by Deborah White
Every business knows that today, you need a social media marketing strategy. Having a powerful presence is important. Just throwing up something cutesy might get you attention but will not get you sales. It’s not rocket science, it just takes time, a bit of talent, and tenacity to keep going when you think it’s not working! It works and brilliantly!
So, let’s talk about exactly what needs to happen.
The 7-Steps to an Effective Social Media Marketing Strategy
- Plan Your Goal. What do you need out of this campaign? Are you adding to your email list? Attracting a new client base? Directing people to your current offer? Outlining your goal is the single most important thing you can do for an effective campaign. Without a goal, you have no direction. The result is seriously diminished returns because you have no focal point. Think of those little laser pointer lights used for cat toys. The cat focuses on that little light and tries to bat it around and eat it, right? A social media post is similar in that you need the same laser focus in your marketing to attract the attention of the specific type of audience you want. It’s all about the quality of your leads, not the quantity! You can spend a bunch of money on advertising to every person in the world, but very few of those leads will convert to sales if you’re not laser-focused on your demographic.
- How to Promote It? Now comes the hard part. This is going to take some work. You need to decide how you want to promote your idea, and what is appropriate and most effective on the channel or channels you wish to promote to. Different techniques and posting times are effective in different channels. The best times for posting differ, Facebook’s best time to post is 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday. You might wonder why worry about this? Because on Facebook, according to a survey by Curalate,
52% of participants have found a new retail product and were interested in making a purchase. [i]
Pretty significant stuff! Research into the different channels will be necessary, and of course, you will need to research what your customer demographic is searching for with your product. Of course, there are a lot of channels and ways to promote your offer, but before you do, know thy audience! Your audience often will determine the best places and techniques for promotion. According to Pews Research, Facebook and YouTube reign supreme in market share, check out this infographic (Table 1):
Table 1 – Pews Research, Social Media Use over Popular Channels
- Prepare a Content Calendar. Also known as an editorial calendar you plan out your posts a week or month (better) in advance. Different channels require different approaches. Having all that information in front of you makes quick work of an otherwise overwhelming task when dealing with multiple channels.
- Research Your #Hashtags. This is another case of what’s right for one is not always right for another. Sites like Instagram use many hashtags, anywhere from ten to thirty. That’s a lot of hashtags. Facebook rarely uses them at all, but sometimes you can find two. LinkedIn as well is two. You want to make those hashtags count. Those hashtags represent searches. Searches represent people looking for stuff. The trick with hashtags is that you don’t really want to get into the hashtags with million-plus searches. Your content will get lost… quickly! With that many searches, your content may stay active for a hot second! Search for hashtags with a decent hourly search amount, but that doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. I’d check out this blog post from Talkwalker: 15 free hashtag tracking tools – from the experts – 2021, to get the lowdown on your hashtag research.
- Eye-catching Visual Content. My go to for visual content creation, in a word, is “Canva.” Truthfully, my marketing efforts would be nothing without it. Did you know that 90% of marketers use some type of graphic? There are many types available like static designs, videos, memes, gifs, and photos. Most popular are, of course, photos and static designs. Online design programs are making your marketing efforts much easier by simplifying the creation of an attractive design for your posts. Like using infographics? Venngage has a free option that helps you create the infographic of your dreams with ease.
- Engage! By now you know who your demographic is, what you want them to do, how to most effectively promote your offer, prepared a content calendar, created fabulous graphics, and posted your content. Now it’s time to get involved! Engage with your customers when they post a comment. Responding with an insightful comment of your own is always best, but obviously some people leave comments that are difficult to respond to. In these cases, a simple acknowledgement will do. A “like,” if you’re on Facebook, a “heart,” if Instagram’s your thing, or a “thumbs up,” on LinkedIn will do nicely. Responsiveness is important; customer’s want to feel valued, and a customer is more likely to feel valued and appreciated if your response is quick rather than waiting for the next day. According to a survey by Sprout Social:
Engagement is about building awareness and trust for your brand. Think of yourself as the customer; who are you more likely to buy from? A poster who just puts up content, and that’s it? Or, one that talks to you?
- Re-assess. Continually monitor your statistics to determine what’s working and what’s not. Adjust as needed to continually improve your marketing efforts. There’s an old saying, “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing, expecting different results.” There’s so much truth to those words. Look at what’s performing the best and duplicate those efforts. The best social media marketing strategies are those whose statistics are consistently monitored and improved upon.
Now you have the steps to create your own highly effective social media marketing strategy. There are a lot of moving parts, which is why most people find it so daunting. It is time-consuming, no doubt about it. Appoint a team within your organization to break this down and handle the different aspects of it. If you don’t have a team, try to spend about an hour a day, creating your posts and interacting with your customers. So now you’re armed and ready for the big, bad social media marketing word. Run with it!
[i] Lincoln, About John E Lincoln John Lincoln (MBA) is CEO of Ignite Visibility, a 2017, Lincoln, & John Lincoln (MBA) is CEO of Ignite Visibility, a 2017, 2020
[ii] Barnheart, Brent. “Building your social media marketing strategy for 2021, Sprout Social, January 25, 2021, Accessed February 18, 2021. https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-marketing-strategy/#timely-presence
1 Paws Research “Andrew Perrin and Monica Anderson, Share of U.S. adults using social media, including Facebook, is mostly unchanged since 2018,” c. 2019, Paws Research, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/04/10/share-of-u-s-adults-using-social-media-including-facebook-is-mostly-unchanged-since-2018/