines?
Your metrics which should ideally be quantifiable need to correlate to your goals. For example, if your target is to increase lead generation twice, then you should track how many social media users come to your website, from which platforms, and from which posts. Sessions is the best metric in this case.
If, on the other hand, your objective is to build a community on your social media accounts, you need to set up metrics to reflect this. You need to track social media engagement such as total number of followers, number of new followers, likes, shares, and comments on your social media posts.
You need to make sure you have the right metrics to measure progress towards your social media marketing strategy before you even start implementing it. Once you start putting your plan into action, you should begin to track the performance of scheduling social media posts right away.
3. Decide on Social Media Websites
As a beginner social media marketer, you cannot target all platforms and expect to be able to optimize your performance on all of them at once. It’s best to start out with a few social media sites where you expect to have the most success. Facebook is an excellent choice for new digital marketers as it allows you to test scheduling posts on social media of different type and format. You can share text, images, and videos. Moreover, Facebook posts have the highest outreach potential as this is by far the largest social media platform with over 2.6 billion active users.
Another great option for those new to social media marketing is Twitter. It’s relatively easy to use but has a large potential. All you need to do is to write up to 240 characters of text to accompany any link, image, or video that you want to share with your social media followers.
If visual content such as images, photos, and infographics will be an important component of your social media schedule, you should consider getting active on Instagram as well. That’s the absolute best choice for sharing visual content with the highest number of users.
Similarly, if video content will be included in your plan, create a YouTube channel. YouTube is the ultimate social media network for sharing videos with over 2 billion active users. Moreover, sharing your YouTube videos on other networks is a piece of cake with the right social media management tools, like Studiorific.
4. Make Sure Your Accounts Are Optimized
Whether you create new social media accounts or work on your existing once, you absolutely have to optimize them. First of all, make sure that you have business accounts as those have many important features which personal accounts don’t offer. Add profile photos which highlight the most important aspects of your business. Assure that they fit the size requirements of each of the social media platforms that you decide to use. Fill in all possible information such as your company’s name, year of establishment, address, phone number, email address, industry or industries, and everything else which is available. Your social media accounts are similar to the “About Us” page on your website. They should include all relevant information about your business and present it in the most attractive – yet truthful – manner.
5. Conduct Research on Your Customers
The next step in putting together the best social media strategy even as a beginner is to perform diligent research on your target social media users. These are basically your customers whom you are trying to reach with all your marketing efforts, digital or not. You need to know the geographical location, age distribution, gender, family status, education attainment, profession, hobbies, and other habits of your ideal customers. Then you can customize your social media marketing plan to include content that’s of interest to them. Moreover, you can find out the best time to post on social media to capture their attention.
6. Check Out the Competition
There is no need to reinvent the wheel. If you are new to social media marketing, there’s nothing wrong with checking out what your competitors are doing. Visit their social media accounts to identify which platforms they use, what type of content they post, how often they post on social media, on what days of the week, and at what time of the day. It is important to see what social media engagement their posts attract in terms of likes and dislikes, comments, and shares. While you don’t have to necessarily copy the social media strategy of your competitors, you should definitely understand well what they do and why they do it in order to put together your own plan. It’s much easier and more efficient to learn from the successes and mistakes of others than to have to learn from your own actions only.
Additionally, even after you’ve created your strategy and started implementing it, keep checking the accounts of your competition on a regular basis. Don’t copy their tactics, but use them as an inspiration. Rest assured that they will be doing the same with your social media posts once you start outperforming them.
7. Research Content Topics and Types
The core of your social media strategy is scheduling social media posts, right? So, what do you put in these posts? To answer this question, you need to keep doing research. This time you need to focus on the type of content which your target customers are interested in and which will be able to show your business in the best possible light.
Another crucially important aspect of your social media posts is the format of the content you will be creating. Blogs, for example, are good for some audiences and some products, while images or videos are ideal for others. The type of content which will constitute the bulk of your social media posts should be dictated by your audience, your product, your selected platforms, and your expertise. Don’t decide to rely heavily on videos for YouTube posts if you have zero experience in creating and editing videos and are not planning to hire a social media manager professional.
8. Find Out the Best Time for Posting
To get the most out of your social media strategy, you need to figure out the best time to post on social media accounts for your audience. This depends mostly on the characteristics of the social media users whom you are trying to attract. For instance, if you are marketing a business-related product, and your target is companies, it’s best to schedule your social media posts during working days and hours. If, on the other hand, you are marketing family or hobby products on social media sites, share your content in the evening or during the weekend. Do research and use your common sense to find out when your posts will get the best social media engagement.
Don’t worry that you will need to work day and night every single day of the week to optimize your social media performance. You can use a social media scheduler, like the one offered by Studiorific, to prepare your posts for publishing during business hours. We’ll discuss this in detail in a bit.
9. Become the Master of Hashtags
Just as keywords are the bread and butter of content marketing, hashtags are the most essential part of social media marketing. The hashtags that you use with your social media posts are one of the chief factors determining how many users you will attract to your posts. That’s why hashtags are an integral part in your lead generation efforts on social media platforms.
If you are new to social media marketing, keep in mind that hashtags on Twitter are different from hashtags on Instagram which are different from hashtags on Facebook and hashtags on YouTube and so on. You can get a hashtag generator – a must-have social media management tool – to find out the best ones for your industry and selected networks.
10. Create a Social Media Calendar
Being able to visualize your social media strategy is a key factor in making sure that you are posting enough content without overposting. Moreover, it helps you assure that you are covering all required social media sites and that you schedule your social media posts at the optimal times. Having a social media schedule with your currently scheduled posts as well as the already published ones, like the one available on Studiorific, is the best and most straightforward way to get an overall glance at your marketing plan.
Another important element to include in your social media marketing strategy is crossposting. This is a fancy name for a relatively simple concept. It refers to reposting content from one social media network to another one. For example, you can schedule a link to your YouTube video to also be shared on Facebook and Twitter. This will help build a natural connection between your social media accounts on different websites. Moreover, it will help drive traffic to your posts on one network from others. Crossposting is becoming more and more important in social media marketing, so you should definitely include it in your strategy.
12. Build a Team
To implement your social media marketing plan effectively and efficiently and to achieve the desired results, you will need a team. That is, unless you are already an expert social media manager professional. You can either ask people from your company to help out with different tasks, or you can hire a couple of freelancers specializing in different tasks such as editing videos, creating infographics, and others. If you are a large organization, it might even make sense to hire a digital marketing agency. However, this will make your social media strategy well personal, and customers might feel that.
13. Get the Right Tools
Nowadays all businesses and industries are about innovation, efficiency, and automation, and so is social media marketing. You need to get access to the best social media management tools in order to beat the competition. One must-have tool is the social media scheduler, like the one that Studiorific has. This tool allows you to schedule social media posts on numerous platforms and from multiple accounts ahead of time. Being able to access several different social media accounts from a single platform is particularly important for digital marketing agencies and freelance marketers. In terms of formats, you can include links, images, and videos in your posts. Moreover, you can edit your images directly on the platform to optimize them for different social media networks. You can even add watermarks to images with your logo or anything else for branding purposes. In addition, the tools available on Studiorific also include a social media schedule. This is a calendar which helps you visualize your social media strategy.
14. Get Started, Test, Track, and Adjust
The final step in your social media marketing strategy is to get going. Start creating content and scheduling social media posts on your chosen platforms. Right away begin to track their performance both on the social media accounts (likes, comments, and shares) and on your website (sessions from social media, registered users, ecommerce rate, etc.). If your results are below expected, make changes to your strategy immediately. Even if you are satisfied with the achievements, try to tweak your plan to see if you can perform even better. Keep tracking and adjusting all the time as that’s the only way to achieve the best possible results with social media marketing.
Your social media strategy is at the core of your business success as more and more people join Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube and spend significantly more time on these networks than they did a couple of years ago. If you follow the steps above, you should be soon ready to conquer the exciting world of social media marketing. We are also excited to be a part of your journey by providing you with the best social media management tools. Sign up for Studiorific today to make planning and executing your social media marketing plan as easy as it gets.