You Need a Social Media Marketing Strategy: Here's how to Create One

By now, you probably know all about why social media marketing is so critical. From helping you improve your online reputation to providing a search engine optimization boost for your business, social media marketing serves many purposes.

Unfortunately, many people miss the mark on social media marketing simply because they don’t have a defined social media marketing plan in place, which is a whole lot like setting out on a ship without a map! Read on to learn more about what a social media marketing plan is and how developing a great one can help support your online reputation management goals.

 A Social Media Marketing Strategy: The Foundation for an Effective Online Presence

There’s no doubt about it: social media marketing is critical for successful online reputation management. Right now, 84% of marketers report that organic search channels like blogging and social media are becoming more important. Social media platforms have gained 176 million global users within the last year, and 91% of retailers currently use at least two social media channels for marketing purposes. Despite all of this, however, very few businesses have a documented social media marketing strategy to provide a roadmap for their engagement.

Without a social media strategy, the world of Tweeting, posting, sharing, commenting, and liking can get overwhelming pretty quickly. What’s more, not having a social media marketing strategy makes it nearly impossible to ensure that all of the efforts you’re putting into your social media platforms are going toward improving your online reputation management and search engine optimization. Because of this, it’s critical to develop a social media marketing plan that works for you and your company and supports good online reputation management at every turn.

What is a Social Media Marketing Strategy?

Before we talk about how to develop a marketing plan, it’s time to discuss what a social media marketing strategy is. Put simply, a social media marketing plan is a structural overview of everything you want to gain from social media. For example, the goal of your social media marketing plan may be to build authority, increase exposure, and establish relevance in your community. If this were the case, your social media marketing efforts would likely be aimed at sharing unique content, communicating frequently with your followers, and joining social media groups wherein you could ask and answer questions and engage in discussions to establish your company’s relevance.

While the details of a social media marketing strategy will change from company to company, a general rule is that the more specific you can get, the better. With this in mind, a great social media marketing strategy should focus on a few select goals and lay out solid, actionable ways to achieve them. This keeps your strategy attainable and ensures that you don’t doom your company to failure from the get-go.

5 Tips to Develop a Social Media Marketing Strategy

A social media marketing strategy is always a work in progress, and it’s important to adjust it as your company grows and changes. For now, though, follow these steps to implement your social strategy and become more prominent online:

1. Start and maintain a business blog

If you don’t already have a blog, now is time to build one. In addition to being a fantastic search engine optimization tool that helps your company’s content rank higher in Google’s SERPs, a blog is also a fantastic way to gain more customers. In fact, HubSpot reports that B2B marketers who write blogs earn 67% more leads than those who don’t. What’s more, marketers who make blogging a priority are 13x as likely to reap a positive ROI.

In light of this, it’s clear that starting a business blog is one of the simplest and most important things you can do to boost your online reputation and improve your visibility. For best results, follow business blogging best practices, include social sharing buttons at the bottom of your content, and ensure that you’re posting original blogs on a consistent basis.

While it may not seem like blogging has much to do with your social media strategy, your blog is the foundation of your business. In addition to giving you ample content to share on social media platforms, a blog also provides a place for you to receive social media traffic and direct customers to your website.

2. Automate your social posts

Now that you’ve built a blog, it’s time to share it on social media. To gain the traffic and attention your content deserves, you’re going to have to promote it across all of your social platforms at the right times and in the right ways. Without the help of automation, this can get exhausting in a hurry. Luckily, there are dozens of social media tools, such as HootSuite and Buffer, designed to automate your posts and ensure your content gets the attention it deserves.

3. Share at the right time

If one of your social media strategy goals is to produce traffic or engagement, you’ll need to understand what your optimal social media post times are. Figuring this out may require some trial and error as different platforms have different ideal post times. Google+ posts, for example, tend to be more effective when posted in the morning, while Tweets get more traffic in the afternoon. Regardless of which social platforms you’re using, uncovering the optimal post time will help you produce maximum engagement on a daily basis.

4. Schedule your posts

According to HubSpot, 43% of small businesses spend at least 6 hours each week on social media. To prevent your social media from taking over your life, it’s wise to start scheduling posts in advance. This keeps your social media presence consistent and ensures that you make space for any time-sensitive (read: holiday- or promotion-focused) content you want to post. Include scheduled posts in your marketing calendar and write them ahead of time to ensure they’re polished and ready when the time comes to post them.

5. Brainstorm and collect topics

Idea generation is one of the most difficult aspects of content creation, so it pays to be harvesting ideas all the time. In addition to keeping you from scrambling when it’s time to write a new post, collecting ideas in advance allows you to address reader questions better and keep your content fresh. Collect all of your topic ideas in a single document for easy accessibility down the road.

Social Media Marketing Made Easy

While social media marketing serves many purposes, the most critical is to support good online reputation management and search engine optimization. Without a documented social media marketing plan, however, it’s impossible to reach these goals. Luckily, these five tips make it easy to develop a functional social media marketing plan that works well for your business.

No time to create or manage a social strategy for your business? No problem! Contact Proline Creative today for expert social media help!