An estimated 79 percent of Americans have at least one social media account, making these platforms an immensely popular means of engaging with friends and family as well as businesses. The engagement people have on these platforms has paved the way for organizations to build a strong social media marketing strategy if they want to ensure they take advantage of all opportunities to find leads and customers.
Social media has evolved into an important part of e-commerce and digital marketing. Seventy one percent of customers are more likely to make a purchase based upon referrals and recommendations they receive on social media. Further, more than half of users on Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube report that they follow brands on social media to help them learn about products and services.
A quality social media marketing strategy opens the doors for you to engage with these consumers and turn them into customers. Here is how to build a social media marketing strategy that works for your brand.
What is a social media marketing strategy?
With such a large percentage of the consumer population on social media, a good social media marketing strategy empowers you to take your promotions to these popular platforms. It provides an excellent channel for incorporating many of the most valuable elements of modern marketing, including personalized marketing and direct engagement.
Through social media, customers feel as though they can get a better idea of the values of a particular business as well as answers to their questions or concerns. It helps to shed the impersonal view of the business as an entity, and instead helps potential customers see the people behind the scenes who work at the organization.
A good social media marketing strategy will understand how to incorporate these optimal, unique elements of social media into a broader marketing strategy that represents the brand well across multiple channels and platforms. If you have not created a quality social media marketing strategy for your organization, here is what we would recommend.
Examine your overall marketing strategy
Begin by examining your current marketing strategy. Remember that you want your marketing channels to integrate seamlessly, creating a consistent experience for customers regardless of where they interact with your organization. A good social media marketing strategy, therefore, will want to understand the precise goals and positioning for the rest of the marketing team so that they can easily align these new platforms.
Consider important factors such as:
- Who your target audience is
- The types of channels and platforms this age group appreciates
- The pain points of this target audience
- How these prospects and existing customers respond to different types of content and outreach
- The language and tone you typically take with your customers-- do you focus on being friendly and approachable? Do you take effort to present yourself more formally as an expert?
Look also at the KPIs you want to measure for social media. Before you get started, you need to understand what your goals are concerning social media marketing. Knowing what you want to accomplish will help you understand where to focus your efforts and what to measure. This will guide the rest of your social media marketing strategy.
A social media marketing strategy can help in a variety of ways. It can increase brand exposure, drive leads, help customer service, and build traffic for websites, to name a few. By determining precisely what role you want your social media marketing to play within your greater advertising strategy, you will find it easier to build a plan that will help this goal materialize.
1. Look at competitor strategies
Considering that an estimated 91 percent of businesses use social media marketing, the odds are that your competitors already live on various social channels. Therefore, take the time to dive into their profiles and campaigns a bit to gain a better idea of how they use social media for their organization. You can look at their followers and the engagement with the material they post. You can also use the Data Cube to gain even more insight into how this particular company builds their marketing strategy and the success they see.
Take this information and start to develop some ideas regarding how you want to create your own strategy. Look at their statistics, such as posting rate, the amount of content they post from their own site versus non-affiliated sources, and how often they interact with their followers. Use these insights to start forming more ideas about a successful social media marketing strategy for your organization.
2. Research your target audience and their social media usage
Assuming you have created a thorough marketing strategy outside of your social media marketing strategy already, you should have a good understanding of your target customer. Knowing important demographics and information about this target customer can now also help you find them on social media.
Make sure you develop your information about where your target audience lives on social media through data, as the demographics on a number of different platforms continue to change.
3. Work with your content marketing team to plan what you want to post through social
Now that you understand where your target audience lives and what you want to accomplish with your main social media accounts, work with your digital and content marketing teams to draft potential posting schedules. Review the types of content that will likely generate the best results on the social media platform. See if you can collaborate to draft some content that will serve the social media audience particularly well.
Remember that your social media marketing strategy should revolve around a conversation with your perspective customers and existing customers. They do not want to log into their social media accounts and find themselves subjected to regular commercials or information coming from a so-called soapbox. Instead, they want to engage in conversations with prospective brands. They want to feel as though organizations care about their needs and answering their questions. Posting content that aligns with these goals, even if it doesn't come from you, can be OK, as it helps to build relationships with these customers.
You can use BrightEdge, along with social listening, to track emerging trends and popular topics. This can help you develop the best posts for engaging with your audience and posting content that resonates best with your customers. Staying on top of the conversations that matter the most to them will help your organization stay relevant in the mind of customers.
5. Incorporate customer service
Remember that an important part of social media is nurturing more direct relationships with your customers. Customer service plays an important role in this goal. Social listening tools can help you pay attention to mentions of your brand or industry across the social platforms. This can help you keep track of conversations and know when a response from your organization might be warranted. Let your customers know that you pay attention, and if they need something, you will be there to help.
6. Measure the results of your campaigns
Once you begin leveraging social media marketing, you now need to regularly measure the results from your campaigns. Look back to the KPIs you wrote down at the beginning of this process. These KPIs will help you track the most important results involved, and thus can help you determine your success rate.
Social media can provide a powerful means of driving traffic back to your website. BrightEdge makes it easy to track the traffic rates and rankings of your website pages, so keep careful track of the pages you post on social media. This will help you see how posting the pages on social media impacts the success of that page. You want to watch your engagement and traffic metrics on this content.
Also monitor your internal social media metrics, such as the number of followers you have and how often people engage with your individual posts. Do not overlook opportunities to engage with people in conversation, but monitor how they respond to your efforts.
The better you can track the results from your campaigns, the easier it will be to see real progress and continue to evolve your marketing plan to help your business thrive.
7. Make adjustments
Armed with your data from the success and shortcomings of your social media marketing strategy, you should now continue to make regular adjustments to help you improve in the areas where you struggle. Continue to monitor your progress and fine tune your social marketing strategy to keep it well aligned with your business goals.
A good social media marketing strategy empowers you to better engage with prospective customers and join the global watercooler. Brands who understand how to do this effectively can take their branding to the next level. Take advantage of the BrightEdge capabilities in monitoring social media content engagement and tapping into the latest trends and see what these platforms can offer you.