What is a social media marketing strategy? A social media marketing strategy is a plan that defines what content you will publish and on which social media channels, your goals and the tactics you will use to achieve them. Brands continue to ride the social media marketing wave, with 33% of marketers saying they are confident their efforts will generate a positive return on their investment.
Whether it's TikTok ads or influencer marketing, social media allows brands to use cost-effective marketing. Like a Swiss army knife, a social media marketing plan can serve a variety of marketing functions: Checking traffic and sales Use influencer networks Increasing brand awareness Building an engaged audience Communication with clients and potential clients Providing customer support This is because you have many different channels to engage in, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
A well-defined social media strategy will help you build a community around your brand and ultimately increase sales. How to create a social media strategy
Define your goals Identify and clearly define what you want to achieve with your social media strategy plan.
It depends on your business, your audience and your wider marketing strategy. Examples of social media marketing goals include: Increase brand awareness Increase website traffic Lead generation Grow your audience Increase engagement Whatever you choose, it will be a guide to your strategy and a benchmark against which to track your performance. It is important that your goals are not general, but focus on increasing the percentage or increasing income.
Instead of increasing your website traffic, you should aim to increase your website traffic by 5% every month or reach 10,000 website visits per month by December. It helps you create smart goals: Special Measurable reachable suitable Time limited
This means you can easily track your goals, they're not wildly out of bounds, and they're tied to your overall business goals.
Most importantly, they have a time limit.
This increases the likelihood that you will achieve your goals. "I like to start with a list of goals for each platform," says Mac Steer, owner and CEO of Simify. “What do I want my audience to leave this post thinking?
Do I have to act on them? How do I make this happen?
Then, once I have some ideas in mind and know what my goals are for each platform, I figure out how best to achieve those goals on each platform.
Know your target audience
An effective social media strategy starts with understanding your ideal customer. Creating rich context for your audience takes time, but there are steps you can take now that will provide lasting value. "We identify our audience by studying their demographics, interests and online behavior, which led to the creation of a customer avatar," says Maria Mooney, Brand Director at Truly Free. "This information allows us to tailor content and messages to the people most likely to interact with our brand." Start by researching your target audience or looking for demographic and psychographic data or observable patterns to help you build a picture of who is likely to buy from you.
This exercise will not only inform your initial strategy, but help you develop a voice and tone for your brand that resonates with them. Here are some activities you can do to get to know your target audience: Conduct a survey: Collect quantitative data about your audience, such as their age, location, job title, and top interests. Conduct interviews: Ask to speak with some of your best customers to gain qualitative insights such as their values, challenges, goals and pain points. Explore the competition: See who is following your biggest competitors.
Determine what qualities they share, what other content they follow and interact with, and other information you can glean from their social media. Check support tickets: Your customer service team has a lot of information about your customers through support tickets. This is where you often find pain points and challenges. Explore your analytics: Most social media platforms have built-in insights that show you information like the age, location and gender of your followers. Once you've done this research, you can create customer personas for each audience.
These should include demographic information such as age and location, as well as psychographic information such as interests, purchasing concerns and purchasing motivations. With this information, you can build a picture of your audience and tailor your content to them.
Here is an example of demographic and psychographic data you can use to learn about your audience. Location: Where do your ideal customers usually live? Even knowing countries can help, but if you are a local business or focus on one area, you should have cities that you can actually respond to. Age: What is the age range of your customers? Gender: what gender do they identify with? Depending on your brand, this may not matter as much. Interests: What are their interests/hobbies/passions? They offer powerful targeting options (eg food, hip hop, bars, basketball). Career/Industry: What field do they work in and what positions have they held? Depending on your brand, this may not matter. Income Level: What is this buyer's income bracket?
Are they price sensitive or are they willing to pay more for premium products? Relationship: Are they single, actively dating or married? This can be important if you are in the wedding industry, for example. Favorite Sites: Which sites do they bookmark? Do they browse Instagram or TikTok every day? Purchase motive: What reasons should they have to buy your product? Do they want to use a status symbol or find time to exercise despite their busy schedule? Buying problems: Why don't they want to buy your product? Do they care about quality? Other Information: Anything else not covered above but worth mentioning, such as education, life stage (parents with newborns), events they attend, etc.
Develop a content strategy
Plan what content you will create and share on each of your chosen social media platforms. Content can vary by platform and audience, so it's important to create a strategy that includes all customer personas and all of your social media channels. Determining your content mix—recurring formats and posts—makes creating social
content easier and adds pace to your publishing schedule. This provides your audience with variety and continuity at the same time. Otherwise, you'll have to find something to post every day. You want ideas for your content that you can plan ahead, iterate and schedule at regular intervals. For example, you can provide a customer report every Tuesday and share a table of offers every Wednesday and Friday. Relatively easy-to-create pieces can keep your social media calendar full while you create more complex content like a commercial or blog post. “In the content plan, our goal is to focus on timeliness and value for our customers and followers,” says Alex. "One of the core values of our business is to 'leave better' and this is the guiding principle of our team.
This means we want our social content to be enjoyable for people. We want our social media content to be valuable to everyone who sees it, whether it's a post about our regenerative agriculture in Costa Rica or a new skin care product launch. The set of content you develop might include: News: Information about what's happening in your industry or messages based on current trends. Inspiration: motivation to use your products or engage in a certain lifestyle, such as borrowing graphics or photos from around the world. Education: Share fun statistics and facts or educational posts on your blog or YouTube channel. Product/Offer Posts: High-quality product images, demo videos, testimonials or presentation explanations of your products can help you achieve your ultimate goal of getting a sale. You can often display them as ads after they are created.
Contests and giveaways. A contest or free download in exchange for an email is a great way to promote something of value to you and your audience in addition to your products. Customer/Influencer Features: Snapshots or videos with your customers or the people they follow. Community Events: Share meetings, fundraisers, or learning opportunities, especially if you're a local business. QandA: Ask your audience questions or ask for answers, like "Tag a friend who's always late." Answer frequently asked questions from customers.
Tips and Tricks: Share useful information and instructions about your products. Behind the Scenes: Share how your product is made or what you do to grow your business to provide transparency that your audience can relate to. Giving your audience a glimpse into the people behind your business can go a long way in building trust or building your personal brand as a founder. Revamped Blog Posts: Add existing content from your Shopify blog and turn it into social media content like snippets, images or tests. Start with five to seven content archetypes.
Balance your content mix between quick-to-create post formats and more labor-intensive posts, as well as between posts designed to sell and posts designed to delight and grow your audience. Snack brand Oh Snap! Pickling Co. Find the right mix of engaging content by posting a mix of product images, trending reels, engagement posts and even tarot cards on Instagram to entertain and engage your customers.
Choose the right platforms
A social media content audit sheds light on your best-performing platforms based on your goals, helping you decide where to focus. It can be tempting to spread yourself between each new channel, but it's better to excel in two or three than to be inconsistent in six different channels.
When choosing the best social media platforms for your brand, consider: Where your target audience is most active Your company's goals and objectives Which platforms are the easiest to promote your products on? Where your content performs best Once you've chosen the best platforms for your business, you can create a strategy for each that keeps your overall goals in mind. Alex McIntosh, CEO and co-founder of Thrive Natural Care, finds choosing channels easy because of the company's focus on a multi-channel experience. "That means we want to be where our customers are, so we publish content on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Reddit and YouTube," says Alex. "We know our customers and audiences use different platforms at different times, so no matter how they consume content, we want us to add value to their day."
Create a content calendar
Create a schedule for when and how often you post on each social media platform. This helps maintain consistency and ensure content flows smoothly. Start slowly and then increase the frequency as you develop your routine and learn what works. You don't want to spread yourself too thin or spam your audience's feeds. It's okay if you only have time to post once every few days at first. You can create up to one post per day and then test if a higher frequency results in better results on certain platforms. At the end of the day, you want to focus your attention where it will have the most impact and when your audience is scrolling through their feeds. Each platform has a different ideal time to post based on when their followers are most engaged. You will notice that the best time to post on TikTok is different than posting on Instagram.
If you're not sure where to start, think about when people check their nutrition: in the morning, at lunch, while commuting or before bed. You will find the best posting times for your specific audience through trial and error. Popular post times also depend on seasons and other variables. More importantly, schedule your posts in batches, at least a week in advance. Do it in one sitting and set aside a few hours at a time so you can focus on other things while your social media works in the background. You can use an automatic scheduling tool to upload your social media posts for the week. "We first determine the topics and messages we want to convey to our target audience," says Maria of Truly Free. “These may include offers, product demonstrations, educational content and a behind-the-scenes look at our company. “Then we create a content calendar that tells us what topics we're going to cover and when we plan to publish them.
This helps ensure we have a consistent and varied selection of content that meets our marketing goals. "Next, we brainstorm ideas for each content, taking into account the specific platform and its best practices. For example, on Instagram we can focus on visual content such as images or videos that show our products in an engaging way. On Twitter, we can create short and concise messages that are shareable and attention-grabbing."
Connect with your audience
Develop strategies to actively engage with your audience, respond to comments and messages, and foster a sense of community. No one wants to feel like they're shouting into the void, so try to start a conversation and encourage interaction around your content. Thrive Natural care's Alex McIntosh says the brand has increased engagement with its audience. “It's one thing to publish great content, but audiences want to feel like they're a part of something, and by connecting with customers, we help them join our journey,” says Alex. Here are some ways you can connect with your audience.
Content Resharing: Post customer photos and reviews to your feeds (be sure to credit the original creator). Ask: Invite a conversation by asking a question. Take a survey: Instagram, Twitter and Facebook have a survey feature that allows you to encourage engagement while learning more about your customers. Jump on trends: Join the latest trends on TikTok or trending hashtags on other channels - make sure it's relevant to your brand and audience. Respond to comments: Engage your audience by responding to comments they leave about your content. Shopify merchant Bubble Skincare does a great job with their followers. It constantly responds to fans and expresses its appreciation for purchases and comments.
Iterate and refine
Continually evaluate and refine your social media marketing plan based on the insights and data you gather. Adjust your approach based on what works best for your audience and aligns with your goals. Your goal now is to get a positive return on the time, money and effort you spend on marketing your business on social media.
It requires thoughtful action. Your social media strategy is your plan of attack. But in a space like social media that changes every day—feed algorithms are updated and audiences are always ready for something new—you have to stay flexible and keep your finger on the pulse. It is important to have goals to track and regularly review what is working. Use this knowledge to develop content ideas, create a calendar, and grow your audience. "We believe in putting members first and providing them with the content they want and need," says Maria. "To do this, we conducted a survey to collect feedback on the content our members were most interested in. Based on the responses we received, we created a social media campaign focused on cleaning homes with Really Free products. This campaign allowed our members to share valuable tips and knowledge and show the benefits of our products in an engaging and informative way.