Social media is a great way to connect with your customers and leverage their influence. In addition, it’s a powerful tool that can help you build your brand and make money. But if you’re new to a social media marketing or just looking to improve the quality of your posts, this guide will help you get started on the right track. We’ll cover everything from setting goals (and measuring them) to creating content that resonates with your audience.
1. Start with an audit
Before you embark on your social media journey, you need to take a step back and assess the current state of your social media presence. Here’s what an audit might look like:
Review all of your accounts. Take a thorough look at each one and make sure that everything is in order: from profile information to posts and engagement levels (or lack thereof). If something doesn’t seem right or has changed since you last checked it over, fix it!
Analyze competitors’ content and strategy. Do they do things differently than you? Do they post more frequently? Less often? There are no set rules when it comes to comparing competitors; there are only trends that can help inform how much time should be spent posting content for each platform. Some brands may find success focusing exclusively on one platform while others need to spread their efforts across several different platforms with different types of posts (e.-g., Facebook Live videos vs Snapchat stories).
2. Build your network
It’s important to build your network. If you want to make connections with people who are relevant to your business, find them on social media and connect with them. You can do this by following people on Twitter or Instagram, liking their posts, and commenting when appropriate.
You should also try reaching out directly via e-mail or DM if they have a contact form set up on their website. For example, if someone has written an article about freelancing that mentions the struggles of finding work as an independent contractor, reach out and ask if they’d be interested in talking about these issues for your story (if applicable). This kind of direct connection is excellent for establishing relationships—and it gives you more options than just the following someone online without any real interaction between the two of you!
3. Set goals and KPIs
When setting goals and key performance indicators (KPIs), it’s important to define what success looks like for your brand. When you do this, it will help you determine how much time you should be spending on social media and which metrics matter most for your organization. If a goal is not clearly defined, then there’s no way of knowing whether or not it was met.
In addition to defining goals and KPIs in advance, make sure that they’re achievable! Don’t set out to build a million-dollar business on Instagram by next week if you don’t have any experience or knowledge about the platform. Your first goal should be something small that shows real growth over time
4. Research your competitors
As said before researching your competitors is a great way to get a better understanding of the market and what’s working in that field. By seeing what they are doing well, you can figure out how you could improve their efforts. If they’re not doing anything right, then it’s okay to take advantage of their weaknesses by offering something different or better.
There are several ways to do this research:
Search for mentions of other companies in your niche on Twitter and Facebook; see who talks about them most often and why
Check out Google Alerts for keywords related to your brand (and those of your competitors) so that you can keep up with trends in the industry as well as any news stories about them
5. Find the right social media platforms for your brand
You’ve already figured out your target audience, so now it’s time to decide which platforms are best suited for reaching them. Essentially, you want to choose the social media platforms where your potential customers hang out most often. Of course, it’s not enough to just set up your accounts and hope for the best. You need to use each platform correctly and consistently for your efforts to be effective.
But this is easier said than done—and it largely depends on who you’re selling products or services to. The way we as consumers use social media platforms has changed drastically over the years. For example, one thing that has changed dramatically is the increased prevalence of people using Instagram as an important marketing tool nowadays. This means that if you run a restaurant catering mostly to millennials and have been using Instagram as a marketing tool up until now, then perhaps it’s time for an update! A few years ago when Instagram first came out, almost all people used Facebook; now we’ve moved onto other social platforms like Twitter and TikTok. If you’re not using these platforms to market your company, you’re going to be missing out on big opportunities.
6. Document a strategy and tactics
A social media strategy is much more than just a list of tactics. It’s a document that will help you to define your brand and how it relates to the audience you’re trying to reach. It helps you plan your online presence, document specific actions, measure success, and make decisions on how to proceed with future campaigns.
This strategy must be kept up-to-date. The online and offline worlds are constantly changing and evolving. In order to map out the steps needed to reach your goals, it helps to have a reference of what they are, as well as when they’ll come up in the future. Here are some things we’ve learned about documenting a social media strategy:
A good one should include at least three years worth of goals for each channel (if possible). That way if someone new takes over managing the campaign halfway through its lifespan, they’ll have all the information necessary for making smart decisions moving forward based on what has already been accomplished in previous years’ efforts.
Include prioritization levels so everything doesn’t get done at once; instead, focus on what needs attention most urgently (elevate low-priority items as needed). We recommend using a traffic light system (red = high priority; yellow = medium priority; green = low priority) because it allows people unfamiliar with every aspect of running an online marketing campaign to understand which tasks are more urgent than others.
7. Create a content calendar
Scheduling content is a great way to make sure you’re delivering your audience engaging and relevant content. It gives you the freedom to focus on other parts of your business while still keeping them engaged, and it helps you avoid posting at the wrong time.
If you don’t have time to schedule posts manually, there are plenty of tools available that will do this for you. Buffer is a popular option; it allows you to schedule up to 10 posts in advance with just a few clicks—or even set up automatic posting based on certain times or events (like a new product launch). Many social media management software applications also offer scheduling options, including Hootsuite or Brandwatch to help schedule posts across multiple social channels—this will save so much time!
8. Develop powerful profiles with custom imagery
When you create a profile, you should make sure that it’s consistent across all social media platforms.
Your profile should be professional and branded. Make sure that the imagery included in your profile is consistent with other aspects of your brand identity—for example, if you use an image of a flower on your website’s logo, then it makes sense to use that same image again in your profile photo so that viewers know they’re looking at content related to your company.
You might think this doesn’t matter much since people are only going to see this small square while scrolling through posts on their feeds, but here’s why it matters: when someone sees a username or logo they recognize from another platform (like Instagram), they’ll click through if they’re interested in learning more about that business or product. We call these cross-promotion opportunities “social branding” because there’s a chance for direct engagement between two brands’ audiences on different networks—and this can happen even if both companies aren’t aware of each other yet!
9. Post great content regularly that sparks engagement
Anything you post on social media should be a piece of great content. It should be interesting, and relevant to your audience and industry, and it should spark engagement (comments, likes, shares). As you continue to post more frequently on Facebook and Twitter, the quality of each post will get better over time.
Consider this: if you were going to start a new job tomorrow at a company that manufactures kitchen appliances, what would you think if they only posted about their products once every two weeks? Probably not much good—but when they posted once every other week with several links featuring great information about how to keep your kitchen appliances clean? Now we’re talking!
10. Understand your audience
Listen to what people are saying about you and your niche online. In addition to the tools we’ve mentioned above, you can use social media analytics tools to measure your success. Social media management tools are a great way for businesses and brands to stay on top of their social media accounts. Tools like Sprout Social, Hootsuite, and Buffer allow you to schedule tweets and posts in advance, monitor all your accounts in one place, and track engagement on each post or tweet.
11. Measure and optimize your efforts
Now that you have a strong social media presence, it’s time to measure your efforts.
Analytics is essential for marketers, as they allow you to see how well your content is performing on social media. For example, if someone shares or likes one of your posts, that share might not drive traffic back to your website right away—but eventually, it will! If a post doesn’t get any clicks or shares within the first few hours, then maybe there’s something wrong with that post and you need to rethink its purpose before posting again.
You should also compare the performance of different types of content: which types of visual content perform better than others? What kind of subject matter resonates best with customers? How often should I post on each platform? Which platform generates the most revenue for my business (and which makes me lose money)? These questions can all be answered by using analytics tools like Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics.
The most important thing to remember about social media marketing is that it’s not just about posting pictures, videos, or links. It’s about creating a clear strategy and implementing tactics that align with your goals. Once you have all of this setup, you can start putting together a calendar of posts for each platform and keep track of how much engagement each one gets. Then all you need is some patience (trust us: it takes time!) before seeing results!