By 2020, approximately 2.95 billion people will be using social media. That’s approximately one-third of the earth’s population. If your business doesn’t have a solid social media presence, you’re leaving money and brand awareness on the table.
If you’re hoping to rule the social media marketing sphere this year, here’s how you can create a social media strategy that will get results:
Define Your Audience
The first step is to figure out who you’re targeting. That means getting specific about your demographic. If you try to appeal to everyone, you’ll be casting your net too wide and will lower your chances of success.
If you’re selling a product or service, you’ve probably already created buyer personas. If not, now’s the time to create them.
A buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your customers based on real data and market research about your existing leads and customers. The more detailed you are with these, the better. You should know:
- How old they are
- Whether they’re mostly female or male
- The role they have in their company
- The salary range they’re earning
- Where they’re getting their information
- Their biggest challenges
- Their pain points
- Their future goals
- How you can solve their problems
Once you understand who your customers are, you’ll be able to pinpoint where they’re hanging out online and what type of social posts will appeal to them.
Set Social Media Marketing Goals and Objectives
Without setting goals for your social media marketing, there’s no way you can rule the social media marketing sphere.
When you’ve established goals and objectives, you’ll be able to pinpoint what you need to do in order to succeed. When setting your goals, consider using the S.M.A.R.T framework. Goals should be:
A good example of an S.M.A.R.T goal could be: “For Facebook, we will increase brand awareness with photos introducing our new products. We’ll do this by posting four photos every week with the aim of generating at least 35 likes and 10 comments.”
Conduct an Audit
Before you can rule the social media marketing sphere, you need to see how your current social media use is doing. That means seeing who is connecting with you on each channel and how your current social media compares to your closest competitors.
Once you’ve done your audit, you should be able to clearly see each social account for your business, how they’re being used, and which channels you could potentially add to the mix.
Look at the buyer personas you developed earlier. These will help you determine which social media channels will be the most effective for your business.
Not sure which type of information and content will lead to the most engagement? Look at what others are doing in your industry and see how you can stand out from competitors and reach prospects they could be missing.
Your customers can also offer you plenty of inspiration- not only through the types of content they share but also the way they phrase their content. Look at how your target audience writes and mimic the style (while keeping your brand voice of course). Learn their social media habits (when and why they share) and use that as a basis for your strategy.
One final source of inspriation? Leaders in your industry. From Taco Bell to Red Bull to KLM Airlines, these heavy hitters have managed to distinguish themselves through their social media strategies. Keep an eye on them and learn everything you can about the way they manage their social media.
Create Great Content
A content marketing plan is crucial if you want to rule the social media marketing sphere. This should include strategies for content curation and content creation, along with a content calendar.
Consider what types of content you’d like to post and promote on your social channels.
Separate this into separate target audiences if necessary. Decide how often you’ll need to post your content, who will be creating the content, and how you’ll promote it.
One thing to consider: When you’re attracting people back to your website, it’s crucial that your site is online. This may be the time to look into quality hosting online and choose a host that can guarantee the highest level of uptime.
Test and Adjust as Necessary
It’s not enough to simply create a social media marketing strategy and then sit back and relax. Instead, you’ll need to be constantly testing. Every action on social networks should have inbuilt testing capabilities.
For example, you could consider:
- Tracking how many clicks each link gets on each channel with UTM parameters and URL shorteners
- Use HootSuite for social media analytics and to track reach and success
- Use Google Analytics to see which social posts lead back to your website
Along the way, record your stats. Then you can analyze your failures and successes and continually tweak your strategy in response.
Surveys are another good way to gauge your success — both offline and online. Ask your website visitors, email list, and social media followers how you’re doing with your social media channels. This is often an incredibly effective approach and can give you valuable insight when you’re finding ways to improve.
Settle in for the Long Haul
It’s important to remember that social media marketing is a marathon- not a sprint. Your strategy will be continually changing. As new social networks and channels emerge, you’ll probably need to add them to your plan. As you meet your goals, you’ll need to see new milestones.
Unexpected challenges will pop up that you’ll need to address. As you work to grow your business, you may need to invest in new marketing or social media related roles to take over your social marketing or grow your social presence online.
Ready to Rule the Social Media Marketing Sphere?
As you can see, there are plenty of things to consider when you’re creating a social media marketing strategy. If you work on the above steps, you’ll be dominating social media in no time at all.