How to create an effective social media marketing strategy: a practical guide for companies

April 10, 2020

How to create an effective social media marketing strategy: a practical guide for companies

Every company can benefit from the use of social media, but it is essential to implement a marketing strategy to make the most of time and resources. Digital marketing consultant Joséphine Anselin explains it for us in an exclusive webinar she was invited to give for students and alumni of Johan Cruyff Institute

“You can game the social media in the short run, but not for long”. This warning from Seth Godin, an American businessman of Jewish origin who is considered a guru for his understanding of marketing and communication, applies to all companies—large, medium and small—when making use of social networks for business purposes.

Social media have become the best sales showcase for any business. But it is important not to put the cart before the horse and first create a marketing strategy with a solid foundation that meets specific business objectives. “When we use social media for a business purpose, the approach should be very different from when we use them on a personal level. This change of focus must always be kept in mind,” warns Joséphine Anselin, an expert in digital marketing and content creation. She is also the founder of Outventure Hub, a consulting platform that she launched a year and a half ago, bringing together the knowledge she gained from a master’s degree in sport management with her passion for adventure and outdoor sports.

How to create an effective social media marketing strategy: a practical guide for companies

Joséphine Anselin recently offered an exclusive webinar for students and alumni of Johan Cruyff Institute. Her talk ended up being a master class on how to create an effective marketing strategy on social networks, how to perceive new business opportunities and achieve authentic connections with your audience. “From my professional experience, I have the impression that many small business entrepreneurs or managers are not willing to spend the time it takes to create a social media strategy; they prefer to go directly to creating and publishing content. If you don’t have a strategy in place, it will be much more difficult to achieve results and generate sales for your business through social networks.”

An effective social media strategy will help us to:

  • Align our social and business objectives.
  • Manage our social media accounts more efficiently and save a lot of time.
  • build a strong brand image.
  • Post more regularly, which is something that social media algorithms take into account.
  • Create better quality content that will help us connect more and better with our audience.
  • Obtain very valuable information from our customers that we can use later in marketing campaigns.
  • Increase conversions and sales.

Steps to follow to create a social media marketing strategy:

  • Review our accounts and see what we can do to improve them. Evaluate our competitors to see what platforms they use, when they use them, what content they use and what gets them more interaction with their customers, and what doesn’t work. At the same time, we will have to analyze our own social networks and, above all, ask ourselves if the public we attract is really relevant to our business. If not, we will not achieve the desired results. It is not necessary to use special tools, the metrics offered by each platform are sufficient. Once we have all the data, there are different ways to organize it. An Excel speadsheet is very practical.
  • Set relevant goals to achieve with our social media strategy. We must set goals that really help the development of our business because, otherwise, we will be wasting time and effort. Being on social media can be fun, but what really matters is achieving our business goals. In this case, it is better to set just one, two or three goals at most, instead of a long list because each goal will require a different strategy and, if we have too many, our strategy will be unfocused and we will achieve nothing. Some of these goals may be: brand awareness, brand reputation, community building, increased conversions and sales, and obtaining customer and market information.
“It is better to set just one, two or three goals at most, instead of a long list because each goal will require a different strategy”
  • Search, define and target our audience. For this, it is very useful to know their age, gender, location, occupation and hobbies. But it is even more important to know their emotional state because, in that way, we can create content that really reaches them. What are they concerned about? What challenges have they set themselves? What are their aspirations? How do they feel? The answers to these questions will help us create specific content for our audience. Other relevant information is: their preferred platforms, when and how often they use social media, how they interact with brands in the online environment, as well as the tone, words or phrases they use in their communication on social media. ‘Survey Monkey’ is a great tool for this type of survey and also the survey provided by Instagram Stories.
  • Choose the most suitable social networks for our company. Particularly if you are an entrepreneur or an SME, with few human resources at your disposal in the marketing department, you should apply the rule “less is more”. If you try to be present on all social networks it can even be detrimental to your company because you will not have time to create good content and thus connect with your followers. All networks are unique and must be worked on individually. The same message is not valid for all because the content will not be optimized for any of them. The best approach is to choose one or two channels to start with, and once we have established that presence, we can add more. For this, it will be important to previously define: what kind of company we are—B2B (LinkedIn and Twitter are the most appropriate) or B2C (Instagram or Facebook); where our followers are—the preference and use of networks varies depending on the country; and, if we have done our homework with the surveys, what type of content our customers prefer.
  • “The same message is not valid for all social media platforms because the content will not be optimized for any of them”
  • Set the variety of content. Basically, it will be aimed at two main objectives: earning the trust of our customers (80% of the content) and directly promoting our company (20%). This mix comes from promotional content for your brand, services or products; equipment information; blogs with specific content for your business sector; resources like ebooks, lists or templates; and shared content created by other sources. There is no exact formula that works for all companies, you have to try different things and see what best suits yours. But the 80-20 rule is the most appropriate because the most important thing is to add value to our commercial activity. As a company, you can talk as much as you want about your business, your products, how wonderful they are, but if you have not previously worked on your reputation and credibility among your audience, you will not achieve results. Creating value is not simply educating people; inspiring, motivating and entertaining them are also ways to create value.
  • Rei applies perfectly the 80-20 rule of content mix * Images: Rei Instagram

  • Organize a weekly social media calendar. It is very useful to plan the type of content that we are going to post during the week, establishing the schedules, depending on the networks we have. You have to be more realistic than optimistic because, as we have said, each platform needs specific content and, again, depending on our resources, quality is more important than quantity. Knowing our target audience will also help us choose the best channel and time slots to communicate. To give two examples, with Twitter you have to post several times a day, while on LinkedIn, two or three blog posts per week could be enough. If we make sure to post content in the time slot that our audience is online, we will boost our engagement and the algorithm of that social network will position our content and profile. And let’s not forget that connecting with our audience includes responding to their comments or direct messages. If we have not allowed for this in our social media plan, the chances are that we will not have time to answer them when they are active.
  • How to create an effective social media marketing strategy: a practical guide for companies

    Infographic: Joséphine Anselin

  • Identify meaningful social media metrics. We all like to see the number of our followers and ‘likes’ of our posts increase, but they will only serve to feed our vanity if they do not respond to the marketing objectives we have set for ourselves. If we want brand recognition, it will be very useful for us to observe the number of impressions our posts have, how many ‘likes’ each post has in a period of time, the growth in followers and the reach of the publications. If we have set out to achieve greater engagement, we must assess how many people have liked, shared and mentioned our post on each social network. And if the objective is conversion, we will have to calculate the CTR (number of clicks that a link obtains divided by its number of impressions), as well as the number of followers and leads generated from a particular marketing campaign. There are expensive analytical tools on the market, but using each social network’s own tools is enough.
  • How to create an effective social media marketing strategy: a practical guide for companies

    Infographic: Joséphine Anselin

    • Manage, test and adjust our social networks according to the guidelines mentioned. It is time to create a monthly calendar based on the posting schedule that we have planned for each week, with the type of content and the platform on which we are going to post. This planning will help us to coordinate all actions and carry them out accordingly.

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