How to create an effective social media marketing strategy for 2019
Creating an effective social media marketing strategy for 2019 should be a top priority for any business that either doesn’t have a strategy or has not taken the time to update an existing one. While some might feel that an existing strategy will suffice, 2018 was a year of constant evolutions and change in the marketplace which has left many strategies outdated and in need of a refresh. Whichever the case might be, as an experienced digital marketing agency, we have created an outline of steps for creating an effective social media marketing plan that can help your business thrive in 2019.
Developing a Social Media Marketing Strategy
- Start with clear goals – With any plan in business, it all starts by defining the goals you wish to accomplish. Our recommendation is to focus on the biggest challenges first and the main purpose behind your use of social media as a business. For some, it is about growing the number of followers on specific channels while for others the goal might be focused around becoming an industry-leading voice within a niche on a channel and increasing brand awareness. Businesses might wish to increase ROI, drive sales, or create a more loyal customer base. Whatever the goal or goals being set, make sure that they are attainable, reasonable, and affordable. Very large goals should be broken down into smaller segments so that they can be effectively attacked with success measured. For example, growing a social media account by 200,000 followers is a very large goal that could be reduced to adding 20,000 followers per month with different strategies used each month to spur growth to meet the overall goal.
- Perform in-depth research – There are numerous well-known quotes about assumptions and suffice to say they are not positive. Yet, many people still rely on assumptions in areas where they should not, such as in marketing. While trusting a gut feeling might work upon occasion, it makes little sense to base a strategy around them when there is so much consumer data available for review and analysis which provides a much clearer picture. Demographics and data points are great starting points for research and can be filled in with social media listening and analytical tools to gain important insights about a target audience when can then be used to shape a strategy. For example, certain platforms will be more effective based on the target demographic for creating engagement such as Instagram is used primarily by people under 30. There are numerous listening tools, social media dashboards, and analytics that should be used on a regular basis to not only understand the audience for the initial strategy, but to stay abreast of shifts which might then require an adjustment in your strategy as well.
- Determine critical metrics – Along with research, continual analysis should be used to determine the effectiveness of any given campaign and the overall strategy. This starts with understanding which metrics should be used to track progress. Just looking at likes and follows is not enough. There are numerous other metrics that should be tracked to understand engagement such as reach, clicks, hashtag performance, or sentiment. Take the time to dive deep into analytic and reporting tools to fully understand what can be tracked, what should be tracked, and what the numbers mean so that you can understand if what you are doing is not only effective but also helping you meet your goals. There are a number of great social media marketing tools out there which can help with tracking and analyzing information.
- Analyze the competition – To create the best strategy possible, it is important to understand what the competition is doing so that you understand what works for them (as well as what doesn’t) to better formulate an effective plan. In some cases, borrowing ideas and concepts might be useful while in others it might be a better strategy to set yourself apart by using a different style, content, and voice on social media. There are a number of tools available to track platform content and activity by the competition which can help provide insights about what their audience likes and wants; information which can be insightful in understanding what your audience might then want as well.
- Decide on content themes – One struggle that many social marketers face is finding consistency when you post regularly. Typically, the first few weeks and months are the easiest as everything is fresh and new, but at some point, marketing can and will hit a grind phase. It is at this point where having established content themes can really save the day because they provide a framework for consistency. Different platforms can use different themes to help establish a precise identity on that platform along with offering a starting point for every post because there is a specific box the theme falls into. Themes can adjust over time such as quarterly or for a new campaign as well.
- Create amazing content – Easier said than done, right? Creating great content is not easy which is why there are so many articles out there discussing habits of effective content creators, the best type of content for a platform, ways to improve Instagram photos and the like. One of the best tips for any type of content on social media is to aim for timeliness. Social media is social first and foremost therefore people look to engage and converse on these platforms in one manner or another. Therefore, it is important to focus on interacting and responding with the audience which is why the timeliness of content posts is as important as the quality of the content itself.
- Review consistently and look to improve – While this step is extremely logical it is also regularly forgotten. It is unrealistic to expect that a campaign or strategy will be perfect out the gate. Rather than getting upset when an idea or concept isn’t working, instead plan on regularly analyzing and improving each campaign along with the overall strategy. The best strategies remain fluid simply because life and customers are fluid with changing wants and needs. By not analyzing how will you ever know how effective one campaign is compared to the next? Social media by default involves a bit of trial-and-error which is why this step is very important in the overall success of any plan.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that having a strategy in place is much more effective that not having one. Our outline for how to create an effective social media marketing strategy for 2019 provides a nice starting framework for any business that either needs a plan or is looking to update an outdated one.
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