In July 2022, there were 4.70 billion active social media users on the planet – and this number continues to grow with 13.5 new users every second.

With the rising number of users in the world, social media has grown to be one of the most effective marketing strategies for many businesses.

However, the biggest challenge reported by 27% of marketers is creating engaging content that reaches their target audience.

So, what is the key to a successful and effective social media marketing strategy?

What is social media marketing?

According to marketing software company Hubspot, social media marketing is the process of creating content for social media platforms to promote products and/or services, building a community with target audiences and driving traffic to businesses.

A strategy for social media marketing involves publishing engaging content on social media profiles, listening to and engaging with followers, analyzing results and running social media advertisements.

One of the keys to surviving in a competitive market is to be aware of and on top of new trends in the industry, especially in the world of social media marketing where movements can become viral in an instant.

Benefits of a strong social media marketing strategy

Social media marketing has many advantages for businesses.

Successful social media strategies can help build brand awareness and generate conversations around the business, generating more inbound traffic.

As a communication platform, social media allows brands to better connect with their audience through interactions, comments and stories. And every interaction with the audience is a chance to build a stronger relationship and connection with them, leading to superior brand loyalty.

In fact, Millennials, one of the largest generations on social media, report that they are 62% more loyal to brands that directly engage with them on social networks.

How to create an effective social media marketing strategy

A successful social media marketing plan outlines attainable goals, tactics to achieve those goals and metrics to track and measure progress.

1. Set relevant goals

The first step to a successful strategy is to set SMART goals that can quantify your social media marketing plans’ success and return on investment (ROI).

The goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound.

When considering goals, think about targets that can provide real value and results like engagements, click-through rates and conversion rates.

2. Identify your target audience

The next step is to identify your target audience by building a persona, or multiple personas. This should include their age, location, average income, typical job title or industry and interests.

Often, social media analytics platforms and tools can help start your persona research with valuable information on your followers, including who they are, where they live and how they interact with your brand.

3. Research your competitors

Seeing what your competitors are doing well, and not so well, can help you improve your own strategy and plan.

A competitive analysis reveals areas of opportunity, and how your business can stand out among the competition. Insights into your competitor’s products, sales and marketing tactics can help you stay on top of industry trends, develop new products and services, identify gaps in the market and learn how to outperform others.

4. Choose which social media platforms to be on

Not every social media platform is going to work for you. You need to think about and consider which platform your customers are spending the most time on and set your efforts there. This will help make sure your resources and efforts aren’t being spread too thin.

This step in the process is also the time to decide the best strategy for each platform, as each network will need specialized content.

5. Create a content calendar

Once the best strategy for each platform has been decided, it’s time to put the content calendar together.

Creating a social media content calendar will help organize the content for each platform, including when and where it’s being posted, how often it’s being posted as well as the copy and resources for each post.

Social media management platform Hootsuite suggests posting on Instagram three to seven times a week, Facebook one to two times a week, and Twitter and LinkedIn one to five times.

6. Track your performance

The last step is to track the results of your strategy by looking at analytics and performance metrics.

Social media management platforms like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Buffer and CoSchedule often provide reports and metrics to easily see how your strategy is playing out. In addition to analytics, looking at UTM parameters is important as it can track your visitors from social media, helping you see which posts drive the most website traffic.

Online interactive social media marketing course for marketers

University Canada West’s Social Media Marketing micro-credential course is perfect for social media marketers looking to develop their social media skills further and elevate their social media strategies.

Key skills and competencies students in this interactive and self-paced course will learn include social listening, social intelligence, brand storytelling, persona building and content marketing.

University Canada West offers a total of nine micro-credentials, including  Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Certified Digital Marketing Professional, Data and Web Analytics, Blockchain Project Management Certificate Program,  Online E-Commerce, Introduction to Supply Management and Logistics and Introduction to Project Management.

Published October 27, 2022.