To be effective in social media marketing you have to do much more than simply create profiles and start posting to them. Every tweet, post, reply, and follow must serve a purpose and play a role in helping you achieve your overall social media goals. It may sound a little overwhelming, but if you take the time to create a well thought-out strategy, you’ll be amazed at how easy it can be to do exactly that. Here’s how to get started.
Set goals & success metrics
The first step on your journey to social media marketing success is to figure out where you want your efforts to take you -- once you do, you can develop a plan for getting there and tracking your progress. Here are a few of the most critical points to remember during the goal-setting process:
- Goals must always be S.M.A.R.T.-- Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. This will help you move away from general goals (such as wanting to have more followers), and towards more strategic ones (such as increasing your LinkedIn following to 500 by the end of 2015).
- Your goals should solve your business challenges. For example, if you’re seeing a drop in website traffic your social strategy should include ways to build links and drive traffic directly to your site.
- Your goals should be easily measured by key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs are critical to measuring the success of your social media strategy, just be sure they align with your goals. For instance, if you want to increase website traffic, you’ll need to see how much traffic you’re driving today and continually benchmark against that as you build your social media presence. If you’re KPIs do not align with your goals, you will not be able to gauge your progress toward attaining them.
Research your audience
The goal of social media marketing is to be where your audience is and then post stories that will attract their attention, solve their problems, or inspire them to share what you have to say. Take the time to research what your current and prospective customers are doing on social media and try to answer these questions:
- Which social media platforms are they on?
- What do they post about?
- What do they share?
- What do they like?
Once you have completed that research ask yourself how your business can be a part of your customers' social media lives in a meaningful and memorable way.
Research your competition
In the same way you’ve researched and strategized around your competitors pricing strategies and general marketing tactics, do the same for social media. How are they using social media today? What do you see them doing right/wrong? While you won’t want to copy their social media strategy, there is nothing wrong with learning from their successes and failures, as well as how the customers you compete for are reacting to it.
There are many social media platforms available, but that doesn't mean you need to be on every single one of them. Each platform has a personality of its own; you want to spend time, money, and effort only on those social media platforms most likely to help you reach your goal. For example, if humanizing your brand is a goal, Facebook will be a better choice because it allows for a bit more fun and personality than LinkedIn.
Prep your social media profiles
Once you decide which social media sites are right for your business, it’s time to get everything set up. Starting with your social media profiles. “Profile” is a general term to describe your social media account and each social media site uses a different name. For example, on Facebook this is your ‘Time Line’ and on YouTube it’s your ‘Channel’. Despite the different names, it’s the same thing- the place where you share the content you’re using to driving you toward the end goal(s) you’ve identified.
If you already have profiles set up that you want to keep make sure to revamp them to fall in line with the strategy you’ve devised, delete any profiles you’ve determined to be unnecessary, and start creating any new profiles you’ve identified as a good fit for your business.
Throughout the entire process make sure your profile(s) consistently represent your brand voice and align with your overall strategy.
Plan your content
The key to successful social media marketing is a carefully and strategically crafted content strategy. To do this, use the information you’ve gathered about your audience to answer the following questions:
- What does my audience want to learn?
- What is their preferred way of learning and which platforms support that type of content?
- How often will I publish on different platforms? And on what day/time will my posts be most effective? (There is quite a bit of research available to help you with this).
- Where will my content come from? Will we create it all in-house? Use an agency?
- How is the content supporting my objectives?
Stop planning and start doing!
If you’ve followed these steps you are well on your way to crafting a successful social media marketing strategy, now it’s time to put it to the test! Don’t forget to track and measure your progress using the KPIs you defined earlier and to test different content ideas and types to see what works best for you. As you move forward remember that a social media strategy should be a living, breathing entity that evolves and changes as you make minor tweaks and adjustments over time.
About VONT Performance Digital Marketing
At VONT we believe that change is the only constant in the digital world – and that excites us. When tools and environments are constantly changing, new opportunities to help our clients achieve success are constantly arising. Each new advertising technology, social platform, or design approach allows us to improve on the results we achieve for our clients.
We believe in this idea of continual fine-tuning so much that we named our company VONT, which means to achieve exponential improvement in incremental steps. It is our core belief, and the reason why we are not simply a web design company or simply a digital advertising agency, but rather a long-term, single source partner providing a comprehensive array of web development and digital marketing capabilities.
In short, we’re here so that our clients achieve success in the ever-changing digital world.
If you’d like to learn more about VONT and the work we’ve done with our client partners, visit our Work page. Or, if you have a question, either leave us a comment below, or contact us. We’ll get right back to you!