January 30, 2023

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Social media marketing has become a must-do for businesses around the world. More than nine out of ten companies with more than 100 employees in the United States are currently using social media platforms to connect with potential customers. But is your brand maximizing the impact your social media marketing could have? Maybe not. Effective social media marketing requires more than regular posts.

Related: Why Effective Content Marketing Will Transform Your Social Media

The rise of social media

When social media first hit the market in the early 2000s, it may have been easy to dismiss Facebook as a fad or a passing fad. However, when Facebook transformed from an idea conceived in a college dorm to the billion-dollar company Meta, social media networks accumulated billions of users.

More than 4 billion people worldwide use social media networks, which is expected to grow to nearly six billion users by 2027. Businesses have long recognized the power of social media platforms as channels to reach and engage with customers. Several surveys of B2B and B2C companies confirm the importance of these channels, with nearly two-thirds of respondents citing social media as “very important”.

A 2021 survey of global marketers found 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 ad spend will exceed $80 billion by the end of 2022, with projections of $130 billion by 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.

Related: The business of harnessing the power of social media

A strategic approach to social media marketing

Successful, effective social media marketing starts with a strategic approach. Running social media marketing without a strategy as a foundation would be like driving to an unknown destination without a map – it won’t work.

A social media marketing strategy starts with defining measurable goals for your social media marketing. Those goals should be informed by and aligned with the overall business strategy and your digital marketing strategy. Aligning social media activities with other marketing goals ensures that each tactic reinforces the others, increasing effectiveness.

Think of your social media strategy as your master plan – or your map to a clearly defined destination. This strategy outlines the chosen social media channels, target audiences, the team’s responsibilities and your marketing budget. Each post must align with this strategy.

Branding and content strategy are two critical components of an effective social media marketing strategy.

Related: Why Producing Quality Content Is Important For Your Business

Integration of branding into your social media strategy

Social media channels offer brands excellent opportunities to connect directly with their target groups and to gain direct feedback from and insight into these target groups. Because the brand drives the channels, your brand team maintains control over every detail of your message.

Successful social media marketing integrates branding into every post, video or reel. Integrating branding starts 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 likely to be ineffective. Not only do you risk a mismatch of audiences, but there’s also a good chance that your brand’s voice and positioning will be out of sync with the channel. As a result, your social media marketing becomes ineffective.

Selectivity can improve both the effectiveness of your social media marketing and the integration of branding and social media activity.

Related: Top 5 Not So Obvious Social Media Marketing Mistakes You Should Avoid

Defining your content strategy for social media marketing

At the beginning of this article, we mentioned that social media marketing consists of more than a series of regular posts on different social media networks. To be clear, consistency is important. However, effective social media marketing content requires more than regular communication. It calls for a strategic approach.

Strategically developing marketing content for social media means every post needs to align with your strategy. The posts your team shares should reflect the agreed brand messages and contribute to achieving the goals defined in your social media strategy.

If a brand uses more than one social media channel, as many brands do, the content shared across the different channels may differ. Nevertheless, each piece of content must be aligned to ensure that the brand communicates a consistent message across all channels. Misaligned messages can quickly confuse the public and damage brand credibility.

Designating a social media marketing budget

High-performing, effective social media marketing strategies should be supported by appropriate budgets. Developing and implementing an effective social media marketing strategy takes time and expertise. The investment is worth it for brands that are serious about their social media marketing simply because a well-developed strategy will achieve your social media marketing and overall business goals.

Without a designated budget, social media marketing risks becoming an afterthought in favor of other digital marketing activities. The results will reflect that.

Related: 3 questions to answer before investing more in your marketing budget

Remain 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 flexible.

Social media communication is instant and the conversation between consumers or between consumers and brands can change in an instant. Taking a flexible approach allows brands to stay relevant in their messaging while being aligned with their brand and business objectives.

Coming up with effective marketing plans has never been more important than in today’s challenging economic climate. A solid strategic approach to social media marketing is practical and produces unparalleled results for your brand.

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