A sound, effective strategy involves these four steps.
A whopping 3.2 billion people, or 42% of the world's population, uses social media. On average, people spend over two hours of their day messaging and surfing social media networks.
After having a positive experience with a brand on social media, 71% of people will often recommend the brand to their friends and family. On top of that, 49% of people are taking their cues on what to buy from social media influencers.
Based on these statistics, it's crucial for businesses to have a solid social media marketing strategy in place. Unfortunately, many business owners have no idea how to handle social media marketing. They feel confused and overwhelmed by the many tips and strategies they have heard, so they end up either doing very little with their social media accounts or doing a poor job with their strategy.
A social media marketing strategy doesn't have to be overly complicated. Your strategy entails the following:
- Determining which social media channels to use
- Promoting your channels
- Creating a loyal fanbase
- Measuring results with relevant metrics
If you're wondering exactly how to do this, read on to learn how to develop a social media marketing strategy for your business by following these four steps.
1. Determine which social media channels to use.
The first step is to figure out where your target audience is spending their time. A particular social network may be all the rage, but if your particular target audience isn't using it, your efforts will be in vain.
Based purely on the numbers, Facebook is a great place to start. With 2.41 billion monthly active users, Facebook holds the lion's share of the social media market, particularly in the U.S. Facebook visits account for an astonishing 45% of all social media visits in the U.S.
The next two largest networks are YouTube and Instagram. In fact, data from one study suggests that while Facebook is still king, younger millennials are moving in droves to YouTube and Instagram due to privacy concerns with Facebook. Take note of this if you market largely to a young cohort.
Use your competitors to help you figure out which channels you should use. Simply hop on their website and find out which channels they are using. Since they are also marketing to your ideal audience, this is a quick way to narrow your options. Of course, you should also do at least some of your own research on your target audience; it's possible your competitors are misjudging the target audience, or they may be behind the times.
Think about how you want to convey information. Facebook is great for short, funny videos. Instagram is prime for sharing images. YouTube is great for posting video tutorials and product reviews. Twitter is perfect for sending quick updates. Pinterest is excellent for sharing images and driving website traffic.
Once you know who your target audience is and where they're spending their time, it's time to create and promote your channels.
2. Promote your channels.
There are many methods you can use to promote your channels and make sure they reach a wide, relevant audience. However, the method you choose should be actionable, and it should resonate with your audience.
Are you camera shy? Lose the shyness, because 80% of people would rather watch a live video than read a blog. People these days like feeling like they are engaging with the business they are buying from, and that business needs a face. You don't have to post live videos daily, but posting videos on a regular schedule will benefit your business.
Every social media platform has the potential for reaching more people organically. Plus, each platform has paid ads that you can use to further target your efforts. Use ads to directly target a certain demographic of people who are not already in your network. Offer discounts, product promos, new customer discounts and more. Experiment with different strategies to see what information and method of conveying it attracts the most interest.
A free giveaway on social media is a great way to grow your email list to use for an email marketing campaign. Simply link to a sweepstakes landing page, have people enter their contact info so you can notify them if they won, and pick a winner.
3. Create a loyal fanbase.
Creating a loyal fanbase takes time, but the rewards are more than worth it. Imagine a team of social media marketers spreading the news about your business for free. That's essentially what your fanbase will do for you.
But it doesn't happen overnight. You have to put in the effort first.
Make your customers feel valued by your business on social media. Engage with them and create an online community around your brand. Personalize their experience. Address their concerns, answer their questions, and appease unsatisfied customers. Social media is a powerful tool for not only finding new customers but also making sure that your current customers are 100% satisfied with your product.
Encourage them to post about your brand by creating custom hashtags that customers can use. Start posting user-generated content to your official account.
Eventually, the community will engage even without your input. Satisfied customers will love chatting about your products amongst themselves and spreading the news about your brand to their own networks.
But don't back off too much. Your customers enjoy engaging with one another, but their main intent in interacting with your brand is to engage with you.
4. Measure results with relevant metrics.
Without some method of measuring your results, you won't have a good way to know if your efforts are paying off. Social media, however, has plenty of metrics you can use to track your success.
Likes are often the most talked-about, sought-after metric on social media. Followers is another big one. But the truth is, both likes and followers do little for your business if those customers aren't buying anything.
However, you can still use likes as an important tool. Track how many likes your posts get; this gives you an idea of what type of content resonates with your audience.
Shares are more advantageous than likes in that they increase your reach. Reach refers to the number of people who are seeing your posts whether they interact with them or not. A higher reach number indicates that your message is spreading further. Again, unless they lead to sales, they are not profitable.
Now we're starting to get to the good stuff. A click means that your ad or post stopped someone as they were scrolling through their feed and inspired them to click on it. This is the basic goal of your social media posts – driving traffic to your site (or encouraging people to visit your brick-and-mortar store). Once there, it's up to your products to shine and sell themselves. If you're a real estate agent, for example, you need to sell yourself.
Analyzing the posts that get the most clicks can give you valuable information on what type of content is drawing people to your website. Once you understand what is drawing consumers in, you can incorporate more of what's working in your strategy.
Of course, sales are the ultimate goal of your social media campaign. It can be harder to track what actually encouraged the sale. Customers may visit your site several times before making a purchase, or they may make an in-store purchase because of a post they saw on social media, but you won't necessarily know that.
To learn more about how customers found your company, encourage customers to fill out a quick survey. Offer them a discount on their next purchase if they complete the survey. It's a win-win: You gather valuable marketing data, and the customer is incentivized to come back to your site.
Social media marketing is a valuable tool to spread the word about your business. People are spending more time on these networks, and it doesn't appear to be slowing down. A successful social media marketing campaign doesn't have to be difficult. Follow the steps we've laid out here, and you'll be well on your way to growing your social media profiles and your business.