Over 4.26 billion people were using social media worldwide in 2021.
That figure is expected to rise to almost six billion in 2027.
So if you’re serious about maximizing your social media marketing plan’s results, the time has come to kick it up a notch. This step-by-step guide is a great place to start creating or improving any current social media marketing strategy, no matter where you are in terms of business development.
So let’s dive right in!
Step 1: Set Business Goals
Jumping in the car and driving without a destination may be fun for a short road trip, but it’s no way to plan the future.
The same goes for business goals.
Setting strategic goals provides the destination you want to reach, and fuels your inspiration along the way.
And when times get rough, you want those goals in focus to get you back on track.
So start by either setting or reviewing your business goals.
Set goals the S.M.A.R.T way
First, let’s go over how to set S.M.A.R.T. goals. Many of you are familiar with this methodology, so it helps to review it for reference.
A SMART goal is:
- S: Specific
- M: Measurable
- A: Achievable
- R: Relevant
- T: Timely
When creating a goal, make sure it ticks all the boxes. Here are some sample goals for every social media channel to get you started:
- Boost leads by 20%
- Grow following to 30,000 users
- Increase conversions by 30%
- Grow website traffic by 30%
- Increase sales by 20%
How quickly you achieve your goals depends significantly on your small business marketing budget. And keep in mind that faster is not always better!
When it comes to social media, you want a dedicated following of users that engage with your brand. “Buying” followers or generating interest from shocking or controversial posts typically produces a disengaged audience that rarely comments or shares your posts. So choose S.M.A.R.T. goals you can achieve within a reasonable time period, and the next steps will help everything else fall into place.
Step 2: Find your People
Once you’ve clarified your goals, the next step for your new or revamped social strategy is to find your audience.
If you’re familiar with BridgeRev, then you know we are serious about inbound marketing - a set of strategies designed to attract customers to your business.
Traditional outbound marketing broadcasts your message to a large audience. Picture a TV commercial on the evening news or an advertisement on mainstream radio that plugs a product or service to anyone and everyone.
Inbound marketing works the other way around by using digital strategies to bring your ideal customers to you.
To make that work, you must know exactly who you are targeting.
That’s why this step is so high up on the list. Creating SEO-optimized content with the right topics, keywords, and images requires that you dive deep into your prospective customer’s minds and hearts to understand what they need.
To do that you need to leverage persona-based marketing to create customer avatars that help you narrow down a large set of users to your target audience.
For this step, you’re going to need to research some critical information that includes:
Demographics: age range, income, education, employment, job title, family type/size, marital status, household income, budget, buying habits, types of publications consumed, and news outlets
Psychographics: values, motivations, goals, pain points, and challenges
Messaging: key messages that alleviate pain points and other ways to help them reach their goals
Download Our Free Buyer Persona Creation Template?
Looking for an easy way to create buyer personas? Download our free Buyer Persona Creation Template with valuable tips on creating effective avatars that will inspire content creation.
Step 3: Choose Your Social Network Channels
Now that you know who you’re talking to, it’s time to clarify what channels to include in your social media content strategy.
Not all channels specialize in your target audience. Also consider how social media networks gain and lose popularity over time, and some experience dramatic shifts in user demographics.
For example, TikTok and Reddit grew the most throughout 2021, rising 18.3% and 14.4%, respectively. Conversely, growth on established networks like Twitter and Facebook stayed relatively stagnant.
Besides considering growth, you’ll want to create social media accounts on platforms that cater to your buyer personas. For example, if your business is mostly B2C, you likely won’t find much traction on LinkedIn. Conversely, if you mainly sell B2B products, Facebook is not the best place to market your business.
Here’s a brief rundown of platform demographics to help you make the best choice using 2022 data from SproutSocial:
Facebook - 2.91 billion active monthly users, largest age group: 25-34 (31.5%), 43% female and 57% male, time spent per day: 33 minutes
Instagram - 2 billion active monthly users, largest age groups: 25-34 (31.2%) and 18-24 (31%), 48.4% female and 51.8% male, time spent per day: 29 minutes
TikTok - 1 billion active monthly users, largest age group: 10-19 (25%), 61% female and 39% male, time spent per day: 89 minutes
Twitter - 211 million active daily users, largest age group: 18-29 (42%), 38.4% female and 61.6% male, time spent per day: 31 minutes
LinkedIn - 810 million active monthly users, largest age group: 25-34 (58.4%), 48% female and 52% male
Pinterest - 431 active monthly users, largest age group: 50-64 (38%), 78% female and 22% male, time spent per day: 14.2 minutes
Given the above data, it’s easy to see that each social network caters to vastly different audiences. So before choosing your channels, take a look to see if they align with your buyer personas and overall content strategy. That way, you’ll be able to put your content in front of the audience that is most likely to engage with your business.
Step 4: Define Your Metrics
Gauging your progress depends on your choice of metrics. Social media metrics measure and monitor campaign performance and give insights into community engagement. Tracking these values demonstrates how successfully your social media strategy converts qualified leads to take actions that produce value for your business.
Some relevant social media metrics for B2C and B2B businesses include:
Business Awareness Metrics: brand mentions, followers, post reach, number of impressions
Engagement metrics: engagement rate per post (by reach), follower engagement rate per post, total engagement
Conversion metrics: Click-Through Rate (CTR), Cost-Per-Conversion (CPC), Cost-Per-Thousand Impressions (CPM)
ROI metrics: top referring social channels, social channel revenue
Along with tracking social media goals, make sure to choose metrics that overlap with other business objectives, such as those associated with revenue operations (or RevOps). Read our guide to learn some RevOps metrics you should start tracking that can be included in your social media strategy.
Step 5: Create content your audience will love
Social media isn’t just for generating leads and increasing conversions.
When you convert a prospect to a paying customer, they will likely continue subscribing to your channel.
That’s why your marketing plan should include content that appeals to both new and current customers.
Plus, your current customers are the ones that are most likely going to buy new products, submit positive reviews, and contribute comments to posts.
Types of Social Media Posts
Numerous content types drive traffic to your website, including:
- Stories (pictures and short videos that disappear after 24 hours)
- Blog posts
- Company announcements
- Live Streams
- User-generated content: business testimonials, product reviews
Think about the end goal of posting content when creating your audience personas and content strategy. For example, do you want to increase product sales, generate positive reviews, or boost subscribers to your Youtube page? Each type of content should have a purpose so make sure your content plan aligns with your goals.
Next, create an editorial calendar that outlines your social media schedule and promotion activities. Be sure to include a variety of content types, and other information such as posting frequency, posting times, and dates.
Should you let employees post on social media?
Of course! Allowing employees to post gives them a chance to demonstrate their expertise while enhancing your business image.
LinkedIn provides a helpful formula for employee-generated social media content that includes:
- 3 SMART posts that include employee expertise, advice, and industry insights
- 2 PROUD posts that show off recent achievements, community activities, and other aspects of your company culture
- 1 SUCCESSFUL post that showcases company products, services, or job openings
Be sure to include all content on your editorial calendar - including employee-generated content. Having a calendar is critically important - it helps your team of content creators schedule their work regularly and provides post predictability for your audience.
If your content is great, people will be expecting it on a regular basis, and that should be one of your goals.
Enjoying this Social Media Strategy Guide?
Download the PDF!
Your social media strategy is something you should review often. Download this guide in PDF format, so it’s available whenever you need it.
Step 6: Fuse your sales and customer service teams into your social media strategy
Social media should touch every part of your business, from lead generation to customer service. That’s why we strongly suggest bringing your social media management together with your sales, branding, and customer service teams. This ensures your branding feels cohesive and that the entire social media strategy closely follows the goals of the whole team.
Connecting everyone to social media helps enhance the content creation process. At the same time, the social media team can clue the rest of the team into the latest trending topics to keep everyone inspired.
To make the most of the process, try using social listening tools so you don’t miss any sales or engagement opportunities.
Step 7: Use data-driven insights to continuously improve your strategy
Tracking metrics, deriving insights, and using that information is fundamental to improving your social media strategy.
Some key steps required in this process include:
1. Collect your data
The internet is constantly evolving, and customer behavior can be unpredictable. That’s why you need to be ready to pivot your strategy when required.
Staying agile requires real-time data. Most platforms and social media management tools provide data from your campaigns. Choose an application to aggregate all your data and track your KPIs in one place, such as Databox, Google Analytics, Google DataStudio, Dash This, or Tableau.
2. Set Check-In Frequency
Determine how often you want to check your KPIs. At BridgeRev, we recommend evaluating KPIs weekly, and making changes at monthly or quarterly intervals.
When looking at your KPIs, consider any seasonal changes or events that occurred in the last period that directly affected any of the KPIs.
Next, determine what adjustments you will make. When doing so, keep in mind that making too many adjustments won’t reveal what changes were successful during the next evaluation period.
We recommend focusing on making a few changes and leaving the rest for the next check-in period. That way, you will clearly see what worked, what didn’t, and what needs improvement.
Using metrics to measure campaign performance is an important topic that requires much more detail than what you’ve just learned.
To discover more detailed insights and see a case study, read How to Evaluate a Digital Marketing Strategy & Improve Results.
Start Maximizing Your Social Media Impact Today
Creating a social media strategy is generally straightforward.
Crafting a precision strategy that increases sales and delivers a solid ROI requires expertise.
Book a complimentary social media audit with us to create a new strategy or improve one that’s stagnant.
After we take a look at your social media accounts and recent posts, you will discover:
- Your best-performing content
- How consistent your brand is between accounts
- Channel performance
- Audience engagement rates
- Immediate steps you can take to improve results
There's no risk or obligation - just a no-holds-barred professional opinion of how you’re doing on social media.
Studies have shown that social media is the top daily online activity in the USA, dominating even email and Google. If you have a product or service to sell, you should already be tapping into this broadcasting system and taking advantage of all its many benefits.
And if you’re not, you had better hurry: at the last count, 93% of marketers said they were already using social media to reach their target audiences.
Why is it so important to align your social media strategy with your marketing goals to bring in prospects and leads?
Social media management can get you lots of exposure, but that alone is not enough to achieve your marketing goals. It is vital that you actually have an integrated social media strategy, and that it aligns with your general marketing goals. “Social media strategy?” you might say. “I’m tweeting and posting on Facebook and Instagram daily, what more can I do?”
The Importance of Social Media
For starters, take social media seriously. A tweet, even if it’s just 140 characters, can have a greater reach than a paid ad in a newspaper. Proofread all you post, and double check for branding, message and possible misinterpretations. Brands have been made (or unmade) because of their good or bad social media management - these days, a noteworthy social media scandal or viral hit can even get covered in national news. This doesn’t mean that a misstep is the end of the world, but rather that you should keep an eye on your social media at all times and be on your toes for a quick (and endearing) response should anything noteworthy happen.
Consider Your Target Audience & Social Channels
Another aspect to consider is your target audience and positioning goals: different social media channels tend to attract different demographics, and you will get a much better result if you target your efforts to the social media channels that align best with your existing marketing strategy. Are you looking to contact professionals? Teens and young adults? Moms? Don’t waste time and resources creating and promoting social media content on a channel that does not cater to the audience you want to reach.
Integrated Social Media Strategy
Finally, let us strongly suggest bringing your social media management together with your branding and customer service teams. This ensures that all social media strategy follows closely the goals, news and interests of the whole team. And conversely, the social media team can clue the rest of the team into the latest trending topics as well as what people are talking about in social media.
Ashley Quintana, M.S., B.A.
Ashley Quintana is a co-founder of BridgeRev. In her role, she develops, leads, and executes digital marketing strategies for the company’s growing client base, including a Fortune 500 subsidiary and an NBA basketball team. Ashley’s work can be found in the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Science, and she is an OKC.biz 40 Under 40 honoree for her leadership in business and community. She frequently speaks at universities, churches, and conferences on marketing, diversity, and business.