By Jessica Wong, Contributor to Entrepreneur
In the current challenging economic climate, it is more important than ever to devise effective marketing strategies. Taking a strategic approach to social media marketing will be effective and deliver unparalleled results.
Social media marketing has become a must-do for companies throughout the world. More than nine out of ten businesses with more than 100 employees in the United States currently use social media platforms to connect to prospective customers. But is your brand maximizing the impact your social media marketing could have? Perhaps not. Effective social media marketing requires more than regular posts.
The rise of social media
When social media first entered the scene in the early 2000s, it may have been easy to dismiss the likes of Facebook as a fad or a passing phase. However, as Facebook transformed from an idea conceived in a university dorm into the multi-billion-dollar company Meta, social media networks gathered billions of users.
More than 4 billion people are using social media networks worldwide, which is set to grow to nearly six billion users by 2027. Businesses have long since discovered the power of social media platforms as channels to reach and connect with customers. Various surveys conducted among B2B and B2C companies confirm the importance of these channels, with nearly two-thirds of respondents referring to social media as “very important.”
A 2021 survey among global marketers revealed that social media channels are now considered the second most important marketing channel. Spending on social media marketing has grown to reflect the importance of these channels. Experts predict that social media advertising spending will reach more than $80 billion by the end of 2022, with projections reaching $130 billion in 2027.
At the same time, challenges remain for marketers. Developing fruitful campaigns and measuring their effectiveness are among the most challenging aspects of social media marketing.
A strategic approach to social media marketing
Successful, effective social media marketing starts with a strategic approach. Conducting social media marketing without a strategy as its foundation would be like driving to an unknown destination without a map — it will not work.
A social media marketing strategy starts by defining measurable goals for your social media marketing. Those goals need to be informed by and aligned with the overall business strategy and your digital marketing strategy. Aligning social media activity with other marketing goals ensures that each tactic reinforces the other, multiplying effectiveness as a result.
Think of your social media strategy as your master plan — or your map toward a clearly defined destination. This strategy outlines chosen social media channels, target audiences, the team’s responsibilities and your marketing budget. Each post needs to tie in with this strategy.
Branding and content strategy are two critical components of an effective social media marketing strategy.
Integrating branding into your social media strategy
Social media channels offer brands excellent opportunities to connect directly to their target audiences and gather direct feedback from and insight into these audiences. Because the brand controls the channels, your brand team retains control over every detail of your message.
Successful social media marketing integrates branding in each post, video or reel. Integrating branding begins with choosing the right social media marketing channel for the audience(s) your brand needs to reach. Not every brand needs to be present on every social media channel. If your brand targets mature adults and seniors, TikTok is unlikely to be effective. Not only would you risk a mismatch of audiences, but chances are that your brand’s voice and positioning are also out of sync with the channel. As a result, your social media marketing becomes ineffective.
Selectiveness can improve both effectiveness of your social media marketing and the integration of branding and social media activity.
Defining your social media marketing content strategy
At the outset of this article, we mentioned that social media marketing consists of more than a series of regular posts on various social media networks. To be clear, consistency is important. However, effective social media marketing content requires more than regular communications. It needs a strategic approach.
Developing social media marketing content strategically means that every post needs to connect to your strategy. The posts your team shares need to reflect agreed brand messages and contribute toward reaching the goals defined in your social media strategy.
If a brand utilizes more than one social media channel, as many brands do, the content shared across channels may be different. Nevertheless, each piece of content needs to be aligned with the others to ensure the brand communicates a consistent message across all channels. Unaligned messages can quickly confuse audiences and damage the brand’s credibility.
Designating a social media marketing budget
High-performing, effective social media marketing strategies must be backed up by appropriate budgets. Developing and implementing an effective social media marketing strategy takes time and expertise. The investment is worthwhile for brands that are serious about their social media marketing simply because a well-developed strategy will deliver on your social media marketing and overall business goals.
Without a designated budget, social media marketing is in danger of becoming an afterthought in favor of other digital marketing activities. Results will reflect that.
Remaining flexible in your approach
Strategic plans are like roadmaps or guidelines but are not rigid or set in stone. To make your social media marketing as effective as possible, it is equally important to remain open-minded and adaptable.
Social media communications are immediate, and the conversation between consumers themselves or consumers and brands can change in an instant. Adopting a flexible approach allows brands to stay relevant in their messaging while being aligned with their brand and business goals.
Devising effective marketing plans has never been more important than in the current challenging economic climate. A solid strategic approach to social media marketing will be practical and deliver unparalleled results for your brand.
Article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.
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