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The number of global social media users continues to rise. No matter your business’ size, you need a strong social media strategy to build and grow an online presence, boost sales, and improve your bottom line.

Setting up your business accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media platforms is only the first step. You must develop a detailed plan of action so social media activity you invest in achieves its goals.

What Is A Social Media Strategy

A social media strategy is a plan that documents how your business will execute and measure all its social media marketing efforts. It outlines all necessary actions needed to achieve social media objectives.

These can be targets like increasing customer engagement, improving customer satisfaction, generating more leads, or driving traffic to your website.

A documented strategy lets you increase your social media leverage. It helps align your social media activity with business goals, and can also check each social channel, or measure specific social media campaigns.

How To Create A Social Media Strategy From Scratch

Creating a social media strategy can be intimidating, especially if you are a small business owner with stretched resources. By taking it one step at a time, you can create a strategic social media plan that benefits your business.

Get started with our eight-step plan outlined below.

1. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Every great plan needs goals and your social media strategy is no exception. Without goals, it would be hard to set action plans and measure success or your return on investment (ROI).

When setting goals, make sure they follow the S.M.A.R.T. goal framework:

Specific. Be specific about what you want to achieve. Provide answers to questions ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘which’, ‘why’, and ‘how’. Identify your target audiences, social media channels you should use, and how to engage them, among others.

Measurable. Make sure there is a way for you to measure your goals. For example, if you are aiming to increase brand awareness, the metrics you could use are followers count, mentions, and shares.

Attainable. Your goals should be achievable with your resources. The more specific your goals are, the easier it will be to meet them. For instance, you want to engage 1000 people per post, this is both measurable and attainable.

Relevant. A goal should also contribute toward your long-term goals. One example of a relevant social media goal is to drive more traffic to your website. This goal benefits your audience engagement, lead generation, and website conversion.

Time-bound. All goals should be time-bound. It should follow a timeframe, whether it is one week, one month, or a year. Allocating a finite time to goals will help you complete them on time.

2. Perform A Social Media Audit

Once you have defined your social media goals, the next step is to perform a social media audit.

Your audit will give you a clear picture of your business’ current social media health. It will also help test how well each social channel is performing for your brand, and enable you to spot the gaps in your existing social media strategy.

While “audit” sounds a bit intimidating, the process itself takes 30 minutes or less. Here is a walkthrough to social media audit:

Identify and list your social media profiles. Include official and unofficial profiles and any accounts outside Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram (the big four).

Create a spreadsheet and input the following elements: URL, profile name, numbers of followers, and date of your last activity.

Examine the details of each profile. After listing your social media profiles, go through each one. Check if branding is consistent, focusing on things like images, avatars, backgrounds, descriptions, etc. Update your spreadsheet with this information.

Evaluate each profile’s performance. Revisit your past goals and compare them against your social media profiles performance. Each social media platform has different metrics that you can measure. You can use Facebook’s page insights and Twitter’s Followerwonk, for example, to see how your audience has grown.

Once you have filled the sheet with these details, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is my target audience here?
  • Why are we using this social account?
  • Can this account help my business achieve its goals?
  • What are my business goals for this social media platform?

If any of your accounts fail to provide the needed answers to the above, cross them out in your checklist and focus your effort on other social media profiles that attract profitable actions.

3. Choose The Right Channels

Choosing the right channels is an integral part of any social media strategy. Do not waste time and effort across all platforms, choose only the ones that support the achievement of your strategic goals.

Let us take a look at the BIG FOUR social media channels and the business goals they support.

Facebook. This social media giant works for both B2C and B2B businesses. With nearly 1.7 users worldwide, Facebook is the perfect platform for increasing brand awareness.

It is also a great place to share video content, letting you generate high levels of engagement. Additionally, Facebook can help you monitor your competitors’ social media output using built-in analytics.

Twitter. Twitter is effective in drawing brand engagement. Its recent increase from a 140-character limit to 280 makes it easier for companies to create branded content in a single tweet.

This platform can also generate leads. Brands should take advantage of Twitter Ads campaign types to build their following and conversion.

Instagram. There is no doubt that this platform is most popular among the millennials. It is a “must-have” social channel, especially for brands investing in influencer marketing.

In fact, a survey found that 99.3% of influencers use Instagram, making it the top social network for influencers in 2018.

LinkedIn. Renowned for being a champion in lead generation, this channel can help businesses grow their networks. It has more than 500 million professionals and boasts 2x the buying power of an average web audience.

Furthermore, LinkedIn serves as the social media platform of choice for B2B marketers. Businesses can engage potential customers through sponsored content, sponsored InMail, and text ads.

4. Plan Your Budget

Social media is often used only as a free advertising tool. Paid social media advertising will increase your chances of reaching your target audience.

If you are thinking of fueling your paid social efforts this 2020, consider the following:

  • 72% of B2B marketers who use paid channels online use paid social. – Content Marketing Institute
  • 27% of internet users say they find new products and brands through paid social ads. – Hootsuite
  • The average organic reach for a Facebook post is 5.17% of a Page’s likes, while the average paid reach is 28.1% of total reach. – Hootsuite

Your social media marketing cost depends on your business goals; a common rule of thumb for B2B companies is to allocate 2-5% of revenue and B2C companies should spend between 5-10%.

Before deciding on your social spending, research your customers and check your analytics. Be realistic about your budget so you can tweak your campaign to get the best return on investment (ROI).

5. Create Audience Personas

Social media channels are the best venue for sharing content. Before you plan and create content, know first who your audience is.

This is why you need to create audience customer personas. A customer persona is the profile of your ideal customer. Personas help you craft the most impactful messaging and brand voice for your audience in all forms of online communication.

The questions ‘who,’ ‘what,’ ‘why,’ and ‘how’ can guide you in creating customer personas.

Who. Who are your existing customers? Look through your current database to define the background and demographics of your typical customer.

What. Find out what their goals and challenges are. Conduct surveys or interviews to get this information from your customers.

Why. Understand the motivations behind your customer’s goals and challenges, as well as the common issues they face.

How. How can your company and your products or services best address their challenges? Craft your content around it.

6.  Plan and Create Your Content

When creating a social media strategy, it is crucial to remain focused on content creation. Sharing blogs, videos, infographics, and other content is a perfect way to maximize your social media profiles. It increases brand awareness and drives things like website traffic, leads, and sales.

A social media content calendar helps keep track of past and future social media posts and ensure content consistency. Here are the things that your content calendar should contain:

Content categories. Remember your social media audit? You know what worked and what failed, helping you identify the gaps in your current strategy. Align your goals with what your audience wants, and plan and create your content around that.

Some content categories might be blog posts, product promotions, case studies, and upcoming events.

Date and time. Input the day, date, and time to schedule or publish your post.

Visuals. Will this post include a photo or video? List all the assets needed in your calendar to save time and stress.

Links. Add the link to the published post as well as the other resources linked in your post.

Bonus Tip:

Think of the formats that work best on the social channel you are using. Video is a fast-growing trend on all channels, especially Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Entertaining and informative videos between 3-90 seconds drive engagement, so learn to use them to your advantage.

Research the various features unique to each social platform to best leverage it. For example, as a business, Facebook check-ins and reviews are a great way to establish your brand because people trust them.

7. Encourage Social Media Engagement

If you are starting out, it is common to see little or no engagement on your social pages. This is where your employees come in. Chances are, your employees have one or more social media accounts. If they do not have one, encourage them to sign up on LinkedIn at least.

Encourage them to link their social media profiles to your company’s main social media brand accounts. Make it simple for your employees to share social posts. You can even incentivize them if necessary.

The more your employees share, the greater your reach as you tap into their networks of friends and family. The more people that see your content, the more likely they interact with it, and the higher the engagement.

Using your employees as first advocates of your brand is part of trust-building. Their network trusts them so referrals hold more weight, thus helping others form a positive impression of your brand.

Do not overwhelm your employees: getting them to share too many company messages may seem forced. By creating meaningful, quality content people will share it more willingly.

8. Re-evaluate And Adjust Your Strategy

After implementing your social media strategy, data starts coming in. It is important to evaluate your social media campaigns and keep track of what is working for you.

Here are the main metrics to look out for:

Volume. Page likes, page views, and website traffic show how interested people are in your brand.

Reach. Reach helps you measure how far your social content is spreading. It is not only about big numbers! You need to check this metric against others to see if you are reaching the right target audience.

Engagement. Engagement measures how people are interacting with your content. The number of likes, retweets, shares, etc., shows how people engage with your profile. Engagement metrics like “reactions” on Facebook also gives insight into a post sentiment—negative or positive.

After looking at the performance metrics, adjust your strategy as needed. Make sure to inform everyone in your team about the updated strategy to make the most of your accounts.

The Bottom Line

The social web is growing, your business should make the most out of your social media profiles to skyrocket your online presence.

Create a social media strategy to make all your social networking plans and actions work parallel to your business goals.

As a full-service digital marketing agency, 2Stallions can assist you throughout the social media marketing process. We can do social media audits to optimize profiles, help with content strategy, execution, quarterly reviews, and digital maintenance.

The growth of the Internet has provided companies with a wealth of online marketing options, including social media campaigns. Now, businesses can promote their brands on social media to increase visibility, revenue, and customer reach.

According to We Are Social’s Digital 2020 Global Overview Report, there are 3.8 billion social media users worldwide. The report also found that smartphones account for more than half of the time spent online.

This means businesses, big or small, should be taking advantage of social media platforms. It also means that it time to transition from traditional marketing (i.e. TV ads, print ads, etc.) to social media marketing.

Unlike traditional media, social media fosters a conversation between the brand and the consumer. The audience can comment, like, tweet, share posts, and more. Not to mention that social media posts can be edited or deleted when necessary.

Keep on reading to learn more about how you can harness social media’s marketing potential.

More About Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing uses platforms to establish brand awareness. It also increases customer reach, monitors customer feedback, and a variety of other things.

It involves running campaigns and sharing content to drive audience engagement and conversion. The major social networking services today are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Each platform engages audiences in different ways. Here are the metrics used to measure engagement across the three platforms:

  • Facebook: shares, likes and followers
  • Twitter: re-tweets and followers
  • Instagram: likes and followers

What Is A Social Media Campaign

Social media campaigns are a planned marketing effort executed on one or more social media platforms. Campaigns come in different forms such as polls, contests and giveaways, events, or podcasts, to name a few.

These social media marketing initiatives focus on a business goal. The common goals include:

  • driving direct sales
  • generating new leads
  • getting direct customer feedback
  • boosting web traffic and brand recognition
  • building a strong, engaged and loyal community
  • creating an email marketing list of engaged customers

Inspiring Social Media Campaigns You Can Learn From

Starbucks, Dove and IHOP are a few top brands that have launched successful social media marketing campaigns. Let’s take a closer look at why their campaigns worked.

1. Starbucks: Unicorn Frappuccino

As part of its 2017 Frappuccino Happy Hour, Starbucks rolled out its one-week-only, pastel-hued beverage: the “Unicorn Frappuccino”.

starbucks, unicorn, frapuccino,

Image by: Starbucks

With its limited offer period and  ‘Instagrammable’ appearance,  the drink and its hashtag #UnicornFrappuccino generated nearly 155,000 Instagram posts.

2. Dove: #SpeakBeautiful

Dove promises to deliver body confidence and self-esteem through its campaigns. In its #SpeakBeautiful campaign, the brand partnered with Twitter to show the effect of insults on people’s images.

Video by: Dove

Twitter’s technology identified negative tweets about beauty and body image. The Dove account then sent responses about confidence, optimism and self-love.

3. IHOP: IHOb

IHOP, the International House of Pancakes, flipped the last letter of its acronym upside down and temporarily became IHOb. The brand asked its Twitter followers to guess what “B” stood for—and more than 70,000 users reacted and responded to the tweet.

Tweet from: IHOP

While the name change lasted only for a short time, this gimmick increased burger sales.

Key Components Of Successful Social Media Campaigns

1. A Well-Thought Plan

Your campaigns’ successes depend on your social media strategy. Review your social media goals and identify the ‘who,’ ‘what,’ ‘why,’ and ‘how.’

Who. Identify who your target audience is. Determine ideal customer characteristics and demographics that your business can best cater to.

Shaping your audience personas will craft the right message and brand voice for your social media campaigns.

What. Find out what social media channel your business will use. Choose the ones that best support your strategic goals.

Explore the big four social media channels—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. You could also look into other platforms such as YouTube, Pinterest, TikTok, or Snapchat.

Why. Understand the motivations behind your prospect’s goals, reasons for their challenges, and the issues they face.

Once know the answers to your strategy’s whys, it would be easier for you to proceed with the how.

How. Learn how your brand, products, and services can best address your customer’s pain points.

List your audience’s choices and responses along your customer journey. Then, map out a plan that will entice them to take part in your campaign.

2. Compelling Content

Build social media campaigns around compelling content. A campaign with impressive storytelling and accessible information has a greater audience engagement.

To impress your audience, your content should be:

Optimized for viewing. Social media optimization and search engine optimization are two different things but they support each other. Here are two of the best practices that SMO can borrow from SEO:

  • Keyword Research. This technique identifies phrases and topics your target audience searches for. This way, you can create relevant content for them.

It also helps determine hashtags and phrases to use in your social media posts. Hashtags make it easier to find your content, even for people who are not following you.

  • Profile Optimization. Website optimization is a crucial step to SEO. Optimize your website and its content so search engines know what your website is about.

The same thing applies to social media optimization. Your company’s social media profile contents—profile phone, username, bio, etc.—should be complete and consistent to get the attention they deserve.

Fun and informative. People love sharing useful things on social media. These could be tips, suggestions, fun facts, and quirky stories that tackle difficult topics like science or math for example.

Make your content easily shareable to increase the chances of drawing your audience’s attention. For example, create videos that tell relatable stories or tug at your customer’s heartstrings (like Dove’s #SpeakBeautiful campaign).

Craft memorable content to boost your social media shares. Incorporate the element of surprise into your strategy, like what IHOP did with its IHOb campaign.

Short but sweet. Writing long-form content in today’s time-starved world is not always the best option. Squeeze your content into something that is easily consumed. Focus on a single topic, include a graphic or visual, and feature an enticing headline.

3. Rewarding Promotions

In website marketing, creating an email list is simple if you can offer something in exchange for customer information.

For instance, Netflix and Spotify give a “Welcome Bonus” to new registrants that let them try out the paid service for 30 days. After the promotion period, customers can decide whether to stop or continue.

spotify-rewards

You can use social media to advertise your ‘free’ product. Anything free and compelling has a high chance of going viral. Contests for high-end or high-value products are also great for promotion.

4. Thorough Analysis

Like with SEO, you must measure your social media campaigns performance through their analytics:

  • Are you reaching qualified people?
  • Are you engaging with qualified people?
  • How many of your social media fans inquired about your product or service?
  • How many of them actually become customers?

The things you can measure vary in every social media platform, but tend include:

Engagement. This measures how many people have engaged with your social media posts. It also plays an important role in how far your posts travel (aka social media reach).

Engagement metrics include clicks, likes, shares, comments, brand mentions, profiles visits, and active followers.

Reach. Social media reach is the number of users who viewed or watched a particular content on a social media channel. Unlike engagement, this metric has no definite amount as it is only an estimate.

You can measure reach by tracking the number of followers or fans, impressions, and traffic.

Leads. A lead refers to any information that you can use to follow up with your fans or followers. It could be a name, a phone number, or an email address. This valuable item value could develop into hard leads—qualified prospects or customers.

Customers. The main objective of social media campaigns is to attract new customers. If you have found the right leads and kept them engaged, they will be more likely to buy your product or service.

By tracking customer acquisition and conversion rates, you will know how many fans made it to the finish line. Built-in analytics tools such as Facebook Insights, LinkedIn Company Page Insights, and Pinterest Web Analytics, come in handy when measuring social media performance.

Switch to Social Media

Social media is a gold mine for followers, leads, and customers. It allows businesses to increase exposure, boost traffic, and gain market insights.

If your brand is not making the transition from traditional to social media, now is the time to make the switch. Take advantage of ever-increasing social media users: launch social media campaigns to generate qualified leads and increase your conversion rates.

Need help with your social media marketing efforts? We got you covered! 2Stallions can assist you throughout the entire process. We perform social media audits to optimize profiles and help with content strategy, execution, quarterly review and tweaking.

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