Overview of Social Media Strategy & Effective Marketing
Over the last decade, social media marketing has proven to be the most effective form of marketing, especially compared to traditional media advertising.
It is much cheaper, can reach a much bigger audience, can be highly targeted, is easily measured, and provides a direct two-way communication with a target audience.
And, it’s especially crucial today (especially because of issues like the pandemic), as e-commerce has completely overtaken traditional commerce. Social media is now the main medium of promoting products and services.
However, embarking on a social media journey for your business is no simple feat. Many startups and businesses treat it as a series of random posts, a social media strategy which usually proves ineffective. Creating a more effective strategy is crucial to ensure a professional and productive social media presence for your brand.
Here are 11 tips that businesses should consider when creating and implementing a social media strategy for their business.
11 Tips for Creating And Implementing Your Social Media Strategy
1. Ensure your social media strategy is comprehensive
A proper social media strategy includes many components, including:
- Goal setting
- Defining target audience and creating personas
- Asset mapping
- Position in the sales cycle
- Choice of channels
- Voice and tone
- Posting frequency and posting time
- Content types
- Content calendars
- Community management
- Online advertising strategies
- Influencer marketing strategies
- Social media policies
- Crisis management policies
- Measurement and reporting
Developing a social media strategy that includes each of these components will provide you with a framework that aligns your content to your organization’s mission and vision, making your messaging coherent and consistent.
2. Set clear and measurable goals
Setting quantifiable goals is very crucial so that everyone is clear on what you want your social media plan needs to achieve. These goals can be to increase sales, get more leads, improve customer relationships, develop loyalty, raise brand awareness and acquire human resources. Setting these goals can be facilitated through S.M.A.R.T. goals, an acronym that ensures that the goals that you set are Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Time-bound.
3. Develop messaging for each stage in the buyer’s journey
What your target audience already knows about you will dictate what you can credibly have a conversation about on social media. That is why it is important to be aware of your position in the marketing funnel. The marketing funnel (or AIDAR model) describes the user journey until they make a purchasing decision. The five steps of this journey are: Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action and Retention. Developing distinct messaging for customers in different parts of this journey will carry them along a well-narrated story about your brand and increase conversion rates.
4. Be realistic about the costs of ramping up your social media
A common myth about social media is that it’s free, or at least very cheap. While it may be free to set up a Twitter or Facebook account, it requires time and lots of it to effectively manage these accounts. There are several areas of cost (some time, some money, etc.) that you should consider when developing the social media strategy for your business:
- People and time: who will be responsible for implementing the communication strategy and how much time do you expect them to require?
- Content: what type of content do you want to produce and how much will it cost you?
- Tools: what are the tools that are needed for the implementation of your strategy?
- Advertising: as organic reach on most platforms decreases, it is vital to spend a significant budget on online advertising to get your message across. How much can you afford to set aside for online advertising budgets each month?
5. Create customer personas
A great way to ensure you hit your target and focus communications on the right people is to create customer personas. These are short descriptions of fictional individuals that represent different segments of your target audience. When developing these personas, you should consider their demographic information such as age, gender, salary, location, education, and family status, their job titles and where they work, their goals, challegages, interests and fears, the marketing platforms that they are most likely to be on, and their social behavior. Using all the above, you will be able to socialize a specific marketing messaging that they can relate to. Think of it as an elevator pitch for each of your target segments.
6. Start small and expand into new channels later
When creating your social media strategy, it’s easy to bite off a bit more than you can chew. Instead, prioritize your channels, start slow and get comfortable even if it means starting with just one platform. Spend time getting accustomed to posting content, answering questions and comments, and the overall level of engagement required. Once you’re comfortable, add another platform and slowly build your network. Social media marketing is not about being everywhere at once, it is about being at the right place at the right time – it is about knowing where your target audience is and having a conversation with them.
7. Define your voice and tone
Setting your voice and tone is very important to create a professional brand for your business on social media. Voice is your brand personality described in an adjective while the tone adds specific flavor to your voice based. You should have one brand voice which unifies your brand and makes it recognizable, but you can have multiple tones that refine your voice depending on different situations or personas that you are talking to.
8. Ensure each piece of content has a purpose
Content creation is a vital element in contemporary marketing, and it’s the fuel that powers any social media strategy. There is a science behind what motivates users to share digital content. Researchers have discovered a number of psychological triggers that inspire people to engage in online activities: social approval, communication, support ideas, and entertainment. Make sure that each content type you post has a purpose and a desired action for your audience to do. That doesn’t necessarily mean that your posts should always be too salesy, it is important to provide value to your audience rather than bombard them with marketing messages all the time.
9. Ensure content is exciting and easy to read
So that your social media content is more shareable, your content should be exciting and easy to read. Consider the following: create high-quality content, use smart structuring, add value to users’ lives, keep your audience in mind, trigger emotions and exploit trendy topics.
10. Establish a crisis management plan
Make sure to create a crisis management plan that takes into account speed, hyper-transparency, dialogue, search and detractors. Knowing how to solve crises that you can anticipate beforehand and having a plan to counter them will be a life-saver if and when these crises occur.
11. Get comfortable with organic social before starting paid social ads
Before commencing with paid advertising, you should properly understand the organic algorithms for the platforms that you are using. Organic reach on most platforms usually relies on several factors that include: affinity (how often a user engages with the content you post), weight (the weight for each type of action they usually do: sharing has the highest weight, then commenting, then liking, then viewing), and time decay (how long ago your post was posted), among others.
We hope these tips for creating an effective social media strategy for your business are helpful! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. If you’d like to work with an expert who has deep experience helping tech companies develop and implement their social media, consider working with this post’s author and expert social media strategy consultant, Mohammad Hijazi.