How to Develop Your Social Marketing Strategy
With over 2 billion people using social media network on a daily basis, there is no doubt that social media plays a big role in determining your success as an entrepreneur. However, despite the opportunities that social media has brought, many entrepreneurs are still struggling to create a strong social media presence. Below are tips on what you need to do to create a strong social media presence.
So, you want to build a massive brand and you think that social media is the way to get there?
Well good news: you’re on the right track! Social media is indeed a highly powerful tool for building a massive audience and connecting with that audience in a way that many brands and companies never will. But before you can start posting media and content, you first need a plan. What, you thought you could just dive in without any strategy?
Your social marketing plan is essentially the strategy and the series of steps that you plan to follow in order to take your website or business from a small name or tiny blog; into massive, self-sustaining, professional organization. It sounds impossible for many people but the fact of the matter is that this has worked for countless brands before yours. Take a look at any of the biggest names in your industry, and you can almost guarantee that they started out where you are right now and that they used social media – possibly alongside other tools – in order to grow and to become something bigger.
While many people will fail to emulate that success story, that’s because they followed the wrong trajectory – or because they had no strategy to begin with. That’s what we’re going to look at here. We’re going to look not only at how you can go about creating a blueprint based on other highly successful sites but also how to make sure that you tailor that strategy to suit your brand, your mission statement and your audience.
The plan is the single most important part of your entire campaign. So, get ready and let’s do this!
Goals and Objectives
The first thing to do is to identify what the goal of your social media plan is. You’d be surprised how many brands will jump into their social marketing without even considering this incredibly fundamental concept! A lot of creators and businesses will look at you blankly if you ask them what their plan is, or answer that it’s ‘to be more successful’.
This isn’t helpful because it doesn’t provide us with a destination, meaning we can’t come up with a road map. So instead, ask yourself what success means for your business.
Maybe you’re just trying to make lots of sales quickly?
Maybe you want to establish yourself as an authority within a small sphere of influence?
Or maybe you want to reach a massive audience and be considered a thought leader within a specific niche.
Whatever the case, this is going to subtly alter the way you go about things. Likewise, you should also look at your budget, you should look at your time-frame and you should look at the number of hours you can commit to this plan. If you can build a whole social media department in-house as part of your business then great.
But if in reality you’re only likely to be posting one or two status updates a day maximum, then be honest about this fact and build that into your plan. It’s better to have a moderate plan and to stick to it than it is to have a highly ambitious plan but then give up on day one!
The next thing you need to think about is your branding.
And I’m going to be brutal with you now: there’s a very strong chance that your site and business needs a complete rebrand. Sorry!
The fact of the matter is that your social media success is going to hinge massively on your branding. If your branding is bad, then you won’t be able to win over your followers and visitors. The whole point of your social media is to create positive interactions with an audience so that they consider signing up and subscribing and so that you build their trust and they consider buying from you in future.
If you post regularly and with high quality content, but your page has an ugly logo or no real branding to speak of, then you are going to drive away your visitors. A strong brand will instil trust and authority right away. People should look at your logo and instantly know what your site or channel is all about and whether or not they’re likely to like it. At the same time, they should see your branding and they should instantly feel that yours is a professional outfit and one that they can trust to produce high quality products and content.
That’s why you should hire someone to create a logo for you and then make sure that you use this consistently across all your channels and that this helps to create more synergy between your various accounts.
Your branding should be directly influenced by your target audience.
What do I mean by this?
Essentially, depending on your brand and your business, you are going to have a specific target audience. That might be middle aged businessmen, it might be pizza shop owners, it might be young, stylish women or it might be martial artists. Whoever your target audience is, knowing and understanding this audience is critical to your success.
Ultimately, if you try and create messages and branding that is appealing to everyone, then it will unintentionally end up being appealing to no one. It will be too generic and brand. What’s always better is to go after a small segment of the web but to have them completely on-board with everything you’re saying and selling.
And to do that, you need to first identify them. You can do this with market research. Ideally, that means surveying your current audience or customers and finding out how old they are, what their hobbies and interests are, what their beliefs are, what their passions are, where they spend their time… All this information will help you build up a picture of someone and know precisely who you’re going to be marketing to. You can also do this by looking at your competition. Who spends time on their social media pages and websites?
Who are they targeting? What can you learn from them?
Once you know this, you can decide how best to design your logo and other aspects of your brand in order to best attract that audience. The same goes for writing any copy that is going to go on your page such as your ‘about’. Now you know who you are appealing to, you can decide how best to appeal to them.
A Personal Brand
Something that more and more businesses should consider, is using a personal brand. A personal brand means that you’re not going to create a logo in the traditional sense or give your business a name. Even if you do, that is going to play second fiddle to your own name and your own face which become your brand.
This can work incredibly well, because by having a personal brand, you allow your visitors and followers to feel as though they can get to know you. In return, this then helps to build trust and familiarity. Would you be more likely to buy off of a friend, or a stranger in the street? Using a personal brand allows you to put yourself somewhere in between those two points.
At the same time, a personal brand can also be used to promote a value proposition, a lifestyle and a ‘dream’. The idea is that you live the life that you are promoting. If you have a fitness brand all about eating well, feeling confident and breaking personal records, then you can post images of yourself training, go live on Facebook Live and more – showing yourself doing the things that your audience want to do. This can be very inspirational when handled correctly and can motivate more people to follow you, to consider following your brand and to buy from you! This also gives you a near limitless supply of images, videos and other content you can share on social media.
It’s only once you’ve settled on all these things that you can then decide on which platform you’re going to use. That’s because the best platform is going to depend partly on your brand and the message you want to convey.
What is the best way to get this message across?
For instance, Facebook has the largest audience with 2 million users. This makes it fantastic for reaching the widest possible demographic, which includes more of the less ‘internet savvy’ groups such as older markets. It is great for sharing content, for live video, for discussion on the wall and for PPC advertising if you have some budget to put into that.
On the other hand, Instagram is the second largest market with around 700 million monthly active users. That’s still an awful lot but what’s interesting is that proportionately more of these users are women and are slightly younger. What’s more, is that the visual nature of Instagram makes it great for selling a lifestyle and a value proposition. It’s also great for promoting a product. The ‘stories’ aspect works very well in particular with a personal brand. Better yet, the ROI is supremely low. Posting a few images to Instagram takes barely any time during a day if you have a good camera in your phone and you genuinely do practice what you preach – but it can build a massive following and gets lots of re shares, likes and more!
Finally, you can now come up with a plan. More specifically, you should try and come up with daily, weekly and monthly plans. In other words, what are you going to do on daily basis to get to the point where you want to be in one year, two or three?
This will usually involve making regular posts of some sort, but in particular, it will mean doing that in a way that is sustainable for you and that fits into your routine. In an ideal scenario, you would post as often as possible for all the major social media platforms and other that skirt the definition:
- Google Plus
- And any others you can find!
This will help your brand to be ‘everywhere’ and maximize exposure. And by posting regularly, you will have a greater chance of your posts being seen. There’s a saturation point at which you can start to overwhelm your followers but even this can be avoided by setting up ‘sister’ brands to help promote yourself.
So, there’s not really an upper limit. The only upper limit is set by how much you can accomplish regularly. And this is also going to be affected by other aspects of your marketing, such as your content marketing for instance and any video presence on YouTube.
Thus, your marketing plan is likely to be somewhat limited. Start then by focusing on one channel primarily whether that means Instagram or Facebook. Make sure you at least have a strong showing on the top three. Think as well about the regularity with which you can post content to your site and where you’re going to share that. Again, promoting content on the three big platforms is always a good idea (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and you should also look at sharing in online communities like Reddit and Google Plus communities.
Finally, look into the different tools you can use to make this process easier and to reach an even larger audience. This will likely mean using things like Buffer or IFTTT in order to automate posts when you don’t have a chance to do anything yourself and it could also mean hiring additional services to help you.
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In this video, social media strategist and bestselling author Corinna Essa reveals:
- How to build a large, engaged audience on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
- How to effectively market your business on any social network without ever being salesy
- The 3 ways to build a large, targeted email list
- How to optimize your social media profiles so you stand out from the noise
- And much, much more!