It is a universal truth: starting Social Media Marketing is ridiculously easy. All it takes is a few clicks to put a brand live. However, in most cases, the results fall short. Or worst: business owners waste rivers of money and time on poor content. All this is due to a lack of strategic planning.
To avoid this mistake and reap all the benefits of social media platforms, we will explain how to use the three pillars of Social Media Marketing to build a consistent social presence. But before diving into the pillars and their elements, let's see what Social Media Marketing means.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social Media Marketing uses the engaging power of social media platforms to build a social presence for a brand, grow audiences, and drive website traffic.
This kind of marketing involves creating and publishing valuable content on social media profiles to engage your community. It also implies running ads and collecting metrics to analyze the efficacy of tactics.
The major social media players are Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest. But there is a new kid on the block, TikTok, who deserves a close look.
Pillar 1: Strategy
Doing strategic planning is defining the ways to achieve a goal. Design your strategy is the first thing you should do before publishing a single image on social media.
Choose the most suitable social media platforms for your brand
Not all social media platforms are a fit for your brand. Depending on your brand's positioning and audience, being present on some social media platforms turns obvious. That choice depends too on the type of audience you are trying to reach. To help you choose wisely the social media platforms, try to know where your target already is and build a customer persona from interviews and sociodemographic reports.
Don't forget that social platforms have unique characteristics worth taking into account. Let's see the most popular ones:
- Facebook: the largest social media platform with lots of niche groups.
- Pinterest: where artists, designers, and feminine audiences search and store ideas. Visual content, mostly.
- Instagram: it works as a visual notebook of people's life.
- LinkedIn: ideal for B2B companies trying to build credibility and make business prospection.
Pro-tip: unless you run a big company, focus firstly on two media platforms. It's better to excel in just a couple of social media platforms than be inconsistent in lots of them.
Define your goals
Before starting to publish content, it is helpful to define the main themes you will address and the goals of your strategy. The SMART methodology is a great way to create feasible objectives. Let's see how it works.
Specify what you want to achieve. Examples:
- Increase brand awareness
- Increase sales
- Boost website traffic
After defining your goal, assign a percentage to it.
Ensure that you have an analytics system to track your performance goals. A quick note about analytical tools. All social media platforms offer reporting tools, but if you want to take metrics analysis to the next level, take e look at:
Ask yourself: is your goal realistic? Do you have the resources to go after it? Be ruthlessly honest.
Does your goal align with the vision and values of your brand? If not, take a step back and pick one that respects the reason why of your brand.
Defining a measurable, achievable, and relevant goal is not enough. It must be time-bounded, too. That way, you know how long you need to take action and when to evaluate the results.
Wrap-up example: let's imagine you open an online bookstore. You define two main goals: grow brand awareness by increasing your followers on Instagram to 2000 until the end of the year. Plus, you want 20% of your website traffic originates from social media within the same time frame.
Pillar 2: Planning and Publishing
Being present on social allows your brand to be discovered and build relationships with your followers. But to unlock the full potential of Social Media Marketing, you need to publish great content at the right time for the right people. Luckily, you can use a few tips to keep the bar high.
Plan your content with a social media calendar
One of the biggest challenges of Social Media Marketing is to publish consistently high-quality content. Valuable content makes the audience eager for more and increases the brand's credibility. In other words, an engaged community favors brands that offer over and over updated, helpful and uplifting content.
How can you deal with this challenge?
After defining what you will talk about and the related formats, the next step is to build a social media calendar. The calendar will help you plan your social media activity for the next weeks or months. So you always know what to publish next, what promotional campaigns to run, and how to surf special seasons.
Pro-tip: a simple way to plan a content strategy is to create a daily theme for all your social media platforms. For example, share an update about your business on Monday, post a tip on Tuesday, an infographic on Wednesday, and an inspirational quote on Thursday.
Be human and focus on the community's needs.
People use social media to connect with other people. For that reason, be authentic, honest, and transparent in all your communication. Lowering the barriers to knowing the true nature of your brand helps to create rapport. Authenticity also turns followers into brand lovers, the best ambassadors you can ever have.
Try to link every piece of content to your follower's hopes and aspirations. Put their needs in the center. Look again at your personas and see well-crafted storytelling capture their attention. These rules of thumb can help too:
- Be specific
- Promote curiosity
- Keep the language simple
- Reveal the backstage of your brand
Pro-tip: establish a tone of voice for your brand. You can create a simple document to share with your team where you define the guidelines of all your content.
Pillar 3: Analytics
After all this effort to put forward valuable content on social media, you want to know how well it is performing. Reality check time. Looking into the metrics of all you have published arms you with insights to fine-tune the next batch of content.
Revisit your social media metrics
One of the best things about Digital Marketing is you can measure all your tactics and consumer actions. That turns handy when you need to assess your efforts to meet your goals.
Here is a list of the most popular metrics for you to keep an eye on:
- Engagement: this includes clicks, comments, likes, and shares on your social media posts.
- Followers: the number of people who decide to follow your brand profile to see content in their feeds.
- Impressions: the number of times a post from your page is seen, and whether your audience members click on it.
- Profile visits: the number of people who have opened your social media page.
- Reach: the number of people who have seen any content of your brand.
- Shares: number of posts your followers or audience shared with their network.
Go beyond the native social media analytics tools
All social media platforms make available to you reporting tools to gather information and track metrics of your content. However, there are other ways to see how your content is performing.
Google Analytics is one of the more used analytics tools. One of the most important reports to anyone who manages social media is in the section "Social": social value report shows the percentage of Sessions by social network.
Other useful tools to measure the performance of your social media strategy are:
- Bitly: a free tool to count the number of clicks in your hyperlinks.
- Social Mention: great to track the mentions of your brand or a competitor in real-time.
In short, use analytics tools to track goals, monitor where your social media strategy is working, and understand how your audience discovers your brand. That way, you can optimize your initiatives and move on.
To recap, Social Media Marketing relies on three pillars: strategy, planning and publishing, and the power of analytics. Although it is unlikely you will get all your social media strategies right the first time, these pillars help you build a robust foundation to take your social media presence to the next level.