Social media marketing may seem daunting — after all, the landscape is continually shifting. It’s like a roller coaster ride: from fake news to new algorithms, the list of what’s thrown at you goes on and on. This is why it’s crucial to strategize before you start planning: You want to get as much value as possible from the time and resources you put into social media. Let’s take a look at the five key steps you need to take to build an effective social media marketing strategy. 

Set Your Social Media Marketing Goals

The first question you must ask yourself is what you want to gain from social media. Is it for increased brand awareness? Do you want to raise your number of sales? Without goals, it’s difficult to gauge how well your social media strategy is performing and the steps you have to take to improve. Here are a few potential goals that your company could set: 

More traffic to your website. Three out of five marketers use social media to drive traffic to their sites. Whether it’s your blog or website, it’s essential that people are visiting your pages because they might turn into customers. Use Google Analytics and measure metrics such as:

  • Traffic from social media: Look at how many visitors are coming from social media. 
  • Share of overall traffic: Determine how much of your traffic social media accounts for. 
  • Bounce rate of social media traffic: Figure out whether you’re driving quality traffic from social media.

Increased brand awareness. Brand awareness is crucial because it’s one of the factors consumers look to when deciding between you and the rest of the competition. Don’t just publish promotional posts — deliver content that showcases your personality and values for a more authentic feel. 

A strong customer base. Perhaps your goal is to have followers who share your content with others, and “like” all of your posts. If this is the case, schedule time each week to engage with them, whether this means commenting on their posts or answering their questions.

Look at What Your Competitors Are Doing

While there are plenty of social media platforms that offer competitive analysis tools, you can do a little research on your own. Find your competitors through a Google search — use your most valuable keywords and industry terms to see who pops up. Then, look at your competitors’ social media presence to see how they’re approaching their marketing campaigns. Since you’re all in the same or similar industries, it could be beneficial to see what’s working for them so that you can improve your campaigns accordingly. 

For example, Coca Cola’s Instagram is heavily graphics-based, while Pepsi focuses on capturing people having a good time, with an emphasis on videos and clips from their commercials. Using this research, you can decide to do a hybrid campaign with a focus on customers and specially made graphics. 

Use User-Generated Content (UGC)

Digital ads are getting more and more expensive — their growth is five times faster than US inflation rates. This means that competition among other brands is fierce. However, there’s a way to organically reach your customers that won’t break the bank: User-generated content (UGC)

UGC is any form of content, such as text and images, that have been posted by users. By relying on your customers, it saves your team time on content creation, strengthens relationships with your customers, and delivers social proof that consumers crave before buying. Here are a few ways to encourage UGC:

  • Consider creating a custom campaign hashtag that your followers can use to share their favorite products and services. 
  • If a follower posts a photo of one of your products, reach out and ask whether you can re-share the photo to your account. 
  • Host a social media contest. You can partner with another company for a giveaway, or create your own sweepstakes, depending on your budget.

Repurpose Evergreen Content

Evergreen content is SEO content that’s sustainable and can easily be reused in the long-run. It’s a great best practice for all channels because it doesn’t just save money and labor, it’s also excellent for SEO because the popular keywords are already in place.

For example, any news about this year’s award shows isn’t evergreen because nobody will be searching for them a few months from now. The keywords associated with those award shows would be out of date. 

Be sure to address evergreen content that’s relevant to your business. Evergreen content can be any of the following:

  • Lists
  • Top tips
  • Instructional “how to” tutorials
  • Product reviews
  • Videos

Pick a Theme — And Stick With It

A significant component of why social media is so popular is because of its highly-visual content. Because of this, all of your photos must have the same look and feel across all channels. Take the following questions into consideration:

  • Is your content consistently aligned with your business goals? As an example, if you’re a clothing company, you probably wouldn’t post any food. 
  • Are your photographs of high quality?
  • Would your content appeal to your target audience?

Want to read more about social media best practices? Check out these five social media retargeting strategies that’ll maximize sales

Angie Tran
Author