Social Media Marketing Strategy: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting a Social Strategy for Your Brand or Business

Updated July 8th, 2021

In this post you will learn everything you need to know to craft a social media marketing strategy and run a killer campaign that will help your business grow organically.

The right social media marketing strategy can net your business MAJOR wins. Whether those wins are sales, sign-ups, leads, whatever. Social can do it for you. Just like it did for Fashion Nova — a 600% increase in sales thanks to an effective Instagram influencer strategy.

Well, what are we waiting for, let’s get into it!

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is basically using the organic outreach and power of social media platforms to market your business. It really is that simple – it’s the modern, social media equivalent of TV ads, or direct mail.

The 8 main social media platforms to market on are:

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Snapchat
  • TikTok

Instagram

Instagram is one of the best social media platforms to market on. The platform user base ticked over 1 billion in 2020, consisting mostly of millennials (24-39).

As a platform, it’s most ideal for Business-to-Consumer (B2C) businesses looking to advertise products and services. It’s also used to promote community user-generated content, behind-the-scenes content and media-based content.

Instagram Features

Photos: Take a photo, edit and add a filter all in the app, or upload a photo that’s already saved on your phone. You can post one standalone image or a carousel of up to 10 images in one post. Tip: If there are multiple people managing your account, you can be consistent with your colour tone by choosing the gear icon at the end of the filter options and using your customised settings.

Videos: You can post a GIF or video that’s up to 60 seconds long on your Feed. If you’re looking to post something longer, share it via IGTV. Videos can also be included with a mix of photos in a carousel post of up to 10 content pieces.

IGTV: Instagram TV, or IGTV, is an app that can be used alone or alongside Instagram. It’s designed for mobile-optimised long form videos and any user can set up their own channel and share video content that’s up to 60 minutes in length. If you save your live video shared through Stories, it’ll appear as an IGTV video on your Feed. IGTV is great for going in depth with tutorials, AMAs (ask me anything), interviews and behind the scenes content.

Stories: Similar to Snapchat, Instagram allows you to record or upload images and videos up to 15 seconds in length that disappear after 24 hours. You can cross promote posts from your Feed by sharing them in Stories, add shoppable tags to products, or link to articles outside of Instagram with a swipe up motion. Save Stories and organise them into relevant groupings so your followers can re-watch them later, or new followers can find them just under your bio when they come across your profile.

Stickers: There are all sorts of features within the Stories app you can discover and experiment with, but a super popular one is Stickers. Brands and influencers often use the poll or ask a question feature to engage with their followers and be guided by what’s interesting to their community.

Live Video: Go live with your followers with an interview, AMA or live shopping event! Your followers will get a notification when you’re going live and your profile image will blink at the top of their screen where Stories sit. They can tune in and comment live, or watch the whole video after if you save it as an IGTV video – this sits in your Feed like the rest of your posts.

Direct Messaging: Like Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct Messaging allows your followers to connect with you. This is also where you’ll find any reactions or replies to your Stories. You can set up automated responses for faster, simpler customer experiences on Instagram by heading to Settings > Business > Saved Replies so that your followers can get quick replies to common questions.

Reels: Reels is a short form video format that is Instagram’s answer to TikTok. Get creative with music, filters and effects and post fun videos that are between 15 and 30 seconds long. Reels are also a great way for brands and businesses to connect with customers in a fun, authentic and engaging way. And as of 2021, Reels can be used as a Facebook ads.

Hashtags/tagging: You can use hashtags in your captions on Instagram like Twitter, and tag people or brands in images, captions or comments. Don’t always go for the hashtag with the most usage – niche hashtags with smaller usage can often get more engagement. Instagram has now added a keyword search feature to the app so that users can search for topics without hashtags, so make sure you’re using relevant keywords in your captions as well as hashtags.

Collections: Followers can save their favourite posts and come back to them later through the bookmark icon found on the bottom right of every image. Your aim with every post should be to post content that gets the most saves rather than the most likes because the algorithm favours posts that have been saved and you’ll appear at the top of that follower’s feed. As a brand, you can use the bookmark feature to curate inspirational posts of aesthetics you’d like to emulate or topics you’d like to cover yourself by grouping your saved posts into relevant themes and creating Collections.

Explore: A personalised feed of photos and videos (including Reels and IGTV) suggested by Instagram based on who you’re following and the recent content you’ve liked. Getting on this feed is gold for a brand, but it’ll depend on how many and how fast people are engaging with your content.

Instagram Shopping: You can set up shoppable posts through Instagram Shopping so that customers don’t need to leave the app to purchase. This also allows customers to easily see the name of the product they love if they prefer to browse on your website later. Shoppable posts include tagged images on your Feed, Stories and Live videos.

Facebook

With over 2.85 billion monthly active users on Facebook (as of 2021) with 1.88 billion daily, it is still a formidable social media marketing platform. Most of Facebook’s massive audience comprises Gen X (40-55) and Millennials (24-39).

Organic reach on Facebook is increasingly difficult to attain – near impossible, according to many marketers – so Facebook Ads provide the only real viable opportunity for B2C and B2B businesses to stand out on the platform.

Facebook Features

Photos: Upload an image or take a photo within the app. You can even create a collage of multiple images with the Layout feature – just head to Photo/Video in the Status Update box, tap on the camera icon and scroll across to see the different features available in camera mode.

Status Updates: On your home screen, you’ll find a box that asks, ‘What’s on your mind?’. This is the Status Update feature where you can post a text-based update with emojis and geolocation data, or use it as a base to upload an image or go live.

Videos: Videos can be uploaded onto Facebook in the same way as photos. Most people use Facebook through their smartphones, so upload videos that are vertical or square rather than landscape so that it covers more of the screen and captures attention.

Stories: Similar to Instagram Stories, Facebook allows users to post Stories that appear across the top of the newsfeed of your friends or followers. Stories aren’t quite as popular on Facebook as on Instagram, but if you’ve got the content already up on your Instagram Stories, you may as well share it across and get more reach as more people use this feature.

Live Video: Go Live on Facebook by hitting the button Live on the Status Update box on Facebook. You can interact with followers live as they leave comments, as well as engage your followers in the comments after the video. The live video will stay on your page after the broadcast and will appear in your friends’ and followers’ feeds just like a usual post. There’s a handy rehearsal feature called Test Broadcast that allows you to broadcast live to admins and moderators of the page to test the audio quality and lighting before you go live to everyone else. To try this, go about setting up your live video but instead of selecting Go Live, check Publish as a test broadcast in the bottom of the left-side scroll bar. Then, click Start Test and start your rehearsal.

Events: Host a virtual event, organise an in-person meet up or remind yourself that you want to attend a future event through Facebook Events. 

Call to action buttons: Make it easy for people to take the next step in engaging with your brand or business through a call to action button on your page. You’ll find this just below your cover image. You have the option to choose from different options such as booking appointments, making a reservation, contacting via phone, email or chat, making a purchase and downloading an app.

Facebook Messenger: Connect directly with followers and customers through Facebook Messenger. You can even set up automation to make it easier for potential customers to get a quick response about common questions, or be notified when an item is back in stock. This is a great tool to continue engaging with customers and make sure you’re staying on their radar.

Facebook Shop: A mini online store where you can list multiple products with photos, prices and descriptions. It’s free to set up and you can customise your store so that the button colours and text fit with your brand’s style guide. If you create a Facebook Shop and link to it from your Instagram bio, it’ll appear as View Shop just under your bio link.

Marketplace: Think Gumtree but on Facebook. Facebook Marketplace has taken off in recent years with people selling household items, plants, DIY crafts and even new items. Brands and businesses can post items and list as ‘New’ to spread the word about their products, or officially advertise on the platform through Facebook ads, which blends into the Feed as people scroll through.

Creator Studio: This is where you can schedule posts, manage your inbox and see insights about your posts on both Facebook and Instagram. Discover thousands of royalty-free music options that you can use in your videos in the Creator Studio, which saves time having to find music on your own or risking Facebook banning the video because of copyright infringement.

Groups: Interests-driven communities are a big hit and Facebook has added a specific Groups tab on the homepage to drive even more users to this feature. It’s also easier now to share Newsfeed posts with public and private groups and discover new groups you may want to be part of. You can read more about some best practice tips for using Groups as a business in point two in our blog ‘21 Trends to Guide your Social Media Marketing Strategy in 2021’.

YouTube

At just over 2 billion users, YouTube is the premier video-sharing social media platform. Its massive community comprises mostly millennials (24-39) and Gen Z (0-23).

YouTube is more suited to Business-to-Consumer (B2C) than Business-to-Business (B2B), and is great for brand awareness, entertainment and how-to videos.

YouTube Features

Videos: YouTube’s main focus is allowing users to post video content. Optimise each video by creating a compelling description for your video with keywords, and upload your own thumbnail image for each video that will make people want to click. YouTube is another opportunity for you to not only create content, but establish your brand. Create a channel trailer to show your followers what kind of videos they can expect from you and upload channel art through your cover photo that emphasises your niche.

Captions: YouTube allows you to crowdsource translated captions from your fans for free. Go to the Creator Studio and turn on community contributions under Subtitles. Offering closed captions and subtitles in multiple languages in your videos is another way of optimising your video because it makes your content accessible to people with a hearing impairment, people who speak different languages around the world, or people who are watching videos with the sound off (which you’ll find is actually a lot of people!).

Playlists: Organise your videos into groups with relevant themes so that if someone stumbles on your YouTube channel, you have set up exactly which videos you want them to watch first – your best and most popular, and your channel trailer.

End screen recommendations: End screen recommendations keep viewers watching your content. It’s a great way to cross promote other videos, because if you don’t set up which videos you’d like viewers to see next then YouTube will. In Creator Studio, click Video Manager and then Videos. Choose the video you want to appear at the end of a video, click Edit and then End Screen.

Audio Library: Like Facebook, YouTube has curated a host of royalty-free songs and sounds you can utilise for your videos.

Monetisation: When people talk about monetising videos on YouTube, it just means that the creator has allowed ads to appear before or during the video and gets paid through this feature.

Live Video: Like Instagram and Facebook, you can host or watch livestreams on YouTube, such as live gaming, music, sports and news. There’s also a live chat feature to complement the stream and it gives another opportunity to engage with fans.

Twitter

With a massive 330 million, predominantly Millennial (24-39) user base, Twitter is a powerful social media marketing platform. Twitter is used by both B2B and B2C businesses and is ideal for public relations and customer service.

The platform also pioneered the hashtag social system, which has evolved into an online standard discovery and trendsetting feature.

Twitter Features

Tweets: Twitter allows you to post Tweets, which are live text-based updates. Pin an interesting or popular Tweet that you want potential or new followers to see first when they discover your Twitter page.

Hashtags: Twitter created the hashtag system, which is a way of categorising and discovering popular topics. You can check what’s trending by seeing the most popular hashtags of the day or week on Twitter.

Images: Just like Facebook and Instagram, you can post images on Twitter. You’ll often see text-based updates on Twitter or posts with just one image, but you can upload up to four images within the same post.

Videos: You can also upload GIFs or videos. Tap the camera icon to add a photo, GIF or video to your tweet.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the professional social platform of choice, with a generationally-diverse user base of over 756 million as of 2021. You are as likely to find Baby Boomers (56-74) here, as you are Gen X (40-55) and Millennials (24-39).

It’s the most B2B social platform, making it great for business development and relationships, as well as employment marketing. 

LinkedIn Features

Connections: LinkedIn allows users to make connections with others, which is just like sending a friend request on Facebook except that it’s more appropriate on LinkedIn to send this invite to people you’ve never met. If you haven’t connected yet in person, it’s a good idea to send a message with your request to give them an idea of what you’d like to connect about.

Message Ads: Similar to Facebook Messenger, but more on the professional side. Message Ads allows you to connect with potential employers, employees or business partners. If you’re looking to network and connect with a LinkedIn user around an offer for their business, then this is a great place to start. If you add a connection on LinkedIn and send a message along with your request, Message Ads is where your message will appear.

Videos: Like other social media platforms, LinkedIn allows users to share videos with their audience.

Posts: Many users write posts or even extensive articles on LinkedIn with or without an accompanying image or video. Depending on your settings, your post could be seen by just your immediate connections or anyone in your wider network, meaning that if one of your connections likes or comments on your post, then it could appear in the newsfeed of people in their network too. LinkedIn posts still have a lot of virality and organic reach through this.

Articles: You can include a link to an external blog in your LinkedIn post, but what’s better is writing an article on the platform itself. Like Facebook favouring videos posted directly to the platform rather than linking out to its competitor YouTube, LinkedIn favours articles posted directly to connections through this feature. You can adjust your settings so that posts shared to Public can be viewed by anyone, even if they’re not signed in to LinkedIn. Another great tool for optimising your brand or business and appearing higher on Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

Jobs: LinkedIn has a jobs portal where businesses can post open roles and allow potential employees to apply through a link on the platform.

Events: Virtual meetups, webinars, livestreams and in-person events can all be organised and hosted through LinkedIn.

Pinterest

Pinterest is an image-based social media platform with over 478 million people using it. Its audience consists primarily of young Baby Boomers and older Millennials.

It’s best used for marketing by B2C industry-based companies and is specifically good for visual advertising where your product is vibrant and engaging. While on other platforms, users may be looking to connect with friends or engage in new ideas, Pinterest is where people go for inspiration for their wedding, holiday or dinner party – so they’re usually more receptive to branded content. Compared to all other social platforms, it’s most similar to Instagram.

Pinterest Features

Pin: A pin is simply an image that has been linked from a website or page. Create a Pin by linking it from an image on the web or uploading an image from your computer. Focus on high quality images your followers or people who discover your Pins will want to save and share themselves, and go for portrait images for mobile viewing.

Re-pin: To Re-pin is to save a Pin that you’ve found on Pinterest. When you first open Pinterest, you’ll find a feed of Pins that people can save to their Board and re-share with their followers.

Shop the look pins: With Shop the Look pins, businesses can add product tags to their Pins, which is similar to shoppable posts on Instagram. Pinners can shop by tapping on the pin’s white dots.

Rich Pins: Rich Pins have a little more content attached rather than just an image. This is ideal for a product, article, app or recipe and the feature is free to use. The Pin automatically syncs information from your website, so if something there changes, the pin will quickly reflect this change.

Promoted Pins: Promoted Pins are Pins that companies have paid to promote and appear in the home feed and search results. You’ll be able to see the difference because these pins have a Promoted label.

Boards: A board is a collection of Pins grouped under themes by the creator of the board, which could be any Pinterest user. Pinners can follow people on Pinterest and see the content they add to their boards, unless the creator has made it a secret board.

Pinterest Search: Pinners use keywords to search for images they’d like to browse, so it’s important to use keywords in your descriptions for each image you upload or re-pin if you want to get discovered. 

Pinterest Lens: A camera tool that allows Pinners to take a picture and find related content on Pinterest. Think Shazam, but for images!

Pincodes: Pincodes as essentially QR codes that can be scanned digitally from packages and displays and link back to your board or profile.

Pinterest Tag: If you plan to advertise on Pinterest, you’ll want to add the Pinterest Tag to your website so that you can track conversions and understand what people do on your website after seeing your pins. If you have a beautiful collection of clothes or homewares, it’s a great idea to add a Pin button to your website so that people can easily pin your images. Free advertising!

Snapchat

Snapchat (along with TikTok) is the social platform of choice for Generation Z. With over 280 million people using the app daily, it’s one of the most popular social media platforms.

Snapchat is a video-based social platform, best suited for businesses in the B2C sector. Although it has limitations compared to other platforms, it is great for brand awareness and advertising.

Snapchat Features

Photos: You can send photos to other Snapchat users with small captions, image edits and interactive filters.

Videos: Snapchat allows you to send short videos, an innovation that you’ll now find across the most popular social media platforms.

Stories: Snapchat created Stories, which is a group of images and/or videos in chronological order, grouped together semantically. This is the OG Instagram Stories!

TikTok

TikTok is another video-based social platform similar to Snapchat. Initially a playground for Generation Z, TikTok has become a hugely popular platform across various demographics. Many celebrities, influencers and brands are using it too including HiSmile Teeth and ABC Australia.

The platform has around 680 million active users and, like Snapchat, is best used for B2C businesses. It is specifically good for brand awareness and advertising, particularly when incorporating TikTok trends into videos to drive engagement and shareability.

TikTok Features

Videos: TikTok’s primary feature is the ability to make short videos, with editing tools, interactive filters and music all within the app. You’ll find a huge trend culture on the app with people recording duets and reaction videos in response to other videos on the platform. Take a look at more TikTok features on our blog ‘3 Ways to Make Your Brand Stand Out on TikTok’.

Songs and Sounds: On other social media platforms you can add songs and sounds to your content, but TikTok takes it a step further. Songs and sounds are another way for you to get discovered just like hashtags. TikTok has a huge library of popular music you can use, or you have the option to use your own original sounds. Find trending sounds on the Discover feed and then get creative with how you use them in your videos.

Hashtag Challenge: Get your followers to create content around a campaign theme with a popular song or original sound and a unifying hashtag and watch your campaign go off! Anyone can put out a challenge on TikTok, but a branded hashtag challenge has its own official landing page on the app. You can promote the challenge further with a banner for 3-6 days at the top of the Discovery page.

Cross platform sharing: You’ll often see TikTok videos shared over to Instagram Reels or Stories, or even in your Facebook feed. Integration for cross-platform sharing is built in, so you can share your TikTok video on Facebook or Instagram as a way of growing your followers on TikTok and seeing more reach on other platforms with the click of a button.

Specific Types of Social Media Marketing

Understanding the avenues of social media marketing you can take is the first major step to crafting a strategy that will work for your brand. 

Here are some popular social media marketing strategies used today:

Instagram Influencers

Paid Ads

Live Videos

Video Content

User-Generated Content

Instagram Influencers

Instagram influencers are basically people with pages that have lots of followers. Influencer marketing works by paying these people to promote your business in a way that feels more natural than an ad. Influencer marketing continues to rise and is still proving to be an extremely effective marketing tool, with Instagram Stories in particular playing a key role in influencer content.

Partnering with influencers isn’t just on Instagram. Influencer marketing is also popular on YouTube and TikTok to build credibility and brand awareness. If you’re looking to partner with influencers, don’t always go for the big shots. Studies show that social media users expect influencers with over 100,000 followers to sell them stuff they may not be into themselves, so going for influencers with less than 50K who fit the interests of your target demographic gets you closer to the right (and hopefully higher converting) audiences. You can read our best practice tips for working with influencers in our blog ‘21 Trends to Guide your Social Media Marketing Strategy in 2021’.

Paid Ads

Paid ads exist on most social media platforms — Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat and TikTok all have them. Instead of paying an influencer, you pay the platform — they advertise you, in prime real estate on the platform. There are so many different types of ads depending on the platform you’re advertising on, including carousel ads and story ads.

Stay ahead of your competition by investing in your paid ads strategy – chat to our team of digital experts!

Live Videos

Most platforms have the ability to stream live videos. Facebook has this feature, as well as Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn. This is a great tool for connecting with your audience, going deeper into a topic with live and immediate interaction, and answering questions.

Host a live shopping event through a livestream on Instagram. Instagram Live Shopping lets brands or Instagram influencers place a call to action such as ‘Add to Bag’ for a product at the bottom of an Instagram Live stream, allowing viewers to immediately head to checkout within the app or save for later and continue watching the stream.

Video Content

A big part of social media content is now video based, whether it’s on YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Short-form videos through Stories, Reels and TikTok are the most popular and can get you a lot of organic reach as Instagram prioritises newer features like Reels on its platform.

There are so many different marketing uses for video content on social media. You can sell, promote, connect or build your brand awareness — the potential is endless.

User-Generated Content

User-generated content is when your brand or business shares content from your users that is related to you. This is often done with hashtags. Reposting your users’ content is a good way to build community engagement and it’s usually the social posts and ads that perform the best because it’s not the kind of content that’s screaming ‘I’m an ad’.

Organise user-generated content through Collections on Instagram and Saved Posts on Facebook so you can come back to the content later and include it in your content schedule.

What Are the Benefits of Social Media Marketing?

  • Reach Potential
  • Economical
  • Brand Awareness
  • Increased Leads & Conversions
  • Stronger Community Engagement
  • Increased Web Traffic

Reach Potential

The most obvious benefit is the reach potential — the ability to reach millions, even billions of people. With so many people on social media, your marketing campaigns can go viral and trend worldwide.

Economical

Compared to old media marketing methods, like television, print or radio, your dollar can go a lot further. Sometimes you can spend next to nothing, and gain critical mass levels of exposure.

NOTE: Not all social media marketing methods are economical — it really depends on the specifics.

If it’s not costing you money, it’s probably taking your time, and time is money.

Brand Awareness

Due to the sheer amount of people using social media, it makes it particularly effective for brand awareness. Brand awareness is basically how well, or how many people know about you or your business.

There are many ways to use social media to build brand awareness. Every social media platform is different — there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy.

Increased Leads and Conversions

Social media is an awesome way to market and sell your products or services. This is not like sending out cold emails — social media is highly targeted. Engagement is going to be high, which means you can get great conversion rates.

Stronger Community Engagement 

Social media is a great way to strengthen the engagement within your community. If you didn’t know, engagement is how active your followers are on social media.

A good example of a way to build community engagement on social media, is by posting user-generated content.

Increased Web Traffic

Social media can also be highly effective at funnelling large amounts of traffic to your website. If you sell products or services on your website, your social channels can help drive more people there. Just make sure that your landing page is worth sending people to, and your check out process is optimised for the user.

Again, driving traffic to an optimised landing page is something that our team can help with. Get in touch!

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy

  • Set Realistic Goals
  • Use a Social Media Management Tool
  • Research Your Audience
  • Research Your Competitors
  • Choose Your Social Media Marketing Platform
  • Create High Quality Content
  • Schedule/Automate Your Content
  • Analyse Your Results
  • Compare Your Results to Your Goals

Set Realistic Goals

Before you do anything, you should start out with a plan. 

The first question you should ask yourself is, ‘What do we want to accomplish with this social media marketing strategy?’

Are you after brand awareness and recognition? Do you want to increase your website traffic? 

Maybe you just want more sales of your new product.

Whatever your goal is, define it. Write it down, somewhere visible.

Use a Social Media Management Tool

This is not mandatory to run a social media campaign, but it is highly recommended. 

A social media management tool is software that allows you to manage your social media marketing efforts. Specifically, it makes creation, automation and analysis much, much easier.

Here are some popular choices:

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is one of the best social management softwares for smaller businesses.

Some of its features include:

  • Free and paid plans
  • One dashboard for all social media platforms
  • Free courses to educate you on social media marketing

Sprout Social

Sprout Social is more suited to larger businesses as the lowest pricing plan is $99 USD per month. It’s used by companies like Titleist and Subaru. 

Some of its features include:

  • 3 different pricing plans
  • Content publishing
  • Cross-network scheduling/automation
  • Campaign analytics

Buffer

Buffer for its price is a good middle ground option. With the $50 USD per month premium plan, you get absolutely everything you need. 

Some of its features include:

  • Compatible for Instagram, Facebook, Shopify and Twitter
  • Publishing, replying, analysing functions
  • Pro ($35/month) and Premium ($50/month) plans

Research Your Audience

One of the most important things you can do to ensure success in marketing is to understand your audience. You do not want to make assumptions about what your audience likes, or thinks.

Find out as many things as you can about your fanbase. Are they mainly men, or women? What is the average age? Where do they live? Urban, or rural? There are so many things you can discover that’ll help your social campaign succeed.

The most important ones are definitely gender, age and location. Those will give you a strong idea of your audience.

There are a few ways we can research our audience — the easiest is to use a social media management tool. Social Sprout, for example, has an audience demographics tool.

This is just one of many reasons why we recommend a social media management tool. It makes running a social campaign so much easier.

But if you don’t have one, that’s okay. Here’s what you can do.

Each social media platform has its own audience insights function.
Facebook has Facebook Audience Insights.

Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) has a similar tool — Instagram Insights.

And not surprisingly, Twitter has one as well.

Pretty much all big social media platforms have built-in audience and analytics tools. So, if you don’t have a third-party social media management tool, just use the tools the platforms offer.

Research Your Competitors

You’ll also want to find out what the competition is up to regarding their social media strategy.

We want to find out 3 things about the competition:

  1. What social media platforms they are on?
  2. What do their profiles look like?
  3. What do their content and ads look like?

Some social media tools can do this for you — Rival IQ, for example, has a competitor analysis function.

But competitor research is something that can be done manually quite easily — here’s how.

1) Type your industry-related keyword into Google and click on a competitor’s result.

2) Look at your competitor’s website and see what social media platforms they use.

3) Research their profiles and look through their posts.

4) Look up what ads your competition is running by searching the Facebook username on Ad Library

5) Turn on Facebook’s Pages to Watch feature to keep track of competitors’ pages and see how your content is measuring up. Click Insights and, at the bottom of the page, add the competitor pages you want to track, and see the analytics side by side with all the brands you’re inspired by. You’ll be able to view their metrics such as page likes, engagement rates and how many times they are posting each week. 

6) Subscribe to their newsletter and look at what content they’re sending through EDM.

7) Browse their website and then take a look at what their retargeting ads are like.

8) While on the website, you could go a step further and add a product to cart and watch out for their abandoned cart email flows in your inbox to see what they’re doing in this area too. Although this isn’t specific to social media, it gives you a good idea of their tone of voice and style that you can emulate in your content.

This should give you a pretty good idea of what your competition is doing, and will help you create high-quality content with your industry-specific audience in mind.

Choose Your Social Media Marketing Platform

Based on your audience and competitor research, you’ll determine the best social media platform to market on.

This doesn’t have to be only one platform. If it’s viable, given your audience and competitor research, go right ahead.

It is, however, important to remember that running a social media campaign costs money. You only have so much of a budget for it, let alone time.

Create High Quality Content

You now know who your audience is, what the competition is doing, and what platforms you’re going to use. 

It’s time to make the content.

We’re not going to be able to tell you what content to make — you’ll already know this based on competitor research.

What we can tell you is the obvious — make your content better than your competition’s. If they have Instagram posts advertising products, then go further and make a video post. Video appears to be the hottest trend across most, if not all, social media platforms.

Don’t forget about live and story content — great ways to boost community engagement.

If you don’t know what to do, then, for now, just take what your competition is doing and put your own spin on it. Take small steps and try ideas out from there. There’s no shame in copying success — all businesses do it. 

Just know that you want to eventually be the one people copy. Only way you can be that business is to take risks, innovate and trailblaze.

Automate Your Content

Now this is really where having a social media management tool starts to come in handy. Automation of your social content is important because putting together posts takes time. Time that you don’t really need to waste.

If you’ve got a management tool you can follow its automation instructions. If you don’t, just get Hootsuite. With its free plan, it allows you to automate up to 30 future posts.

How often should you post?

This is an extremely important question — post too little and you don’t reach enough people. Post too much and you oversaturate your followers’ feeds and run the risk of being muted or unfollowed and completely putting them off your brand or business.

There is a posting frequency and time of day that is just right.

So, what is it?

There’s no universal answer. There have been numerous studies resulting in different answers — there are simply too many variables to account for.

What platform are you posting on? What industry are you in? Where does your audience live?

The only way you’ll truly find out your best time to post is to test for yourself.   

This is what marketing is all about — testing a hypothesis, analysing the data and making the necessary changes. 

Analyse Your Results

You’ve successfully run a social media marketing campaign — congratulations! The job, however, is still not complete. 

Analysing the results of your campaign is crucial — it lets you know what worked, and what didn’t. It gives you a framework for future campaigns, letting you know what changes to make.

Once again, having a social media management tool is going to make this part really easy.

But first, let’s define the metrics that’ll measure our social media campaign success.

Social Metrics

Your social metrics are your statistical measures of performance. These are crucial to determining the success of your campaigns. 

Here is a list of the basic social metrics you need to know:

Followers: How many people have followed or subscribed to your social media account. They have explicitly signed up to view your content. Followers are a feature of almost every social media platform. Here’s an example from Instagram.

After running a social campaign, you should be able to clearly see how many new followers you have made, which is one successful measure of a campaign.

Engagement: How many comments or likes your social content gets. Every platform has its own version of an engagement metric.

Reach: When we talk about reach in social media terms, it means how many people your content has reached. On YouTube, for example, how many views your videos have is a measure of reach.

Shares: Shares are when one of your followers links or shares your content with their audience.

Reposts: A repost is when someone posts your content on their own profile. Certain pieces of content are designed to be reposted. It’s a good way to go viral.

Mentions: How many times people on social media have name-dropped you in posts.

Tags: Similar to mentions, tags are when people attach you to their posts. This is commonly done with hashtags, or @username.

Video Views: This is a metric specific to videos — straightforward really — how many views a video gets.

Profile Views: Social media platforms come with profiles for people, or entities, such as businesses. Profiles are like the information page about you on social media. Some platforms show how many people visit your profile.

Your Analytics Options

To observe and measure the above metrics, you’ll need an analytics platform. 

You have 2 options.

1. If you have a social media management platform, it usually comes with an analytics function.

NOTE: Hootsuite’s free plan does not come with analytics.

2. You can use the analytics functions that the actual social media platforms provide.

For Twitter, you have Twitter Analytics.

Instagram has Instagram Insights.  

Pretty much every social media platform has its own analytics function. With it, you should be able to deduce whether or not your campaigns are working. 

You can find insights for both your Facebook and Instagram posts in the Creator Studio dashboard. When you’re taking a look at your analytics, it’s easy to get distracted by vanity metrics rather than engagement metrics that drive your business forward.

Vanity metrics include recording the number of page views without looking at the high bounce rate, or having a huge number of followers without noticing that only a small percentage of them like, comment or share your content.

Engagement metrics guide your understanding of how much impact your website, digital advertisements and social media presence is having by looking at the link between engagement on these platforms and the ability to attract, retain and convert customers. 

Engagement metrics, such as social shares, ad link clicks and EDM click-through rates are a good indicator of whether your marketing efforts are working or not. You’ll know if it’s an engagement metric, rather than a vanity metric, when you can directly link the metric to sales. With an engagement metric, you should be able to make adjustments, based on the data you find, to improve results and increase revenue.

Just like posting time and frequency on social media, we can’t give you a definite number of a good click through rate or other engagement metrics because it depends on your industry, product, competition and how long you’ve been in the game. Take a look at your current results and start regularly tracking this data and you’ll discover a good engagement metric for your brand or business.

Compare Your Results to Your Goals

Did your campaign succeed? Did you meet your pre-established goals? It’s always important to have this in mind.

If you met, or exceeded, your goals, then pat yourself on the back. Let’s now aim higher. 

If you didn’t meet your goals, then figure out why. Analyse the data, find out what you did wrong. On the next attempt, implement changes. We all make mistakes and fail from time to time. The best we can do is learn from them.

Like Michael Jordan said, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Final Thoughts

In this post we covered everything you need to know to create a killer social media campaign.

Social media is a marketing superpower — not taking advantage of it gives your competitors the upper hand.

What kind of social media marketing strategy will you implement? Got any questions? Leave a comment below! 

Grow your business and reach your goals this year by partnering with our digital marketing experts. Get in touch with us today.