Social media marketing uses the power of social media networks to reach your marketing and branding goals. In addition to social media marketing, you can also engage in paid social media advertising through which your business appears in front of a large number of highly targeted users.
The social media marketing plan is a must these days for any size business. For it to work and offer value, the overarching strategy must align with your business goals. According to Marketing Consider Group, 52% of social media marketers believe social media positively influences their company’s revenue and sales.
The five most valuable social media platforms, such as Facebook (89%), LinkedIn (83%), YouTube (%), Twitter (80%), and Instagram (56%).
It’s not enough to be there and have a presence. Yes, that’s an excellent start, but there must be a hook-like marketing campaign. The driver, or catalyst, must be something that shares the values of your brand. Fortunately, there are some tried-and-true methods for achieving this.
Benefits of social media marketing
Here are some of the specific benefits of social media marketing:
1. Humanize your business
By using social media, you can make your business an active participant in your market. In your profile, posts, and interactions with users, you create an approachable persona that your audience can relate to and trust.
2. Drive traffic
Social media is the top channel for increasing traffic to your website where you can convert visitors into customers, between links on your profile, post links, and your ads.
3. Generate leads and customers
The advantage of using social media marketing is that it generates direct leads and conversions, through features like Instagram/Facebook stores, direct messages, and call-to-action buttons on profiles.
4. Increase brand awareness
The next advantage of social media marketing is that it allows you to build your visual identity across a wide audience and increase brand awareness. Brand awareness is to find out the extent to which a brand is well known by potential customers.
5. Building relationships
The advantage of social media marketing is that it opens up direct and indirect lines of communication with your followers where you can network, gather feedback, hold discussions, and connect directly with individuals.
Key ways to connect your social media marketing plan to your business’s goal
Here are some key ways to connect your social media marketing plan to your business’s goal:
1. Empower: find the right creatives
Whether it’s someone on your team or hiring an outside media specialist, make sure you’re choosing a creative that understands your business and your message. They should not only take the time to research all aspects of your business, but also they must take the initiative to discover new things, maybe even some that you didn’t know yet. What does that mean?
It means a social marketing team must establish a close relationship with their client(s) — i.e., you — through an open line of communication. Before each significant marketing move, they should seek your counsel and that of your colleagues. Yes, they need some degree of autonomy, but ultimately they should be working with the rest of your team to connect the dots.
2. Strategize: create a plan
Social media is no different from any other form of content marketing. You need a strategy or a plan, and you need to stick to it. Every post, comment, and piece of content should follow the same principles. What is it you and your social team are trying to achieve? Do you want to funnel customers to the sales or store portion of your website? Are you just looking to build Klout and boost your reputation? Are you offering customer service through your social channels?
Pick a goal, and build your social campaign around that goal. It’s also the best way to measure ROI and get a clear picture of whether or not your campaign is working.
According to Wordstream, there are some steps to creating a social media marketing plan :
1. Choose your platforms
Based on your target audience, popular platforms for your industry, and your bandwidth, choose your platform. Once you get the hang of them, you can always start with one and then add on more slowly.
2. Set goals and objectives
Initially, these should be simple and task-like, such as posting once a day for a month, setting up your profiles, or performing a competitive analysis. You’ll be able to set more specific and strategic goals once you get into a rhythm and gather insights, like increasing your following by X% or publishing X [content types your audience likes].
3. Report and adjust regularly
Identify which posts generate the most engagement, whether you’re getting more followers, and your audience demographics by using each platform’s analytics.
See also: Business Plan: 30 Ways How to Improve It
3. Create: Utilize all forms of content
Social media networks allow you to publish many content types, from pre-recorded videos and live streams to text-heavy content and beyond. Yes, there are many visuals in play, especially on networks like Instagram, TikTok, and even Facebook. However, it would be best to create all kinds of content to satisfy the gamut of customers or viewers out there.
Some, for instance, might like to listen to a podcast during their morning commute. Others would prefer to watch a quick video with excellent entertainment and a top-notch presentation. Some folks might even like to read the content in a quick update.
What’s more, this point goes well with the first, about finding the right creatives. If you have the right people in place, they have the talents and vision to utilize various content and grit. You might be scared to participate in videos — which is a fear everyone should try to get over — but your creatives won’t be.
4. Listen: Leverage your metrics and engagement
Every social network offers some way to measure your performance and engagement, and even if there are no official numbers, you can infer this from interactions. More ‘likes’ on a post, for example, means that your audience is fond of that type of content or message. This can also help ensure that your campaigns are following your brand’s values.
Use these statistics to inform your future content and campaigns. If you notice your customers are responding more positively to videos, then invest time in creating more. You might even consider revamping plans to make use of that context.
Using metrics optimizes your social content and helps to align your message more cohesively across your brand. You get the opportunity to leverage the content and ideas that your customers truly love, as well. Based on Hootsuite, for inspiration these 19 essential social media metrics. Depending on your social media networks, you may need to track different goals, or even use each network in a different way. For instance, if LinkedIn is used to drive traffic to your website, you would measure click-through rates. If Instagram is used to raise brand awareness, you might track Instagram Story views. On Facebook, cost-per-click (CPC) is a common success metric.
5. Evolve: Grow with your audience
As your social followers grow and gain more acclaim, don’t be afraid to try new things. Over time, your business releases new products, iterative updates, or even trials of new ventures, so why not do the same with your social marketing?
It could mean establishing a presence on new and upcoming networks, introducing new forms of content, or using whatever social opportunities are available. YouTube allows you to set up a VIP follower system where people can pay for exclusive content. Facebook offers interest groups, marketplace opportunities, and much more. On LinkedIn, you can advertise services, post job opportunities, and network with other professionals in some exciting ways.
TikTok was the most downloaded app in 2020. That momentum has continued, and engagement on the platform is extremely high. Imagine this happening, yet you’re too afraid to create a new profile and participate? Just imagine how much you would miss out on.
Your business goals are to grow and be successful, but you cannot do that without taking some bold chances. Treat your social media marketing plan the same way because the world and the market around you are constantly changing.
Stay the course
Many will claim that social marketing is cheap and easy. In some ways, it is, but it takes time to grow a large enough audience. Even if your business is well-established on social media already, it will take time to reel in a substantial amount of engagement and participation.
More importantly, you want all of the interactions you’re having, the content you publish, and the experiences you provide to align with your primary business goals. You can achieve a lot through social marketing, but it won’t be of any value unless you and your team are laser-focused on the mission.
Start by empowering the right creatives for your social media marketing plans. Strategize and create a solid, actionable plan. Create all types of content, including audio, video, and text. Listen to what your audience is saying and make use of your metrics and engagement levels. Finally, remember to evolve and grow with your audience as you become more popular.
Do these things, and your business and social marketing will be as one.
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Eleanor Hecks write this article. She is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.