Before getting started on any social media marketing campaign, you need to develop your strategy. Your social media strategy is like a guide that tells you what you’re trying to accomplish, how you’re going to accomplish it, and how you’ll know when it’s been accomplished.
Define the goals of your social media strategy
The first step in developing your social media strategy is setting goals. Goal setting is important for several reasons. First of all, goals hold you accountable. By defining the goals of your social media campaign, you make yourself accountable for accomplishing them. Goals can guide your budget and actions to achieve your goals. Goals can help you measure success. Analyzing data related to your goals can help you measure how effective your efforts are and identify areas for improvement.
Common social media marketing goals include: building brand awareness, managing brand reputation, sales, and lead generation, increasing community engagement, increasing web traffic, and gaining customer and competitive insights. You prioritize your social media goals based on your company goals and the overall marketing objectives. It helps gain support from your stakeholders.
In addition to that, you need to make your goals SMART. The SMART goal-setting method can help you define and measure the success of the goals of your campaign. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Tim-bound. Let’s discuss each word in the marketing context.
Specifying exactly what you want to achieve helps you determine when you’ve achieved it. For example, you want to improve the brand awareness on social media. Brand awareness is broad, and hard to pinpoint what exactly you want to achieve. Are you looking to improve the number of followers, likes, shares, and comments? Then which platform are you targeting? Answering these questions will help you make your goals more specific.
Next, your goal should be measurable. A goal is measurable when you can determine objectively that it has been met. If you can answer how much, how many, and how will I know when it’s accomplished, then your goal is measurable. An effective way to measure your goal is to determine what metrics to use. For example, a related measurable goal might be to increase followers on Instagram by 15% over the last quarter.
Once you’ve made your goal specific and measurable, you need to determine whether it’s attainable. An attainable goal is realistic given any constraints. Is there anything that could get in the way of increasing your Instagram followers by 15%? It can be a lack of time, budget, or other resources. You want to set goals that are a little challenging to encourage growth.
Next, decide if your goal is relevant. Think about how the goal lines up with your company’s other marketing goals, priorities, and values. A relevant goal will benefit your business. For example, if your company wants to attract a young audience, then Instagram is the right platform with a large of 25 to 34 years old users.
Finally, you need to make your goal time-bound. This means your goal will have a deadline. Making your goal time-bound, helps you plan your schedule and set milestones. It can be by the end of the quarter, increase followers on Instagram by 15% over the last quarter.
Identify your social media target audience
Once you’ve set the goals for your campaign, the next step in building your social media strategy is defining your target audience. A target audience is a group of people most likely to purchase your company’s products.
Your target audience is the people who are most likely to be interested in the content, products, and services you’re creating. They are people whose problems you want to solve. Understanding exactly who your target audience is will guide your marketing and help you decide what, where, and when you are going to share content. More importantly, to determine where your money and time will be best spent.
So how to identify your target audience? To determine who your social media target audience is, start by compiling information about your current customers and followers. You gather some of the information from others in your organization, such as your research department, analyst, or even other marketers.
Consider demographic information about your current customers, such as their age, occupancy, location, etc. This helps you understand which geographical area to target and when you should schedule your social media posts and ads to ensure the best visibility.
Language. What languages should you use to communicate with your target audience? Some people might not speak your language or might speak a different language at home than their dominant language in their geographic region.
Interests. What do they like to do? What excites them? What do they care about?
Needs. What problems are your customers struggling with? What issues do they have that your product or service could help solve?
Once you’ve learned these characteristics about your current customers, assess how people engage with your brand on social media. Think about questions such as what are people saying about your brand, products and services? What do they like and dislike about them? Why is your audience following you? Why is your audience following you? What else are they talking about online?
Understanding the kind of information people are searching for will help you understand your target audience, identify their needs, and determine how to engage with them on social media. You can use social listening tools from the previous post to learn about people mentions and conversations about your brand.
Now that you have a sense of who your target audience is and how they’re talking about your brand on social media, research what social media platforms they use. To make the greatest impact, you should aim to reach your target audience where they’re most active on social media. It wouldn’t make sense to post regularly on Pinterest, if your target audience is spending most of its time on LinkedIn.
Finally, observing what the competition is doing. Your target audience likely has some similarities to your competitor. You can benefit fro observing their tactics. Consider questions such as, who are your competitors targeting? How are they reaching out to their target audience? What are they doing well and not so well? How often they posting? Which content formats are they using?
Popular social media platforms
There are many kinds of social media platforms available, each capable of achieving different goals. Certain platforms will be more appropriate and effective for your brand than others. It also comes down to your target audiences.
Each social media channel has a certain number of monthly active users. Monthly active users refers to the number of unique customers who visit a platform over a month-long span. Monthly active users is a number you will want to be familiar with as a brand because it may affect where you place your priorities and focus. Visit this link for more information on each social media platform’s monthly user numbers.
Common types of social media platforms
The common types of social media platforms are social networking, microblogging/blogging, photo sharing, and video sharing.
Facebook and LinkedIn are known as social networking sites because they allow users to interact with each other. Social networking is often used for both personal and professional reasons.
Facebook is a great tool for small businesses that want to keep in touch with and share updates with their customers. It is a great place for companies to post new products or services, sales, hours of operation, and much more.
LinkedIn is an effective social networking site for people who want to manage their professional identity and network with others. Companies (big and small) also use LinkedIn to share company updates and new projects, and even engage with and/or hire other professionals.
Pro tip: the beauty of social networking platforms is that they are designed to encourage users to share various types of content like visuals, text, and external links. If you’re running a social networking page for your brand, keep your content fresh by sharing different types of content each day.
Blogging refers to self-published writing that lives online. Microblogging is blogging but on a smaller scale. Microblogging platforms allow users to distribute short-form content, quickly and frequently. Twitter and Reddit are good examples of these platforms. While blogging allows you to write lengthy, in-depth content, microblogging allows you to introduce brief concepts to users and invites those users to interact with that content.
Twitter is a useful platform to optimize engagement and interaction with users. Users can use the search function to find tweets on anything they might want to discuss. Brands often use the “trending” section strategically, by tweeting relevant content based on what topics others are talking about.
Reddit is a platform that encourages web chatter and sharing of posts to create a sense of community. Within Reddit, there are “subreddits” which are niche online communities that cover a certain topic. There are subreddits for all kinds of topics, such as specific TV shows, hobbies, political or religious affiliations, industries, and much more.
Photo-sharing platforms like Instagram and Pinterest offer visually appealing “feeds” where you can engage with content posted by other users, or host your own. They offer users the ability to engage with their community, but they also include features that allow users to engage with new users and content.
Instagram is a photo and video-sharing social networking platform. It’s a great place for businesses because it includes a feature that allows brands to post photos and link the product directly in the photo, so users can make purchases from the app. And, even if your brand isn’t creating shoppable content on Instagram, photos are a great way to keep users interested and engaged in your brand.
Pinterest is a useful platform for brands because, unlike Instagram, brands can link directly to websites or external landing pages in captions and replies. Users can save these posts, knowns as “boards.” So, if you work for an interior design company, you may create design mockups, post them to Pinterest, and link back to your website where users can book you for your services.
Pro tip: photo sharing services offer users the ability to save photos posted by other accounts within the apps, so users can always reference content they enjoyed, for any number of reasons. Those analytics are available to the account managers, so make sure to check in and see what content your audience is saving so you can keep delivering tailored content to them.
Video sharing platforms allow users to upload and share videos, and live to stream their videos to the internet. Video-sharing platforms are becoming increasingly popular within most industries because of the informational aspects and community-building capabilities of video content. Platforms like YouTube, TikTok, Vimeo, Instagram Live, and Facebook Live are great examples of video-sharing platforms. Some platforms are better suited for long-form videos while others are best used for short-form videos, but both have huge advantages for businesses.
YouTube and Vimeo are great for long-form videos. For instance, a carpenter can show off their woodworking skills all while persuading customers to buy their work in a video format on these platforms. The possibilities with video are endless, but keep in mind that creating video, especially long-form, is one of the most time-consuming and specialized types of content you can create.
TikTok is suitable for short-form videos. Brand videos on TikTok can range from international content like short “how-to” videos, to behind-the-scenes videos, to community-building videos like songs or dances, and so much more.
Instagram Live and Facebook Live differ from the other video-sharing platforms because the content is live, rather than created and then uploaded. These platforms are often used for question-and-answer style videos, where users can get a feel for who you are as a brand.
To learn more about the 5 types of social media and their pros and cons, click here.
Choose social media platforms for your campaign
Reaching your target audience involves crafting the right content and posting at the right time on the right platform. It is important to select your platforms carefully for a couple of reasons. The right platform will help you reach your target audience. Posting on a platform that attracts the people who are most likely to be interested in your products or services, can drive more traffic to your website.
But there are over 100 social media platforms worldwide, so how do you choose the best one to market your brand? Let’s discuss some of the strategies for choosing social media platforms for your campaign.
You can start by learning about the different platforms and how they are used. Spend time studying the different platforms to understand how they work and how people communicate on them. For instance, Twitter has a strong emphasis on real-time information. It also has 280 character limit for messages, unlike most other social media platforms that have a much higher limit. Therefore, Twitter is best for communicating breaking news, posting very brief content, and interacting directly with people in real-time.
You want to consider your target audience. Which social media platforms are they most active on? The research you did to define your target audience earlier should be helpful here. Facebook may have more active users than any other platform. But if your target audience is under the age of 25, then you might consider TikTok instead.
Next, think about the goals of your social media campaigns. They should align with the overall goals of your business. Do you want to increase brand awareness, generate leads, and increase community engagement? Different platforms offer different advantages and may be better equipped to help you achieve these goals.
You also need to consider your company when choosing platforms. Your product and services brand identity, and business type, should all factor into your decision. For example, an art distributor might want to focus on a highly visual channel like Instagram. While a company that produces educational videos might choose a video-based platform like YouTube.
Pay attention to your competitors’ social media platforms. Where are they posting? What are they generating the most engagement? When your competitors are performing well on certain channels, there’s a good chance you’ll perform well in those channels too, and vice versa.
One more thing to consider is your available resources. A social media marketing campaign is a commitment. It takes an investment of time, money, and energy. How many people are available to manage all the platforms that you want to be on? How much time can you dedicate to each platform? What is your budget for advertising across all of your platforms? Different-sized companies may have different-sized budgets and marketing teams. So it’s beneficial to have a clear understanding of your available resources when selecting your social media platforms.
Build your brand identity on social media
When it comes to branding your company on social media, there are many considerations to make such as social media goals, customer personas, and prioritizing your social platforms. These considerations don’t necessarily make up your brand identity, but defining them is important for building and understanding your brand identity on social media.
What is a brand position statement?
A brand position statement outlines exactly what your company does and for whom, and what makes you different from your competitors. Internally, it helps guide your team as you navigate through the current trends within the marketing world. Externally, it tells customers about your brand and its goals.
Creating a brand position statement
To create a brand position statement, you will need to know:
- Your audience
- The challenges or needs of your customers
- Your company name
- Your products, services, or differentiator (the thing that sets you apart from other brands), and
- Your company’s mission statement
When you put all that information together, you get a template that looks like this:
For [audience] who [customer challenge/need], [Company Name] provides [product and differentiator] because [brand promise or mission].
Designing brand identity
The next step in building a brand identity is ensuring your brand’s color palette, logos, and digital assets have some sense of consistency on your social pages and are visually appealing to your audience. Another important part of your brand identity is your brand voice. A brand voice is a distinct personality a brand takes on in its communications. Curating your voice is an integral part of creating brand identity.
Tips to create brand guidelines:
- Standardize your brand’s colors across social media pages.
You want people to immediately know a specific image belongs to your brand. And, if someone visits your pages or feeds, you want there to be a sense of consistency across all the platforms you use. Achieve this by using the same color palettes and filters for every image.
- Team up with influencers that make sense for your brand’s identity.
Influencer marketing can be a huge help in raising brand awareness, generating consideration, and converting sales. And, as your brand partners with influencers, you will gradually define an identity among their audiences and your own because when you collaborate with an influencer, you are acknowledging your brands align with each other.
- Create a “voice” for your brand.
Social media users need to be able to identify a post based on your voice – the same way they could identify posts from your colors, logos, and graphic design elements. Make sure to create your voice and stick to it. It may be off-putting for your followers if you switch from a humorous to a moody brand voice on the same day. It should be recognizable in the text in graphics, video, photos, and any other visuals as well.
Happy learning and good luck!