Elements of a Successful Social Media Marketing Strategy
As any successful marketer will tell you, the road to success begins by physically documenting your strategy. As for what needs to be included, below you’ll find some essential elements to consider.
#1 – Your brand’s value proposition.
The first step in building a successful social media marketing strategy is defining the value your brand brings to your social media audiences. Why? Because if you can’t define the value, you certainly won’t be able to show any value.
Ask yourself: Why would someone follow or engage with me on social? What do I want my followers to know about my brand? What value can I bring to my audience through content and engagement on social? Then craft a simple mission statement of sorts, and use that to help guide the rest of your strategy development.
#2 – Your objectives.
Simply put, there can be no strategy if there’s no end goal. Your objectives are the foundation of your strategy, guiding every decision and tactic that comes next.
Use the goals outlined in your overall digital marketing strategy as a starting point. This will allow you create social-specific goals that help contribute to the larger marketing mission. Whether you want to increase your number of followers, boost referral traffic to your website, foster engagement or drive more conversions, set goals that can be measured. In addition, consider setting benchmark goals so you can gauge the success of your efforts as you go and make improvements as needed.
#3 – Your defined audience.
The success of your social media marketing efforts hinges on your ability to empathize and connect with your target audience. As a result, you need to understand their motivations, pain points, and content interests and needs.
Dig into website and social platform analytics, and talk with your sales team to uncover key customer insights and characteristics. Then use what you find to develop a customer persona—which is a general representation of who your target customer/follower is.
#4 – Your channel mix.
Each social media platform offers a little something unique. As a result, many marketers may be tempted to design strategy that includes a presence on every platform. But—as with most things in the digital marketing world—quality over quantity is definitely a good rule of thumb.
While you’re compiling audience research to create your personas, find out what channels are driving the most website traffic and on-page engagement (i.e. time on page or pages per visit), and inciting the most engagement on the platform itself (i.e. comments, likes and shares). In addition, do some competitive research to learn where your fiercest competitors are spending their time on social media and the type of engagement they’re getting. This research will allow you get a look at your internal and competitive landscape, and help you prioritize and triage your efforts.
Finally, look back at the objectives you outlined to determine which platforms are best suited for helping you reach those goals. For example, if one of your social media marketing goals is to attract or recruit new talent, a visual platform like Instagram is the perfect place to show off your company’s amazing workplace culture. On the other hand, if your goal is fostering engagement through discussion, Facebook may be a must-have platform within your mix.
#5 – Your content mix.
In today’s social media landscape, simply sharing links to your company website or blog with a bit of text will not drive your objectives. Your followers want and expect more from you.
Use all the aforementioned elements to guide the creation of a content plan that includes the appropriate mix of images, videos, links and discussion starters tailored to each platform.
#6 – Your posting and engagement schedule.
Maintaining a consistent presence on your social channels is vital to the success of your marketing efforts. If you disappear for long periods of time, it’s easy for your audience to forget about you—and can prove more difficult to build engagement back up. Similarly, over-posting can be an annoyance, and cause your audience to turn away. So, your ultimate goal is to be a regular fixture in news feeds, but not overwhelm your audience.