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Top 6 Tips for Creating a Social Media Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses

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It is time to prioritize acquiring expertise in social media and establish your brand identity using this skill. For any business aiming to establish an online presence and capitalize on opportunities, having an effective social media marketing strategy is no longer optional—it is imperative.

Social media marketing stands out as one of the most effective ways to connect with your target audience online. With approximately 72% of all adults in the United States utilizing at least one social media platform, it is highly likely that your potential customers are actively seeking content on the web every week, if not multiple times per day. By capturing their attention through organic posts or paid advertisements, you can enhance brand awareness and position yourself as a leading company within your industry.

In this article, we will discuss four essential elements that must be included in your social media marketing plan to curate engaging feeds and develop ads that effectively drive your goals.

Table of Contents:

1. Establish Social Media Marketing Goals
2. Determine Social Media Metrics
3. Define Your Target Audience
4. Outline a Media Content Strategy
5. Select the Right Tools
6. Choose the Appropriate Platforms

1. Establish Social Media Marketing Goals
To lay the foundation for your social media marketing strategy, you must begin by clearly defining your overarching goals. Once your plan is fully implemented, what outcomes do you expect to achieve?

Your social media goals do not need to be overly specific at the initial stage. As you continue refining your strategy, they will become more actionable and measurable. Initially, your goals can be concise statements that guide you in the right direction. When creating content for your social channels, these goals will provide a framework that facilitates decision-making aligned with your desired results.

Examples of Social Media Marketing Goals:
– Generate more leads
– Increase brand recognition
– Foster stronger customer relationships
– Drive more traffic to your website
– Enhance online reputation
– Boost online sales

We recommend aligning your social media goals with your broader business objectives to ensure that your efforts in this marketing channel contribute fully to the growth of your organization as a whole.

2. Determine Social Media Metrics
The next step in building your strategy involves identifying the metrics that will indicate the success of your social media efforts.

When selecting the appropriate metrics, it is crucial to avoid vanity metrics such as likes and followers. While these metrics may make your social accounts appear impressive, they do not necessarily reflect the effectiveness of your social media strategy. They often fail to tell the full story—for instance, an influencer garnering 1,000 likes per post may seem impressive until you discover they have 600,000 followers. Vanity metrics can be easily manipulated, even unconsciously.

The most valuable social media metrics to track are those directly aligned with your brand’s specific goals. Here are four examples of metrics that companies find useful for evaluating the effectiveness of their social media campaigns:

Your engagement rate reveals the number of comments, likes, shares, and other interactions your social media posts receive relative to the number of users who see them. This metric is particularly valuable for relationship-building goals, as it indicates the level of active engagement your audience has with your brand.

Sentiment refers to how customers perceive a specific topic, typically your brand, product, or a particular keyword or hashtag in the context of your social media plan. For example, this metric can inform you about your audience’s reactions on different social networks, such as Facebook, and whether tweets mentioning your brand are positive, negative, or neutral.

While engagement provides insights into the volume of users engaging with your posts, sentiment reveals how much this engagement contributes to your sales or if your content is driving away committed followers. Sentiment tracking is crucial for brands seeking to improve their reputation.

If your goal is to drive traffic to your website, especially through paid

advertisements, it is essential to track the number of clicks your posts receive. This metric indicates how many people take action after consuming your content.

By actively monitoring clicks, you can determine the content types that capture your audience’s attention on each social media platform. This information allows you to adapt your social media marketing strategy for better effectiveness.

While engagement already considers the number of impressions or views your posts receive, reach specifically measures the number of unique users who have seen your post. Separately tracking this metric provides insights into the number of individuals you are reaching on each social media channel.

Tracking your reach is crucial when aiming to expand your audience and increase brand recognition. It helps you understand whether your marketing efforts are effectively exposing your content to new users. If not, you can reassess your social strategy, including the hashtags you use to reach potential new followers.

3. Define Your Target Audience
There is no one-size-fits-all content that appeals to everyone. To maximize your return on investment (ROI), you must create a social media marketing strategy tailored to a specific audience.

Choosing your target audience requires research. Analyze your competitors’ target audience, as well as the individuals already engaging with your brand. Additionally, identify those actively purchasing products similar to yours. Some characteristics you may want to define include:

– Age
– Gender
– Location
– Education
– Income
– Hobbies
– Religion
– Ethnicity

Ultimately, your target audience should be specific yet broad enough to foster business growth. For instance, the target audience for a high-end e-commerce purse brand could be millennial women aged 26 to 40, with disposable income, holding mid- to senior-level office jobs, and interested in beauty and fashion.

Your target market for social media campaigns may be a specific segment of your overall audience or may coincide entirely with it.

Once you have identified your target audience, you can refine your social media channels accordingly. Instead of spreading your resources thinly across every major platform, focus on the platforms that align with your audience demographics and behaviors.

For example, if your target audience consists of Generation Z shoppers, you may need to invest more in platforms like Snapchat and TikTok. On the other hand, if your target audience comprises business owners, focusing on LinkedIn is likely to yield better results.

4. Outline a Media Content Strategy
Completing your social media marketing plan involves developing a strategy for the content you will share on each channel and how you will present it. Here are some tips to assist you in this process.

As you establish your content marketing guidelines, consider studying your competitors to identify their strengths and find ways to differentiate yourself from them. Additionally, focus on creating content that resonates with your target audience.

Types of Content to Share:
The content you share defines your brand, setting expectations for your followers and potential customers. It informs them about what to anticipate when they follow you and what they can experience when engaging with your brand.

Consider how your brand identity, including its appearance, feel, and personality, can be integrated into the content you share. Will you predominantly use photos, graphics, or videos? Will live videos be part of your strategy? Will you opt for short or long captions?

If you wish to easily share customer testimonials on social media, utilize our free Social Media Graphics Kit.

Keep in mind the available resources when making these decisions, as producing a substantial volume of high-quality videos may be challenging without an in-house video team or dedicated contractors.

Furthermore, narrow down the topics you will cover in your posts. Maintaining four to six content categories ensures consistency in your content calendar while avoiding repetitiveness. For instance, a gym may rotate between posts about membership benefits, fitness education, smoothie bar giveaways, and more.

Create a Social Media Content Calendar:
Maintain organization by creating

a social media content calendar, providing your team with complete visibility into your posting schedule across platforms.

Numerous scheduling tools are available to help you pre-schedule posts as you create your calendar. We will discuss this further in tip #5.

Reaching New Customers:
Once you have determined the content you want to share, the next step is to consider how you will share your posts. Begin by selecting the posting frequency based on your available resources. Identifying the best dates and times to post may require experimentation as you implement your social media marketing strategy. Nevertheless, understanding your content sharing frequency provides a starting point.

At this stage, it is advisable to decide on the scheduling tool you want to utilize if you do not already have one.

Additionally, consider special techniques to reach audiences beyond your existing followers. These techniques may include:

– Developing a hashtag strategy
– Utilizing paid ads
– Engaging in influencer marketing
– Establishing brand partnerships
– Actively engaging with social media users

5. Choose the Right Tools
Various social media tools can streamline your workflow, from content creation to scheduling and beyond. Here are some recommended tools:

Social Media Tools for Content Creation:
– Canva
– Unsplash

Social Media Tools for Scheduling:
– Later
– Buffer
– Hootsuite

Social Media Analytics Tools:
– HubSpot
– Sprout Social

6. Choose the Right Platforms
There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to selecting social media platforms for your business. Start by considering your target audience. Who are they, and where do they spend the majority of their time?

Once you have a clear understanding of your target audience, assess your available resources. It is impractical to make TikTok an integral part of your social media marketing strategy if you lack video resources. Finally, align the chosen platforms with the type of content you want to promote. For example, if you plan on collaborating with influencers and sharing product photos, Instagram would be the most suitable choice. On the other hand, if your goal is to foster discussions and build a community, LinkedIn or Twitter may be more appropriate.

Remember, if you experiment with a platform and find it ineffective, do not hesitate to pivot or allocate more time and energy to the platforms that yield positive results..

Bonus: Social Media FAQs
Why is social media marketing important for small businesses?
Social media marketing helps small businesses connect with customers, enhance their online presence, and drive business growth. Today’s customers expect businesses to have an active presence on social media. Failure to do so may be perceived as a red flag by potential customers.

What are the best social media apps for small businesses?
The best social media apps for small businesses depend on the specific channels you are using. You should download the apps corresponding to the social media platforms you plan to create content for. These may include Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, among others. Additionally, there are numerous helpful software tools like Canva and Buffer that offer mobile apps.

What are the best software tools for business social media marketing?
Several software tools can aid you in content creation, organization, and performance monitoring. Some of our favorite social media apps include Canva, Buffer, and HubSpot.

Create a Strategy That Works
As the popularity of social media platforms continues to soar with increased internet and smartphone usage, capturing your audience’s attention on these platforms requires a focused social media plan. By defining your goals, identifying your target audience, developing a content strategy, and utilizing the appropriate tools and platforms, you can effectively reach the right audience and maximize your return on investment. While your social media strategy may evolve over time, starting off in the right direction sets the stage for success.