It’s estimated that more than 3.04 billion people now maintain an active social media presence, a number that’s expected to grow significantly in 2020 and the years ahead.
What these statistics show is telling: social media has not only gained remarkable traction and popularity across the globe, but has grown to become a leading conduit between businesses and consumers in the modern marketplace.
Which means that without a robust social marketing approach, your small business could be missing out on an excellent opportunity to reach and connect with customers across your local area.
Below, we provide some tips to create a robust social media strategy that achieves brand dominance on the web—and gives your business the boost it needs to compete and thrive in 2020.
How to Create an Effective Social Media Strategy
Define Your Social Media Goals
What makes a social media marketing strategy for your small business successful? Well, that depends on what you wanted to accomplish in the first place.
And if you don’t define clear goals right at the outset, it’ll be impossible for your social marketing team to establish any sort of coherent approach, not to mention figure out which elements are working and what should be tweaked down the road.
As you prepare to create a social media strategy, start by asking yourself where your brand could use a boost—and how your social presence can be leveraged to deliver results in those areas. Some of the more common goals businesses look to achieve on social include:
- Driving traffic to your site
- Enhancing brand awareness
- Strengthening brand loyalty
- Building industry authority, credibility
- Locating good talent
- Increasing sales
Whatever your reason(s), it’s crucial to have clear objectives in mind before you build your plan—and to make sure your marketing team is working toward those same ends. A social strategy without direction or focus is liable to result in mixed messaging that confuses your audience and hurts brand consistency.
What to Know: Nearly 40% of consumers now cite a brand’s social presence as the biggest source of inspiration when making a purchase, while more than 3 of every 4 are more likely to buy from businesses they follow on social.
2. Identify Your Target Audience
Your customers’ social feeds contain no shortage of companies, articles and trending hashtags vying for their attention at any given moment. If you don’t understand your audience, their needs or what matters to them most, you’re unlikely to build a social brand presence that attracts their interest and compels them to action.
As you learn how to create a successful social media strategy, it’s important to ask yourself who you’re trying to reach, what their pain points are, what sites they’re on and how they engage with brands at each stage of the buyer journey. Identifying your target demographics and how they interact with brands online is key to crafting social media marketing content they actually want to engage with—and that cultivates a stronger connection with your small business.
With comprehensive audience research in your hands, you can start creating a social presence that connects with people in meaningful ways—a data-driven experience that engenders trust, builds relevance and embodies the value you provide to your customers. And with the right information, you’ll better understand where to direct your resources and harness a strategy that optimizes your digital marketing budget.
What to Know: Over 90% of Millennials, 77% of Gen Xers and nearly 50% of Baby Boomers are now active on social platforms. More than half of the Gen Z population cite social as the most relevant marketing channel today.
3. Research Your Competition
Knowing how to create an effective 2020 social media strategy means having not only a clear picture of your goals and target audience, but also what you’re facing from competing brands across your industry.
A thorough evaluation of your competitors may help provide crucial insight into which tactics and types of content are working on social platforms, as well as those that consistently miss the mark. It can also reveal any social slip-ups your competitors may have made in the past—and how to build a social media marketing approach that avoids such mistakes for your small business in the future.
Additionally, an in-depth social analysis may show opportunities your competitors are missing on certain social channels, allowing you to focus your efforts on filling those gaps and boosting your social visibility.
Of course, the goal here is not to imitate or steal competitor strategies, but to accumulate the insight you need to customize your own approach while optimizing your full social potential. A careful, complete competitive analysis helps supplement your audience research and ultimately make your broader digital outreach more effective and impactful.
4. Develop Your Content Strategy
Content is the meat and potatoes of your brand’s social strategy. Without a solid approach to content creation and curation—and a schedule for maintaining an active, impactful presence—you’ll be unable to proactively engage with your audience or keep up with competitors across social platforms.
Building a robust social media content marketing strategy for your small business—one that strengthens your reach, improves brand loyalty and ultimately converts followers into buyers—can be done any number of ways; though, it’s advisable to research the platforms and types of content that best fit your unique goals, audience and brand before jumping in with both feet.
There are many content types to choose from, but the most common include:
Equipped with audience and competitor research, your marketing team should be able to determine which combinations of content have the most appeal with your customers (i.e. giving them what they “Like”). And once you’ve generated a healthy amount of social media content, you can create a “content bank” in which to save posts and repurpose old content for recurring promotions, events and brand-related updates whenever needed.
Social media schedule
Content is great for bolstering your message and brand on social media. But without a proper schedule for posting that info and keeping your content strategy on track, your strategy will lack the coherence, consistency and focus to build the strong brand resonance it needs to thrive.
An editorial calendar is essential not just to keep your social media marketing team on the same page, but to ensure you’re taking full advantage of opportunities to engage and listen to your customers. Your calendar should work in concert with your SM objectives and digital marketing efforts to support your message and strengthen your image.
Note that just because a network is popular doesn’t mean it’ll be the right fit for your audience. When creating your calendar, be sure to include only those sites that provide the best conduit between your brand and your customers.
What to Know: Each social platform comes with an ideal time for posting content and maximizing visibility. For example, the best time to post new content on Facebook is between 10 am and 3 pm on weekdays, while Twitter posts tend to reach the largest audience at or around 9 am on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Use Images and Videos as Much as Possible
While text is certainly an important part of social media marketing, visual content has a way of attracting attention to your small business that written content just can’t match.
Content strategies rich in images, infographics, videos and even gifs seem to be the most effective in the context of social media branding. When done right, creative, seamless integration of visual media into your social media strategy can spark engagement and boost brand cred in ways you never thought possible, possibly even providing the bump you need to master the social landscape.
Simply put, videos and images are no longer just an option but an absolute necessity for connecting with customers on social media. In an environment built on trends and constant change, it’s the innovative incorporation of eye-catching images and educational videos that set your brand apart—and ensure your brand does more than sink into the social background.
What to Know: It’s estimated that more than 56% of internet users consume videos on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) each month. Recent projections indicate that videos will make up more than 80% of all consumer traffic online by 2021!
2. Track Your Progress and Pivot When Needed
Now that you’ve created your calendar and kicked your content schedule into full gear, the time has come to track your progress. This is perhaps the most critical phase of your social media strategy, as it’s what ensures your strategy is on target and achieving the best results for your business.
Ongoing monitoring and analysis of your social media marketing efforts help your small business track the KPIs—engagement, reach, conversion and lead generation—you established at the very beginning, and to make changes to your strategy whenever needed. At the end of the day, it’s effective, vigilant performance measurement that informs your social media decision-making—and gives you the insight needed to pivot your brand and redirect resources to optimize a more significant social presence.
Fortunately, nearly every popular social site offers analytics to help you understand where you’re meeting your goals and where your falling short. This data can be used to identify which content strategies are working and which you can leave by the wayside—as well as the best times to post, and to create a more effective social media strategy.
Last but not least, most social platform analytics will tell you which posts are performing the best (views, clicks, etc.), allowing you to capitalize on content that generates the most engagement.
What to Know: 9 out of 10 social media users use social platforms to reach out to local brands, while more than one of every three will publicly critique a brand if they feel their complains and questions are ignored.
Social Media Marketing for Small Business
The impact and need for a robust social media strategy in 2020 are undeniable. And as you prepare your digital marketing approach for 2020, it’s good to know you have the technology, guidance and expertise to build a social presence aligned with your values and optimized to boost your small business potential.
Whether it be content creation, Facebook ads or upkeeping your social calendar, the marketing pros at Marca Global® can provide the support and expertise to fuel your brand online and develop a comprehensive social strategy that keeps your business at the top of its game.
We specialize in outsourced digital marketing solutions that maximize your brand reach and profitability on the web, ensuring you have the active, authoritative social presence your brand needs to reinforce your message and marketing strategy 24-7.
An investment in a proactive social marketing approach is vital to brand survival, particularly in a consumer market driven by online interaction. With Marca Global®, you have access to the digital marketing knowhow, SEO expertise and social strategy and support personnel your company needs to be innovative, visible and competitive across the social media spectrum—and to make sure your message is effectively addressing consumer pain points and compelling customers to take the next step.
Whatever your needs, we customize brand-centered solutions that deliver results. Once in your corner, our high-level digital marketing team analyzes your online presence and crafts data-driven strategies that elevate your brand on social, allowing you to focus on what’s really important: managing your business.
To schedule your free consultation, contact Marca Global® online or call (720) 378-5024.