Ready to figure out your social media marketing strategy?
If you’re overwhelmed or don’t know where to start, you’re definitely not alone.
Because social media isn’t as straightforward as it used to be. Not by a long shot.
From choosing the right channels to figuring out your content strategy, analysis paralysis is a serious problem for marketers today.
That’s why we put together a comprehensive guide to creating a social media marketing plan from scratch.
A succinct strategy will help your brand tackle its goals with a sense of purpose. Below is a step-by-step social media marketing guide to help you identify your social goals, engage audiences and optimize your results:
Set meaningful social marketing goals
Research your target audience
Establish your most important metrics
Analyze your competition
Create and curate engaging content
Make timeliness a top priority
Assess your results and optimize
Communicate goals, challenges and wins with your team
1. Set goals that make sense for your business
First things first: you need to figure out what you want out of social media at large.
Because coming up with a social media plan means having an end-game in mind.
Whether that means more dollars and cents from your existing social presence or amping up your reach with new followers is totally up to you.
What matters is that you set realistic social media goals. We recommend tackling smaller objectives that allow you to scale your social efforts in a way that’s both reasonable and affordable.
Sample social media goals for 2020 and beyond
Below are some sample goals that businesses of all shapes and sizes can divide and conquer. Based on data from the Sprout Social Index, these are the top priorities for marketers today.
Increase brand awareness. To create authentic and lasting brand awareness, avoid solely publishing promotional messages. Instead, focus on content that emphasizes your personality or values first.
Generate leads and sales. Whether online or in-store, followers aren’t going to make social purchases by accident. For example, are you about alerting customers about new products and promos?
Grow your brand’s audience. Bringing new followers into the fold means finding ways to introduce your brand to folks who haven’t heard of you before.
Growing your audience also means discovering conversations around your business and industry that matter the most. 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.
Increase community engagement. Find ways to grab the attention of your current followers. This means experimenting with messaging and content. For example, does your brand promote user-generated content and hashtags?
Even something as simple as asking a question can increase your engagement rate. Your customers can be your best cheerleaders, but only if you’re giving them something to do.
Increase web traffic. If you’re laser-focused on generating leads or traffic to your website, social media can make it happen. Whether through promotional posts or social ads, keeping an eye on conversions and URL clicks can help you better determine your ROI from social media.
Any combination of these explicit goals is fair game and can help you better understand which networks to tackle, too. When in doubt, keep your social media strategy simple rather than muddling it with too many objectives that might distract you.
2. Research your target audience
Making assumptions is a dangerous game for marketers.
And thanks to the sheer wealth of demographic data and social media analytics tools out there, you really don’t have to anymore.
So much of what you need to know about your audience to influence your social media marketing strategy is already out in the open.
Take today’s social media demographics. These numbers speak directly to which networks your brand should approach and what types of content to publish. Here are some key takeaways:
Facebook and YouTube are both prime places for ads due in part to their high-earning user bases.
The majority of Instagram’s are millennials or Gen Z, signaling the strength of bold, eye-popping content that oozes with personality.
Women vastly outnumber men on Pinterest, which is noted to boast the highest average order value for social shoppers.
LinkedIn’s user base is well-educated, making it a hub for in-depth, industry-specific content that might be more complicated than what you see on Facebook or Twitter.
See how no platform is one-size-fits-all?
And although the demographics data above gives you insight into each channel, what about your own customers? Further analysis needs to be done before you can truly know your customer demographics on social media.
That’s why many brands use a social media dashboard which can provide an overview of who’s following you and how they interact with you on each channel.
For example, Sprout’s analytics dashboard pouts your audience demographics front and center. It also highlights which social networks are seeing the most activity, helping you ensure your spending your time on the right networks.