Social media has evolved in leaps and bounds over the last decade. It has become a powerful marketing tool that organizations of all kinds must now leverage to find success. In fact, social media marketing has turned into its own job profile, with brand marketing and increasing awareness as its two primary goals.
However, many brands still underestimate the value of these platforms. Social media marketing is so much more than simply making posts and publishing them. It involves several planning and follow-up processes to maximize its potential.
Developing a social media campaign involves following a five-step process, each part of which is as important as the next:
The first step of an effective social media marketing strategy is understanding your customer needs. When planning a marketing campaign, it’s absolutely essential to strategize posts that specifically target your audience. There’s no point in your endeavor if it doesn’t increase brand engagement, after all.
This process involves a fair bit of research. What are the current trends in your niche? What is your audience talking about or looking for? What talking points have become tired or irrelevant to your customers? Answer these questions before crafting a social media marketing campaign.
You must also closely consider your choice of social media platform. You don’t need to craft the perfect LinkedIn marketing strategies if most of your customers spend time on Instagram.
After exploring options, you may find that certain social media channels suit your brand best or that you will benefit from maintaining a presence on three or more platforms. If the latter is the case, look into the intricacies of each platform and tailor your content to engage your followers there.
At the end of the day, research is key. The more you know about your target audience, the easier it will be to meet their needs and preferences, and you can move on to step two:
The real work begins. Now that you’ve put effort into understanding target audiences, it’s time to craft actual content to post.
These days, you can’t just make a haphazard graphic on Canva and upload it. Content creation to build a social media campaign is a painstaking process that involves curating different types of posts for different profiles and scenarios.
An obvious example of creating the wrong content is posting about beach tans and summer wear around Christmas. Apart from seasonality, you must understand what your users want and are interested in. If you’re targeting women over 60, there’s little point in making references to dating apps or outfits for school.
Of course, this is simply marketing 101. What most teams tend to ignore is the importance of planning and scheduling content. To drive social media engagement, your posts must be timed to perfection, and each one must provide value to your followers. This is not something your team can just make up on the fly.
Scheduling content on social media at this nascent stage saves a lot of time and effort in the long run.
Now that you’ve created and planned a social media calendar, it’s time to think about publishing.
Don’t simply just hit post and move on. Once your social media content is posted, engage with your followers. This could come in the form of responding to comments, answering questions, and accepting feedback.
To increase user engagement, don’t ignore reactions to your campaign; instead, command more attention to your posts by actively engaging.
Always respond to the customer so you can understand the elements of an engaging post and how you can improve moving forward. This brings us to the next step:
Once your posts have been published, it’s time to take a step back and begin monitoring your metrics. Did your campaign succeed in understanding the target audience? Did it assist you in gaining followers? Did it help increase sales? And, at the end of the day, was it worth the effort?
The answers to these questions will help you understand if your social media content plan paid dividends. Furthermore, you can use it for future content development, as it gives you a concrete idea of what works and what doesn’t.
If you aren’t evaluating campaign metrics, how will you know how to improve your social media content plan for next week, next month, or next year?
Evaluation is a crucial part of any successful marketing strategy but is a step that tends to be overlooked.
5. Check Back
Some social media strategies might not work off the bat but require some time to settle in. The internet is a 24/7 platform, and the content posted is timeless. This is why it’s crucial to continue to track performance long after your posts have been published.
It’s not uncommon for content to receive a lot of attention weeks or even months later. There’s no deadline for virality, after all.
You should also follow up with users who have engaged with your content in the first place. Did this engagement lead to a sale, newsletter signup, or any other positive action? Checking back on previous posts can help you with engaging more followers and increase sales.
When analyzing your social media content goals, closely consider if the content you’re posting is achieving what it was designed to do. Have you succeeded in gaining followers? Have you increased traffic and sales through social media? Or do you need to make changes to your social media content plan to improve your performance metrics?
Creating and publishing posts is just the beginning of an extended process; the real work lies in many other details. We understand this can be overwhelming, with so many elements to juggle.
At Ayokay, we have a team of digital marketing specialists who can help you with every step of your social media journey. Our team will take care of the content and planning for you, so all you have to worry about is evaluating performance metrics and making sure your goals are being met.
Contact us today to learn more!
Jack Shepler is a Marketing and Search Engine Optimization expert. He founded Ayokay, award-winning marketing, and web design firm in Indianapolis, Indiana that has built brands, increased sales for businesses, and helped nonprofit organizations fulfill their missions since 2011. He uses his decades of experience to educate through the Ayokay blog and through public speaking. You can follow him on LinkedIn.