5 Steps in Social Media Marketing Strategy

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Just a few years ago, you could get away with building a social media marketing strategy on the fly. As long as you were present, you were doing more than your competitors–right?

Well it’s 2018 and not much of the same logic applies today. With 30% of millennials saying they engage with a brand on social at least once a month, your strategy can’t be only about existence. Brands must be fully invested in their social media marketing strategies and focus on engagement. Otherwise, you’ll lose out on real customers, which means serious effects on your bottom line.

We’re not here to scare your brand into the world of social media. Instead, we want to provide your marketing team with the right steps to take toward a successful social strategy so your brand isn’t left in the dust.

Here are the seven steps to create a winning social media marketing strategy in 2018:

1. Create Social Media Marketing Goals That Solve Your Biggest Challenges

The first step to any strategy is to understand what you want out of your efforts. Social media marketing isn’t about flipping a switch and calling it a day. Instead, social media planning should be looked at like cooking your favorite dish.

Once you have your ingredients, you follow a recipe and presto! But that’s not always the case. What if you have guests and need to feed more people? What if someone is allergic to one of the ingredients? Suddenly, your goal goes from making a meal to ensuring it will feed enough people and be edible by all.

That’s why creating goals is so critical to the first part of your social media strategy. At the same time, it’s best to set goals that you know are attainable. Asking for 1 million new Instagram followers in 2018 is unrealistic. With achievable goals, you’re more likely to stick to the original plan and continue to take on new hurdles as you complete old ones.

This is the same reason why brands should never take on every social media channel possible in their current marketing strategy. Try to choose the channels that have the most importance based on your brand’s goals. Avoid over complicating a strategy with too many targets and objectives. Simplicity can take you a long way.

And also, don’t forget to document your social media goals. Not only is it important to help you benchmark where you are, but it also improves your chances of achieving them. According to some statistics, people who write their goals down are 30 times more successful.

Social Media Goals to Consider in 2018

Goal setting is a staple of all marketing and business strategies. Social media is no exception. Of course, with a range of social capabilities, it can be difficult to determine exactly what your objectives should be. For guidance, here are some common social media goals to consider:

  • Increase brand awareness: To create authentic and lasting brand awareness, avoid a slew of promotional messages. Instead, focus on meaningful content and a strong brand personality through your social channels.
  • Higher quality of sales: Digging through your social channels is nearly impossible without monitoring or listening to specific keywords, phrases or hashtags. Through more efficient social media targeting, you reach your core audience much faster.
  • Drive in-person sales: Some retailers rely on social media marketing efforts to drive in-store sales. Is your brand promoting enough on social to reward those who come to you? What about alerting customers to what’s going on in your stores?
  • Improve ROI: There’s not a brand on social media that doesn’t want to increase its return on investment. But on social, this goal is specific to performing a thorough audit of your channels and ensuring cost of labor, advertisements and design stay on track.
  • Create a loyal fanbase: Does your brand promote user-generated content? Do your followers react positively without any initiation? Getting to this point takes time and effort with creating a positive brand persona on social.
  • Better pulse on the industry: What are your competitors doing that seems to be working? What strategies are they using to drive engagement or sales? Having a pulse on the industry could simply help you improve your efforts and take some tips from those doing well.

2. Research Your Social Media Audience

Approximately 79% of adults use Facebook–but are your customers actively engaging with your brand there? Understanding your audience is necessary to learn things like who buys your products, what age group is the toughest to sell and what income level makes up the most of your returning customers? As for social media, it’s just as critical to know your audience.

First, your brand should look into the demographics of your most valuable social channels. Like we mentioned before, you should have a goal in mind for your social media marketing strategy. This is why you need to research the channels that correlate the most with your goals.

To help you find your focus channels: let’s take a quick look at the essential demographics data for each major network:

  • Facebook’s most popular demographics include:
    • Women users (89%)
    • 18-29 year olds (88%)
    • Urban- and rural-located users (81% each)
    • Those earning less than $30,000 (84%)
    • Users with some college experience (82%)
  • Instagram’s most popular demographics include:
    • Women users (38%)
    • 18-29 year olds (59%),
    • Urban-located users (39%)
    • Those earning less than $30,000 (38%)
    • Users with some college experience (37%)
  • Twitter’s most popular demographics include:
    • Women users (25%)
    • 18-29 year olds (36%)
    • Urban-located users (26%)
    • Those earning $50,000-$74,999 (28%)
    • Users with college experience or more (29%)
  • LinkedIn’s most popular demographics include:
    • Men users (31%)
    • 18-29 year olds (34%)
    • Urban-located users (34%)
    • Those earning $75,000 or more (45%)
    • Users with college experience or more (50%)
  • Snapchat and other auto-delete app’s most popular demographics include:
    • Men users (24%)
    • 18-29 year olds (56%)
    • Those earning less than $50,000 (27%)
    • Users with some college experience (27%)

4. Research Your Social Competitive Landscape

Before you start creating content (we promise we’re almost there!), it’s really smart to investigate your competitors. We put this before the content creation process because you often find new ways to look at content by analyzing what’s making your competitors successful.

Again, we’ll always believe you shouldn’t steal your competitors ideas, but instead learn and grow from their success and failures. So how do you find that information? The first step is to find out who’s your competition in the first place.

The simplest way to find competitors is through a simple Google search. Look up your most valuable keywords, phrases and industry terms to see who shows up. For example, if you sold various soaps, “handmade natural soaps” would be a great keyword to investigate:

5. Build & Curate Engaging Social Media Content

Did someone say content? It’s no lie–social media content is extremely important to your marketing strategy. However, it’s best to follow the previous steps before planning out content (we caught you, blog skippers!) so you can start building more effective themes.

For starters, we recommend creating content that fits to your brand’s identity. This means you should avoid things like reaching out to your unpopular demographics without a complete strategy in place.

It’s necessary to find the perfect balance between target content and being overly promotional as well. In fact, 46% of users say they’ll unfollow a brand if there’s too many promotional messages. Additionally, 41% of users say they’d unfollow a brand that shared too much irrelevant content.

Video Content or Bust

How important is video to your social media marketing strategy? Extremely–approximately 90% of online shoppers believe product videos help them make a purchasing decision. Additionally, the average online video is completely watched end to end by 37% of viewers.

These type of stats should only enforce your reasoning to invest in social media video content. Brands can reach users through Instagram Stories, Facebook Live and other in-the-moment media.

Build Content Themes

One of the toughest challenges to visual content is creating it on a day-to-day basis. A Venngage infographic showed 36.7% of marketers said their No.1 struggle with creating visual content was doing so consistently.

This truly shows how important highly-visual content is to marketers and the people they want to reach. That’s why building content themes is a great approach to sectioning out your content. Instagram is one your premier channels to work off visual themes.