Learn how to use data to supercharge your social media marketing strategy for unprecedented success.

Here, you’ll find:

  • What a social media marketing strategy is
  • How it differs from social media management
  • The benefits of using a strategy for social media
  • A quick guide to creating a social media marketing strategy

Are you ready to leverage the power of social media to skyrocket your brand’s visibility, engagement, and conversions?

Then you’re in the right place.

According to Hootsuite’s latest Social Media Report, this digital marketing channel presents a massive revenue opportunity. U.S. social commerce sales are set to grow 34% in 2023 to more than $53 billion. 

When you get your social media marketing strategy right, you can inspire both new and existing customers to spend more with your brand. But you need to keep your focus on delivering results. 

Let’s get started.

What is a social media marketing strategy?

Social media marketing strategies are meticulously crafted blueprints designed to help your brand achieve specific marketing goals through the use of social media platforms. 

It sounds complicated, but it’s simpler than you think. 

Your social media marketing strategy encompasses a range of tasks. This will include everything from content creation and community management to ad campaigns, influencer collaborations, and  reporting and data-driven analysis.

But all the tasks included in your social media marketing strategy must have a purpose. A key aspect of strategy creation is aligning your social media efforts with your overall marketing goals. 

You can then leverage the reach of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, and YouTube (depending on which best suits your needs) to achieve goals like:

  • Building brand awareness
  • Engaging your target audience, drive website traffic
  • Generating leads
  • Boosting sales
friends at a coffee shop talking and looking at an ipad

Leveraging the reach of social media can help you reach virtually any target your marketing team is aiming for. (Image: Unsplash)

What’s the difference between social media marketing and social media management?

Before we jump into how to create a strategy, let’s first clear up an issue that many marketers encounter. What is the difference between social media marketing and social media management?

They sound similar, but they serve two different purposes. 

Social media management primarily focuses on the day-to-day operations of your brand’s social media presence. 

This will typically be tasks such as content scheduling, monitoring comments, and messages, responding to inquiries, and maintaining an active and consistent online presence.

Social media marketing, however, zooms out to show the bigger picture. 

It involves creating and executing a strategy to help your brand achieve specific business goals and optimize efforts to maximize the impact of your brand’s social media presence.

Benefits of social media marketing

When implemented with a results-driven focus, social media marketing strategies can unlock a range of benefits for your brand, such as: 

Brand visibility

Social media allows you to reach a massive audience. Facebook alone has 2.91 billion users, with YouTube having 2.1 billion. That’s a lot of people that you now have the potential to reach.  With engaging content and strategic campaigns, your brand can cut through the noise and reach a huge number of potential customers. 

Customer engagement

Social media platforms offer a direct line of communication with your audience. These platforms are meant to be social and break down the barrier of distance. You can use social media strategy to create meaningful interactions and build relationships with your audience to strengthen customer loyalty.

Increased website traffic and lead generation

Compelling social media content can drive a steady stream of high-quality and engaged traffic to your website, which will increase your conversion rates and sales. You can strategically place links to landing pages, blog posts, and product pages to boost your lead generation further.

Competitive advantage

An aspect of social strategy that’s often skipped over is that it can give you a competitive edge by showcasing your brand’s unique selling proposition, highlighting your expertise, and differentiating you from your competitors. You can use your platforms to broadcast your voice and show what sets you apart.

How to create a social media marketing strategy

We could talk for hours about how to create an effective social media strategy. A lot of moving parts need to work together in tandem for execution, and all of that can get quite complicated – too complicated to go into detail about in this blog. 

But here’s an overview of everything you’ll need to get started creating a social media marketing strategy. 

Set goals

Clearly define your marketing objectives, whether it’s to boost brand awareness, drive traffic, generate leads, or increase conversions. Specific and measurable goals will guide your strategy and allow you to track progress.

Audience profiles (buyer personas)

Understand your target audience inside out. Research their demographics, interests, online behaviors, and pain points. This knowledge will help you tailor your social content to resonate with your audience and create deeper connections.

The right social network

Not all social media platforms are created equally. Select the platforms where your target audience is most active and align with your brand’s objectives. Quality over quantity is key.

Engaging content

Craft compelling, informative, and visually appealing content that aligns with your brand’s voice and resonates with your audience. Incorporate a mix of images, video content, and interactive elements to keep your content engaging, and remember that you don’t need to spend a fortune on production – you can shoot a video on your phone. 

Content types

Choose content types based on what resonates with your audience and what’s appropriate for the platform. Consider not just the medium (video, image, etc.) but also the length. For example, mixing long-form and short-form content on Youtube will increase your reach and engagement. Youtube Shorts will catch a user’s attention, but having a variety of content on your channel will get them to stick around!

Social media calendar

 Plan your content in advance to ensure consistency and avoid last-minute scrambles. A content calendar will help you maintain a consistent posting schedule and allow for strategic content curation.

Community engagement

Actively engage with your audience by responding to comments, messages, and mentions. Encourage conversations, take polls, ask questions, and do live content and segments such as AMA (ask me anything). This two-way communication builds trust and loyalty.

Social media advertising

Amplify your reach with social media advertising. Experiment with different ad formats, targeting options, and creative approaches to maximize the impact of your campaigns. If you’re new to social media, advertising can be a great way to boost your profiles while you wait for your organic reach to grow.  

Auditing and reporting

Drive results by conducting regular social media audits and consistent reports. Leverage the immense amount of data that social media networks collect to influence and optimize your strategy.

Social media strategy advice from the experts

Our lead strategist, Magnolia Deuell, put together this list of do’s and don’ts from her years of social media experience:

  1. Do set different goals for each channel. If you generally see higher engagement on Instagram, continue creating content that is improving your engagement rates, MoM.
  2. Don’t expect every channel to meet every single goal you have.
  3. Do understand that you are talking to a human, not only a potential customer.
  4. Don’t use the same content strategy across all of your platforms. Understand which part of your target audience is most active across each platform.

Internal team tips for creating an effective social media strategy

Often the social media strategy you create will have a lot of moving parts and involve multiple team members. You need your team to run like a well-oiled machine for that to work. 

Here are some tactics you can implement to help:

Foster cross-functional collaboration

Break down silos and encourage collaboration among team members from different departments, such as marketing, design, and customer service. 

Each team brings unique expertise and insights that can contribute to a well-rounded social media strategy. Regularly communicate and share ideas to leverage your organization’s collective knowledge and skills.

Define roles and responsibilities

Accountability is key to success. Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of each team member and assign specific tasks such as content creation, community management, analytics tracking, and campaign implementation.

This clarity ensures everyone understands their responsibilities, avoids duplication of efforts, and maintains a consistent approach.

Develop a content creation process

Processes that are followed make for smooth content creation. When everyone is on the same page about how things are done, they can concentrate on their own tasks and not have to wait for others to complete theirs for content to move along.

From ideation to approval and scheduling, define the workflow, assign roles, and set deadlines. 

3 women working on laptops at a table

Don’t expect every social media channel to meet every single goal you have. (Image: Unsplash)

How do you engage your customers in social media marketing?

Posts on social media end up in the content landfill if you upload them and then do nothing. Social media is a two-way conversation; you need to use your content to engage with your audience.

To engage your audience on social media, follow these best practices:

Be responsive

Promptly respond to comments, messages, and tags. Show your audience that you value their input and are committed to providing excellent customer service.

Encourage user-generated content (UGC)

Encourage your audience to create and share content related to your brand. This boosts engagement and creates a sense of community and brand advocacy.

Run contests and giveaways

Create excitement and incentivize engagement by organizing contests, giveaways, or user-generated content competitions. These initiatives can generate a flurry of activity and encourage your audience to share your brand with their networks.

Tell compelling stories

Use storytelling techniques to captivate your audience. Share behind-the-scenes videos, success stories, and customer testimonials that resonate emotionally with your audience.

“Social media gives brands the space to connect with individuals authentically, unlike other ad spaces — use it wisely,” says Deuell. “Include human interest stories with emotional appeal in your content strategy. 

Collaborate with influencers

Influencer marketing is a powerful way to connect your brand to engaged social media followers in your industry.

Select influencers whose values align with your brand and whose audience matches your target market. As seen with Budweiser, these partnerships can trigger powerful reactions both negative and positive.

Choose the right content types

Not only are your potential new customers looking for quality content that is informative and useful, they are also looking for content that speaks to them. Choose Instagram Stories or Reels to tell a story or share UGC.

Tweet quick updates when you’re planning an event. And maybe most powerful of all, use live videos to allow your customers to fully engage with you as a brand.

While these are key strategies to adopt for social media success, it’s equally important to be mindful of potential pitfalls that can ruin your marketing efforts. Here are some things to avoid when trying to engage your customers: 

Avoid jumping on every trend

It can be tempting to jump on every social media trend or viral sensation in an attempt to stay relevant and engage with your audience.

However, exercising caution and evaluating if a trend aligns with your brand identity, values, and overall marketing objectives is important. Blindly participating in every trend can dilute your brand’s messaging and confuse your audience. 

Don’t imitate another brand’s voice

It’s essential to cultivate a unique and distinctive brand voice on social media. While finding inspiration in successful brands and their social media strategies is natural, outright imitation can do more harm than good.

Your brand’s voice should reflect its personality, values, and the needs of your target audience.

Measure the ROI of your social media

To ensure that your social media strategy is delivering the results you are aiming for, you need to be able to analyze your data and use it to calculate your return on investment (ROI).

Figure out your KPIs

Before you begin your social media data tracking and ROI analysis,  you’ll need to establish your social media key performance indicators (KPIs).

Ideally, these KPIs should be in line with your overall business strategy. Once you’ve decided on your KPIs, choose the right social media management tool to help you to collect and analyze data.

Beyond social media analytics, many tools also help you publish social media posts, search for hashtags, repost content from other social media accounts, and help complete other social media-related tasks more efficiently.

At HawkSEM, we use ConversionIQ. This proprietary marketing technology drives actionable insights, full-funnel attribution, and high-quality conversions that continuously improve your bottom line. Having a tool that collects all your data in one place can be invaluable in establishing value for your campaigns, especially when they are run over multiple platforms. 

Here are some examples of metrics you should keep track of to help you measure your social media marketing ROI:

Reach and impressions

Monitor the number of people who see your posts and the overall impressions generated. These metrics will help you gauge the visibility and exposure your brand is receiving.

Engagement metrics

Analyze social media metrics such as likes, comments, shares, and clicks to assess the level of audience engagement you are generating. Higher engagement rates indicate that your content is resonating with your audience. If your reach is high but engagement is low, this is a sign you need to reassess your strategy.

Conversion tracking

Use tracking tools and analytics platforms to measure the conversions of your social media campaigns. Set up conversion goals on platforms such as Google Analytics to monitor click-through rates and attribute conversions to specific social media channels. Both ecommerce and lead generation business models benefit from understanding the customer journey and the role each channel plays in conversions.

Referral traffic

Use Google Analytics to track the amount of traffic your website receives from social media platforms. This helps gauge the effectiveness of your social media efforts in driving website visits. Plus, it can help you understand when a platform is worth your marketing team’s time and when it is not. 

Customer feedback and sentiment analysis

Monitor social media conversations to gain insights into customer sentiment and feedback regarding your brand. Analyze sentiment trends to identify areas for improvement and capitalize on positive feedback.

Pro tip: “Use social listening tools to understand, by channel, what your audience is engaging with and talking about,” Deuell says. “This will help guide your content strategy to address your audience’s needs proactively.”

The takeaway

An effective social media marketing plan is a powerful way to elevate your brand’s online presence, engage your audience, improve your SEO (search engine optimization) and drive tangible business results. Focus on your social media data to drive your strategy and ensure that you have the right marketing tools to help you monitor your campaigns. 

Need help getting started? That’s where we come in. Get in touch today to take your social media marketing strategy to the next level.

Contact HawkSEM for Free Consultation