The benefits of implementing social media into your marketing efforts are apparent, but you can’t just haphazardly post images, polls, and status updates and expect to get results.

You need a clearly defined strategy. Here’s how to create one:

1. Identify Your Audience

The very first thing you need to do is determine who you are targeting on social media. This will help you create content that will interest and engage them.

Consider not just their wants, needs, and challenges but who they are. Many marketers find it useful to create customer personas, which are representations of the major subsets of your audience.

Group your customers into four or fewer clusters and identify general similarities in each. Be sure to include things like:

  • Demographics – age, gender, job title, salary, location, etc. 
  • Interests – What type of content would interest them?
  • Their goals in relation to your content – Are they looking for a new job? To improve their fitness? To learn a skill?
  • The platform of choice – Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn, etc. 
  • Preferred format – Are they more likely to watch videos or read text posts?

One caveat: don’t get too granular trying to target outliers or exceptions. Instead, look for generalities that are consistent within each grouping.

2. Set Specific, Measurable Goals

To track your effectiveness and get the best return on investment, you first need to decide what you want to accomplish through your presence on social media. This can be a single goal, or you can have multiple objectives.

Whatever you choose, it must meet three criteria: 1. Be achievable, 2. Be measurable, and 3. Be relevant to your brand.

Some of the most common social media marketing goals are:

  • Increasing traffic to your website.
  • Generating new leads.
  • Making conversions (signups, sales, etc.).
  • Boosting engagement.
  • Controlling conversations about your brand.

Your goals should be as specific as possible and align with social media metrics so you can track your campaign’s effectiveness.

3. Check Out The Competition

There’s a good chance some of your competitors also use social media as a marketing strategy.

Do a deep dive into their profiles and content. This will help you get a feel for the kind of content your audience likes – as well as the ones that don’t interest them.

Look at which platforms get the best results and which are underserved. Is this because your targets prefer one app to another, or are your rivals missing an opportunity?

But don’t just look once and move on. This should be an ongoing process and part of your social listening process.

4. Decide Which Platforms You’ll Use

By this point, you should know which social apps your target audience is using. Those are obviously the ones you should focus on.

You don’t have to be on every platform. Did you get that? You do not need to have a social presence on every platform. Some of them will not be used by your target, so if you’re targeting retirees on TikTok, you’re likely wasting your time.

With that said, most brands find it beneficial to have a presence on the “big four” – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Understand the strengths and weaknesses of each platform and how they work into your strategy.

5. Optimize Your Profile

Now that you know where you’ll post content, it’s time to set up or optimize your profile. Because this is the face your show the cyber world, it’s important that you include all the information your audience needs right up front.

Make sure you include your business name, contact details, and anything else visitors could want to know.

Using a keyword research tool, determine which words and phrases your customers use in search and include them in your profile.

Next, make sure you’re using consistent branding, with hi-res images that won’t look skewed as thumbnails. Your goal is to make your brand instantly recognizable across all touchpoints.

This is also a good point at which to look through any content you have previously posted and get rid of those that aren’t on-brand.

6. Plan Your Content

Your content will depend on many factors, including what you’re promoting and your audience’s preferences.

You also want to ensure everything works towards one of the goals you outlined in step 2.

Depending on the platform(s) you’re using, your content could include memes, educational videos, links to blog posts, or anything else your audience will find useful.

You should include informative and entertaining content, as well as things that are directly promoting your brand. This will usually generate better engagement and sharing than strictly sales pieces.

7. Create A Social Media Content Calendar

The next thing you should do is make a content calendar that clearly outlines when you’ll be posting and where you’ll be posting it.

Your goal is to catch the attention of the biggest audience and generate maximum engagement. This will vary, depending on several factors, including your business, your audience, and the time of year.

However, you should ensure that you’re regularly posting content. Try to find the sweet spot between posting too much (and annoying your audience) and posting too little (and being unimportant).

Don’t worry if you can’t figure this out exactly right now. It may take some experimentation on your part.

And speaking of things that will require some testing, your content calendar should include not just the date on which you will post things but what time of day you will post them.

Every brand has an optimal post time at which it will be seen by the greatest number of targets. There may be one time per week or several per day – it all depends on your audience.

8. Track Your Performance

Once you start pushing posts live, you’ll start to gather information about what’s working and start to identify trends.

The best and easiest way to monitor this is by looking at your metrics. Most social media platforms offer some form of analytics for commercial users, in which you can view statistics on reach, impressions, and response rates.

The ones that matter to you will depend on your goals.

For example, if you’re tracking the number of web visitors who sign up for your newsletter, you’ll want to measure the click-through rate, conversion rate, and bounce rate. If you’re using paid ads, you’ll want to keep an eye on your cost-per-click. If your goal is to increase engagement, you’ll want to track likes, comments, and reshares.

Look for commonalities among your most successful and least successful posts. This will give you insight into the type of social media content you should post.

9. Tweak And Rework Your Strategy

Social media marketing isn’t the type of thing that pays instant dividends. It requires some time to understand what works and what your targets are like.

And once you feel confident your content is on-target, on-brand, and generating results, your social media strategy will still require regular adjustments based on changing preferences, trends, and audience needs.

You will need to regularly revisit your plan and rethink it. As your business evolves, your social media presence should evolve with it. You may want to branch out onto new platforms, add paid advertisements to the mix or change how frequently you post.

The goal is to keep looking for new ways to maximize the impact of your presence on social platforms. And while that’s a job that is never done, over time, you’ll gain a feel for what you’re doing that will help you generate more consistent results.

Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

It’s easy to get distracted in the world of social media, and that makes creating and implementing a strategy for it difficult.

Everything you post should have a purpose and actively work towards achieving one of your goals.