According to modern management trends, social media marketing has been established as an integral part of a business entity’s qualitative marketing strategy. It is a sector that keeps evolving rapidly, while it has been theorized that a holistic approach to manage it has the potential to drastically increase a business’s efficiency and effectiveness.
What is social media marketing and why is it needed?
If we attempted to decode the term “social media marketing”, we would probably interpret it as a holistic design of a business unit’s goals and the methods and all of the actions that are going to be implemented by the business unit, in order to achieve those goals. Admittedly, the more organized, clear and specific our social media marketing strategy is, the bigger are the chances of it finding success.
A social media marketing strategy provides with a well-structured mix of ideas, that stands in between a business and the goals that have been set. The existence of a such strategy is key when it comes to social media marketing management, since it comes with a deep understanding of the target audience and their needs. This shall help your business align its social media marketing strategy with the aforementioned needs.
It is widely common for business owners to ignore the necessity to build up their social media marketing strategy, while insisting on obsolete marketing strategies that have nothing on modern best practices. Nowadays, however, it is essential to comprehend that social media platforms, no matter how small your business is, offer the possibility to increase brand awareness and engage with a particularly wide audience. Implementing a social media marketing strategy while using the appropriate business tools, such as insights and analytics, helps optimize your social media marketing strategy and, subsequently, increase your business’s revenue.
The right steps to a successful social media marketing strategy
A social media marketing strategy needs to be well-established, organized and divided into certain steps, in order to ensure maximum effectiveness and efficiency. A qualitative social media marketing strategy, according to modern marketing’s model, contains the following steps:
- Specifying your social media marketing strategy’s goals should always be the first step. You shall lead with a current situation analysis, so that you gain knowledge of the business’s exact state before attempting to implement your strategy. Despite the fact that it might sound complex, simply questioning yourselves “What am I hoping to gain through a social media marketing strategy?” shall give you a great first insight. A pro tip for goal setting suggests applying the S.M.A.R.T. objectives. In S.M.A.R.T., S stands for specific, M stands for measurable, A stands for attainable, R stands for relevant and T stands for time-bound.
- Identifying your target audience might be the most important step that defines your social media marketing strategy. This process is diametrically opposed to older, non-qualitative practices that are based on assumptions. Nowadays, every modern business has access to the right tools that will help ascertain its target audience’s demographic characteristics and adjust its social media marketing strategy accordingly.
- Applying Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) provides with the capability to measure your social media marketing strategy’s results at any given moment. You should always make sure that your strategy’s performance is measurable in indicators that represent the extent of our success. Some remarkable KPIs would be social media reach, clicks, social media engagement and a hashtag’s performance.
- Creating and publishing content that reflects your target audience’s interests. Your content needs to be diverse, interesting and as interactive as it can be, in order to be maximize customer engagement. Furthermore, it should include a call for action that serves your social media marketing strategy’s purpose, such as proceeding to purchase a product or service that is advertised through your content. You should also choose the right platforms that will host your content, based on which one reflects best the brand’s image and which one is your target audience’s platform of preference.
- Measuring results and implementing optimization activities is said to be the most important part of a successful social media marketing strategy. Having gained important knowledge on the framework of social media marketing and implemented the first few steps of our strategy, you shall examine its efficiency and effectiveness based on the previously decided KPIs. Should the results be in contrast to the desired ones, you shall not hesitate to initiate improvement activities, so that you refrain from an ineffective waste of financial resources and human capital. It is of high importance to measure results all throughout the implementation of your social media marketing strategy, not only after its conclusion.
Social media marketing’s best practices
Just like every other part of modern business administration, social media marketing does not suggest a specific, one size fits all framework that shall have the same results on each business. On the contrary, it is recommended to adopt certain best practices that shall be adapted to each business’s needs, capabilities and general characteristics and will undoubtedly contribute to social media marketing optimization.
Some of them are:
- The thorough examination of your target audience, since the inception of your social media marketing strategy. The larger the amount of information on your target audience, the bigger the impact of your strategy. This information includes incredibly important demographic data, areas of interest and general preferences, age groups, employment status, financial data, location, social media platforms of preference and other types of information that shall help your social media marketing strategy be more accurately adapted to your target audience.
- A significant operation that could influence your social media marketing strategy would be conducting a competitive analysis on your rival businesses’ strategies, including individual data such as their target audiences, activities, strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. The implementation of a such method is meant to help you recognize how much of a threat your competition can be, as much as faults and gaps in your own social media marketing strategy.
- Communication with your target audience is crucial to maintain your customer base. A business shall always maintain a communicative and interactive face, by replying to the customers’ inquiries and commentaries as rapidly and efficiently as possible, in order to increase brand trust and, therefore, start building up a relationship that is based on loyalty, which would be an excellent asset to any social media marketing strategy. You should obviously always take customers’ feedback into account. In the case when that feedback is positive, you should not hesitate to share it across your social media platforms, as it takes the form of an advertisement.
- Social listening is one of the most popular social media marketing strategy trends. It is a two-part process that begins with tracking all direct or indirect mentions of a brand or business and their competitors and ends with an analysis that should determine a clear insight of the brand’s image. The amount of information that derives from social listening can be used in favor of your strategy, by either maintaining or rearranging it, whether that is necessary.
- You should not dismiss the fact that each post, reply or repost that is executed by your business account, may have an effect on brand image. For that purpose, social media platforms should be used carefully and building up your brand personality and brand voice should be the backbone of that use. The consistent usage of a specific tone, language and vocabulary is encouraged, as long as it is aligned with the brand values and mission.
- You should definitely emphasize on content and publish consistently, but carefully. The use of analytics tools is recommended, so that you can determine which type of content is the most effective, what is the most convenient time to publish and what platform your target audience prefers. In the case when a certain platform does not add value to your social media marketing strategy, do not hesitate to dismiss it. Post scheduling through content calendar applications is also encouraged, as it is proven to save time.
- KPIs shall be analyzed diligently and accurately, as they reflect whether your social media marketing strategy operates properly. Each KPI is based on a different measurement of your strategy and it showcases the extent to which it is efficient. Social media reach, for instance, counts the amount of individual users that gained access to our publication, whereas clicks and social media engagement will give you an insight on how appealing your content is and whether your target audience is willing to interact with it.
- Do not fear to readjust your social media marketing strategy, in case that it is necessary to do so. As mentioned above, it is essential to implement daily strategy analyses in comparison to your initial analysis, that will help you investigate your strategy’s efficiency. When the results are not ideal, performing adjustments is preferable to sticking to an inefficient and ineffective investment, that costs more than it returns. Social media marketing strategy tweaks are encouraged in any case, so that your strategy is always up to date with the latest market tendencies.
A holistic approach into building up a social media marketing strategy depends on a plethora of factors. Planning and executing a significantly effective and efficient strategy is possible by combining a powerful and interesting social media presence, the publication of engaging content, the extraction and utilization of data and the development of a customer-oriented profile. It is also essential to carry the proper social media marketing expertise and ability to use the equivalent business tools, such as content engagement measurement platforms and target audience analysis applications.
Your social media marketing strategy shall influence each individual process that is operated through the use of social media platforms, leading every publication, response or caption that you will post towards the direction of achieving your goals. Modern social media provides you with the opportunity to develop your business’s strategy, regardless of its financial scale.
The implementation of a social media marketing strategy, however, requires investing plenty of time, as much as a heavy workload. In the case when that is not realistically feasible, hiring a social media marketing agency ensures the provision of reliable solutions, regarding the design and implementation of your social media marketing strategy.