Social media marketing sells or promotes your brand, product, or service by leveraging suitable social media channels used by your ideal customers. Your social media strategy allows you to set measurable goals, such as increasing brand awareness, building a community, increasing sales, etc. and monitors your progress to measure your success.
If your small business doesn’t have a social media strategy because it seems too complicated, think of it as nothing more than a summary of what you want to achieve. It doesn’t have to be filled with lofty ideas and complex marketing speak. Instead, it outlines attainable, measurable objectives and how you plan to meet them. Use this guide to help craft the perfect social media strategy for your small business.
Understand the Purpose of a Social Media Marketing Strategy
Your strategy formalizes your plan in writing with an outline of your goals, tactics to achieve them, and how you’ll measure your success. It includes:
- Existing social media marketing
- Planned social media marketing
- Your accounts
- Goals for each channel based on your overall digital marketing strategy
- Roles and responsibilities for your team
Start with S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Crafting your social media strategy requires goals and objectives to measure your success. Your goals should be based on the SMART method:
- Specific: Instead of a vague description like Increasing your reach on social media, your goal is more specific such as: Increasing our reach on Facebook with 100 new followers each month, Instagram with 150 new followers each month, and TikTok with 50 new followers each month. If your goal leads to too many questions, answer them so they become both clear and measurable.
- Measurable: The example above shows you how goals become measurable. Therefore, you have to be able to track or monitor goals to understand your progress. If you find your goal isn’t measurable, you need to make it more specific. For example, you might want to improve customer experience, but how will you measure this? You might choose something more specific, like increasing online reviews or reducing email complaints.
- Attainable: Attainability is basically setting realistic goals. For example, saying you want to increase sales by $1 million in six months might be a bit of a stretch. It also can’t involve hiring a large number of people to meet your goals or investing money you don’t have. A good rule of thumb is to use past performance to pinpoint attainable goals and aim to improve those numbers or results.
- Relevant: Relevant goals impact your business and push you forward.
- Time-bound: Setting deadlines for each goal helps provide focus and accountability.
Understand Your Audience
Creating buyer personas helps you understand your audience. It also allows you to target the right people with your tactics. The best tool for this is social media analytics, which tells you essential information about your followers. Understanding who your followers are and how they interact with your brand can improve your strategy and ensure it resonates with different personas within your audience.
Research Your Competitors
Competitive analysis of social media accounts tells you what your competitors are up to. You can get ideas from their social channels and see what types of posts their followers tend to respond to best. You can also look for dud posts that you can avoid or improve.
Research also allows you to find a niche your competitors aren’t utilizing. For example, they might have tons of followers on Facebook but are not present or as successful on Instagram. This is your chance to jump on these channels and reach your audience without as much competition.
Social listening also helps by searching your competitor’s brand and probable keywords to see where they come up. This provides further insights into consumer sentiment, what influencers think of them, if at all, and what types of content they share. Social listening spots trends, avoids failures and optimizes your own strategy without losing sight of your brand. As a result, you help set yourself apart from the competition.
Audit Your Social Channels
Take the same approach you did for your competitive analysis to assess your own social efforts. Where do you see the most and least engagement? What posts do people tend to prefer? Are followers engaging with you? Where are you gaining and losing followers? Are you consistent with your posts across all channels? How do your follower counts compare with your competitors? This recon gives you the information you need to improve your strategy and, in turn, your performance.
Review your profile and look for opportunities to improve it. Some ways to beef up your presence include:
- Fill out all fields
- Use keywords
- Make sure your branding is impeccable
- Include images and logos following the recommended dimensions for each channel
- Be consistent with your business name, address, and phone number on all platforms
- Include a link to your website
Also, look at channels you don’t use to decide if you might find a new audience. How are your ideal customers using other platforms, and can you leverage that to improve your presence?
Finally, sniff out imposter accounts where someone is posing as your brand. You can report these imposters or post your actual accounts to ensure followers understand they’ve been conned. Also, verify accounts to ensure the channels recognize your account as authentic.
Set Up New Social Media Accounts
Once you identify new channels, set up accounts, optimizing your profile as we recommended above. Also, as part of your SMART goals, identify how you intend to use each network, such as social commerce and introducing new products on Instagram, improving brand awareness on X, creating a community on Facebook, etc. It’s okay to have more than one purpose for each channel; just make sure it suits the platform and audience.
Consider Successful, Appealing Non-Competitive Accounts for Inspiration
Inspiration helps you develop a brand your audience will admire. Finding inspiration from brand accounts that resonate with your brand and customers is okay. It helps to understand trends, the types of campaigns that create a similar tone to yours, involvement with communities and charities, etc.
What brands have won awards, or do you follow because they’re so darn interesting? How can you use their ideas to inspire your own strategy and help you devise an effective plan? What works best for you? Humor? Education? A touch of quirkiness? Being artsy? What do you find compelling? What images seem to suit your brand, candid or posed?
Consistency is critical, so avoid taking your cues from contrasting brands. Also, ensure that if you have different people posting to your accounts, you create brand guidelines that everyone follows.
Outline a Social Media Content Calendar
Once you identify your social media channels and how you’ll use them, you can start creating a post/editorial schedule. Sometimes, your posts will be more organic based on news and trends you want to leverage. However, there are logical times you’ll need to share information, such as seasonal opportunities, times you plan to launch new products or services, your digital campaigns, etc.
You can determine the pace you want to set for posting frequency for each channel so you maintain an ongoing drumbeat. You can also plan events such as live streaming a how-to session, interviewing an influencer, or showcasing an event you attend.
Measuring how frequency and timing impact engagement is also essential so you can choose the best times to post. Scheduling allows you to become more familiar with metrics to get your best posting times down to a fine science. However, to get started, channel recommendations follow these rules:
- Instagram: 3-7 times per week
- Facebook: 1-2 times per day
- Twitter: 1-5 times per day
- LinkedIn: 1-5 times per day
To ace your scheduling, you’ll need to come up with the right content mix aligned with your goals and business mission statement. Each channel will have its own schedule and content that must align with different marketing efforts, such as driving traffic to your site, curating content from other sources like industry news feeds or influencers, lead generation, or showcasing your company culture.
If this is your first calendar, choose one of the following approaches:
- 80-20: 80% focused on education, information, and entertainment, and 20% on brand promotion.
- Thirds: One-third promotes your business, converts, and generates profits, another third shares ideas and stories from the industry, and the last third focuses on personal interactions with your followers.
Align Your Content with Your Channel Goals
Ensure your content aligns with the goals you set for each channel. For example, if you’re using a channel for customer support, brand-related posts won’t work on that channel. The truth is that you’ll have to experiment with content to find the formula that resonates with your various audiences. The goal is to provide value so followers are inclined to engage with posts. It’s okay to push limits and try different approaches to find out what works.
Monitor, Measure, and Perfect
Once your strategy is in motion, monitor and measure performance. This is the only way to find opportunities to improve. It’s a monotonous process of creating posts, measuring performance, comparing them to your goals, and making changes. You then have to re-evaluate your performance, try something new, and test again. Keep this process on repeat. You can also adjust your scheduled posts based on results, so you avoid the types of posts that didn’t perform well.
Social media strategies aren’t easy, but getting started helps keep you focused so you don’t waste time.
Don’t wait any longer – seize the moment and unlock your business’s potential with our expert digital marketing services. Reach out today, and let’s embark on a journey to success together!