Whether you are a motivated entrepreneur starting a new company or a business veteran seeking to reach a new audience, it is essential to have a strong social media marketing strategy. Starting a social media marketing strategy may feel intimidating due to an ever-changing digital landscape and varying playbooks for success. Here are some key factors to consider when planning your social strategy:
If you are brand new to the social media marketing realm, or just need to brush up on your skills, the great news is that there are plenty of useful resources and content available to enhance your knowledge. If you enjoy learning through articles, there are informative blogs from Hubspot, Hootsuite, Sprout Social and many others to help you get started on all aspects of social media marketing. If you are more of a visual learner, YouTube has a wealth of content available for social media marketing help. Everything from setting up your first account, to posting your first paid ad, and navigating ads manager- practically anything you need additional assistance with can most likely be found on YouTube as a full tutorial. Getting certified is another great way to help you get started in social media marketing. Certification programs cover all aspects of social media marketing so that new users can learn from the ground up while veterans can still learn new tips and best practices. Hubspot has a great free social media marketing certification course that is great for both beginners and more advanced social media marketers.
Which Platforms Will Be Most Effective
With social media, sometimes less is more, yet sometimes more works. It all depends on your industry and your social goals. Are you a B2B trying to generate leads? Or are you a B2C integrating social to sell a product or service digitally? In order to figure out which platforms will be most effective, it is essential to identify your target market and define your goal for using social media in the first place. For example, a company with a younger target market (Gen Z) trying to promote a new app would consider using mediums that are frequently used by Gen Z, like Snapchat, Instagram, or YouTube. In contrast, a recruiting firm advertising a new opening for a position would consider using mediums like LinkedIn or Facebook that allow more complex advertising possibilities (age, qualifications, demographics etc.). Sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error to find the fit for your business, so don't get discouraged. A/B test, track the results and go from there.
Content is KEY in social media marketing. Whether you are pushing out photos, blogs, or resources, your content has to be relevant and engaging. One of the first crucial steps in social media marketing is drawing out a content plan. Research your competitors. What kind of content are they using? Are they using photos, blogs, or videos?
After you identify your target social channels and content formats, take it a step further and identify the kind of content you are going to promote. Research the best days and times to post on social for your platforms of choice (these key times vary by platform and audience). Create a content plan for your first month ahead of time. Track the analytics and performance each week to see which days, and what content, performs best. This will allow you to A/B test and alter your strategy (if needed) for the following month.
Determine Your Budget
You have to spend money to make money, right? That may be true, but not necessarily when starting your social strategy. Allocate a social budget, but in the first few months, don't put all your eggs in one basket. Test your platforms to see what's performing best, and begin to allocate your budget accordingly. At the beginning of your social strategy, focus on organic growth and engagement. Follow your content plan, and over the first few weeks, look for the content that has the most organic engagement. You will then be able to more intelligently allocate your budget. A/B testing and performance review are essential in this step. You may find a platform you didn't think would perform actually outperforms the others on the organic scale. Review your relevant KPI's and adjust your spend accordingly on weekly basis. The great thing about social media advertising is that most platforms do the heavy lifting for you in terms of analytics. Facebook ads manager has an incredible platform with the option to review all of your campaigns, save audiences that performed well, and repeat high-performing ads.
A strong social media following comes with time. Purchasing followers and other shortcuts may award you "vanity" metrics such as likes or comments. However, those vanity metrics will not transfer to conversions. A major contributing factor to a successful social media strategy is to be as human and authentic as possible. Don't over-push content or use automated bots. Engage with your audience. Respond to messages, reply to comments, and listen to your followers. A great feature of social media is having the opportunity to ask your followers what they want. If you are testing out some new content, put a poll on your Instagram story, asking your followers if they would like to see more of. Building a loyal following will pay off in the long term with higher conversions and an audience that will keep building as loyal followers recommend/share your brand or business with friends and family.
Starting a social media strategy may seem complicated and intimidating, but it all boils down to planning, testing, and reviewing performance. Don't get discouraged if you don't have a huge following in a matter of months. Building a strong social media platform and a marketing strategy takes time, dedication, and a lot of trial and error. Keep learning, and you will find the strategy that works for you and your brand.