According to modern trends of quality management, social media marketing has been established as an integral part of every business entity’s marketing strategy. It is a sector that keeps evolving rapidly, while it has been theorised that a holistic approach to its management has a strong 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 the holistic design of a business unit’s goals and the methods, combined with the entirety of these actions that are going to be implemented by the business unit, in order to achieve those goals, all through the qualitative usage of social media platforms. Admittedly, the more organized, clear and specific your 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, one that stands in between a business and the goals that have been set prior to its design. The existence of a such strategy is key when it comes to social media marketing management, since it derives from a deep understanding of each time’s target audience and its needs. It shall help your business align its social media marketing strategy with the aforementioned needs.
It is widely common for decision-making executives to ignore the utmost necessity for a consistent 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 a business is, offer the possibility to increase brand awareness and engage with a particularly wide audience. Implementing a social media marketing strategy that is integrated with the appropriate business tools, such as insights and analytics, will help optimise your social media presence 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, so as to ensure optimal results. A qualitative social media marketing strategy, according to modern marketing best practices, 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 are we hoping to gain through our 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, where 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.
- 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 its success. Some remarkable KPIs would be social media reach, clicks and user engagement.
- 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 maximize customer engagement. Furthermore, it should include a call to action that serves your social media marketing strategy’s purposes, such as proceeding to purchase a product or service that is being advertised through your content. You should also choose the right platforms that will host your content, based on the one reflects best the brand image and which one is your target audience’s platform of preference.
- Measuring results and implementing optimisation activities is said to be the most critical 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 are encouraged to initiate improvement activities, so that you refrain from an ineffective waste of financial resources and human capital. Measuring the results is recommended 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 management does not suggest a specific, one size fits all framework that shall obtain the same results for 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.
Here are some of them:
- 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 more impact your strategy will be. 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’s needs.
- A significant operation that could influence your social media marketing strategy would be conducting a competitive analysis on your competition’s 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 recognise 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. As the latter would be an excellent asset to any social media marketing strategy, you should obviously always take customers’ feedback into account. In case that feedback is positive, you should not hesitate to spread it across multiple social media platforms, as it will assume 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, identity reputation. For that purpose, social media platforms should be used carefully and help build up your brand personality and brand voice. 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 emphasise on content and publish consistently, yet carefully. The use of analytics 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 valuable time.
- KPIs shall be analyzed diligently and accurately, as they reflect whether your social media marketing strategy functions properly. Each KPI is based on a different measurement of your strategy and it reflects the extent to which the latter is efficient. Social media reach, for instance, counts the amount of individual users that gained access to your 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 is necessary to do. As mentioned above, it is essential to implement daily strategy analyses in comparison to your initial analysis, that will indicate your strategy’s results. When the latter are not optimal, performing adjustments is preferable to sticking to an inefficient and ineffective investment, one 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 strategy is possible, by combining a powerful and interesting social media presence, the publication of engaging content, the extraction and utilisation of data and the development of a customer-oriented business profile. It is also crucial 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 arguably provide brands with the opportunity to develop their strategy, regardless of their 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 a successful social media marketing strategy.