Social media marketing (SMM) is a form of Internet marketing that utilizes social networking websites as a marketing tool. The goal of SMM is to produce content that users will share with their social network to help a company increase brand exposure and broaden customer reach.
One of the key components of SMM is social media optimization (SMO). Like search engine optimization (SEO), SMO is a strategy for drawing new and unique visitors to a website. SMO can be done two ways: adding social media links to content, such as RSS feeds and sharing buttons -- or promoting activity through social media by updating statuses or tweets, or blog posts.
SMM helps a company get direct feedback from customers (and potential customers) while making the company seem more personable. The interactive parts of social media give customers the opportunity to ask questions or voice complaints and feel they are being heard. This aspect of SMM is called social customer relationship management
The first step to any social media marketing strategy is to establish the objectives and goals that you hope to achieve. Having these objectives also allows you to quickly react when social media campaigns are not meeting your expectations. Without goals, you have no means of gauging success or proving your social media return on investment (ROI).
A key component of setting effective goals for your social media strategy is to determine what metrics you'll use to measure their success. Go beyond vanity metrics such as retweets and likes. Focus on things such as leads generated, web referrals, and conversion rate. For more on this, check out our posts on the social media metrics, social ads metrics, and social video metrics that matter.
As we write our goals, keep your audience and customers in mind. Try creating audience or customer personas—archetypes that include details about demographics, interests, pain points, etc.—to test your goals. For example, if you're trying to determine if a goal is properly fleshed out, ask yourself in what way it will help you reach your audience.
A simple way to start your social media marketing plan is by writing down at least three social media goals. Make sure to ask yourself what the goal will look like when completed, and use that to determine how you will track it.
Prior to creating social media marketing plan, we need to assess your current social media use and how it's working. This means figuring out who is currently connecting with you via social, which social media sites your target market uses, and how your social media presence compares to your competitors'.
Once you've conducted your audit you should have a clear picture of every social account representing your business, who runs or controls them, and what purpose they serve. This inventory should be maintained regularly, especially as you scale your business.
As part of your social media audit you'll also want to create mission statements for each network you plan to use. These one-sentence declarations will help you focus on a very specific goal for Instagram, Facebook, or any other social network. They will guide your actions and help steer you back on track if your efforts begin to lag.
Once you've finished with your social media audit, it's time to hone your online presence. Choose which networks best meet your social media goals. If you don't already have social media profiles on each network you focus on, build them from the ground up with your broader goals and audience in mind. If you do have existing accounts, it's time to update and refine them to get the best possible results.
Optimizing profiles for SEO can help generate more web traffic to your online properties. Cross-promoting social accounts can extend the reach of content. In general, social media profiles should be filled out completely, and images and text should be optimized for the social network in question. To ensure you optimize your pictures properly for every network, check out our complete guide to social media image sizes.
Not sure what kinds of content and information will get you the most engagement. Look to what others in your industry are sharing and use social media listening to see how you can distinguish yourself from competitors and appeal to prospects they might be missing.
A final source of social media inspiration is industry leaders. There are giants who do an incredible job of social media marketing,
Having great content to share will be essential to succeeding at social media. Your social media marketing plan should include a content marketing plan, comprised of strategies for content creation and content curation, as well as a content calendar.
Our content marketing plan should answer the following questions:
What types of content do you intend to post and promote on social media?
Who is your target audience for each type of content?
How often will you post content?
Who will create the content?
How will you promote the content?
Our social media content calendar lists the dates and times you intend to publish Instagram and Facebook posts, tweets, and other content. It's the perfect place to plan all of your social media activities—from images and link sharing to blog posts and videos—encompassing both your day-to-day posting and content for social media campaigns.
Create the calendar and then schedule your messaging in advance rather than updating constantly throughout the day. This gives you the opportunity to work hard on the language and format of these messages rather than writing them on the fly whenever you have time. Be spontaneous with your engagement and customer service rather than your content.
One-third of your social content promotes your business, converts readers, and generates profit One-third of your social content should share ideas and stories from thought leaders in your industry or like-minded businesses One-third of your social content should be personal interactions with your audience.
To find out what adjustments need to be made to your social media marketing strategy, you should rely on constant testing. Build testing capabilities into every action you take on social networks. For example, we Track the number of clicks your links get on a particular platform using URL shorteners and UTM parameters.
The most important thing to understand about your social media marketing plan is that it should be constantly changing. As new networks emerge, you may want to add them to your plan. As you attain goals, you will need to set new targets. Unexpected challenges will arise that you need to address. As you scale your business, you might need to add new roles or grow your social presence for different branches or regions. Rewrite your social media strategy to reflect your latest insights, and make sure your team is aware of what has been updated.