Social media marketing is an incredible free way to reach your audience and is an integral part of a digital marketing strategy. Depending on your level of comfort with technology and social media, this marketing strategy can feel daunting.
You might find yourself worrying: Do I need to start learning TikTok dances from my teen? Will my business fail if I don’t have a million followers? Do I have to post ten times a day?
Put down the ring light and pick up a pen instead. Creating a social media strategy for your business will help you create a sustainable, achievable, and successful presence online. Starting strategically and targeting the platforms where your ideal client is spending their time will help you save time and create engagement that matters.
What’s the Point of Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is a form of digital marketing whereby businesses make, publish, and share content on social platforms. This content supports the business’s branding, revenue, and lead generation goal by reaching your audience where they are organically spending time online.
Social media marketing can drive more traffic to your website, give you an additional way to communicate with your audience, increase brand awareness, and build an online community. Oh, and did I mention that you can do it for free? Of course, there are paid ad options, but free business account options across most platforms are very important for small businesses.
Learn the Landscape
Based on the stats published by the Pew Research Center, 72% of Americans use some type of social media. While young adults were early adopters and continue to lead in their usage, older adults are also present online.
Some of the most popular social media platforms (at the time of writing) include:
With the explosion of TikTok from 2018-2020, leading to Instagram’s response with its Reels feature, it is important to recognize the ever-changing social media landscape that exists. In addition, all digital marketers recognize that each platform’s algorithm influences what users see online.
By learning more about the most present and active audiences on each platform, you will understand better where to invest your time online. For example, Facebook has over two billion users worldwide, but if it is not popular in your area, it won’t be worth your time. If your team is prepared to create visual or video content, you can begin using Instagram or YouTube, but if you prefer short-form writing, Twitter is for you.
Know Your Audience
It’s time to bust out your Buyer Personas or read our previous blog if you haven’t had the chance. This demographic breakdown from Sprout Social can help you pinpoint the places where your buyer personas are spending their time online.
For example, let’s say you run an online store, and you specialize in newborn onesies. This business’s buyer persona is Stephanie, a 29-year-old in Indianapolis, expecting mom looking for cute, unique clothes for her baby. Based on her demographics, Stephanie is likely active on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. With that knowledge in mind, this online store may choose to start Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Make a Social Media Plan
Now that you are familiar with the popular social platforms and know where your audience is most active, let’s create a plan. Determine whether you want to share your brand story, increase awareness, drive users to your website, or make more sales online. Write down your top 2-3 goals.
Next, write down the 2-3 social platforms where you will invest your time and note how many times a week you intend to post. For post frequency, once a day is standard and suggested. However, consistency and content quality are ultimately more important than quickly putting up a cat meme at 11:58 PM to meet your quota (although, now that I think about it, cats are very popular online).
Note: Why limit yourself to certain social platforms? With over 60 million Business Pages on Facebook, your content needs to stand out and offer true value. Overextending yourself and creating sub-par content across every platform will dilute your message and give you less time to dedicate to them.
Let’s do a quick review so far.
✅ You are familiar with different social media platforms and the demographics that are most active on each.
✅ You know your business’ Buyer Personas.
✅ You have made your social media marketing goals.
Well done! Now, this is where the fun begins! What are you going to share online?
Start to consider what your business offers and the different ways you can view your products or services. You will want to create content that teaches your audience about your business, the people behind your business, and offers information that speaks to the pain points your business solves for customers.
A behind-the-scenes look at product creation
Interviews with employees
Professional images of products
User-generated content that is re-shared on your channels
A recipe or example of your product in use
Images of your team’s pets (we love our animals)
Make a monthly content calendar that explores the different images you will want to share or the various topics you will cover.
For example, if you are starting a sandwich business, your week on social media might be something like this.
Monday: A photo of you cooking as a child, talking about the story of your business.
Tuesday: A time-lapse of you making a delicious sandwich.
Wednesday: Re-sharing an image from a happy customer who took a picture of her meal.
Thursday: A aquick interview with a new employee.
Friday: Sneak peek of a new menu item.
Make the Most of Insights
Remember when I said that social media marketing was free? Fortunately for marketers and small businesses, this includes detailed analytics that allow you to deep-dive into your audience and content performance. Get familiar with the analytics and data provided to you by the social platforms you are using and track what types of content are getting the highest engagement. This information will help you continue to improve your content and learn more about the people who are interacting with you online.
Social Media Marketing Tools
There are so many tools out there that can help you automate and simplify your social media content creation and publishing process.
Using a tool such as Later can help you create a content schedule that you can set-and-forget in advance. Using a grid planner for Instagram can even help you preview your content.
Sprout Social and HubSpot offer social media creation, automated publishing, and monitoring as part of their marketing software services.
Social media marketing is part of a complete digital marketing strategy, working hand in hand with your content marketing to help you achieve your business goals.
Use your time wisely to develop a plan that works for you and allows you to create consistent, quality content that your audience will want to see.