As I scroll through my Instagram feed every day (cough, cough. multiple times a day), I consistently notice new posts and stories by The Frye Company. I’ve always been a fan of their boots, clothing, and accessories, but I also love the content they share on their Instagram profile.
Building your social media marketing strategy for 2022
According to the 2021 Sprout Social Index™, the most common goals for social are increasing brand awareness (58%) and increasing community engagement (41%). Whether you want to build a larger following or a more active community, taking the time to define your social goals is the first step to reaching them.
Sample social media goals for 2022 and beyond
Increase brand awareness. This means getting your name out there. To create authentic and lasting brand awareness, avoid solely publishing promotional messages. Instead, focus on content that emphasizes your personality and values first.
Generate leads and sales. Whether online, in-store or directly through your social profiles, followers don’t make purchases by accident. For example, are you about alerting customers about new products and promos? Are you integrating your product catalog into your social profiles? Are you running exclusive deals for followers?
Growing your audience also means discovering conversations around your business and industry that matter the most. Digging through your social channels is nearly impossible without monitoring or listening for specific keywords, phrases or hashtags. Having a pulse on these conversations helps you expand your core audience (and reach adjacent audiences) much faster.
Boost community engagement. Index data shows that 46% of consumers think brands that engage their audience are best in class on social, so it pays to explore new ways to grab the attention of your current followers. This means experimenting with messaging and content. For example, does your brand promote user-generated content and hashtags?
Drive traffic to your site. Simple enough. If you’re laser-focused on generating leads or traffic to your website, social media can make it happen. Whether through promotional posts or social ads, keeping an eye on conversions and URL clicks can help you better determine your ROI from social media.
Any combination of these goals is fair game and can help you better understand which networks to tackle, too. When in doubt, keep your social media marketing strategy simple rather than complicating it with too many objectives that might distract you. Pick one or two and rally your team around them.
2. Take time to research your target audience
Only 55% of marketers use social data to better understand their target audience, making it a huge opportunity for both leaders and practitioners. Much of what you need to know about your audience to influence your social media marketing strategy is already available. You just have to know where to look.
Remember: different platforms attract different audiences
Take today’s social media demographics, for example. These numbers speak directly to which networks your brand should approach and what types of content to publish. Here are some key takeaways for your 2022 social media marketing strategy:
Do your homework on your existing social media audience
Although the demographic data above gives you insight into each channel, what about your own customers? Further analysis needs to be done before you can determine what your real-world social customers actually look like.
There’s plenty of other sources of valuable audience data to supplement your social media insights. This includes your Google and email analytics, your CRM, your customer service platform or even your best-selling products.
The Five Core Pillars of Social Media Marketing
What are your goals? How can social media help you achieve your business goals? Some businesses use social media for increasing their brand awareness, others use it for driving website traffic and sales. Social media can also help you generate engagement around your brand, create a community, and serve as a customer support channel for your customers.
Which social media platforms do you want to focus on? The major social media platforms, mentioned above, are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat. There are also smaller and up-and-coming platforms, such as Tumblr, Tik Tok, and Anchor, and social messaging platforms, such as Messenger, WhatsApp, and WeChat. When starting out, it’s better to pick a few platforms that you think your target audience is on than to be on all platforms.
What type of content do you want to share? What type of content will attract your target audience best? Is it images, videos, or links? Is it educational or entertaining content? A good place to start is to create a marketing persona, which will help you answer these questions. And this doesn’t have to be fixed forever; you can always change your strategy according to how your social media posts perform.
" The main objective we have is to grow our brand. Social is a place where we can own our brand and promote it. We pay a lot of attention to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ to promote our content and to break news, basically to get our stuff out there. "
2. Planning and Publishing
Social media marketing for small businesses usually starts with having a consistent presence on social media. Close to three billion people (3,000,000,000!) use social media. By being present on social media platforms, you give your brand an opportunity to be discovered by your future customers.
Publishing to social media is as simple as sharing a blog post, an image, or a video on a social media platform. It’s just like how you would share on your personal Facebook profile. But you will want to plan your content ahead of time instead of creating and publishing content spontaneously. Also, to ensure that you are maximizing your reach on social media, you need to publish great content that your audience likes, at the right timing and frequency.
There are now a variety of social media scheduling tools, such as Buffer Publish, that can help you publish your content automatically at your preferred time. This saves you time and allows you to reach your audience when they are most likely to engage with your content.
" Anytime I or someone else in the team publishes a new blog post or another piece of content I’ll add it to the queue in Buffer. If it’s evergreen content (which it almost always is) I’ll schedule it a few times over the next 3-4 months in different formats – a link directly to the post, with a graphic we’ve made in Canva, with a different caption, etc. The rest of the slots I’ll fill up with reposts of photos or videos our members have shared, recent media coverage of Car Next Door, and curated content that will be of interest to our audience. "
3. Listening and Engagement
As your business and social media following grow, conversations about your brand will also increase. People will comment on your social media posts, tag you in their social media posts, or message you directly.
People might even talk about your brand on social media without letting you know. So you will want to monitor social media conversations about your brand. If it’s a positive comment, you get a chance to surprise and delight them. Otherwise, you can offer support and correct a situation before it gets worse.
You can manually check all your notifications across all the social media platforms but this isn’t efficient and you won’t see posts that didn’t tag your business’s social media profile. You can instead use a social media listening and engagement tool that aggregates all your social media mentions and messages, including posts that didn’t tag your business’s social media profile.
" Today, it’s more important than ever to meet customers where they are. We live much of our lives on social media and expect the brands we use to be there too. Our customers are as global as our far flung friends and family and the same tools that help us stay in touch with our loved ones, help 1Password stay engaged with the people who interact with us. Engagement is more than just marketing. It’s lending a helping hand when things go awry, keeping the conversation going when problems are solved, and spreading the good word about what we’re up to and where folks can come say hi. The conversations we have on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, and in our 1Password blog comments, allow us to truly engage and show folks that 1Password is not just an app, but a group of passionate (and sometimes goofy) humans working to make the web safer for everyone. "
How to Analyze Your Social Media Marketing Impact and Results
One of the most important aspects of social media marketing is ensuring your efforts are successful in helping you meet your goals. To determine this, you’ll need to keep track of all of your posts, on every channel. You can do this by reviewing and managing your social media metrics.
Social Media Metrics
Social media metrics are data related to the success of your posts and your impact on your audience and customers on various platforms. These metrics may include data about your level of engagement, likes, follows, shares, and all other interactions on each platform.
- Engagement: This includes clicks, comments, likes, and replies on your social media posts. There are also platform-specific types of engagement such as "Saved" posts on Instagram and "Pinned" posts on Pinterest.
- Reach: The number of people who have seen any content associated with your page or profile is your reach.
- Followers: This is the number of people you have on your profile who have clicked your "Follow" button and see your content in their feeds regularly.
- Impressions: This is the number of times a post from your profile or page is seen, whether or not your audience members click on it. This is often what happens when someone is scrolling through their newsfeed, but not clicking on anything.
- Video views: On Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, or any other social channel with video capabilities, this is the number of views each gets.
- Profile visits: The number of people who have opened your social media page is your number of profile visits.
- Mentions: This is the number of times your profile has been mentioned by audience members in their posts.
- Tags: This is when your audience adds the name of your company’s profile or your hashtag to another post.
- Reposts: This is when a member of your audience posts a piece of your content on their profile.
- Shares: These are the posts your followers and audience take from your profile and share with their network.
How to Measure Social Media Metrics
You might also choose to use an analytics and tracking tool such as Google Analytics. This is a great option if you want to track your social media and website metrics. Lastly, many social media scheduling solutions — as we reviewed earlier — have monitoring and tracking features automatically built-in.
Social Media Marketing Resources
There are a plethora of social media marketing resources you can use to build a social strategy for your company. You’re bound to feel more confident about working on your company’s social media marketing initiative with the help of the following courses, training, and books.
Social Media Marketing Courses and Training
1. Earn a certificate administered by a company.
HubSpot offers a free social media certification course, which teaches you how to engage with your customers and improve conversions. You’ll also get a better understanding of how to develop your strategy, extend your reach, and measure your social media ROI.
2. Leverage YouTube university.
With a quick search, you’ll find hundreds of long-form videos that offer in-depth courses on social media marketing. Granted, you can’t connect with a live educator. However, it’s free and can be a great starting point before you dive into a paid course.
Social Media Marketing Books
The book teaches you how to make impactful content for your followers to interact with and share with their networks. Author Dave Kerpen also describes why you need to ensure you’re consistently delighting your followers to avoid losing them at any point in time.
According to author Gary Vaynerchuk, the key to social media marketing success isn’t about pushing out a lot of content — it’s about pushing out specific content tailored towards your target audience and using the right platform to do so.
In his book, Vaynerchuk covers how to do this as well as connect with your followers and customers on a deeper level through social media. You’ll learn how to create memorable and unique content that stands out in comparison to the competition’s content.
Producing high-quality content that your audience isn’t interested in will mean that engagement levels tank. You need to work on making sure your posts appear in people’s feeds before you start feeding through those insightful industry blogs.
How to create a social media marketing strategy in 9 steps
Read on for detailed steps to creating a social media strategy. Or, watch this video where Hootsuite’s own Senior Manager of Social Media Marketing, Amanda, guides you through our free social media marketing strategy template, step by step:
Step 1. Choose social media marketing goals that align to business objectives
Set S.M.A.R.T. goals
Track meaningful metrics
For example, if you use LinkedIn to drive traffic to your website, you would measure click-throughs. If Instagram is for brand awareness, you might track the number of Instagram Story views. And if you advertise on Facebook, cost-per-click (CPC) is a common success metric.
Step 2. Learn everything you can about your audience
Create audience personas
Knowing who your audience is and what they want to see on social media is key. That way you can create content that they will like, comment on, and share. It’s also critical if you want to turn social media followers into customers for your business.
Social media analytics can also provide a ton of valuable information about who your followers are, where they live, and how they interact with your brand on social media. These insights allow you to refine your strategy and better target your audience.
Jugnoo, an Uber-like service for auto-rickshaws in India, used Facebook Analytics to learn that 90% of their users who referred other customers were between 18- and 34-years-old, and 65% of that group was using Android. They used that information to target their ads, resulting in a 40% lower cost per referral.
Step 3. Get to know your competition
Conduct a competitive analysis
A competitive analysis allows you to understand who the competition is and what they’re doing well (and not so well). You’ll get a good sense of what’s expected in your industry, which will help you set social media targets of your own.
Maybe one of your competitors is dominant on Facebook, for example, but has put little effort into Twitter or Instagram. You might want to focus on the networks where your audience is underserved, rather than trying to win fans away from a dominant player.
Use social media listening
As you track, you may notice shifts in how your competitors and industry leaders are using social media. You may come across new, exciting trends. Or, you might spot a specific post or campaign that really hits the mark—or totally bombs.
Bonus: Get a free social media strategy template to quickly and easily plan your own strategy. Also use it to track results and present the plan to your boss, teammates, and clients.
Step 4. Do a social media audit
Look for impostor accounts
Step 5. Set up accounts and improve profiles
Decide which networks to use
Hootsuite’s own social team even designates different purposes for formats within networks. On Instagram, for example, they use the feed to post high-quality educational infographics and product announcements and Stories to cover live events or quick social media updates.
Set up your profiles
Step 6. Find inspiration
Social media success stories
Award-winning accounts and campaigns
Your favorite brands on social media
Ask your followers
Step 7. Create a social media content calendar
Set your posting schedule
Your social media content calendar lists the dates and times at which you will publish types of content on each channel. It’s the perfect place to plan all of your social media activities—from images, link sharing, and re-shares of user-generated content to blog posts and videos. It includes both your day-to-day posting and content for social media campaigns.
Different Types of Social Media Marketing
If you’re serious about growing your brand, don’t just focus on the large sites with a vast audience. Although they’re an obvious place to start, look for different, more creative ways to engage your prospects and develop leads.
Organic Reach is Down
Social Is Becoming “Pay to Play”
Channels Are Merging
Tools Are Merging
Want To Save This Guide For Later?
If you’re worried about the time drain that social media can be, don’t worry. Social media marketing isn’t about hanging out with your prospects and customers. It’s about executing the social cycle while minimizing costs—which means you need to master the methods and metrics for all 4 of the stages.
Whether you’re paying attention or not, people are talking about you and reaching out to you on the social web. They’re sharing their experiences with your products. They’re talking about the things you’re saying or doing. They’re even asking you questions.
Your aim is to tune into the pulse of public sentiment towards your brand, your industry, and the topics that relate to your brand. In a sense, it’s reputation management. But it can also help you perform real-time customer service and identify product or content gaps that need to be filled.
What is a feedback loop? It’s a process you create for your teams to use when addressing issues that arise during social listening. It clearly maps out the people or departments that issues should be routed to and who has responsibility for resolving them.
When your social listener sees a complaint or issue, say in Twitter, they’ll perform "triage"—responding with an empathetic "you’ve been heard" response—and then route the issue to the proper team. This happens within 12 hours of the complaint/issue.
Having a social media listener is well and good, but in the real world, they often don’t have the specialized knowledge or authority to resolve the issues that will arise. And sometimes they don’t know who should take care of those issues, either.
For social media marketing to work, you need to make it human and authentic. Even when you’re dealing with a complaint, your aim is to align yourself with the person, de-escalate the situation, and provide a compassionate, human touch.
This approach demonstrates that you’re listening. It also allows you to express compassion. And by moving the conversation to a private channel, you make people feel as if you’re committed to giving them a real solution.
At this stage, your aim is to lead and direct your followers’ opinions, attitudes, and behaviors. And since you’ve been listening, it’s relatively easy. You already know the trending topics and conversations taking place, so adding your authority voice is the natural next step.
Keep in mind, this stage of the success cycle is influenced by the social listening you did in Stage 1. But the reality is that you’ll continue listening at every stage. In fact, once the cycle is going, you’ll perform every stage every day.
It may help to think of social networking as a live event—except your interactions are online rather than face-to-face. After all, networking is networking, no matter where (or how) it happens. And it can lead to deep and lasting relationships, both with your followers and potential partners.
Each time you publish an article on your blog, produce a new piece of content, or have a new offer, you’ll create social media posts designed for the channels you’re posting to (think “native” content) that get the word out.
You’ll share valuable content from peers and, yes, even your competitors. If it relates to your brand’s primary topic and helps your followers, it’s worth sharing. You’ll also engage with people one-on-one, both asking and answering questions.
By adopting a similar approach, you won’t just attract happy followers, though you’ll have plenty of those. By sharing useful content from other brands, you’ll build good will and strong alliances with the brands you share.
For example, we’ve consistently shared content from Content Marketing Institute, Buffer, and MarketingProfs. Initially, that led to a robust network. But some of those relationships have turned into strong partnerships, as well.
Social media marketing
According to Sprout Social, the most important social media marketing (SMM) metrics to track are focused on the customer: engagement (likes, comments, shares, clicks); impressions (how many times a post shows up); reach/virality (how many unique views an SMM post has); share of voice (how far a brand reaches in the online sphere); referrals (how a user lands on a site); and conversions (when a user makes a purchase on a site). However, another very important metric is focused on the business: response rate/time (how often and how fast the business responds to customer messages).
Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance. Adam received his master’s in economics from The New School for Social Research and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sociology. He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Kirsten Rohrs Schmitt is an accomplished professional editor, writer, proofreader, and fact-checker. She has expertise in finance, investing, real estate, and world history. Throughout her career, she has written and edited content for numerous consumer magazines and websites, crafted resumes and social media content for business owners, and created collateral for academia and nonprofits. Kirsten is also the founder and director of Your Best Edit; find her on LinkedIn and Facebook.
With over 80% of consumers reporting that social media—especially influencer content—significantly impacts buying decisions, marketers across industries are driving the evolution of social media marketing (SMM) from a stand-alone tool to a multipronged source of marketing intelligence on an increasingly important—and growing—audience.
Within 18 years, from 2004 (when MySpace became the first social media site to reach one million users) to 2022, the dramatic growth of interactive digital channels took social media to levels that challenge even the reach of television and radio. By March of 2022, there were 4.6 billion social media users globally—over 58% of the world’s population—an increase of over 10% in one year alone.
As the use of social media trends upwards, marketers are perfecting strategies to capture the significant competitive advantage that engagement with this key audience can deliver even more rapidly and more effectively than traditional marketing.
What Is Social Media Marketing (SMM)?
Social media marketing (SMM) (also known as digital marketing and e-marketing) is the use of social media—the platforms on which users build social networks and share information—to build a company’s brand, increase sales, and drive website traffic. In addition to providing companies with a way to engage with existing customers and reach new ones, social media marketing (SMM) has purpose-built data analytics that allow marketers to track the success of their efforts and identify even more ways to engage.
Connection: Not only does social media enable businesses to connect with customers in ways that were previously impossible, but there is also an extraordinary range of avenues to connect with target audiences—from content platforms (like YouTube) and social sites (like Facebook) to microblogging services (like Twitter).
Interaction: The dynamic nature of the interaction on social media—whether direct communication or passive “liking”—enables businesses to leverage free advertising opportunities from eWOM (electronic word-of-mouth) recommendations between existing and potential customers. Not only is the positive contagion effect from eWOM a valuable driver of consumer decisions, but the fact that these interactions happen on the social network makes them measurable. For example, businesses can measure their “social equity”—a term for the ROI (return on investment) from their social media marketing (SMM) campaigns.
Customer Data: A well-designed social media marketing (SMM) plan delivers another invaluable resource to boost marketing outcomes: customer data. Rather than being overwhelmed by the 3Vs of big data (volume, variety, and velocity), SMM tools have the capacity not only to extract customer data but also to turn this gold into actionable market analysis—or even to use the data to crowdsource new strategies.
Social media marketing statistics
- Knowledge of your audience: What platforms they use, when they go on them and why, what content they like, who else they’re following, and more.
- Brand identity: What is the message you want to convey to your audience? How do you want them to feel when viewing your content?
- Content strategy: While there is a level of spontaneity on social, you’ll need a structured content strategy to be able to have a consistent voice and produce quality content regularly.
- Analytics: Quantifiable insights will inform your strategy, including who you’re reaching, the right content to share, the best times to post, and more.
- Regular activity: Social media is a real-time platform. If you want to use it to grow your business, you need to post regularly, stay on top of engagements with your business, engage back, keep up with trends, and maintain accurate profiles.
- Inbound approach: Don’t use social media to pitch your business. Focus on adding value through useful and interesting content and building up those around you. This, in turn, will organically promote your business and others will promote it for you.
Creating your social media marketing plan
Now that you know the essentials of a social media marketing strategy, it’s time to put it into action. Your social media marketing plan is the roadmap to carrying out your strategy. It puts structure around your efforts so you can measure your success and make sure you’re spending your resources wisely. Here’s how to create your social media marketing plan:
- Choose your platforms: Choose based on your target audience, platforms popular for your industry, as well as your bandwidth. Only take on the number of platforms you can actively keep up with. You can always start with one and then add on more slowly as you get the hang of them.
- Set goals and objectives: These should be simple and task-like to start, like post once a day for a month, get your profiles set up, or do a competitive analysis. Once you get into a rhythm and gather insights, you’ll be able to set more specific and strategic goals like increase your following by X% or publish X [content types you’ve found your audience likes] per month.
- Report and adjust regularly: Use each platform’s analytics to identify which posts generate the most engagement, whether you’re getting more followers, and to see your audience demographics. Harness and scale up what works and nix what doesn’t.