In our digital marketing case studies post, we mentioned a 5 phase strategy that we use to build profitable social media campaigns for our clients.
And we said to comment and let us know if you’d like to see a post explaining those 5 phases.
Well, you guys let us know!
So today, we’re breaking down those 5 steps we take as a professional digital marketing agency…
…to create an effective social media marketing strategy for our clients.
Let’s get started!
Step 1: Research of competitors and customers
This is arguably one of the most important steps in creating a social media marketing strategy because it lays the foundation for all the other steps.
If you don’t invest the time to truly understand your audience and your rivals, the rest of the other 4 steps won’t matter.
So let’s start with researching customers.
Most business owners know their audience’s general demographics like, as an example: women, ages 30-55 in the U.S. with an interest in non-toxic living.
But the problem is, a lot of business owners stop there. They leave their customer avatar at that.
You’ve got to go deeper than that if you want to understand what’s going to motivate your audience to make a purchase from you.
Once you understand what makes people not only buy…
…but your specific target market to buy from you, the world of marketing opens up into a money-making machine.
This is something we cover in-depth in our target marketing example post, so we would strongly recommend you to read that next to help you with this step.
Because again, if you’re not thorough here, the rest of your marketing strategy won’t work.
But for this post, we’re going to quickly break down what we look for when researching a target market.
We seek to determine their goals and their pain points, as they relate to the product or service being marketed.
A lot of mistakes business owners make when thinking about this step is they make it about themselves…
…saying things like, “Oh, customers would be motivated to purchase from us because our products are cheaper than our competitors!”
But is budget your audience’s goal or pain point? Maybe in reality they value quality or ethically sourced products over price.
In which case, you, having cheaper products wouldn’t be a selling point.
An example we share in our target marketing example post is a women’s clothing business…
…discovering their target market is not just women, but specifically tall women.
In that example, the customers’ pain points include things like never being able to find:
- jeans that are long enough,
- sweaters with long enough sleeves, or
- cute shoes that have a lower heel height.
In that scenario, your marketing should directly address how your clothing solves these issues.
And not about how you were featured in Vogue or how you’re running a sale this week.
Sales or discounts are a great retargeting strategy to push someone who’s already invested in your brand over the edge to make a purchase.
But for someone who’s 5”10, you’re not going to get their initial attention by marketing your business with discount language.
You’re going to get their attention with tall sizes and long inseams.
So the call-to-action for you with this step is to write down any potential goals or pain points your target market may have that you can think of.
Think about what problem they’re trying to solve or what aspiration they’re trying to achieve that would lead them to want to purchase what you’re selling.
Make a list of any potential answers and let that guide you throughout the remainder of your marketing campaign.
Later down the line, if at any point, you get stuck on what kind of Reel to post on Instagram or what caption should be on a Facebook ad…
…you can just stop and ask yourself how does the caption, video, image, or whatever it is that helps the audience solve their problem.
Or, accomplish their goal from that list you made.
We’re going to move on to the second part of this phase, researching competitors but remember…
…after this post, go back and read that target marketing examples post we mentioned because we’re telling you, it will help with customer research.
For competitors, you want to make a list of the following for your social media marketing strategy:
- direct competitors,
- indirect competitors, and
- related accounts.
Direct competitors are the companies that sell the same product or service you do.
Indirect competitors are companies that may not sell the exact same product or service as you, but they solve the same problem.
So you may still be losing customers to them, like restaurants vs grocery stores, for example.
And related accounts are actually not competitors at all.
But they’re just groups, pages, or Instagram accounts that are topic-centered, and the topic is related to what you sell.
So for instance, if you sell ice skates, a related account would be an Instagram account that teaches ice skaters how to do different jumps.
Once you’ve got your list of competitors, you want to go through their social media accounts and look for these things:
- their follower count,
- what kind of content they post, and
- of that content which topics get the most and least engagement.
Doing this will help show you what kind of content your shared target market is responding to the best on social media.
It will also help you set some goals to achieve if your competitors have a really strong social media presence.
You obviously want to have more followers and better engagement than your direct competitors.
So if they’re doing well, then you have some of your first numeric goals set.
If they’re not doing well, then either:
- you need to find other direct competitors to research, or
- you’ve landed on a gold mine in the sense that your target market is wide open for taking in this space.
Once you’ve got your customer and competitor research completed, it’s time to move on to the next step.
Step 2: Development of content and growth strategy
In this phase, you’ll need to determine which platforms you want to start with, and how you’re going to grow on those channels.
To decide which social media platforms to start with, you’ll want to pick the one that has the most amount of your target demographic.
So you’ll need to do a little research on each platform’s user base to see which platforms have the people you’re looking for.
Or, you can read our social media platforms for business post where you can learn more about it.
Once you’ve chosen the top 1 or 2 platforms you want to start out with, you’ll need to put together a content and growth strategy simultaneously.
That’s because it doesn’t matter how much content you publish if nobody is looking at it.
The research you did in phase 1 will help you determine what kind of content to make both in format and in topic.
And we usually like to summarize this information with a 5-topic topic map.
The growth strategy will look different depending on the platform.
On Facebook, it could be a page like ads, on Instagram, it could be getting insane reach with Reels.
You can explore more of our blog to help you get started with a growth strategy for whichever social platform you choose to start with.
Step 3: Implementation of content and follower strategy
The next step in creating your social media marketing strategy is implementation aka putting all your planning into action.
This is the phase where you start doing everything we’ve talked about so far.
It could be publishing organic posts 5x a week, running Facebook ads, starting a TikTok account, setting up your Instagram shop, etc.
Whatever plan you came up with as a result of phases 1 and 2, now is the time to start doing it.
Now, it’s worth mentioning that there are tools to help you execute just about any social media task you can think of.
And you, as a small business owner, should definitely take advantage of them, especially if you don’t have a marketing team like LYFE doing the work for you.
So here’s our post on digital marketing tools for small business owners if that’s something you want to check out.
Now after you have been executing your social media marketing strategy for about a month or so, it’s time to move on to phases 4 and 5.
But first, before we get into that, be sure to check out our new social media ads training course to help you master social advertising.
Step 4: Measure and reporting
After at least a month of launching your social media marketing strategy, you need to start assessing how everything is going.
How many followers did you gain over the last 30 days? What’s your engagement been like?
What topics seem to have worked well and which haven’t?
What was it about the posts or ads that worked well?
You can start determining these things either by looking at the native analytics available on the social media platform.
Or, by connecting your account to a third-party analytics platform.
Once you’ve jotted down some of these numbers, you can move on to the final step.
Step 5: Optimization
You want to pivot and optimize your existing efforts based on what the data is telling you.
If people seemed to respond more to Instagram Reels than static image feed posts, maybe start posting more Reels in the following month!
If the posts with the highest engagement tend to be focused on a certain pain point…
…maybe explore more topics around that pain point in the next content calendar.
We just have 2 words of caution here.
The first one is that you want to slowly test things in a way that’s measurable and trackable.
The best way to do this is via A/B split testing, something you can learn more about in our Facebook ad testing post, if you’re not already familiar.
And the second one, make sure you’re setting realistic goals. You can’t expect to go from 20 followers to 10,000 in the first month.
And therefore, you don’t want to go changing your entire strategy just because you didn’t hit an unrealistic benchmark.
We have a great post on how to set strategic social media goals, so be sure to read that one next.
But otherwise, that about wraps up our 5 steps in creating a social media marketing strategy!
Also, if you need any help with your social media marketing, don’t hesitate to contact us today!