Starting your own social media marketing strategy can seem like an overwhelming project if you've never done it before. After all, how do you know where to start? Where do you go from there? How do you create content that attracts and engages your target audience? Thankfully, plenty of other companies have done this before, and they've shared what they've learned along the way. Here are five tips to help you get started with your social media marketing strategy.
To create your brand on social media, make sure you're creating a detailed social media marketing plan. You'll know what platforms and accounts to use and how often you post updates. You'll also want to outline specific goals for each platform so that when it comes time to measure your success, there's no confusion about what worked and what didn't.
Without conducting customer research, creating a social media marketing strategy could waste time on platforms that don't work well with your product. First, consider who your ideal customer is and where they hang out online. It might be easy to start with sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn because most of us already have an account there. However, taking a deeper dive into each platform will help you identify which ones will be most effective based on your target market's needs and wants. For example, if you're selling pet products and services, focusing on sites like Pinterest or Instagram would make sense since those are popular among pet owners. You can also look at age, gender, and location demographics when deciding which platforms are best for your business. For example, according to recent statistics from Statista, more than two-thirds (68%) of U.S.-based internet users between 18-29 years old use Instagram while only 5% use Snapchat. If your customers skew older or younger than that range, you should adjust accordingly.
When it comes to social media marketing, you can't just jump in and start tweeting. If you want your business to be successful, you need to research first. For example, if your audience is more likely to communicate on Pinterest or Instagram than on Facebook or Twitter, building out a Pinterest strategy before diving into Facebook advertising might make sense. If you have an international customer base, it might make sense to create a presence on Sina Weibo (China) and LINE (Japan). In other words, don't just choose sites that are most popular with millennials—choose sites where there's a large chunk of your target market.
While it's true that social media shouldn't replace your more traditional marketing efforts, you shouldn't expect to become an overnight sensation. It takes time and effort to build a robust social following—and even more, time to convert followers into paying customers. If you're starting from scratch, plan on ramping up your efforts slowly, using your initial campaigns as opportunities to educate potential customers about what makes your business unique. You'll want to set goals for yourself, so you can assess how far along you are in reaching them. For example, if you start making money from your Twitter account in six months, figure out exactly what steps it will take to reach that point. Then outline a campaign that gets you there one step at a time.
No matter how much you tweak your strategy or what tools you use, marketing is still, at its core, all about consistency. Consistency leads to trust—and without trust, you can't build an audience. A study from Moz found that most social media marketers don't see positive returns on their investments. However, success rates increase when marketers are consistent and engaged with their audiences across channels—especially where they live (i.e., Facebook) and work (i.e., LinkedIn).