The key ingredient to use social media marketing is having a strategy. Just as most savory meals won’t taste good without salt, your social media platforms will always falter without a strategy. If you don’t know the basics:
With your goals, your target audience, and their desires, it will be difficult to achieve results on social networks.
Whether you want to grow your brand or advance as a marketer, developing a marketing strategy is essential.
Here is the key to creating a social media marketing strategy
Interestingly, a social media marketing strategy and a marketing plan have many points of intersection.
You can think of it this way:
A strategy is where you are headed by asking yourself below questions:
- What is the need to be on social media?
- Who is your target audience? What will you share?
- Where will you share?
- When will you share?
You can also have a strategy for each of your social media channels, such as a Facebook marketing strategy, an Instagram marketing strategy, and more, all of which lead to an overall social media marketing strategy.
A pyramid of social media marketing strategies
But let’s start with your overall strategy.
- Why Does Your Business Want To Appear On Social Networks?
The first question to answer is Why. Do you use social media to promote your products? To drive traffic to your website? Or to serve your customers?
In general, you can have nine social media goals:
- Increase brand awareness
- Drive traffic to your website
- Generate new leads
- Increase revenue (by increasing signups or sales)
- Strengthen brand engagement
- Build a community around your business
- Provide social customer service
- Increase press mentions
- Hear conversations about your brand
You will probably have more than one social media goal, and that’s okay.
As a general rule, you should focus on several goals, unless you have a team where different people or groups within the group can address different goals. For example, at Buffer, the marketing team uses social media to increase awareness of our brand and drive traffic to our content, while our advocacy team. We use social media to provide prompt customer support.
- Who Is Your Target Audience?
Once you understand why your target audience is the next thing to consider.
Understanding your target audience will make it easier for you to answer the following questions about what, where, and when you’ll be sharing.
For example, if a travel and lifestyle brand (like Away) knows that its target audience loves reading about new places and travel tips, it can share that content on its network profile. its society. A great exercise to try here is creating marketing characters.
There are many ways to create a marketing look. Again, my preferred approach is to use 5W and 1H.
- Who are they? (What are they interested in that you can offer? (Example: entertainment, educational, case studies, new product information, etc.)
- Where do they usually hang out online? (Example: TikTok, Instagram, etc., or appropriate platforms)
- When do they look for the type of content you can offer? (Example: on weekends, on your daily commute, etc.)
- Why do they consume content? (For example, to improve one’s work, to be healthy, to update something, etc.)
- How do they consume content? (For example, read social media posts, watch videos, etc.)
- Question about marketing personas
You may not need to start from scratch. If your business has been around for a while, you probably already have a good idea of your target audience. What can be helpful is writing it down so you can share it with the team or use it for future reference.
- What Will You Share? When You See This Question, You’re Probably Thinking About The Types Of Content To Share.
But wait a minute!
We’re talking about your social media marketing strategy here, so take a step back and think on a higher level. Instead of the type of content to share, “topic” might be a better word.
Here Are Some Brands And Their Theme(s):
MeUndies, a lingerie brand, shares customer and product photos on its Instagram profile. Huckberry, an outdoor and adventure brand, shares editorial content and high-quality outdoor photos on its Facebook profile.
Burrow, a luxury sofa brand, mainly shares memes on its Instagram profile.
If you flip through the social media profiles mentioned above, you might notice that brands have more than one main theme. Having several themes is perfectly fine because it gives you space to share a variety of content to engage your audience without being blurred.
Perfect Publishing, Easy Analysis, Participate Authentically.
Buffer is an all-in-one social media toolkit that allows you to focus on what you love about your business.
This is where a good understanding of your target audience comes in handy. Examine your marketing look and ask yourself the following questions:
- What goals and challenges do they have?
- How can you help solve them?
For a fitness clothing and accessories brand (like Gymshark), their target audience’s goal might be keeping up to date with the latest fitness equipment. In this case, he can share his latest products on his social media profiles.
Would that be too promotional? Maybe not. Investment bank Piper Jaffray surveyed more than 8,600 US teenagers and found that 70% prefer brands to contact them about new products through Instagram. The key comes down to understanding your target audience.
- Where Will You Share? What Social Media Platforms Does Your Brand Want To Appear On?
Before proceeding, remember that your brand doesn’t need to be on all social media platforms. That said, it’s wise to have at least one full Big Four profile – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn – as they often appear on the first page of Google search results when people search. your brand.
Social Media Profiles In Google Search Results
Understanding your target audience will help you decide what to share. On which platforms is your target audience most active? What motivates them to visit this platform? For example, teens and young adults may want to scroll through TikTok when bored to see what their friends are up to or what their favorite creators are using.
Another, albeit smaller, thing to consider is what is the “X-factor” of your brand. Are you good at photography, video, or writing? Some platforms are suitable for certain types of content. For example, beautiful photos on Instagram, long videos on YouTube, and short videos on TikTok. But this is only a small point as these days social media platforms are evolving to provide almost any type of content.
Finally, also consider smaller niche platforms. For example, Zwift, an online multiplayer cycling training software company, has set up a club on Strava, a social network for athletes. Their club has more than 57,000 riders and thousands of people interact with their posts on Strava.
- When Will You Share?
The last important part of your strategy is determining when you want to share your content. You may want to start looking for the best time(s) to post.
Vacation. And breathe.
Before deciding on the exact time of day and day of the week you want to post, consider the behavior of your target audience.
When do they typically use social media to find the type of content you share?
Here Are Some Examples To Consider:
- Sports fans have the ability to use social media just before, during, and immediately after sporting events to find and interact with event content. Athletes can use Instagram while they relax after a morning or evening workout.
- Travelers may be more active on social media over the weekend when planning their next trip (or during recess, daydreaming about their next trip).
- Mothers of babies can surf social media while breastfeeding in the middle of the night.
You may have already gathered from some of these examples that there may not be the best time to post – it depends on your audience. So for this step, focus on your target audience’s general behavior patterns. Once you’ve created your social media marketing strategy, you can find the best time to post your brand through testing.
Finally, How Will You Execute This Strategy?
You’ve got it, your social media marketing strategy!
But this is not the end. As mentioned above, a strategy is where you come in; a plan is how you will get there. How to fill out your profile on social networks? What should your tone and voice be? What post type should you use (i.e. images, links, videos, etc)?
We have a step-by-step guide to creating a social media marketing plan to help you take the next step and succeed on social media. Here’s an overview of the information you’ll find in this guide:
Focus On The Big Picture When Creating A Social Media Marketing Strategy
Developing a strategy is perhaps one of the hardest things to do because it forces you to step back and look at the big picture. You need to shift your focus from everyday tasks like planning and responding to comments to higher-level thinking (which you should do in Buffer anyway).
But it is very rewarding and helpful to have a social media marketing strategy so that you don’t post content just for the sake of posting content. It will help you achieve your business and social media goals.