8 Steps To Create Successful Social Media Marketing Strategies

By Jamie Birt

Updated March 29, 2022 | Published October 7, 2019

Updated March 29, 2022

Published October 7, 2019

Jamie Birt is a career coach with 4+ years of experience helping job seekers navigate the job search through one-to-one coaching, webinars and events. She’s motivated by the mission to help people find fulfillment and belonging in their careers.

To excel in social media marketing, you need a strategy that generates the results your company wants to achieve. From identifying your organization’s objectives to reviewing your results, you can develop an effective plan in a few straightforward steps. In this article, we discuss how to create a successful social media marketing strategy for organizations in any industry.

What is a social media marketing strategy?

A social media marketing strategy is a plan that outlines the steps your company will take to meet its goals for online social platforms. This strategy guides what type of content to post, audiences to connect with and actions to encourage. Many companies rely on a social media manager or a marketing director to develop a strategy for team members to carry out.

Related: Learn About Being a Social Media Manager

How to build a successful social media marketing strategy

Organizations in any industry have the potential to use their social media presence effectively. Here are eight steps to consider when developing a successful social media marketing strategy:

  1. Establish marketing goals.

  2. Research your audience.

  3. Check your competition.

  4. Identify the right social media platforms.

  5. Create a content calendar.

  6. Engage with your audience.

  7. Track social media metrics.

  8. Adjust your strategy as necessary.

1. Establish marketing goals

Successful social media strategies typically begin with identifying the goals that your marketing team wants to achieve. Your organization may want to improve its brand awareness, sell products, gain more repeat customers or accomplish other objectives.

Try to set SMART goals, which are specific, measurable, actionable, relevant and time-based objectives. For example, you can use the following guidelines to sell more products via social media:

  • Specific: Increase sales with organic social media posts.

  • Measurable: Generate $1,000 in sales per week via social media platforms.

  • Achievable: Since our products average $50, we need to sell at least 20 per week, which seems possible.

  • Relevant: Our company needs to increase revenue, making this goal directly related to our overall objective.

  • Time-based: We have set a seven-day time frame for this goal.

2. Research your audience

Next, meet with your marketing team to learn more about your company’s target audience. You can review the team’s buyer personas or gather data to develop your depictions of your company’s ideal customers. To create buyer personas for your audience, start by collecting demographic data, such as gender, age and location. Then use customer research to add details like the person’s primary interests, problems and needs.

The research you conduct and the data you analyze should inform your social media strategy, so each should align with your goals. For example, your goal might be to increase site traffic by getting a certain amount of clicks on a social media ad campaign. Performing user research on your ads or A/B testing two different ads might lead you to choose certain ad copy, images or messages to make your campaign as successful as possible.

Related: Learn About Being a Digital Marketing Manager

3. Check your competition

After completing preliminary audience research, take some time to understand how your main competitors use social media. Review the social media platforms they use most often, the types of content they post and their publishing frequency. Completing this review can help you determine how other companies in your industry use social media and can identify areas where you could stand out.

For example, you might notice that other companies in your industry do not post very frequently on a particular site. You may be able to use this observation to your advantage and attract a larger share of your target audience on this platform.

4. Identify the right social media platforms

Review your audience research, competitor data and marketing goals to decide which social media platforms your strategy should prioritize. If your audience is active on only one social media channel, you may opt to focus on that single platform. However, if your audience uses several platforms, you may need to choose two or more that will help you reach your goals.

5. Create a content calendar

Next, create a list of content you plan to publish on your company’s social media channels. Your content can include everything from product updates and sale announcements to current events and behind-the-scenes images of your company. Then, add the material to a calendar so you can begin to develop a regular posting schedule.

Try to use your audience and competitor research as a guide to help you create content that your audience will find interesting. The best social media marketing examples tend to publish a wide range of content, including images, links, announcements and contests.

6. Engage with your audience

As you publish social media content, monitor the reactions from your audience carefully. Set aside time to respond to comments, answer questions and engage with your audience regularly.

If your social media strategy generates comments and concerns that apply to other teams, consider developing a workflow to respond effectively to your audience. For example, you might partner with customer service or sales teams to reply to questions about your products’ features or pricing.

7. Track social media metrics

To confirm that you are achieving the goals you initially set, track your social media metrics at the end of each month. You can access analytics for your account, audience and posts on each social media platform you use. Try adding the data to a spreadsheet or your company’s standard report format so you can compare results from month to month.

Your social media marketing goals determine which metrics matter most to your company. For example, if you want to generate sales, the revenue attributed to your company’s social media account is likely to be the most important metric.

8. Adjust your strategy as necessary

As you review your metrics and compare progress over time, you can assess whether you are meeting your goals consistently. If you are not achieving the objectives behind your social media strategy, try to identify where you can improve and experiment with solutions.

For example, you can adjust your posting schedule so that you publish content when your audience tends to use social media. You can also change your posts’ wording or the images you publish to inspire positive audience responses that help you achieve your goals.

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