Social media marketing can be a dynamic powerhouse that solidifies branding, creates quality leads, and drives sales. Or, it can be a big time-wasting, task-oriented dud. The key is to know how to strategically create, carry out, and measure the overall plan.
Businesses trying to achieve successful social media marketing must overcome several common challenges. Carving out enough time, creating high-performing content, and properly measuring the resulting metrics are all aspects that, if handled incorrectly, can tank the plan and leave them with a big goose egg as the outcome.
Don’t do that!
With some planning, companies are more likely to reach and exceed the payoff that got them excited about social media marketing in the first place.
Lucky for you, we have the step-by-step plan laid out.
Follow these 5 easy tips to rock your social media marketing strategy and enjoy 10X return on investment.
1. Identify Your Goals
It’s a smart business practice to start with goal setting before all new plans, and social media marketing’s no different. After all, you can be the best bicycle salesperson in the state, but still fail if you are supposed to be selling ice cream.
Use the SMART goal setting strategy to create the foundation for successful social media marketing.
- Specific. Vague goals like “get more business” doesn’t help companies pinpoint their objective and create measures of success. Goals must nail down exactly what is expected of the initiative.
- Measurable. Being able to definitively answer “yes, we hit the goal” or “we missed the goal by 20%” is a good goal standard.
- Attainable. Out of reach goals are demoralizing and frustrating. Having to stretch to hit a goal is productive, but don’t go overboard with expectations.
- Relevant. A social media marketing goal needs to tie in to marketing’s overall goal. Is it to build an audience? Increase website traffic? Strengthen branding? Make sure the goal relates to the bigger picture.
- Timely. Dates and times keep companies accountable to their goals. Stay on track by breaking up a large project like this into mini-goals that each have their own deadline.
Once companies set the goal, which is basically the “why”, they need to decide on the “who”.
2. Identify Your Audience
Your message won’t be effective unless its specifically designed for who you are trying to target. Developing a relevant buyer persona is essential for successful social media marketing. Three pieces of information offer insight into pinpointing your audience.
- Review happy clients. Clients that have been pleased by a company’s product or service are prime starting points when building a buyer persona. Study their industries, demographics, and their goals closely to understand who you should be targeting.
- Nail down pain points. What question does your product answer? How does it make your buyer’s job easier? Only by thoroughly understanding this can an organization show their value.
- Survey customer support. Talk to the people who are on the front lines. What are the questions they hear most often? Knowing this shows you the direction to take in the content that will most likely engage and interest your targets.
3. Select the Best Platforms
It’s usually a mistake to try to cultivate followers on half a dozen or more social media channels. The person managing the social media efforts gets overwhelmed, off track, and the results end up being puny.
FaceBook is the social media giant, of course. LinkedIn is also great for businesses to have a presence. But neither may be the one companies should focus on.
- Who needs the product or service? The offering is key to the platforms you should choose. Selling directly to consumers? FaceBook is your best bet. Targeting a younger audience? Snapchat or Instagram might perform the best. Marketing to other companies? LinkedIn could be your golden ticket.
- Where are the competitors? Put your investigative hat on and figure out which channels your competitors are using. Study their presence, and look at their followers. It’s not required that you be on every channel they are on. But, seeing a competitor with tons of followers and engagement should prompt you to move that particular social media channel to the top of the list.
Successful social media marketing takes chunks of time to manage. It’s far better to choose one or two channels and really invest in them than five or six channels and spread the message to thin.
4. Employ a Qualified Manager
It takes unique qualities to be a savvy social media manager. One of the mistakes companies frequently make is to choose the person who has the lightest schedule or the cheapest per hour rate with no regard for whether or not they are “built” for the job.
- Strategic thinking. There’s almost always a strategic thinker behind successful social media marketing. Companies should look at the candidate for the job closely and discuss the short and long-range goals. The person needs to understand how to lay out posts, choose content, and engage with followers in a way that builds toward success.
- Organizational skills. Running social media campaigns demands someone that can lay out the strategy in a step-by-step approach. They need to have a handle on their time and control of their calendars. Simply posting “when they think about it” won’t do much to move the needle.
- Branding expertise. They may not be the “face” of the company, but they are definitely the “voice”. It’s imperative for the social media manager to understand the company brand at a granular level, possess strong grammar and spelling skills, and exhibit professionalism in all situations.
5. Deliver Consistently
An outstanding social media initiative is one that is nurtured constantly. Throwing up a blog here and a picture there won’t build a prosperous marketing strategy.
- Write content. Always keep the targeted buyer in mind when sharing content. Blogs, new white papers, and webinar invitations are smart choices.
- Curate content. Posting relevant industry information and articles written by others are additional ways to fill the social media calendar. Avoid always posting something sales-y. This turns audiences off.
- Listen. Tools that let companies listen to what competitors and the target audience are interested in and talking about guides them toward what they should be sharing.