A business strategy can be defined as a source of actions or set of decisions which assist organizations and entrepreneurs to achieve specific business objectives.
It is a set of competing moves and actions that a business uses to attract customers, compete successfully, strengthen its market share and achieve its desired goals.
When analyzing business strategies, there are basically three levels;
Deals with strategies that are long-range, action-oriented and integrated by top management to achieve overall business goals. They are strategies aligned with expansion and growth, diversification, takeovers and mergers, new areas of investment, among others.
Deals with strategies that relate to a particular business. They are developed by general managers to convert mission and vision into concrete strategies.
Functional Level Strategy
These are strategies developed by first-line managers and supervisors. They involve decision making at the operational level and concern areas such as marketing, human resource, production, finance, research, and development, among others.
I thought it would be wise to give this kind of introduction so that we get a better understanding of where social media marketing falls.
This means marketing strategies fall under the functional level. A marketing strategy refers to a business’ overall game plan for reaching prospective customers and turning them into potential customers of the products or services the business provides.
There are different types of marketing strategies both offline and online (what we call digital marketing). The main types of digital marketing include;
- Social media marketing
- Search engine marketing
- Paid search marketing
- Email marketing
- Content marketing, among others.
In this guide, we shall be looking at social media marketing, and in particular, social media marketing strategy.
To get started, let us first start by understanding what social media is.
What is social media
Social media refers to websites and applications that are designed to allow people to share content quickly and effortlessly in real-time. Most people normally define social media from the aspect of apps on their smartphones and tablets, but communication on social media started with computers.
The ability to share photos, video, events, opinions and other contents in real-time has transformed the way we live, eat, play and sleep.
Social media has become an integral part of every business, and form the basis of any solid marketing strategy.
Most popular social media channels
Due to the continuous development of internet marketing, there are hundreds of digital media and social networking sites. All of these have their unique characteristics and purpose. The main ones include;
- Facebook – 2.3 Billion Monthly Active Users
A great platform to share text, images, video, stories, live videos. Facebook algorithms prioritize content that sparks vital conversations and other interactions between users, especially those connected together as family and friends.
- YouTube – 1.9 Billion Monthly Active Users
It is a video sharing channel that lets users watch a billion hour of videos every day. YouTube, besides being owned by Google, is also often known as the second largest search engine after Google. It can be very beneficial to advertise on YouTube to increase your brand loyalty and drive the message home to your customers.
- WhatsApp – 1.5 Billion Monthly Active Users
WhatsApp is a messaging application that is used by people in over 180 countries. Initially, it was used by people from all over the world to communicate with family and friends. Gradually, people enhanced their communication with a business via WhatsApp.
- Messenger – 1.3 Billion Monthly Active Users
Messenger used to be a messaging feature on Facebook. In 2011, Facebook made Messenger a standalone app and greatly expanded its features. Businesses can now advertise, send newsletters, create chatbots and more, while on Messenger.
- WeChat – 1.06 Billion Monthly Active Users
We chat has grown from a messaging app into an all-in-one platform. It allows messaging and calling, and users can now use it to make payments online, make reservations, transfer money and book taxis.
- Instagram – 1.0 Billion Monthly Active Users
In our least of social media applications with at least 1 billion active monthly users is Instagram. Instagram is a photo and video sharing application. It allows people to share a wide range of content such as videos, stories, photos, and live videos.
Other popular social media platforms include; Twitter (335 million), Reddit (330 million), LinkedIn (294 million), Snapchat (255 million) and Pinterest (250 million) active users per month.
Why is social media important?
Nowadays, most people in business have a pretty good understanding of social media and how it works. Today, social media serves the main purpose of building brand awareness and increasing visibility. This is done by building relationships and communicating with potential customers.
The importance of social media can never be understated. Every business today needs to leverage the proper use of social media channels because potential clients and customers are hanging on these sites.
Businesses that are fully using social media benefit from the following;
- Leveraging social advertising to reach more audience and connect with customers better. The key advantage here is on the low cost of advertising, wider target reach and real-time performance analysis.
- Boosting brand awareness. With social media, businesses are able to find their audience, use eye-catching visuals to grab potential customers’ attention, create conversions, measure their efforts and build authority.
- Increasing inbound traffic. With social media, you can diversify your marketing efforts in many ways. You can reach different people and connect with them effortlessly. Different social channels have their targets and this is what businesses aim to leverage.
- Improve search engine optimization. There is a special connection between social media and search engine optimization. Businesses leveraging the use of social media have higher chances of being found via web search.
- With social media, you benefit by having increased conversion rates. Social media is great for capturing targeted leads for your business.
- Enhanced brand loyalty. You enhance brand loyalty on social media by having a concrete social media strategy, sharing value-oriented content, being consistent and responding to queries. It helps you to show your human side.
What is social media strategy
A social media strategy is your game plan when it comes to building awareness of your brand and business, and growing your following on social media. It is a detailed blueprint that answers what, when, how and why, on all the content you post on social media concerning your business.
To create a social media strategy, you will need to set your marketing goals, choose the right platforms to use and measure performance and metrics.
You will need to understand your audience, what they are looking for, and how their needs align with your business goals.
Questions to ask when crafting a social media strategy
When crafting a social media strategy for your business, there are key questions you need to ask. These include;
- Who is your audience?
- How do you want your brand to be perceived?
- What kind of content will you share?
- What social platforms are you going to use?
- What are the goals or results you want to achieve?
- How will you track and measure performance?
All these are important questions that need to be answered promptly to aid you in creating a comprehensive strategy.
Steps to Creating a Social Media Strategy
Let us now get straight to the most important part of this guide; the steps to be followed when crafting a social media strategy for your business.
Step 1: Set Your Social Media Goals
To start off your social media strategy, you need to think about what you want to accomplish and create your goals. Different businesses have different goals. Consider your options and let your goals guide you through the process.
The five general social media goals to get you started to include;
- Increasing brand awareness
- Generating new leads
- Driving traffic to your website
- Increasing online sales
- Strengthening customer support
Consider these goals and choose a few of them that would be most suitable for your business. As time moves on, you can add more goals to reflect the needs of your business.
Step 2: Choose your social media channels
To choose the right social media channels, you need to start by understanding your target audience and which social media channels are they mostly found. The channels you choose must be most suited for your business and audience.
If you are very new to social media, Facebook and Instagram may be a good place to get started. As you get more comfortable, you will want to expand to a few more networks to reach an additional audience. Perform a Google search of your competitors to determine which social media channels they are using, and work on establishing your presence on those channels as well.
Step 3: Set up your social media accounts
Now take some time to sign up for your accounts. From the list of steps to follow, this will mostly be the easiest of the steps. All major social media channels are free to sign up and you should not have any difficulties signing up.
Most of these social channels will be accessed through a web browser. However, Instagram and Snapchat are primarily mobile apps. At this point, you only have to sign for the accounts. You may need to perform a little research to ensure you are setting up the pages correctly for your business.
Step 4: Analyze the Competition
Before you can dive into posting any content on your social media account, take the appropriate time to research your competition and analyze the approach they use. Take a note on the number of followers they have, the likes they get and the type of content they post.
List a few things you like about their accounts as well as a couple of things you think you could do better. This type of analysis can offer you a good inspiration to get started because you will have a better understanding of what you will be aiming to achieve.
Step 5: Build your initial presence
To build your initial presence means filling out your business information, adding some few images and creating your first post. Don’t rush to start building a following not until you have a strong foundation and that you have filled all the basic information appropriately.
Most channels will do a good job of walking you through the required steps. Things to get right include; entering your business information, uploading images, creating your first post and following your contacts. You may consider hiring us here at stricore.com to get your initial social media setup well done.
Step 6: Create a social media schedule
A social media schedule is a set of the calendar of content ideas that help you to consistently post quality content on social media. It is a very integral part of achieving your goals and growing your following. Social media posting is about consistency, so ideally you need to post and interact with your followers on a daily basis.
You do not have to post every day. Key to appropriate posting is doing so on a consistent basis. You may look for a social media management tool to help you stay organized and save time.
Step 7: Promote your social channels
To promote your social media channels, you need to get the word out about your new channels so that people can follow you. It is very important to grow your following so that all your posts are seen by as many people as possible.
Some of the best places to promote your channels include; on your website, on your email list, your email signature and sending an email to your staff to encourage them to follow your social media channels.
Step 8: Measure your results
Your results will show you how your social media efforts are paying off and how it’s faring in relation to your goals. You will be in a better position to see how many followers you have gained, how much traffic you are driving to your website and how many engagements your posts are receiving.
To measure your results, key engagements you have to track include; followers, likes, reach, engagement and clicks.
Step 9: Optimize for best performance
Once you have your data set, you should be able to apply what you have learned to post your schedule and optimize for best performance. Look at the key actions and things that are getting your business the most engagements.
With optimization, you will be better placed to meet and exceed your goals. Key metrics will help you optimize your content and show you what your audiences like most about your social media postings and engagements.
Step 10: Run Ads on social media
You need to run promotions for your products and services. This will happen after you have grown your initial following. Before you can spend money on social media advertising, try posting a compelling offer on your channel and observe how it performs.
All major social media channels have a paid service to help you grow faster. If you are looking to promote your products and services to reach a new audience, paid social media can offer you an incredible platform to reach your goals.
Different social media ads you can run include; storewide discounts, new product promotions, new customer deals, eBook downloads, giveaways, webinars and event promotions.
Do you need a social media strategy?
As we have seen from this guide, you absolutely need to have a well-crafted social media strategy to keep your customers engaged, to build your brand, to gain more traffic and prospects and to show the human side of your business.
Trying to build a brand on social media without a defined strategy can be detrimental. You will find yourself just posting for the sake of it, and as a result, you might fail to see returns for your efforts.
With a well-defined social media strategy, you will build a strong organic presence. You will be able to plan your posts in advance and get the scheduled appropriately. This helps you to save time and get everything well sorted.
You need a well-crafted social media strategy to ensure your goals are well covered. It helps you to target your audience more effectively. You are able to engage with your audience better by giving them appropriate updates and answering their questions.
A good social media strategy will help you to stay ahead of the competition. You will be able to concentrate on fine details which help you to stand out from everyone else in your niche. Hopefully, this guide has helped you to feel a little bit more motivated and organized.