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How to plan a social media marketing strategy

by Chloe Baird

Launching a campaign without having a marketing strategy is one of the biggest social media marketing mistakes you can make. Whether you’re a Small Business Owner, a professional Marketer or an aspiring Influencer, you need to have your social media marketing strategy down before you start wildly posting random content.

A strong social media marketing strategy plays a pivotal role in any business. It’s how you connect with your audience through social platforms; how you can promote your brand and your identity. Social media can also be a powerful tool when it comes to generating leads, and converting those leads into customers.

Research, planning and a strong social media marketing strategy can be the difference between success and failure.

Read on to find out how you can create your own social media marketing strategy to suit your needs.

What are the first steps to building a successful social media marketing campaign?

5 Steps to create a social media marketing strategy

1. Set social media marketing goals

The first step in creating a social media marketing plan is establishing your goals. Ask yourself the question: “What do I want to get out of this campaign?”

Here are some areas you could focus on:

  • Boost audience engagement
  • Increase your return on investment (ROI)
  • Expand your audience size
  • Increase web traffic
  • Generate leads and convert sales

Whatever your goal (or goals—no one said you can’t have more than one) is, you need to work out what’s most important for your brand and then build your social media marketing plan around that.

While creating your goals, you should also work out ways to effectively measure them. This means working out which metrics are most relevant to you. Go beyond basic vanity metrics (which isn’t to say vanity metrics don’t have a place in your plan) and look at things like conversion rate, reach, mentions and time spent on website.

2. Research as much as possible

Research your target audience

Research is one of the most important things you can do before launching your campaign. And you need to get familiar with your target audience if you’re going to connect with them and convert them from followers into customers. Who are they? How old are they? Where do they live? What are the challenges they face that your product/service can help with?

Research your competitors

What are your competitors up to? Find out what platforms they’re using, what kind of content they’re posting, and how they interact with their audience. The point here is not to steal their ideas, but to observe what they’re doing that works and what doesn’t work. Use it as inspiration.

Research different platforms

You need to find platforms that resonate with your brand, but they also need to be platforms that your target audience is using.  If most of your audience is on Instagram and Facebook, is there any point advertising on TikTok? Then, once you’ve found the right platforms, you need to research how your audience interacts with them and what kind of tools are out there you can make use of (e.g. management, analysis and scheduling tools).

3. Decide on the kind of content you’re going to post

Now that you’ve got a clear idea of who your audience is and what platforms to use, and have established clear business goals, you need to decide on the kind of content you’ll be posting in order to boost interaction.

This is the part of your social media marketing strategy known as content strategy.

Here are some things to keep in mind when working on a content strategy:

  • Will my audience find this content valuable?
  • Does this content fit my brand’s personality? Am I staying true to my brand’s image?
  • How does this content encourage my audience to interact with it (e.g. by clicking the like button, subscribing, following, sharing, commenting, etc)?

One of the best ways to grow your audience is by offering valuable content—whether it’s in the form of insights, facts, humour, entertainment or anything else. Because at the end of the day, most people are on social media not because they want to be sold to, but because they’re looking for content that’s valuable to them. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use your social media presence to sell your products. You just need to make sure you’re not bombarding your audience with ads which could make them lose interest.

For more tips on creating great content, read our blog, ‘How to get more followers on social media’.

If your audience finds your content valuable then they’re more likely to engage with it.

4. Set a schedule for your posts

You’ve done your research. You’ve set your goals. You’ve built a solid gold content strategy. Now you need to come up with a schedule that you can stick to.

Maybe creating a schedule for your social media strategy doesn’t sound too important. But if you post irregularly, or forget to post when you say you will, you run the risk of falling off your audience’s radar.

There’s also an art to posting at the perfect time. Based on who your audience are and how they interact with social media, what are the best times for posting that will all but guarantee they’ll see your post? If you’re posting content bright and early at 6am, is there a high or a low chance your audience will be up and scrolling through their feed at this time?  

There are plenty of tools (free and paid) out there that can help you automate your schedule, so make sure you do your research on the right product for you.

5. Analyse the results of your campaign

The final step in your social media marketing strategy should be to analyse the results of your campaign once it’s completed. How does it compare to other campaigns? Were the results anticipated, or were they totally unexpected? Did you meet the goals you set out to achieve? Are you focusing on the right kind of metrics?

To make sure you’re constantly improving your content for your audience, it’s important to remain flexible and adaptable. And to do this, you need to monitor your campaign results. Without this data, you won’t be able to see which campaigns worked well, and which ones didn’t.

Again, there are a number of tools out there today that will help you to monitor, analyse and collate your results, so you don’t have to do all the heavy lifting by yourself. Most platforms will have their own analytics tools you can tap into too, such as Facebook Analytics and Instagram Insights.

This is also a good opportunity for you to conduct a social media audit.

Don’t wait—start planning your social media marketing strategy now

Open Colleges recently partnered with Social Media College to bring you the Social Media Strategy short online course. In this course, you’ll learn how to design a strategy that can target your audience with high-value content that will help to convert followers into customers. Learn how to complete a social media audit from start to finish, assess relevant data metrics, understand your target audience, define your goals and more.

If you’re ready to put your ideas into motion, then enrol in our Social Media Strategy short course today, or take look at our other online social media courses and find the right course for you.

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