With 4.65 billion social media users glued to their screens every day, and nearly half of global internet users using social media to search for information about brands, it’s clear that social media marketing is an incredible tool for your eCommerce business.
If you’re looking to finetune your marketing strategy and are building a social media presence for your business, you already know that this is the place to start engaging your audience. Knowing that adults are spending more time than ever on social media platforms–95 minutes per day–there’s nowhere better to reach them than the platforms they’re already on.
But with so much cutthroat competition in the world of eCommerce, you need a focused and efficient approach that doesn’t detract from your ability to run your business. You want to go beyond likes and follows, and tap into the power of the social media machine to actually sell– because the numbers in your bottom line are the only ones that really count.
So where do you start?
How a social media strategy can empower your business
Creating a social media strategy entails mapping out your goals, plan of action, and metrics for measuring progress and performance.
With 58.7% of the total global population being social media users, leveraging social media platforms can do wonders for your business. If executed correctly, a social media plan that is aligned with your overall digital marketing strategy will:
- Boost brand awareness
- Help you find the right customers
- Promote products and services to specific audiences
- Create demand and increase sales
- Engage your target audience and build a sense of community around your brand
- Assess brand sentiment
- Build loyalty through social customer service
- Give a big picture view of how you need to modify your marketing strategy
6 steps to create a winning social media strategy
- Define your objectives and set goals
The first step is to map out your goals and figure out how to measure your success in achieving them. Be as specific as possible when writing down your goals, and make sure they’re realistic and attainable within a specific timeframe. Is your goal to:
- Drive traffic to your website?
- Promote your business and generate profit?
- Educate audiences about your company culture?
- Entertain your audience?
Whatever goals you set, ensure that they’re relevant to your overall business objectives; ultimately, each of your social media posts should tie back to and align with your goals as a business owner.
You’ll need to experiment with different approaches and use trial and error to find the best fit for your business. Having decided in the early stages how you’ll measure the success of your social media efforts, you can then use these markers to refine your strategy and stay on track towards achieving real business outcomes.
- Research your target audience
An essential element of creating an effective social media marketing strategy is identifying your target audience and understanding your ideal customer. Who is likely to make a purchase from your store? You need to identify your buyer persona so you can develop a brand voice that resonates with your target audience. How else can you create content that provides lasting value?
Gathering insight on your audience, including where they live, their age, gender, interests, income level, and motivation to buy helps you better understand them, and it’s key to creating a marketing strategy that works. That’s because it allows you to figure out what they want to see on social media and what content they’re likely to find engaging. You can then tailor your social media messages to target the right demographic, such as a particular age group or geographic location, and speak to your chosen audience directly for maximum impact.
Using social data is a huge opportunity for marketers that is often overlooked, but there are tools that can help you better understand your audience and make strategic business decisions, such as Sprout Social's Analytics . Data gathered from such tools can drive proactive decision-making and speed up progress towards your goals.
- Learn everything you can about the competition
Getting to know your competition and taking the time to examine their activity on social media can give you valuable insight into what you should–or should not–be doing. Understanding industry expectations not only allows you to identify opportunities and fill gaps, but also helps you set your own social media targets.
In addition to conducting a competitor analysis, you can harness the power of social listening to monitor what people are saying about other brands across social media channels. It’s an effective way to discover new trends and opportunities while also learning what your potential customers expect from brands similar to yours. Social listening is also a powerful tool for your own brand; keeping on top of your brand mentions lets you engage with users immediately while telling you how they feel about your brand as well.
With a multitude of channels available to build your social media presence, you need to make the right choices while planning your marketing strategy. If you limit yourself to one channel, you limit your reach. But if you branch out too much, you risk biting off more than you can chew.
Remember that each channel you build on will need to be maintained. Equally important is knowing that every social media platform has its own strengths, and you will need to play to each. A uniform approach will not work across all platforms.
Using a social media management tool such as Hootsuite helps you plan social media content, streamline posts, stay on top of trends, and manage your online presence with ease. It simplifies the process so you can engage and interact with audiences, expand your reach, and gain more business.
Do your research and make informed choices to ensure that you establish authentic connections with your audience on each individual channel, creating compelling content and interacting with followers in a meaningful way.
- Interact with your audience
You want to create an active, thriving social media presence–and it starts with being human. You are not a faceless corporation. You are not a robot. Get personal with your followers, engage them with humour, and create a real connection that shows you’re not just there to amass followers; rather, you’re on social media to build relationships.
Here are some tips to keep the conversation going:
- Respond to people when they ask questions
- Make sure you @mention the users you reference in your posts
- Reply when followers @mention you or share your content
- Reply to and comment on other people’s content
- Create engaging content
If you're already using social media, start by evaluating your progress through a social media audit. Identify what works and what doesn’t, and who is conversing and interacting with you. This gives you a sense of what you’re doing right and tells you what areas you need to improve.
It helps to draw inspiration from other businesses you follow on social media. You still need to keep your content unique, but watching what others are doing can spark creativity and inspire you to create compelling content that adds value to your potential and existing customers.
When it comes to deciding what to post, you’ll need to experiment to figure out the right content mix for your brand. Based on your social media audit, you’ll know what types of social media posts your followers find most engaging, whether they’re photo or video posts, text posts, polls, check-ins, live videos, or posts centred on tagging products.
Once you’ve found the right mix, maximize the impact of your content by sharing it at the right time. Creating and maintaining a social media content calendar is as important as the content itself, so make sure you figure out the best time to post and the right posting frequency for each channel.
Keep your finger on the pulse of your social media strategy
If you feel ready for social media dominance, that’s great! Social media and eCommerce are a perfect match. But keep in mind that you’ll need to reevaluate your strategy regularly.
And it’s not just because the social media space changes daily. Realistically, your strategy will depend on a lot of trial and error, so stay flexible and be willing to adjust it when necessary. Depending on your performance, you’ll find that some strategies work better than others, so you might have to refine your approach multiple times before you find the right fit.
Keep track of your performance and don’t expect your strategy to be perfect from the get go–but know that when you eventually get it right, the rewards will be absolutely worth it.