Is it possible to succeed without a strong social media strategy these days? Probably, but having one and implementing it successfully can speed up your success massively and ensure that your target audience finds you quicker.
To understand how exactly a social media marketing strategy works and why you need one, read further. This article will dive into all the basics of creating and launching your own strategy.
What is a social media strategy?
Social media marketing is basically a digital marketing strategy that focuses on utilizing social media to promote your business, products, or services; connect with your target audience on a deeper level; and build trust. This strategy typically includes creating and sharing content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, and others.
According to Statista, in July 2023, 4.88 billion people (59.9% of the world’s population) were actively using social media. If your business doesn’t have a social media presence, it is missing out on the chance to reach out to this massive audience.
Furthermore, merely having this presence still might not be enough to reach your goals, be it boosting sales or increasing brand recognition. This would be similar to traveling somewhere without a map or a route—you’ll probably get somewhere, but not necessarily to a place you wanted to.
A strong social media campaign strategy serves as this map or route, helping you achieve your digital marketing goals. It helps you build a consistent and organic presence, target your audience more effectively, figure out the results you want to achieve, and track your progress. And, of course, gain all the benefits of social media marketing.
How to create a social media marketing strategy in 10 steps
1. Set clear objectives
Before you start building a social media strategy for a small business, startup, or large brand, you have to clearly define what you want to achieve with its help, be it greater brand awareness, a better understanding of your target audience, generation of leads and followers, and other things. Even if you have several goals, you have to acknowledge each of them at this stage. Keep in mind that each of the goals has to be easily measured.
When it’s done, set KPIs for each goal, deciding which metrics you will use to track their progress. The metrics can differ a lot depending on each channel. For instance, you can track interactions for Instagram and engagement for Facebook.
2. Identify your target audience
If your brand has already been on the market for a while, you probably already have a certain image of your audience in mind. Still, it’s important to ensure that this image is still relevant as time goes on.
The best way to achieve this is by running market research. You can collect valuable data with the help of:
- user groups;
- social listening;
- online surveys.
As a result, you’ll get lots of valuable information regarding your customers’ age, gender, location, preferences, hobbies, and will be able to come up with social media marketing techniques that can help you refine your strategy and reach out to the right audience.
3. Analyze competitors
Competitor analysis is essential before launching your social media strategy and after it’s launched. It helps you understand how similar companies attract users and build relations with them.
To do this, identify your main competitors and check out their social media profiles. Pay attention to the topics they are covering and how different types of content is perceived by their audience. Then try to identify the social marketing strategies they use to drive engagement. This will help you understand what your audience likes better, gain insights (such as content topics you might want to cover too), and avoid potential plagiarism (even unintentional).
4. Pick the right social media channels
By this step, you should know which channels your audience visits frequently. Although it’s great to have a presence on all big social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you still need to invest your efforts wisely, paying attention to the platforms that can benefit you the most.
This is especially true for small businesses that might not have enough time, people, or the budget to tackle every social media. In this case, setting your priorities from the start can help you allocate your resources better. Furthermore, as each channel has its own preferences in terms of content types, this will give you more clarity at the next stage of the social media marketing process.
5. Develop an engaging and consistent content strategy
The next step in creating a social media strategy is content planning. Come up with the right tone of voice for your channels. It will define how your brand communicates with the audience, as well as how it is perceived. For instance, you can speak in a formal, expert tone of voice. Or, on the contrary, you can choose an informal, more friendly approach. Mind that despite the tone of voice having to be consistent across all channels, it can still differ slightly from one platform to another. Because after all, each platform also has its own personality.
Create a list of content types and themes you want to add to your strategy. This could be informative posts, entertaining videos, and other formats that your audience finds interesting and engaging.
6. Create a content calendar
Once you know what types of content you want to create, you have to start thinking about how you will present it. Otherwise, you might end up releasing too many similar posts at once and generally spending more time on content preparation.
A content calendar is a great tool to ensure that your social media marketing plan is diverse, well-mixed, and posted with the right frequency. It allows you to create content in bunches and then schedule it for posting at the right time. It also helps you prepare content in advance for specific occasions like holidays.
7. Consider a budget and settings for targeted ads
These days, it can be difficult to succeed on certain social media without targeted advertising. While TikTok is still a great source of organic traffic, older channels like Facebook or Instagram can turn organic growth into a challenge. Therefore, consider maximizing your chances of success with paid ads if you have the budget for them.
At the same time, you need to set up your ads accordingly. Proper settings ensure that your budget will be spent wisely, helping you grow your audience.
8. Build relationships with your audience
Now that you’ve established contact with your audience, it’s your job to maintain and strengthen it. If you succeed, you’ll be able to build a strong and loyal community, as well as influence how your audience perceives your brand.
How do you achieve this? By being responsive to your audience: replying to comments, positively answering complaints, and generally showing your customers that you care. Another way to engage with your community is by asking them questions in your stories and launching surveys and polls. This way, you obtain feedback about your product or service, and your audience feels that you care about them.
9. Use data
Data allows you to track your progress and adjust social media marketing methods accordingly. Remember setting up metrics during the first step? Well, now it’s time to compare the results with your expectations.
Tracking parameters like the number of people who view your content, react to it, and follow the link to your website allows you to understand if your content works the way it should. If you feel like a content piece isn’t performing as well as you expected it to, check your metrics and think about the changes you can make.
10. Adjust your strategy whenever necessary
Even if your social media branding and content strategy is well-planned, it isn’t set in stone and can be adjusted. Sometimes, your marketing goals change as time goes on, and you have to adapt your strategy accordingly.
But even if your goals remain the same, there can still be some space to experiment. Social media is constantly evolving, so you need to be flexible in your strategy, test new content formats, and experiment with trends and tactics to ensure you’re ahead of the competition.
What are the most powerful social media marketing strategy examples?
If you want to further understand the impact of such strategies on small and big businesses, check out these amazing social media marketing strategy examples:
Oreo’s team knows how to make the most out of their SMM marketing. Their content differs from one social media to another, demonstrating how the brand clearly understands its audience. Still, there’s one thing that’s present in every social media: Oreo’s famous humor.
One of the most vivid examples of this humor is the brand’s reaction to the 2013 Super Bowl blackout. Back then, Oreo tweeted an ad saying “You can still dunk in the dark”, which immediately went viral.
If you have a skilled content writer in your digital marketing team, you can follow Oreo’s example and impress your audience with witty, up-to-date humor.
Airbnb is another successful social media strategy example. The platform allows people worldwide to list their apartments for rent, so travelers can stay there short-term and long-term.
To ensure that the experience shared on social media truly reflects customer experiences, the brand encourages everyone to post pictures of their stay in Airbnb apartments. This instantly creates a lot of relevant and up-to-date content. Users, on the other hand, have a chance to get featured.
Such an approach can be successfully used by any brand with products or services that are easy to take pictures of.
Last but not least, a prominent example of a social media advertising strategy is Amazon. Even though it was named the biggest online retailer in the US last year, Amazon doesn’t miss an opportunity to strengthen its online presence with the help of the right SMM strategy.
To achieve this, they find user-generated content that is more than just mentions and use it for their social media. Here’s an example of this:
What are the essentials of a social media marketing strategy?
- Research your audience. At this stage, you figure out who your audience is, what platforms they prefer, and how they differ between various platforms.
- Make use of your data. Decide which tone of voice you will pick to communicate with your audience, what messages you plan to deliver, and what impression you want to create — a friendly one, an expert one, etc.
- Evaluate your goals. What do you want to achieve with the help of your strategy, how do you plan on achieving it, and what are the KPIs that you will set to track progress?
- Create a content schedule based on all the above.
Understanding the trends of social media marketing in 2024
User-generated content (UGC)
UGC has been on social media for a while already, but has become even more popular in the last couple of years. Brands love it because it helps them create a sense of community, build authenticity, and drive more engagement. Users, on the other hand, enjoy being tagged by their favorite brands and praised for the quality of their content.
Micro and nano influencers
In the past few years, many companies started switching from big names and well-known bloggers to micro and nano influencers. Although these influencers have fewer followers, their community is generally loyal, well-engaged, and more eager to trust their recommendations. Collaboration with such influencers also allows brands to reach out to more relevant audiences and niche markets.
Long and short videos
With TikTok and Instagram Reels still thriving, video content has become an inseparable and significant part of social media marketing strategies. In 2023, 91% of businesses use videos as a marketing tool, and 70% of marketers who don’t use videos yet plan to start doing so soon. The good news is that you don’t have to start with something big and polished — even short-form entertaining video content performs well if it’s relevant to your target audience.
Users have started to demand more from the brands they follow. Simply offering high-quality goods or services supported by catchy content might not be enough to build a strong and loyal community. You have to think about how to unite this community on a deeper level, and how your brand’s values align with their beliefs. World famous companies such as Uber, Dove, and Lush have launched purpose-driven marketing campaigns since, addressing various important issues—from unrealistic beauty standards to responsible drinking. You can learn from them and try doing something similar on behalf of your brand.
A strong, well-developed social media strategy can help you foster a strong connection with your audience, make the most out of your online presence, and create a loyal community around your brand. To achieve such results, it’s important to study successful SMM strategy cases, keep an eye on trends, and use social media marketing strategy templates to help track your goals.
How does social media affect marketing strategy?
Social media offers you a direct and cost-effective way to reach and engage with a broad audience. You can interact with target users in real-time, get data-driven insights, and tailor content to specific demographics.
What is the key to making a social media marketing strategy a success?
The key to a successful social media marketing strategy is consistency. Maintaining a regular posting schedule, engaging with your audience, and adapting your strategy based on data and feedback are crucial to building brand trust and achieving your marketing goals.
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