We have a big problem on our hands. Social media marketing has evolved in such a way that marketers, entrepreneurs and business owners who haven’t been paying attention are going to find themselves left behind. Managing a social media strategy that drives tangible business results should not be left entirely to a recent college grad, no matter how “savvy” they may be. While social media might be something that literally everyone has access to, it takes specific knowledge and experience to generate results. We often talk to small business owners that know they need a social media strategy, but don’t know where to get started. Check out these 5 steps to growing a brand with social media.
1. Define Clear Goals
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. Set your goals! Now, these goals need to be realistic, attainable and have business value associated with them. We typically recommend clients set SMART goals.
- Specific – Well defined benchmarks you are trying to meet.
- Measurable – Quantifiable data that tells you how close (or far) you are from your goals.
- Agreed Upon – All your stakeholders should agree on these goals.
- Realistic – Set your goals based on the availability of resources and time.
- Time Based – Set a definitive time frame that you need to achieve your goals.
Goalsetting is important, but we highly recommend being flexible as the social media landscape changes quickly.
2. Identify Your Personas
Now that you have your goals in mind, we need to decide who you want to influence to achieve these goals. This is called building or identifying your personas. This is a simple, yet important process and is done by answering these questions:
- Interests / Behaviors?
- Research Preferences
- Where do they spend time?
- Where do they research?
- How do they research?
- How do they prefer to interact?
- Shopping Preferences
- Shopping motivations?
- Criteria for selecting a make or model?
- Frustrations with buying process?
Once you answer the above, you now have an idea of who you are targeting with your social media content and advertising. Just like your goals, your personas should be flexible and able to evolve with you as a you learn about your customers and social community.
3. Select Your Social Channels
Based on your personas, you will have to decide which social media channels you want to focus on. Facebook is always a great base as it has the most consistent usage, market penetration and most advertising capabilities. However, you will want to research where niche audiences live. Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest can also become very valuable in driving traffic to your website and conversions.
4. Outline Your Content Strategy
This is one of the most important aspects of any social media strategy, especially for newer brands. Outlining your content strategy helps you figure out what kind of themes you want to have in your content as well as the frequency at which you use those themes. We typically recommend that 80% of your content is meant to educate, inform or entertain while the other 20% is focused on promotion of your brand or service. People use social media to connect with what interests them. Brands are secondary to friends, family and other shenanigans. You should try to infuse your content with value or appeal to a lifestyle that will attract the attention of consumers in a lasting way.
5. Outline Your Advertising Strategy
Content is important, but to get that content in front of the right people you need a solid social advertising strategy. You can absolutely choose to not spend money on Facebook Ads, however you should expect slow growth, modest referral traffic and underwhelming results. Social advertising is the most cost effective way to reach a targeted group of consumers. However, the number of advertisers on Facebook alone has doubled year over year, so the window of opportunity is slowly closing. Social advertising can be intimidating for some because its hard to gauge success. Is your Cost per Click high? Is your Click Through Rate good? These are all things you need to understand. (Luckily, we have this report with averages per industry). The targeting parameters within the social platforms are very granular and we usually recommend that brands spend some time playing with targeting that matches their personas to get comfortable. From there, you can get fancy with remarketing and lookalike modeling.
Have questions on launching or growing your brand with Social Media? Check out our Social Media Blueprint that Drives Results!