Critical Steps to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy

You have a business, you have a business plan, and you have a marketing budget. To go along with your marketing budget, you need a marketing plan. Hopefully, social media is part of that plan. But what if you have no idea how to implement social media marketing? The first thing you need to help you conquer any difficult task is a strategy.

Really? Another strategy, when you already have so many of them? Yes. Sorry, but in order to save time and money, and boost revenue, you need to know a few basics about how to implement your social media marketing plan. Read on to get started.

Set a Goal

With your ultimate business goal in mind, set a social media marketing goal. You may want to double your sales this year, or show a profit for the first time this quarter, or roll out a new product line before next year’s trade show. Whatever your goal is, write it down. This will give you something concrete to work towards, which will help you focus on the task of reaching it.

With your goal in mind, create a list of items that social media can help you achieve. Your list might look something like this:

Connect with new customers
Retain existing customers
Build brand awareness
Streamline advertising processes
Stay within the marketing budget

Tackling one item at a time could slow you down considerably. Instead, be aggressive and kill as many birds with one stone as you can. For example, building brand awareness can help you hook new customers as well as keep your existing ones. Likewise, streamlining your process can save time and money, which will help you stay in your budget.

Know Who Your Customers Are

Demographics have always been a key factor in marketing. Think back to when businesses placed ads in the classified section of magazines (some still do). If you were selling spatulas, you wouldn’t advertise in a car magazine, right? Of course not. Spatulas are useful to people who spend time in the kitchen, so you would advertise in a cooking magazine.

With social media marketing, demographics are still your friend. On most platforms, you can target your ads to users based on geographic location, gender, age, occupation, education, and much more, which enables you to focus on the groups that are likely to buy your product. With this strategy in place, your marketing budget will stretch further, and revenues might go up.

Track Your Results

Keeping track of your marketing results will help you focus on the social media platforms that are performing best for you. Whether you use built-in trackers, software, or an outside service provider, tracking is critical so that you don’t waste money.

Keep Tabs on Competitors

One way you can garner ideas for social media marketing is to look at what your competitors are doing. Visit their pages and feeds, and make note of how often they post content. It is also important to note what type of content they use the most, such as photos, infographics, or videos. Take a look at how many views, likes, shares, favorites, etc. each type of content generates. Without being a copycat, apply what works for them to your strategy. If it seems like your target demographic loves videos, then be sure to post them frequently.

Content is King

Speaking of content, what kind have you been using? Do you create your own, or hire a service to provide it for you? If your company has in-house talent, utilizing it might be the way to go. If not, look for a good content provider online.

Depending on your product and marketing demographic, you need to decide what tone to have in your content. In some industries, humor rules. In others, statistics are appropriate, and in yet others, a post should take an educational approach. Hampton Creek, a natural food producer, adds many types of content to its Instagram page. Many of their posts are food-related suggestions, which engage customers while teaching them something new.

Once you have an idea of what to post, you need to know when to post it. Mornings might be better than afternoons, or noon might be better than late at night. Again, it all depends on what you’re selling and who you’re selling it to. One rule of thumb, though, is not to be a pest. Your followers want to hear from you, but not all day, every day.

Creating your social media marketing strategy is key to achieving success in this ever-evolving arena. By setting goals, knowing your market, and generating good content, you’ll be well on your way to success.

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