It’s safe to say that social media isn’t going anywhere. In fact, the COVID-19 quarantine actually proved just how valuable having a strong social media presence can be for businesses. With people sheltering-in-place at home, they’ve spent more time on social media (up to 50% more messaging according to this article directly from Facebook), which means more opportunity to learn about your brand and potentially become a customer.
So how can you build a strong social media marketing strategy that will allow you to take advantage of this massive spike in social media usage?
Keep reading for our step-by-step guide to building a profitable social media marketing strategy.
Before you even think about writing a Facebook status update or posting a photo on Instagram, your first step is to define a goal for your social media accounts. Not all businesses are the same, so this is an important step to help establish a foundation on which to build your long-term strategy.
Individual goals need to be more granular than just “grow on social media.” Think S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based). Consider your goal as a building block and define something that will work best for your business today, moving you closer to your long-term business objectives.
If your goal is product-driven, you might start with something along the lines of, “Increase sales of (a specific product) by 15% through social media engagement in May.” Specific (product), measurable (15% increase), attainable (can your business support a 15% increase?), relevant (do people need your product?) and time-based (in the month of May).
If your goal is more brand driven, you might use something like this: “Create an engaged social media audience to build local awareness, resulting in a 15% increase in likes and shares in May.” Specific (likes and shares), measurable (15% increase), attainable (we already know social media usage is up 50%), relevant (people are already talking, let’s get them talking about you) and time-based (in the month of May).
Now that you know your goal, it’s time to define your target audience. How old are they? Where do they live? What are they interested in? What do they like to do for fun? Where do they hang out? These are all questions that will help define your audience so you know where to focus your time and resources.
For example, if you are selling a men’s skincare product, it’s crucial to know exactly who is buying your product so you can create content and a message that resonates with them. Is the man buying your personal hygiene product for himself or is his significant other purchasing the product to pamper her man?
Now that you know who your target audience is, it’s time to start creating daily content that will inspire a connection to your brand. Consistent content is king and quality is queen so make sure you create enough good quality content to post multiple times (3-6 times) per day. Quality and frequency are crucial elements for staying connected with your audience.
As you create content, think about what your audience will want to see. What will grab their attention and inspire them to take action? In the beginning, consider testing different content ideas to see what your audience responds to best. As you review your analytics, you’ll start to gain insight into what your audience wants to see more of and can adapt your strategy accordingly.
Content elements to include:
One of the most common questions we get asked is, “What #hashtags should I use?” The goal with hashtags is to get found and increase engagement on your post. Hashtags allow social media users to narrow their search based on individual hashtags, consolidating posts on a specific topic from different pages into one. Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags per post, so make sure you use them!
But again, the question comes down to which hashtags to use. Like with goals, hashtags vary from business to business. They also can vary by location, product, trends, etc. Sample hashtags include: #SaltLakeCityFoodies (location), #MensSkincare (product), or #MondayMotivation and #NationalPuppyDay (engagement, trends). Each of these hashtags can help you reach a specific group of people on Instagram; used together they can build a community.
PRO TIP: Before you use a hashtag, search for it on Instagram to see how many times it has already been used and who is posting with that tag. This will help you determine if it’s the right hashtag to meet your goals.
Offers and Giveaways
Pushing out special offers for your products is a great way to increase conversion with each post and boost your engagement rates. Be careful with offers though, too many offers can tarnish the value of your brand and too much selling will turn people away. Remember, people don’t like to be sold to, they like to feel valued.
Social media giveaways are a great way to improve engagement, as well as reach new audiences and increase follower counts. Unlike offering product discounts, doing a product giveaway won’t lower the value of your brand because people understand that products can’t be free. Requiring people to like, comment, follow, and tag a friend in order to enter your giveaway, is how you can organically grow engagement within your target audience. These are people who actually want your product and they are now sharing it with their friends, who by the way may want it too.
Audience engagement needs to be a significant part of your social media marketing strategy. Make sure you respond to every comment and every DM as quickly as possible to help your audience feel valued. The faster you can respond with a real, meaningful reply, the more they will believe your brand cares about them as a customer.
In addition to engagement on your posts, it’s important to engage with customers who tag your brand in their posts. Like, comment and share their post to your story. This is a simple, no-cost way to showcase customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. It also makes them feel like a valued customer, putting them in the position of an informal brand ambassador.
Finally, to reach new audiences, search for your hashtags and go like, comment and follow people who are using them.
Social media is not going anywhere and it’s becoming more and more useful for businesses every day; however, if you don’t have a solid strategy in place, your efforts won’t pay off. Organic social media marketing is not an overnight process. Growing your online presence organically takes a lot of time and consistency, but it can prove to be incredibly valuable for years to come.
As you build your social media marketing strategy and start growing, consider 253 Media as your reference. Refer back to this blog for guidance or reach out to our team for personal advice on how to keep your brand growing.