The social media today is patronized by a lot of brands and businesses utilizing various social media platforms for their different business ends. A situation that had made it even more difficult to secure an online presence on social media today. To survive as a brand, thus, mapping out an effective social marketing strategy is the best way to go.
Truth be told: developing a strong brand and running successful marketing campaigns is hard work—and not putting in place a strategy is not an effective option at all, if not a more costly option to go with.
So having an effective social media strategy in place would serve you better in that it would help you set realistic goals and expectations, break up your business objectives into significant milestones, and consequently, track your progress in terms of milestones covered towards achieving your core business goals and objectives.
It would also help keep away the frustrations that comes with having a poor plan or sketchy strategy—or no plan at all.
What is an Effective Social Media Marketing Strategy?
A strong and effective social media marketing strategy is all about laying, developing and building a healthy marketing culture for your brand—that is applicable on the long-term.
In other words, a strong social media marketing strategy is one built off “things that work”, which is exactly what it means to have a healthy marketing culture.
You can also think of a healthy marketing culture as one hinged upon the fundamentals of creating an effective social media presence—exactly what we would be covering in this post.
So put on your thinking cap. Pick up your pen and your drawing pad and let’s dive right in.
10 Important Steps for Building an Effective Social Media Marketing Strategy
- Set realistic goals and expectations
- Define your Target Audience
- Social Media Platforms
- Target niche communities
- Don’t spam
- Join the conversation
- Be a contributor, don’t ask for anything right away
- Be less pitchy; be more helpful
- Long-term process
Set realistic goals and expectations
Keep your big goals and business objectives for later, focus first on the smaller goals leading up the big ones.
Don’t start off expecting big conversions like product purchase, rather you want to kick off with mini-conversions like boosting your brand awareness and brand engagement on social media.
Setting realistic expectations and goals is a great marketing culture you want to build your brand upon, because it is so good at one thing: it keeps you from burning out and getting frustrated. It helps you maintain your confidence knowing you are on the right path to success. It helps you keep your overall brand strategy organized and professional.
According to Buffer, in a state of social media survey conducted in 2016, they discovered brand awareness to be the top reason social media marketers use social media; and brand engagement as the second top reason.
In other words, pursuing creating an awareness for your brand and getting people talking about your brand (brand engagement) on social media is a great way to start your brand, product or content marketing on social media.
Secondly, you also want to recognize that while social media is great for achieving some of your business objectives, social media might be very poor at achieving some other business objectives, like boosting product purchase and ROI.
In essence, pursuing such type of objectives in which social media is poor at is like preparing a recipe for failure.
You want to and should always utilize social media for the types of business goals that social media is great at helping you achieve.
In a recent post on Profaily, we talked about why you should integrate email marketing with your social media strategy.
So you want to utilize social media for business objectives is it can help you better achieve like brand awareness, brand engagement and lead generation as mentioned earlier, leaving business objectives such as lead conversion, and product purchase to email marketing—which email marketing can help you better achieve. Read the post to learn more.
Defining your Target Audience
This might seem the most obvious as you probably have heard it so much and read about it on about every blog post you’ve surfed through, but still you still want to devout time to properly define your target audience.
Defining a target audience can be a little tricky and difficult or even frustrating—we’ve all being there.
Secondly, while you want to be intentional about mapping out you target audience, you also don’t want to burn yourself out if you can’t get a clean cut target audience. In essence, you want to kick off with something enough to start with.
For more often than not, a full-fledged out target audience image would emerge down the line through social media engagement—yeah, you might discover other classes of users on social media your content or product will be useful for. You just want to ensure to keep a close eye on the comments you are getting on your social media posts.
So remember, here, you want to define your target audience—or at least, something enough to start with.
Social Media Platforms
Next, you want to choose the social media platforms your target audience interact on. You want to ensure you are targeting the right social media platforms.
You want to create the best exposure for your brand, so selecting and prioritizing social media platforms you want to build your social media strategy on is important—you don’t want to waste your precious time or resources or efforts.
Target niche communities
Don’t go about talking about your brand and what you do on some random pages or communities on Facebook, instead, discover communities that talk about the problem you solve with your product or services.
This is important because those are the places your target audience will be. And that how you can achieve the brand awareness, engagement and lead generation you seek.
To get started, you can begin with the search tool available on every social media platforms.
Search and curate a list of communities and pages that discuss topics around your product offerings.
And if you are an already established brand, search around to discover any mentions of your brand. That way, you get to know what people are already saying about your brand.
Knowing what people are saying about your brand informs you on the perspective of your brand from an outsider or customer point of view.
It helps you know if you are communicating your brand story as you intend to.
It also helps you know if your product offerings and delivery process is carrying the unique message you want your brand to carry.
It helps you discover what you are doing right, and what you might be doing wrong.
So here for starter brands, you want to discover communities where problems your value propositions or product offerings solves is a topic of discussion.
This will help you in key ways such as gaining valuable insights into the world of your target audience—knowing their frustrations and tried solutions—which will help you refine your value propositions for better positioning.
And for established brand, you want to discover mentions of your brand, learn what people are saying and how you can leverage off that to build your social media presence and promote your brand awareness and boost brand engagement.
When it comes to social media marketing, this is a hard-and-fast rule: Don’t you ever spam! Don’t even think of it!
Spamming is the best path to failure on social media.
Don’t go about posting your sales call on the curated list of communities you discovered discuss the problem your product offerings handles. Don’t do this first—you are going to be setting up a bad history for your brand on those communities.
Rather you want to do this—read next step.
Join the conversation
Joining the conversation is a great way to start.
Here, you want to learn the community rules and regulations. You want to familiarize yourself with the community culture.
Next, you want to comment on already trending topics, posts and discussions leaving unique insights that sets you apart.
You must get comfortable with offering free advice and insights! That’s the only way to get recognized as a source of value.
Another point to note here is that, this offer you another opportunity to validate your assumptions about your target audience.
Having built your value propositions, being sure you are targeting the right needs and problems of your target audience is very vital.
So kindling off a new conversation or trend on them is a good way to affirm your assumptions, redraft your assumptions if they turn out to be wrong, then redesign and reposition your value propositions to suit accordingly.
Be a contributor, don’t ask for anything right away
Don’t utilize every opportunity to talk about your brand, instead, offers insights and advice that help people attend to some of their needs or solve some of their problems.
Think of yourself as a contributor when you are in the communities. Think less of yourself as a marketer or brand manager—I know this might sound absurd, but it works.
If you think yourself as a contributor, then you put yourself in a better position to think and act as a good contributor would. This way, you position yourself as a go-to for the kind of problems you solve.
Getting recognized is your final goal on this step—this is the signal to launching your brand awareness through posts.
Achieving this step first before going all out on posting about your brand help improve chances of engagement with your post—which is exactly what you want to achieve.
Be less pitchy; be more helpful
There are environments or atmospheres suited best for pitching. Social media is certainly not one of them especially when it comes to connecting with your target audience.
Keep your pitches for investors; your target audience have problems they want solved and needs they want satisfied; and pitches won’t convince them that you are interested in doing that for them.
Pitches rather informs them that you are only interested in selling them.
When your post sound like pitches, you risk people getting defensive—or in this case, they choose to ignore your post and they just scroll past it.
Instead, you want to write your content in a conversational style. You want to make your social media posts, even when promoting content or product, be of genuine help.
Here, in all, you want to remember to keep the tone of your posts down.
As a brand manager or social media marketer, first impressions matter a lot, so you must ensure to create the best first impressions.
Engagement and responsiveness to your posts and perception of your brand would all be colored by the first impression you leave on the communities you engage on—what is called anchoring.
“Anchor” are the first impressions. Every other thing take root from the anchor.
Bad first impressions is not only damaging on the short-term, it also ruins your chances of success on the long-term.
So here, you want to take your “first” few posts and comments seriously. You want to ensure you are laying the best foundations for your brand on those communities.
And last, you must realize that building a successful brand on social media is a long term process.
If you think of it as a long-term process, you are more likely to be careful and critical of every step you take towards achieving your business goals.
To help you manage the impatience that comes with long-term process strategies, you want to ensure to track your progress using tools. This would help you stay motivated and keep your marketing efforts organized and professional.
Simple tools such as manually tracking likes and comments on your posts could do initially, but as you grow, you want leverage off more advanced social media tools, such as Buffer Analyze, Grytics and Community Analytics in order to collect key metrics and data in a less time-consuming manner.
Building an effective social media marketing strategy is one of the most important steps you will take as brand manager or social media marketer, so you want to ensure you are adopting a healthy marketing culture.
You want to kick off by setting realistic goals and expectations, then you want to select and prioritize social media platforms to ensure you are creating your visibility and building your presence on the right social media platforms.
Thereafter, you want to research and discover communities and groups on the selected social media platforms where problems and needs you handles through your product offerings are discussed.
Next, you don’t want to kick off your brand awareness creation with spam posts, rather you want to approach on a more steady and effective mode by joining the ongoing conversation on the communities and offering valuable contributions.
Then, you want to remember to maintain a conversational tone with your posts, ensuring to scrutinize your first few posts critically using community rules in order to create good first impressions for your brand.
Lastly, you must realize that building a social media strategy is a long-term process, so you want to focus on your progress, tracking it with simple and advanced tools to enable you make adjustments, that is, refining and fine-tuning your strategy as you grow your brand on social media.
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