It’s 2021 — pretty much every brand is on social media. But just how many are actually making it work for them? How many of them have active, engaged followers?
Not as many as you’d think.
Just posting a couple times a week is not enough. Responding to a comment here and there is not enough.
It’s more than merely just having a presence. What you need, is a carefully thought-out social media marketing strategy.
And it doesn’t matter what your marketing budget is, or whether you’re a small startup or fortune 500 company. Every business stands to gain from marketing on social media.
So, if you’re just getting started in the world of social media marketing, and need some help… Look no further!
In this article we cover:
1. Set Some Goals
If you want your social media marketing to be successful, you should make sure you begin with setting goals.
Hell, even just having them (goals) in your head gives you 10x better odds.
So, how do we set our goals?
The best way is to follow the SMART framework.
The goals you set for your social media marketing should have an answer to all of the above.
Here’s a good example…
Your goals can be both on a larger scale, in months and years… Or they can be daily. In fact, you should probably have both, to maximize productivity. The key is to be constantly working towards something, always holding yourself accountable.
2. Research Your Target Audience
Audience research is an essential component to ANY form of marketing, social media included. In fact, it’s probably more important (for social media) due to the inherent nature of the platforms.
Audience research will give you valuable insights that’ll help your social campaigns succeed. Some things it’ll help you uncover might include…
It’s vital you know as much as possible about who you are marketing to.
So how do we uncover these things?
There are 2 ways you can conduct audience research…
Social media tools have entire suites that allow you to optimize and scale up your social media marketing. Audience research is a common feature included, but it’s typically not a free feature.
The good news is that most of the major social media platforms have free audience demographics tools.
With regards to Twitter, it also has its own Insights feature.
Image Source: Neil Patel
Although it’s preferable to have a social media tool, you can get all the information you need for free.
3. Choose the Right Platforms to Market On
Depending on who your audience is, you might have to market on just a few social media platforms, or many. There’s no real point in being on a social media platform, if none of your audience is.
So, how do you find out which platforms your audience uses?
An easy way is to look at your competitors — they’ll usually list which social platforms they are on. The icons should be somewhere on their main website.
For example, if you’re a freelance writing coach…
Another way is to manually search each platform, looking at things like Facebook groups…
Or Instagram, Twitter and TikTok hashtags.
These two methods should give you enough insight to uncover what platforms you need to use.
4. Create a Social Media Content Calendar
Social media marketing is a constant cycle of continuous content — it never stops, it never ends. You need to make sure you have a social media content calendar mapped out.
A content calendar is basically a spreadsheet that details your upcoming schedule of content you plan to publish. Here’s an example of what one looks like…
Image Source: HubSpot
Now, if you’re a solo entrepreneur, one-man business, you might be able to get away without a content calendar… But if you’re a larger-sized business? Forget about it. Before you know it, you’ll be behind, and off schedule.
Simply put? A social media content calendar will help you remain organized and consistent.
As far as how to create one, there are many free templates available on the internet.
5. Use Social Media Marketing Tools
If you want to really level up your social game, then you should use a tool.
A social media marketing tool is an application, or software that makes running social media campaigns easier. More specifically, it allows you to automate, scale-up, and optimize. It’s kind of hard to get a concrete definition, as there are a variety of different types of tools.
For example, there are tools that are catered to one specific feature, like security or graphics creation. Then there’s entire suites that let you do a whole host of things.
Animoto for example, is a tool designed specifically for creating video content for Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.
Whereas Hootsuite allows you to do just about everything — content curation, scheduling, monitoring, engagement and analytics.
You’ll find that most (if not all) social media tools follow the “freemium” model. This basically means they offer a free version, as well as a premium.
If you’re new to using social media marketing tools, I’d suggest these free options…
These will give you some experience, and act as a good intro.
6. Use the Competition as a Template for Your Content
Not sure what type of content you should be creating? Easy fix: look at what your competitors are doing.
Stealing from the competition is an age-old tactic — people still do it, because it works. It’s also not unethical, if you do it right.
The idea is to “take inspiration,” not directly rip. Use their content as a framework, a template for yours. If we’re being honest, we all do this… Just no one admits it. But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it, when done right.
Let’s run through an example of how this should play out…
You run a skateboard store, so you look for some competitors.
You search their websites for their social media profiles.
You look at the exact type of content they are posting — this is your template.
You also can optimize your profile page/bio, by looking at theirs.
Competitor research is the oldest trick in the book — use it well.
7. Communicate Like a Human Being
It’s really important that when you run a campaign and post content, that you don’t sound like a robot. When things are automated and scaled up, this can happen a lot. Words and phrases are repeated, and social context is lacking.
Authenticity is key — try to avoid being too “PR.” You don’t want to come off “out of touch.”
Here’s a good example of what you want your social posts to look like…
Notice the use of slang? It’s subtle, but it makes all the difference in terms of engagement. Wendy’s is one of the best big brands that understands effective social media communication.
Regardless of what type of content you post on social media, good communication is key. If you want to get it right, here are some tips you can follow…
8. Be Consistent, Post Frequently
“80% of success is showing up.” – Woody Allen (QUOTE)
It’s largely common sense, but it needs to be said — consistency is key. You need to be active and posting frequently to reap the full benefits of social media for marketing purposes. If you aren’t, you’re simply not going to be able to be visible enough to your target audience.
Alright, so be consistent… But what exactly is the right consistency? How often should I be posting?
The answer: it depends…
Certain platforms will require you to be far more active than others. Twitter is a good example of a platform that requires more activity. Compare that to YouTube which is more infrequent.
Here’s a rough guide you can follow…
Image Source: SocialPilot
If you continue to keep at it, eventually you’ll find success at social media marketing for your business.
All your activity should be outlined in your social media content calendar. This will make it easier to hold yourself accountable and remain consistent.
9. Limit the Number of Hashtags You Use
Using a lot of hashtags might seem like a good strategy — make your social content more visible, right?
Using too many hashtags can actually decrease the engagement of your posts.
PROOF: A 2020 report analyzed over 114 million Instagram posts, to find out how hashtags influenced engagement…
Image Source: Mention
It was found that engagement dramatically dropped the more hashtags were used. They suggested this was for 4 reasons…
1. Banned hashtags — there are a number of different hashtags that are actually banned. These offer no potential visibility, and are effectively pointless. Often people don’t realize they’ve used them, so it’s important to research which hashtags are banned.
2. Famous people don’t need hashtags — celebrities tend not to use hashtags, because they are already relevant. They tend to have the largest followings, and typically have the most engagement. This clearly is a bias that skews the data above.
3. Instagram newbies abuse hashtags — when starting an account, the use of hashtags is seen as a way to increase your visibility. These types of low follower accounts tend not to have high quality, engaging content. Their overuse of hashtags influences the engagement data.
4. Generic hashtags are overused — it’s unrealistic to expect to get some form of engagement from an extremely overused hashtag. The most popular hashtag in the world is #love, and it’s used 3 million times a day.
When it comes to social media marketing, hashtags are about quality, not quantity. A few rock solid ones will get you more reach than a dozen duds.
So, what hashtag best practices should you follow?
10. Harness the Power of Visual Content
Visual content — whether its images or video — is the hottest social media marketing trend of the last few years. People have invested in high quality videos with epic production values, as well as awesome graphics.
They’re doing this because it works — visual content is vastly superior to just text.
Don’t believe me? Here are some major proofs…
FACT: On Twitter, content (tweets) with images get 150% more retweets. (Source)
Image Source: Buffer
FACT: Posts on Facebook that feature images receive 2.3x greater engagement. (Source)
Image Source: Buzzsumo
Basically? Visual content is the bomb. You need to prioritize it.
11. Don’t Fear Paid Advertising
Let’s be real — organic reach is not what it used to be on social media. The days of getting epic “free” marketing is long gone. Things can still be done, but you’re much more limited.
Considering this, businesses should take a serious look at paid advertising methods on social media.
Paid ads on Facebook for example, can be very profitable.
Image Source: AdEspresso
Just how profitable? It varies a lot, obviously. If you have a solid product or service, and good copywriting skills, your ROI can be epic.
Take Iman Gadhzi for example. He runs IAG Media — a social media marketing agency specializing in paid Facebook ads. He’s been able to generate a ROI of 602%.
That means, for every $1 he spends on Facebook ads for his clients, he gets them $6.02 of revenue in sales.
Influencer marketing is another awesome paid advertising strategy that has been highly successful in recent years. If you didn’t know, it’s basically when you pay someone with a good social media following to market your product or service.
It’s extremely popular and effective on Instagram — you’ve probably seen the posts before…
Image Source: mediakix
It’s also being used on TikTok.
Image Source: mediakix
Like paid ads, influencer marketing can lead to insane ROI.
The point I’m making here? Don’t be afraid to spend money, to make money. All the evidence suggests you can.
12. Automate the Right Way
Automation is an essential part of any social media marketing strategy, so it makes sense to get it right.
What do I mean by right?
Well, it (automation) seems like a simple thing, but many still get it wrong. There are things you should automate, and things you shouldn’t.
Customer service for example, shouldn’t be automated. Bank of America learned this the hard way a few years back…
They get it now — personalization, not automation.
Aside from dealing with customers, automation is great. Just make sure the content your curating and scheduling has been approved by your team. This is a fairly standard feature of automation tools, so I don’t think there’d be any problems.
13. Optimize Your Instagram Profile Page
Making sure your Instagram profile page is optimized is really important. A good bio, for example, can convert all the engagement you get into something desirable, like website traffic.
Getting it right isn’t all that complicated — you just need to follow some best practice.
Instagram’s profile page is small, but it has a massive influence. Here’s how it looks…
As you can see illustrated, there are 4 parts — pretty straightforward.
Here’s what you’ll want to do to get your Instagram profile right…
Choose a business account: This is really important — a business account gives you a variety of useful features, like Instagram Insights. If you already have an account, you can switch (to a business account) via your “options” page.
Image Source: Oberlo
Choose a good username: Make sure it’s not complicated, and it’s easy to remember. The exact username for your business might already be taken. If this is the case, try something that’s fairly close. As an example, Oberlo uses OberloApp as its username…
Use a branded profile picture: This is basically like a logo. Look at how Burger King does it…
If you, an individual, are the face of your business or brand, then a portrait will do.
Create an enticing bio with a call to action: Treat your bio like a landing page — it’s more than just a blurb of your business. You can constantly update the link to new content, information, or a sale/offer. Bolster the link with appropriate copywriting, and you’re good to go.
Look at how British motivational speaker Jay Shetty uses his bio to promote his new book…
Typically you’ll post content informing your followers of whatever the new link is in your bio. You’ve probably seen the phrase “link in bio” before… Here’s an example from Mailchimp.
Bottom line? Make your Instagram bio more than just a “who, what, when and where.”
Make sure your bio link is trackable: Whatever link you choose to put in your bio, you need to make sure it’s one that you can track. This means you can get analytical data and metrics — clicks, pageviews, clickthrough rates, even sales.
If you have a business account (you should) then you can see “website clicks,” which is just whatever link is in your bio… Even if it isn’t your website.
Image Source: Later
However, you’re probably better off using Linkin.bio — it gives you extra metrics like CTR and pageviews. It’s even used by Google itself…
Oh, and did I mention that it’s free? Pretty awesome.
Social media marketing can be a terribly confusing thing. There’s a host of platforms, and they all are different. Each requires unique content — content that takes time to create.
This leaves some businesses to wonder if it’s all worth the effort… If they’re actually getting a return on investment.
You need to stick with it — social media marketing works. It can work for you to, if you have the right strategy.
Hopefully these 13 tips helped you to refocus your approach.
Got any questions? Leave a comment below.
This content was originally published here.