• raymellumenarioraymellumenario
  • Date:  August 6, 2023
  • Business

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy That Drives Results

Social media marketing is an essential part of any modern marketing strategy. With over 4 billion people using social media worldwide, having a presence on these platforms is crucial for reaching your target audience.

However, simply creating social media accounts and posting occasionally is not enough. To get real results from social media marketing, you need a comprehensive strategy. This covers everything from choosing the right platforms and tactics to setting goals and measuring performance.

In this in-depth guide, we will cover everything you need to know to create a highly effective social media marketing strategy that delivers meaningful business impact.

Key Takeaways:

  • Set specific social media marketing goals aligned with your business objectives, like increasing brand awareness, generating leads, or boosting sales.
  • Research your target audience thoroughly to understand their demographics, interests, and behaviour on social platforms.
  • Prioritize the 2-4 social networks where your audience is most active. Focus your efforts there.
  • Create engaging content tailored to each platform and audience. Mix text, images, video, live video, etc.
  • Post consistently and monitor engagement. Aim for at least one post per day on each major platform.
  • Leverage paid social ads to expand reach and target specific demographics. Start small to test effectiveness.
  • Use analytics tools to identify your best-performing content and tactics. Double down on what works.
  • Refine campaigns based on data insights and evolving platform algorithms. Continually optimize performance.
  • Connect social activities to business KPIs. Measure progress towards social media goals.

The Importance of Social Media Marketing

Before we dive into how to create an effective social media marketing strategy, let’s look at why social media marketing is so valuable for businesses today:

Unparalleled Reach

With billions of active users across platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tiktok, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and more, social media offers an unrivalled opportunity to connect with your target audience wherever they are online.

The average social media user engages with an average of 6.6 on various social media platforms.

An average of 2H and 26M is spent using social media in 2023

With such immense reach, having a thoughtful presence on social media is essential for being discoverable and connecting with your audience.

Platforms With High Engagement

Social media platforms tend to foster much higher engagement and interaction compared to traditional websites.

Users are actively commenting, liking, sharing, and participating in discussions. This creates opportunities to develop relationships, provide better customer service, and build an emotional connection with your brand.

Powerful Targeting Options

Social platforms allow you to target marketing messages and ads to specific demographics and buyer personas with precision.

You can target users based on location, age, gender, interests, behaviours, and much more. This level of segmentation enables you to efficiently get your content and offers in front of highly relevant audiences.

Social Drives Conversions Across Channels

Studies show that social media influences buying decisions across channels. 60% of social media users say they are more likely to purchase from brands they follow on social media.

Even for transactions that don’t occur directly on social platforms, activities like posting content and engaging with your audience, there can drive conversions on your website, in physical stores, over the phone, etc.

Valuable Insights to Improve All Marketing

The data available from social platforms provide extremely useful insights that can inform your broader marketing strategies.

You can glean insights about your brand perception, competitor activity, audience interests, pain points and motivations, seasonality and trends, and much more.

These insights allow you to create better content, improve products, identify opportunities, and refine multi-channel marketing campaigns.

Developing a Social Media Marketing Strategy

Developing a Social Media Marketing Strategy

Now that we’ve looked at why social media marketing is so valuable for business growth, let’s explore how to develop a high-performing social media strategy.

Follow these eight steps:

1. Set Goals and Objectives

As with any marketing initiative, the first step is to set specific, measurable goals and objectives you want to achieve with social media.

These goals should align directly with your overall business goals and strategy. Common social media marketing goals include:

  • Increase brand awareness or brand engagement
  • Generate leads and sales
  • Boost website traffic
  • Improve customer service
  • Grow email subscriber list
  • Drive event registrations
  • Raise funds for non-profits

Set S.M.A.R.T. goals with specific metrics so you can accurately track progress and ROI.

2. Conduct Audience Research

To create content and campaigns optimized for success, you need to understand your target audience intimately. Spend time researching these key details:

  • Demographics – Age, gender, location, income level, education, occupation, etc.
  • Psychographics – Values, attitudes, interests, motivations, behaviour patterns, etc.
  • Pain points & challenges – What frustrates them or what problems do they need to be solved?
  • Objections – What stops them from purchasing your product or service?
  • Buying process – What journey do they take to become customers? What influences them?
  • Brand perception – What do they currently think about your brand? What perception do you want to develop?
  • Media consumption habits – Where and how do they consume content online? How much time on each platform?
  • Engagement patterns – When, why and how do they engage on social media? What content and tactics resonate most?

Online surveys, interviews, focus groups, and social listening tools can all help uncover these valuable audience insights. Document them to reference when making strategic decisions.

3. Perform Competitor Analysis

Research how competitors are leveraging social media by looking at:

  • The platforms and specific features they focus on
  • Types of content they create and share
  • Strategies they use to engage their audience
  • Paid social ads and campaigns they have running
  • Partnerships or influencers they leverage to expand the reach

Identify what’s working well for competitors as well as any gaps where you can surpass them. Learning these social media best practices will give you ideas and benchmark metrics.

4. Select Social Platforms

With limited time and resources, you won’t be able to be active on every social network. Prioritize the 2-4 platforms that make the most sense for your brand based on:

  • Where your target audience is most active: Refer to your audience research to identify top platforms.
  • Your content format and strategy: Certain content performs better on specific networks. Videos thrive on YouTube and Facebook. Hashtags and concise thoughts work well on Twitter. Photo sharing is popular on Instagram and Pinterest. Consider which networks best fit your planned social approach.
  • Your business objectives: Some platforms are better for certain goals. For example, LinkedIn for B2B lead generation or Pinterest for e-commerce traffic.

Typically you’ll want to focus on one or two primary platforms, and then have a smaller presence on secondary networks. Don’t spread yourself too thin.

5. Develop Your Content Strategy

Content fuels every social media marketing strategy. Posting valuable, relevant and consistent content is how you engage your target audience and get them to follow your brand.

Map out a detailed social media content strategy that covers:

  • Types of content to create – videos, images, GIFs, carousels, quotes, links, live videos, user-generated content, etc.
  • Content topics relevant to your audience – try sticking to themes like industry news/tips, behind-the-scenes, customer testimonials, product features, employee spotlights, etc.
  • Content purpose – some content should aim to entertain, some to educate, inspire, start conversations, etc.
  • Content sources – determine who will be responsible for creating content
  • Posting cadence – specify how often you will post on each network
  • Cross-promoting content – syndicate content across multiple networks to maximize engagement
  • Leveraging user-generated content – repost customer photos/videos and engage with user posts
  • Enhancing with ads – use paid social ads to increase reach with high-value content

Pro tip: Set up an editorial calendar to map out content by the network on a weekly or monthly basis to ensure a steady stream of excellent content.

6. Execute Campaigns and Tactics That Matter

Beyond general posting, execute specialized social media campaigns and tactics tailored to your goals, like:

  • Hashtag campaigns – Encourage users to post with a specific hashtag for contests, brand awareness, events or other causes
  • Takeovers – Have employees or influencers “take over” your account for a day to provide a unique perspective
  • Live video – Host live Q&As, how-to’s, or behind-the-scenes videos to engage your audience in real-time
  • User-generated content campaigns – Invite users to submit photos for contests or to populate a hashtag feed
  • Chatbots – Use chatbots to provide 24/7 customer service and sales support
  • Shoppable posts – Enable social commerce with shoppable Instagram posts or Facebook live shopping events
  • Quizzes/polls – Post fun quizzes or polls to spark engagement and collect user insights
  • AR filters – Create fun augmented reality filters/lenses for Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook stories

Test different formats to see what resonates most with your audience. Then refine and repeat what drives results.

7. Analyze Performance and Optimize

To improve your social media marketing results, you need to monitor performance closely and make data-driven optimizations.

Key metrics to track include:

  • Follower growth – Are you increasing followers at a healthy rate?
  • Engagement rate – Likes, comments, shares, clicks, etc. divided by total audience size
  • Clicks/traffic to the site – How much traffic is being driven to your website from social?
  • Sales influenced by social – What revenue is generated from social followers?
  • Lead generation – How many new leads are gained from social channels?
  • Cost per lead/sale/conversion – What’s the ROI you’re getting on social ad spend?

Use built-in analytics on each platform plus Google Analytics to track performance. Identify the highest and lowest-performing content to guide your strategy. Experiment with different posting times, messaging, content formats, and target audiences. Follow the data to determine optimal approaches for each network.

8. Connect Efforts to Business Results

As we discussed earlier, one of the greatest benefits of social media marketing is its influence on results across your entire business, beyond just social metrics.

Be sure to analyze the holistic impact of your social efforts on key performance indicators like brand awareness, website traffic, search rankings, email subscribers, overall leads and sales, etc.

Tie these efforts back to your initial goals and continue refining your strategy to maximize business ROI. The beauty of social media marketing is that it truly can move the needle if executed correctly.

Common Social Media Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Common Social Media Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Now that we’ve covered the critical steps for developing an effective social media marketing strategy, let’s look at some common mistakes to avoid:

Not setting measurable goals – Failing to define specific objectives and KPIs makes it impossible to track the progress or ROI of your efforts.

No audience persona – Not identifying who you want to reach hinders your ability to create content and campaigns that resonate.

Focusing on vanity metrics – Follower counts or engagement alone doesn’t guarantee sales impact. Make sure to track ROI.

Being too salesy – Avoid hard sales in social posts. Focus on value, entertainment, and community. Sales happen naturally with the right strategy.

Inconsistent posting – Sporadic posting won’t grow your audience. Post consistently at ideal times.

Not responding to comments – Engage with commenters and consumers who mention your brand. Make them feel valued.

Too many platforms – Stick to 2-4 networks you can manage well. It’s better to be highly active on fewer channels.

Automating everything – While some tools can help streamline social marketing, too much automation seems impersonal. Find the right balance.

Not optimizing content – Use analytics to identify your best-performing content. Create more of what resonates.

Forgetting mobile optimization – Ensure content displays properly on mobile since most social media usage is via phones.

Avoid these missteps to ensure your efforts drive measurable results rather than just vanity metrics.

Frequently Asked Questions About Social Media Marketing Strategy

There are lots of questions that come up related to effectively using social media for marketing. Here we’ll answer some of the most common social media marketing FAQs:

How much should I budget for social media marketing?

There is no perfect dollar amount for social media spending. Budget what makes sense based on your business size, goals, and ability to scale activities that prove profitable. Start small while testing different initiatives before increasing investment.

A good place to start is dedicating 5-15% of your overall marketing budget to social. The average small business allocates 10.4% of its marketing budget to social media.

What’s the best way to gain social media followers?

Post amazing content consistently, engage with your audience, run occasional paid social promotions, partner with influencers, optimize profiles and content for SEO, cross-promote across channels, etc. Provide value and be patient. Followers will come.

How often should I post on social media?

1-3 times daily is ideal for most brands on their primary networks. Posting once per day on secondary channels you are less active on is fine.

When should I post on social media for the most engagement?

Engagement can vary greatly by audience and network. Use analytics to determine when your followers are most active. Typically early morning or early evening drives the most engagement.

What type of content should I share on social media?

Post a variety of content like industry news, behind-the-scenes, product photos/videos, customer testimonials, employee spotlights, polls, fun memes, holiday messages, etc. Mix up text, images and video. 80% should be valuable, shareable content, and 20% can be direct promotions.

How can I tell if my social media marketing efforts are successful?

Track KPIs related to your specific goals like brand awareness, web traffic, lead generation, engagement rate, sales influenced by social ads, etc. If those metrics increase, your efforts are working. Refine based on learnings.

How much time should I commit to social media marketing each week?

Expect to spend 2-5 hours per week actively managing accounts and posting on your primary networks. Plus another 2-3 hours monitoring, engaging, analyzing performance, planning campaigns, etc. Time will increase if you introduce paid advertising.

What are some social media marketing tools or services worth investing in?

Social listening (like Mention or Hootsuite Insights), social media scheduling and automation (Buffer, Hootsuite), design creation (Canva), workforce collaboration (Slack), paid social tools (Facebook Business Manager), and more.

Conclusion & Next Steps

We’ve covered a ton of ground here on how to create a winning social media marketing strategy. Let’s summarize the key steps:

  • Set S.M.A.R.T goals aligned with business objectives
  • Research your target audience’s behaviours and interests
  • Analyze competitors’ social activity
  • Prioritize 2-4 most relevant social platforms
  • Create valuable content tailored to each network
  • Promote content and engage followers consistently
  • Run specialized social campaigns tied to goals
  • Track performance closely and optimize
  • Link social efforts to overall business KPIs

Avoiding common pitfalls, staying agile, and keeping your audience at the centre will set you up for social media marketing success.

Now it’s time to put these tips into action! Start brainstorming creative ways you can leverage social to build meaningful connections and drive real results.

What strategies or tactics are you excited to try first? Let me know if you have any other social media marketing questions!

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