Managing your social media marketing can be overwhelming if you don’t have a clear plan.
Without it, your presence on social media risks becoming a random collection of messages that bear little resemblance to your brand and fails to speak to your intended audience.
Developing a social media marketing strategy enables you to reach your audience no matter which platform they follow you on, and ensures that your message is reflective of your brand identity, and by extension, the needs and aspirations of your audience.
Know Your Audience
If you don’t have a clear grasp on who your audience is, you might as well be speaking to an empty room. That’s because your message or offer will never grab their attention, either because it’s too vague or it misses the mark entirely.
For tips on how to optimize your social media brand page to reach your target audience, see “Building a Strong Social Media Presence” over at the Change of Shift blog.
In some cases, you may want to market to a sub-audience. Audiences can vary, depending on the marketing campaign you’re running. For instance, if you’re promoting a coaching program, you might only want to market it to those who have purchased your book.
Identify Your Optimal Social Media Platforms
Based on the knowledge you have about your audience, your industry, and your competition, you should be able to identify the best social media platforms on which to implement your marketing efforts.
If your product has visual appeal, you’ll want to be on Instagram. Combine visual appeal and a female audience, then definitely go for Pinterest, too! LinkedIn might be your best choice if you’re marketing a new healthcare innovation. Coaches and consultants can also be successful on LinkedIn. For a more general audience, Facebook is probably your best bet.
No matter which platform or platforms you choose for your social media marketing, cater to your audience’s needs and highlight the unique way your product or service solves the problems they have.
Study Your Industry and Get to Know Its Influencers
Understanding everything you can about your industry is crucial in making any social media marketing strategy work. Be intimately familiar with its trends, challenges, and innovations. If you can’t keep up, you’re sure to be left behind.
Identify key influencers in your niche. Why? Well, for several reasons.
- Learn from them. They’re doing something right. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have the following they have. Study their posts, try to ascertain their marketing strategy, and visit their website. Read comments and reviews from their followers. Subscribe to their mailing list. Find out what makes them so appealing to their followers.
- Their followers may also be interested in following you. Contribute to their groups or forums. If your content is related or complementary, their followers may take notice and start following you, as well.
- Affiliate or collaboration potential. Once an influencer becomes familiar with you, the quality of your work, and you’ve had some positive direct exchanges, it might be appropriate to bring up the possibility of collaborating on a project or of being affiliates for each other. You never know, they may even ask first!
Stay Close to Your Competition
You know the old saying, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” I’m not suggesting that your competition should be regarded as enemies, but I am advising you to know them well: be familiar with their product and service offerings, study their movements, and observe their follower engagement.
Never let competition frighten you. In fact, if you think you have no competition, it should make you question whether or not you have a viable product or service. Keeping tabs on your competition can only make you better.
By observing their posts, you’ll get a heads-up to what works for them and what doesn’t. It also allows you to see the what they’re promoting currently, and what products or services may be in development.
The social media insights available to you are rich with data to further analyze your competition. Look not only at what they post, but also at your own dashboard, which, if configured properly, gives you a glimpse of your competition’s performance.
Considering the effectiveness social media has in converting followers into customers, it only makes sense to create a plan for developing your social media marketing strategy. With just a little effort upfront to identify your audience and determine which platforms make the most sense for your brand, you’ll gain a clearer vision for how to broadcast your message.
Then, understanding your industry and its influencers will keep you on top of trends as they develop, so your marketing can always be fresh and current. What’s more, following and developing relationships with influencers in your space will help to grow your own following and may even result in cross-promotional opportunities.
Finally, keep a watchful eye on your competition. There’s no need to spend an excessive amount of time doing this, but just being aware of what your competition is up to and how their followers are responding. In the end, it can help when evaluating your own social media marketing strategy.
For training and resources on developing your social media marketing strategy, be sure to check out the “Social Media Marketing Simplified” course at our business school, the Nursing Innovation and Entrepreneurship Academy.