A social media marketing strategy guides your endeavors and measures your success. With a specific, focused approach, your execution will be more effective, too. In this article, we offer a guideline for creating a social media plan and highlight some of the research you need to gather beforehand.
Social Media Users
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In 2005, only 5 percent of adults in the U.S. used some form of social media. A number that exploded to 50 percent across all age groups in just six years. Today, a whopping 69 percent of Americans plug into social media platforms. That’s 7 in 10 people, according to the Pew Research Center. While younger adults lead other age groups in the adoption of these platforms. Those aged 30 to 49 are a close second, and those aged 50 to 64 are a not-too-distant third. Retirees also make a small showing in each category. The most popular platform among all groups is Facebook. Which about two-thirds of the population uses, followed by Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. For both older age groups, YouTube falls in second place for most-used social media, followed by the remaining platforms.
Social Media Trends
These numbers are in line with social media trends over the last few years. It’s also interesting to note that while success has always been measured as individual users, impressions, and clicks, social media has added another metric to the mix. About three-fourths of Facebook users return to the platform several times throughout the day.
Businesses have come to understand that they can no longer afford to take social media lightly as a viable marketing channel. If your company is one that has done little more than creating a Facebook page. You’re missing opportunities to connect with your audience and grow your customer base. More customers mean a better bottom line. Content is king in social media, but you first need to know your audience before you can write for it.
Create Meaningful Goals for Your Social Media Marketing Strategy
Deciding on your goals is a critical first step of any marketing strategy. And it is especially true with social media, where a successful campaign can hopefully go viral. But rapid responses can also be overwhelming and create additional issues to solve. Be sure your goals are achievable. Unattainable goals undermine your efforts. Having viable goals also ensures that you’re not pulled off-course when you run into snags. And that you can take on new challenges as you work your strategy and finish the old ones.
Be selective in choosing which social media channels to include in your social media marketing strategy. Or you may spread yourself too thin. Opt for those that can help you achieve your goals. Just as you would with traditional media channels. Keep your strategy simple and remember that even relatively “free” channels take an investment of daily labor on your part that you must take into account.
Documenting your goals for a few reasons is essential. First, it will help you maintain focus as your campaigns unfold. And you adjust to customer response. Second, goals help you analyze your success and serve as a benchmark on which to build future campaigns.
Here’s A Video About Building Your Action Plan for Social Media Marketing
Here is a look at some goals you may wish to include in your strategy:
Boost ROI: This business mantra is vital for all business. Whether they are online or brick-and-mortar. If something isn’t working, you need to fix it or replace it. Analyze your social media efforts regularly, making sure to include design, labor, and advertising costs.
Build brand awareness: Go beyond promotional messaging and focus on creating quality content that helps you establish a robust brand personality.
Drive in-store sales: Many retailers use social media to help drive sales in their stores. Evaluate whether or not you have tapped into this promotional tool to bring customers to your sites.
Grow customer base: Promoting user content can help you create a positive brand image and build a loyal following.
Another goal worth considering is to gain a better understanding of your industry or niche and what kind of success your competitors are experiencing. How are they engaging with customers, and what are they doing to drive sales? Learning from and borrowing from competitors is always smart.
Social Media Demographics of The Social Media Marketing Strategy
You already recognize the importance of knowing your customers and understanding how they use your products. Information about your customers’ age, sex, income, education level, and what group is the hardest sale informs your marketing and advertising decisions. You should know your social media audience as well.
Most Used Channels
As mentioned earlier, Facebook is the most-used channel. While YouTube is the only other channel that claims use by more than 40 percent of the U.S. population. Pinterest continues to be favored by women (41 percent use it) over men (16 percent use it). LinkedIn is more popular among high-income households and college graduates. In fact, about 50 percent of higher-education graduates use it. WhatsApp, a favored messaging service in Latin America, is also popular with Hispanics in the U.S., with 49 percent of U.S. Latinos using it. A little online research will help you gather the necessary user information like this.
Metrics To Use In The Social Media Marketing Strategy
Don’t make the mistake of counting followers, retweets and “likes” as customers. Their actual value is unknown. Instead, focus on measuring overall audience engagement in your social media marketing strategy.
Using metrics such as the following:
Clicks: Track clicks on your logo or company name as well as links within the content to learn how visitors respond to your marketing messages. Your goal is to determine what encourages your audience to make a purchase.
Hashtags: Which hashtags did customers respond to and which were the most used? Can you draw any conclusions about hashtags that are more popular? For instance, do they promote sales, how-to’s or videos?
Reach: Of course you want to know how many unique users viewed your posting. You also need to know how far it’s spreading through retweets and other means of sharing.
Likes: Measure your organic likes and paid likes, which will differ with each social media platform. These measurements can help you determine whether it’s better to use ads on specific channels.
Engagement: How many people interacted with your company based on your reach? Do the math and you’ll have an idea of what customers think of you by the number that responds to your content and messages.
Delve a little deeper to gauge users’ reactions to your company and promotions. Are you getting a negative response from something perceived as offensive? The payoff to doing this type of research is a better understanding of how people feel and what they are saying about you.
Research Your Competitors In The Social Media Marketing Strategy
It’s wise to know what’s working for your competitors and what’s not. Conduct an online search for competitors and compare content such as keywords, industry terms, and phrases. Then look them up on social media to see how they use those same content pieces. There are various social media software programs you can use to chart and analyze what others in your industry are doing with videos, text and images and the responses they receive. You can use that knowledge to craft your messages.
Create Engaging Content In The Social Media Marketing Strategy
There’s no point in creating content to appeal to any demographic if that content doesn’t fit your company identity. Of course, you want to market to new audiences. But do it as part of your social media marketing strategy. Part of your plan should also include finding the right mix of promotional communications and targeted content. Too many promotional messages will cause you to lose followers. And the same is true for users who receive too much material that’s not relevant to them.
Don’t leave video out of your plans—the majority of Internet shoppers find product videos useful in making buying decisions. There are several platform options you can use to share your videos. Including Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
Connect With Your Audience Using The Social Media Marketing Strategy
The very basis of social media is about connecting with people. You want others to share your content and discuss a variety of topics, so you need to be among the members and part of the discussion. It requires effort to engage with people on a regular basis. But it can help you build a positive brand image. Remember when designing your social media marketing strategy that you must be available to interact with your audience. The average user expects a response from a company within four hours of asking a question. If you’re posting and sharing new products or content, be sure that your team is there to answer queries.
Measure Your Success Using The Social Media Marketing Strategy
It’s difficult to measure success with social media, as most companies know. Many marketers admit to not knowing if their campaigns generated any revenue. Which explains why engagement is the metric that most track. Google Analytics and Facebook pixels are great tools for measuring the success of your efforts. Remember to analyze your metrics regularly and compare them against other campaigns. When you commit to connecting with your audience and building a good relationship. You have a better chance of success with your overall marketing strategy.