9 Steps to Creating an Effective Social Media Marketing Strategy

February 22, 2019
Will Kaye
Managing Director

The evolution of social media has enabled a greater means for interaction between customers and brands than ever before..

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The evolution of social media has enabled a greater means for interaction between customers and brands than ever before. When driven by an effective strategy, social media marketing can do wonders to increase your brand’s awareness and foster engagement with customers. Despite this, 50 percent of businesses admit that they don’t have a documented media strategy.

If you don’t have a marketing strategy for social media, you’re not alone, and if you’re unsure about where to begin, you’ve come to the right place. These nine-steps are a great way to start.

1. Create Goals That Address Your Biggest Challenges

The golden rule when it comes to kick-starting your marketing strategy is setting attainable goals. Depending on the maturity of your business, challenges can differ immensely. You may want to:

* Raise brand awareness.
* Build a loyal following.
* Generate qualified leads.
* Sell more products and services.
* Increase website traffic.

Setting different goals that are specific to your biggest challenges will enable you to monitor your performance over time and pinpoint areas that demand further improvement.

2. Document your Goals

The benefit of documenting your goals is twofold: it allows you, as the business owner, to align your goals to current business objectives and ensures all team members are on the same page. Here are some questions to consider:

* Which social channels should you focus on?
* What is your brand’s persona and tone of voice?
* How will you monitor your social media content performance?
* If you’re in retail, is your strategy aligned with in-store promotions?
* Are you investing enough in paid advertising?
* How often should you be interacting with social media followers?
* What strategies are your competitors using to drive engagement and sales?

3. Research Your Audience

It is essential to understand your audience and focus on the right channels. Consider:

* What is your ideal customer persona?
* Which channels do your potential customers use?
* Who is currently following and interacting with your brand?
* When are they most active online?
* When do your posts get the most engagement?

Knowing your audience is key to creating content that potential customers will like, comment on and share, helping to make your brand a legend. Sprout Social, BuzzSumo, Social Mention and Google Analytics are fantastic analytics features that can help you measure and improve engagement across a variety of social channels.

4. Establish Your Most Important Metrics

It’s easy to be fooled into thinking that retweets and likes are the most valuable metrics. While they’re easy to track, they don’t tell you much about your conversion rates and return on investment. The following metrics are more accurate measures:

* Referral traffic to your website.
* Conversions from social traffic.
* Traffic from paid ads.
* The number of unique users who see each post.
* The optimal times for engagement.
* The number of brand mentions.
* The number of replies and comments for each post.
* The number of content shares.

5. Choose the Right Analytics Tools

There’s a plethora of free and paid tools available online. Start out by testing some of the most popular offerings on the market – many come with a free trial. Through trial and error, you can narrow your options down to one or two that will help you track your specific goals and key metrics.

6. Perform a Social Media Audit

Using your analytics tool, evaluate what your current social media presence looks like. A few areas you could look into include:

* Are your account profiles optimised with the right keywords?
* Which platforms are you most active on?
* Which platform gets more audience engagement?
* How many followers do you have on each network?
* Which platforms are your competitors using?

Comparing your social media strategies to the competition is always a helpful insight into how to drive the most engagement. Look at the types of content they produce, their publishing frequency, visual style, degree of response and keywords and hashtags used.

7. Create a Social Media Calendar

Keep your content interesting by planning a mix of educational, informative, entertaining, inspirational and promotional posts. A content calendar is a great tool to outline when and on what channels content should be published and the reasoning behind each piece of content.

Utilising a content calendar will greatly assist in evaluating what your audience responds to most and when your posts have maximum impact.

8. Engage With Your Audience

The most successful brands are those that are attuned to their audience and constantly engage with them. It takes time, but the hard-won benefits of building a greater following and improving your brand’s credibility are worth it.

9. Analyse and Optimise

It’s integral to measure the results of each social media campaign according to your key success metrics, which will determine what’s working and what isn’t. This allows you to tweak future content for optimal success.

To strengthen your content plan, look at what your followers are talking about online. You can even invite advice about what they want to see more of from you.

In Summary

With a defined social media marketing strategy, you can produce more consistent and powerful content that will boost your online presence, drive website traffic, and generate more leads.
It doesn’t have to be complicated: follow these simple steps, avoid common mistakes, be flexible in your approach, and tweak existing and future content to gain the competitive advantage for years to come.