Social media has become an essential part of everyday life. Not only do people use it to connect with friends and family, but it's also a way of interacting with brands.
This means there are opportunities for businesses of all sizes to use social media as part of their marketing strategy. With 2.65 billion social media users, it's most likely that your business can undoubtedly reach many potential clients or customers.
This article will explain a social media marketing strategy, its benefits for small businesses and startups, and the steps to make one.
What is social media marketing?
Social media marketing uses social media platforms to engage with your audience to create your brand, increase sales, and drive website traffic. This entails creating engaging content for your social media accounts, listening to and engaging with your followers, reviewing or analysing your results, and running social media ads.
Here are some of the benefits of social media marketing for small businesses:
Joining and posting on social media platforms is practically free if you decide to run your social media marketing campaign. Although paid content may be considered in the future, there are various free tools available that are likely to suffice, making social media marketing ideal for startups on a budget.
Increase the number of organic search results
Social networking activity is one of the variables that search engines consider when rating websites. As a result, posting and tweeting will help you grow your company by increasing the visibility of your website and allowing more people to find you.
You can advertise directly to your consumers on the websites and networks that they already use by using social media. This doesn't only help you interact with your clients but also increases the chances of making a profit.
Social media also allows you to interact with your audience instantly and at a time that is convenient for everyone.
What is a social media marketing strategy?
A social media strategy is a list of what you want to do with social media and what you expect to accomplish. It guides your decisions and helps you know whether you're on track or not.
Your strategy would be more successful if it is more detailed. Keep it short and straightforward. Please don't make it broad to the point that it's difficult to measure.
Examples of social media marketing goals
One way to ensure you're getting as much value as possible from the time and resources you put into your social media strategy is by setting goals.
You need to identify and focus on the essential, ensuring that your social media strategy remains on track and helps you improve your startup.
Here are several examples of social media marketing goals you can set for your startup:
- Increase brand awareness
- Drive traffic to your website
- Generate new leads
- Boost brand engagement
- Increase revenue
How to create a social media marketing strategy:
1. Do your market research.
The first step in creating a social media strategy for your startup is to do thorough research on your target audience. This is the same as making your marketing strategy.
However, it's time to do the research again but with social media behaviors in mind.
Conducting market research will assist you in refining your marketing goals.
Here are some of the essential metrics you should take note of:
- Your target market's location
- The online behaviors of your target market
- How much time do they spend online
- What social media platforms they use
- How often they use social media.
2. Understand your target audience
It's essential to know and understand who your target audience is and what they want to see on social media. When you understand your target audience, you'll be able to build content that they'll like, comment on, and share. You will analyse patterns to identify places where you want to focus your efforts. This will also help you to convert your social media followers into paying customers.
You may use marketing personas, a fictional, composite character representing a particular product or service's target customer, to help you refine your campaign.
You can also consider working with social media influencers to help you create a community or reach out to new people through their networks.
3. Consider key metrics
Consider key metrics on your social media accounts. Your social media metrics are critical because they demonstrate that you can assess your campaign's efficacy, the effectiveness of your social strategy, and, eventually, whether it impacts your startup.
4. Conduct competitor analysis
Determine your competitors.
Choose companies in the same niche as you, but don't limit yourself to only startups and small businesses. It would help track the social media campaigns of mid-sized or even large businesses to better understand the industry. You can do this by conducting a competitor analysis.
Competitor analysis allows you to figure out who your competitors are and what they do well (and not so well). You'll get a clear understanding of what's expected in your field, which will help you set your own social media goals.
Conducting a competitor analysis will help you spot business opportunities and try out new, unique marketing strategies that your competitors haven't tried yet.
Here are some crucial aspects to keep an eye on from your competitors:
- Social media platforms used
- Type of content shared
- Frequency of social updates
- Results obtained
5. Find out which platforms your audience is using.
The next step is to determine which social media platforms your audience will be using. Rather than signing up for every social media platform, figure out the ones your customers use the most and which one will be the best for you.
Remember that not all social media outlets have the same function or have the same target audience. Each social media platform is different. You must choose the ones that will reach the right people at the right time.
6. Use the same handle for every platform.
Consistency is important.
Use the same handle for every platform. Your target market can become confused if you use different handles, and it would be much easier to find and track you if you use the same handle across all platforms.
7. Create a high-level social media marketing plan
The next step in creating your social media strategy is to create a high-level strategy for each platform based on your analysis.
Examples of social media marketing plans are setting weekly, monthly, or quarterly goals such as:
- Gaining a hundred new followers
- Increasing your reach by 5%
- Engaging with twenty potential customers
8. Build a brand message
Building a brand message is not only for large companies. Even a small startup should do it.
Brand messaging is the underlying value statement conveyed and vocabulary used in your content.
It's all about finding the right words that embody your brand and sets it apart from your competition.
Here are three essentials in creating a brand message:
The customer perspective
- Get into your customer's heads and determine what matters to them. Please keep track of the keywords that you repeatedly hear from them.
The internal perspective:
- Determine what makes your product or service unique.
The marketplace perspective:
- Make sure your value proposition is unique. Please take a look at how your competitors position themselves. You can look at their tag slogans and read the "about us" on their websites.
9. Post consistently
Once you've picked the right platforms, crafted a marketing plan, and created a compelling brand message, the next step is to post your content consistently.
Since consistency is a must, it's better to post simultaneously every week than to post hourly one day and then not at all the next. It would also be easier for your customers to find you and understand your brand if you post regularly.
Here are some social media marketing automation tools you can use:
- Buffer - Buffer is a web and mobile application that allows you to control your social media profiles by scheduling updates to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. You can also review your performance and interact with your followers.
- Hootsuite - Hootsuite is a social media management platform with an interface in the form of a dashboard. It includes Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube social network integrations.
- SocialFlow - SocialFlow helps publishers extract more revenue from their best content on social platforms. Solutions cover content distribution, subscriptions, and advertising.
10. Review activity on an ongoing basis
Once you're up and running, it's essential to keep track of how effective your social media strategy is. Assess what's working and what isn't.
It's essential to monitor your progress regularly (weekly, monthly, or quarterly), so you can create a benchmark and see which numbers you can improve.
This way, you'll learn how your target audience feels about your brand and can use their feedback to refine your strategy. You can monitor consumer feedback on a newly launched product, identify any possible customer experience problems, and promptly address them.
Creating your social media marketing strategy is no easy task.
From doing your market research, finding which platforms your customers are on, creating a high-level marketing plan for every platform, and posting consistently, it takes a whole lot of your time, resources, and effort.
Use these tips to help you get started with creating a social media strategy for your startup. You can combine these tips with some of your research and planning to ensure success.