Master any social media campaign with these 10 simple steps | Apr20 Newsletter
"90% of marketers say social media has increased their brand exposure"
How would you like to reach a million would-be customers every day of the week? If that sounds too good to be true, consider this: Over a million new users join social media each day. But in actuality, the potential reach is exponentially more.
There are 3.2 billion social media users worldwide. That’s 42% of the world's population! No wonder 90% of marketers say social media has increased their brand exposure.
If you’re among the 73% of businesses who invest in social media marketing, or want to start, this step-by-step guide is for you. Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of executing a successful social media strategy at any stage of the game.
1. Know thy audience
First thing’s first: Know who you’re talking to. Or at least who you’d most like to connect with. If you’ve been in business for some time, you probably have an idea about who your customers are. If not, the same process applies.
Pen some general demographics starting with gender, age range, occupation and income levels. It’s also helpful to write out some common values shared among your target audience. From there you can use keyword searches that pertain to your biz to identify users who fit your target demographics.
Know who your competition is? You can also research their followers to get a better sense of who’s interacting with them online. (Feel free to follow them, too!) Keep in mind that audience segments may be more active on different social media platforms. Once you’ve established your target audience, make sure you demographically match them with the right channel.
2. Set (and crush) your goals
We know, we know. Creating cool content and watching your follower count increase is the fun part. But there’s a critical step in between, which some small businesses miss – and later regret.
Setting social media goals is a smart way to ensure you’re growing your social media profiles with actual potential customers. Spelling out these goals will also show you where you’re on track and where you should course correct.
Some common social media goals include:
- Increasing brand awareness
- Improving public relations and customer service
- Making more sales
- Building referral communities
- Driving engagement
Remember that some of these goals are their own metrics (ie: more sales = more sales). Others are a little more opaque. So for something like referrals, maybe you try checking in post-sale to see how your customers heard about you. If you're looking to boost your brand awareness, focus on the reach of your posts. Drilling down and driving engagement? Get a likes, shares, and comment count for each post.
Once you have these basics outlined, refer back to your social media goals for important decisions like figuring out which platforms to focus on and even what content to share.
3. Create a captivating content calendar
"Your content calendar is a way for you to make sure your posts resonate with your target audience"
Posting the right mix of content to the right social media channels requires some advanced planning. But don’t get overwhelmed just yet. Though planning a content calendar may sound intimidating, it’s actually pretty simple once you get the hang of it.
In essence, your content calendar is a way for you to make sure your posts resonate with your target audience. Done right, it also helps you take part in any national or industry-specific holidays that might correspond to your business. Start with those first, and fill in any content gaps using the 80-20 rule: 80% educational, informative, or entertaining content, and 20% sales or promotional content.
Your content calendar is a way for you to make sure your posts resonate with your target audience.
As you plan, consider sourcing user-generated content, asking engaging questions, using inspirational quotes and stats, finding appropriate GIFs and taking polls to keep your audience engaged.
Doing this in advance also frees you up to focus on the real MVP: engaging with your followers. (More on that in a bit!)
4. Review and re-review your analytics
Does your audience engage more with dog posts or cat pics? Are they liking and reacting to more of your posts on certain days of the week? Did you get a ton of new followers after using a certain hashtag?
Your social media analytics will reveal tons of helpful hidden insights to these types of questions.
Most social media sites have their own built-in analytics tools to give you platform-specific information about how your profile is performing. Automated social media scheduling tools like Hootsuite and Buffer also offer a big-picture look at the effectiveness of your social media efforts.
Review your analytics weekly, referring back to your social media goals to track the metrics that are most important to your campaign. This can help you nail down the best types of content to post and when to do so.
5. Post by the clock
Over time, your analytics will also help you answer the (new) age-old question: When is the best time to post on social media? Understand that this will vary by platform.
Some social media channels, like Instagram, have audience insights that will tell you which days of the week and what exact times your audience is online.
You can also follow general guides, like this one from Sprout Social, to help you decide when to post your content.
6. Hash it out - strategically
Fun fact: Posts with one or more hashtags get 12.6% more engagement. Though they look small and unassuming, hashtags are powerful connectors to wider audiences.
You can start building your arsenal of hashtags by picking out a few keywords that pertain to your business or industry. Instagram is a great platform for researching potential hashtags; it even has its own hashtag section in the search field.
Once you have 5-10 keywords picked out, research them on the social media platform of your choice to see what kind of engagement they get. Keep in mind that long-tail hashtags with fewer posts are actually more likely to drive engagement.
7. Use imaginary imagery
Social media is an image-focused experience. If you’re going to capture the attention of your target audience, you’ll have to invest in some great imagery.
Whether these are images, videos or GIFs, make sure they align with your brand. Document your company culture. Show photos of your staff or products that are flying off the shelves. Feature other customers you've worked with - there's no limit to what you can show.
You can also use stock photos so long as they’re high quality and royalty free. Sites like Unsplash and Pixabay have loads of pretty pics that don’t require attribution.
8. Understand it's all about the relationship
"The more actively you engage with your followers, the more likely they are to become customers."
Always be engaging. The more actively you engage with your followers, the more likely they are to become customers.
You might go through and like or comment on recent posts your audience has shared. Or, you could focus on replying to comments you get on the photos you share. You may also consider commenting on posts that use your previously identified hashtags.
Remember that you can always cross promote your content among different social media channels by encouraging followers on one network to see what you’re sharing on another.
However you go about it, be genuine and make sure they know there’s a real person behind the profile.
9. Quality > quantity, always
Keep in mind that social media success is more qualitative than quantitative. Meaning, it’s not necessarily how much or how often you post, but how well.
Sending quality content across a few key channels is preferable to spending unnecessary resources trying to engage across all platforms.
Posts should have a value-add for the viewer, and all your interactions should be as authentic as possible.
10. See what's working (and do more of it)
Continuously monitor your past post performance and refine as you go along. Sometimes starting a new social media strategy requires a bit of trial and error. So long as you’re learning from what works and – more importantly – what doesn’t, you’ll be in good shape for the long haul.
No matter how you slice it, social media has a lot to offer your business. Whether you want to grow your customer base, nurture your relationships or just get on the map, this step-by-step walkthrough will help you create a social media presence for your brand. You may not go viral right away, but if you start small and stay the course, you have as good of a shot as anyone.