If you feel lost in how you approach social media marketing, you’re not alone. Many business owners see the potential of marketing on social media, but they don’t even know how to start – much less how to develop a solid strategy.
Here are 8 tips that will help you get your feet on the ground with social media so you have an idea of how it can help your business marketing.
Social Media Marketing Strategy Tip #1: Analyze Your Competition
In marketing, one of the first things you need to do is discover what’s already being done.
Analyze both your competition and other business in verticals similar to yours. Look for active, interesting social media feeds that have a lot of engagement and followers.
Then consider their content.
- What’s catching people’s attention?
- What’s getting a lot of reactions?
- What type of paid ads are they running?
- What influencers are they connecting with?
- What is their approach to selling or generating leads?
You can save yourself a lot of time by getting a sense of what’s already working, then using those ideas in your own campaigns.
However, don’t forget that you’ll need to modify your approach so you’re offering something unique. For example, you might find a business is having success using inspirational quotes. You could try the same tactic – but don’t use the same quotes. Create new material for your brand.
Also, look for platforms where you can be the first to create a brand presence. You may find that your competition isn’t doing anything on a platform, leaving an open opportunity for you. However, make sure your target audience is on the platform so you’re reaching the right people with your content.
Social Media Marketing Strategy Tip #2: Choose Your Platforms
As you analyze the landscape and explore platforms, you need to decide which ones are a fit for your business.
The biggest initial consideration is whether or not your target demographic uses the platform. For example, if you’re targeting women in their 40s with incomes over 100k, you’ll do better on Pinterest than you will on Snapchat.
Pew research provides annual data on social media demographics that’s worth analyzing.
Certain platforms are a better fit for certain verticals. For example, most fashion lines will want to be on Instagram. If you sell food or crafts, Pinterest works well. Social media influencers or gamers will want to use Snapchat.
Facebook has so many users most businesses will at least want to create a presence with a business page. Facebook tends to do well for local lead-generation goals.
Though you want to choose platforms that lend themselves to your business, don’t be afraid to explore. You can get set up and add content for free on social media, and you might be surprised by the results you see.
For instance, you might not think Pinterest would be a great channel for a bank. But Bank of America created a series of boards connected to their Better Money Habits program and reached over 6 million unique people in 5 months, many of them the millennial demographic they were targeting.
Social Media Marketing Strategy Tip #3: Plan Your Management
Social media marketing requires consistent activity. An account with no activity is worse than no account at all.
This means that you need to designate someone to manage your social media marketing.
If you’re a small business just doing updates about daily events at your business (like a restaurant posting specials or entertainment) handle social media internally. A social media savvy employee with their phone will provide the most authentic content.
If you’re a bigger organization with ambitious branding goals, you may need either an internal or outsourced social media manager. This person or team will organize and develop your content, deal with influencers, and track your marketing results.
Here’s more on considering who will manage your social media marketing.
Social Media Marketing Strategy Tip #4: Plan Your Content
After you’ve checked your competition and seen what other businesses are doing for social media marketing, start planning your content.
What tone do you want to create? Funny, inspirational, informative?
What mediums will you use? Videos, images, curated content?
The key is to have enough informational or entertainment value to engage people. This is no easy task with all the noise online consumers live with.
Think about how you can tell a story that connects to people’s lifestyles. And be prepared to take some risks. Often, irrelevant, ridiculous, and even bizarre content is what attracts attention.
Look at the material you’re producing. Would you share it with your networks?
If you wouldn’t, you can’t expect anyone else to either.
Social Media Marketing Strategy Tip #5: Create a Schedule
As we mentioned, a Facebook timeline or Twitter feed where the last post was 6 months ago might as well not exist. As you develop your strategy, plan a schedule so your feeds get regular updates.
With social media posting, it pays to be predictable. In fact, you can sort of “train” followers to expect certain types of content throughout the week, which increases the chance that they’ll engage with it.
On some platforms, like Twitter or Snapchat, you need to be active every day. On Facebook, Linkedin or Instagram, several times a week at least.
The big thing here is not to lapse. Make sure you have someone in place to manage your social media, and have them schedule the work into their week.
If you have someone doing it as an extra task, you posting is likely to be inconsistent.
Social Media Marketing Strategy Tip #6: Set a Budget
On a number of social media platforms (most notably Facebook), it is difficult – to impossible – to get content to show up organically.
Facebook made a shift in 2018 that heavily favors personal over branded content.
This means to maximize your exposure, you’ll need to boost posts and sponsor some of your content.
To boost posts, you don’t need a huge budget. Just enough to give them a bump in people’s feeds.
As you develop content and discover what gets more reactions, focus your budget there.
Social Media Marketing Strategy Tip #7: Optimize
Don’t forget the last term in the phrase social media marketing.
You’re not just trying to create social media for the sake of being there. As a business, you need to tie your efforts into your marketing goals.
This is where data becomes important. Social media platforms all have analytics so you can get hard data on how your content is doing.
Over time, trends will emerge. You’ll see that certain types of content do better than others.
Apply the basic rule of marketing. Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.
Social Media Marketing Strategy Tip # 8: Engage & Network
You also need to consider the first word in the phrase social media marketing.
Socialize on social media. Network. Engage with people, and respond to their content and comments.
Think of social media as a big, digital business after hours event. You’re looking to connect and initiate relationships. When people share or comment on your content, get them on your radar. Answer questions and get them into your sales funnel.
Also, when people contact you through features like Facebook messenger, be responsive. Often, these are legitimate leads.
Social Media Marketing Strategy Tip # 9: Return On Engagement
This point may be the most important for business owners to understand as they develop a strategy for their social media marketing.
Social media is about making connections and increasing brand awareness. It is not, for the most part, a strong direct sales channel.
Be careful about obsessing over direct ROI metrics with social media, particularly early in campaigns. In the first 6 months, your KPIs won’t be sales and conversions. They’ll be the engagement numbers of reactions and followers.
In time, you’ll start to see social media driven conversions as a referral source. Also, if you’re eCommerce, you’ll start to see direct sales, with Instagram and Pinterest being particularly effective.
Overall, social media is really about engagement and brand awareness. With the right strategy, that can translate into excellent value for your business.