2018 invoked big developments in technology, business, marketing etc. While we no longer have to go knocking from door to door for sales, we have to put in equal effort in our marketing strategy to succeed.
Social media is a marvel of latest technology that was initially developed for people to stay connected, share interests and remain updated about their loved ones. Marketers seized the opportunity, using social media platforms to promote their brands. Today, social media is one of the most important and effective ways to expand your reach, connect with your target audience, grow your business, and drive long-term sales.
However, social media is constantly changing. As more and more brands expand their reach with social media, the competition is increasing and people’s attention spans are decreasing. The importance of social media marketing is increasing as you persevere to stay at the top of this ever-evolving, competitive platform.
Here is how to build a successful social media strategy plan for 2018 in just 7 simple steps:
- Set a goal: Set a clear, realistic, attainable goal that targets your challenges. Determine what success looks like as an end result. Your goal can be to increase brand awareness, create a loyal fanbase, improve the Return-On-Investment, drive in-person sales, or to get ahead of the competition. Statistics say, people who write down their goals are 30 times more successful, therefore document your goals.
- Be informed by your audience: Understand who buys your products, what age group is the toughest to sell to, which locations have highest demands for you and what income bandwidth do returning customers belong to? Also, learn on which platform your target audience spends most of their time and if they are actively engaging with your brand there? Use the platforms that correlate the most with your goals. You don’t have use every social media platform in your current marketing strategy. Instead, try to choose the platforms that have the highest performance based on your goals.
- Study Your Competition: What are the strategies working for your competitors, increasing their customer engagement or sales? On examining competitive analysis, you will understand what your potential customers want. Use this beneficial data to learn from their successful attempts and improve efforts for your own campaigns. Don’t steal your competitor’s ideas, but learn and grow from their success and failures. You will often look at content in the new light.
Find out who is your competition by carrying out a simple Google search. Look up your most valuable keywords, phrases, and industry terms to see who shows up and study their social media activity. Notice their approach and design content – do they share text, images, videos, tutorials, or take up Q&As? Narrow down what gets most lucrative results. Observe the timing, regularity and even the language they use. Take note of whether they are being assertive or are delicately pushing while making a sale?
Studying your competitor’s social media strategies will give you the edge to understand what works for your product or service. You can do your research manually, or use competitor research tools that compile data for you.
- Know what measures your success: Follower count, likes, and shares are more feelgood measurements, which may or may not turn someone who is interested in your products and services, into a buying customer. Sometimes, we may conclude success when the number of followers, likes and shares skyrocket. It is great when that is our goal, but does it lead to a positive growth rate for your business? At this point, it is a good idea to step back and evaluate whether this is one step of your action plan to convert followers into customers. On the other hand, building trusting relationships on social media is vital, so never give up on this audience. Remember, they are following your page because they are interested in your brand. Actively interact with them to understand their requirements. Track if your content is spreading across social media, reaching user’s feeds, number of clicks per campaign, people who interacted, most used and associated hashtags for your brand and the emotions your campaign is generating amongst users. Understand what stimulates inquisitivity and induces sales. Invest maximum budget and design content customised for platforms with the positive response.
- Build and design engaging and exclusive content: The content you produce is extremely important to your marketing strategy. After following the above-mentioned steps, start building powerful content. Always create content that correlates with your brand’s identity, purpose, and theme. It is hard to fall in line with current trends and still produce unique content on your page. Think about creative and unique ways to present your content that users will not find easily. It is also necessary to balance promotional and interactive, relevant content. Statistics say, 46% of users unfollow a brand if they post too many promotions, and 41% of users unfollow a brand that shared too much irrelevant content.
- Engage with and be available for your audience: Social media channels are built as networks to communicate, discuss topics and share content. It takes great effort to ensure engaging and positive interactions with users. Users appreciate and trust your presence and willingness to communicate. Use social media monitoring tools, to monitor and measure interactions, responses, and inquiries and assign designated teams for specific tasks. Also, post at the most effective times for you to engage with users. Statistics show that most users believe brands should respond to social media messages within four hours, whereas brands take about 10 hours to respond. Don’t make your potential customers wait, and instead give each one utmost attention.
- Use analytics to measure your success: Regularly analyze your efforts to gain perspective on the success of your campaign. You’ve fulfilled each action step; now analyze if your plan worked. Use social media marketing tools to analyze and report which posts, messages, and hashtags performed the best, generated the most traffic, conversions and overall revenue. Examine the success of your campaign, and identify what worked well and what didn’t. Improvise the strategies and reschedule them. Keep those that work and eliminate those that don’t.
30% of millennials say they engage with a brand on social at least once a month. Keeping the development and current trend of your customers in mind, it is vital to be invested in your social media marketing campaign and pay attention to engagement and communication. Following the above-discussed points, you will definitely gain success in your social media marketing campaign.