How to Start Social Media Marketing in 10 Simple Steps

How to Start Social Media Marketing in 10 Simple Steps

Last year, 90% of marketers said that social media is important to their businesses. Statistically, this means it should be to yours as well.

Tackling an entirely new form of marketing can feel daunting, but a business’ presence on social media in today’s online climate is imperative. At this point, there really is no negative aspect great enough to keep your business from taking advantage of the many benefits of social media marketing, and even simply having an online presence and brand voice.

That being said, it’s difficult to just dive into social media marketing. You need a plan, goals, and organization to run successful social channels, and market the right kind of content to the right people in the right time and place.

Here are our 10 tips for putting a social media marketing plan into action:

1. Establish Your Goals

Ask yourself what it is you’d like to accomplish with your social media presence. Do you want to provide a way to communicate better with your customers? Establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry? Or simple sell more of the products or services you offer? Asking yourself these questions will help guide you through the next steps of the process and focus your overall goals.
Obviously these goals can change, and you can choose more than one, but you want to be careful not to think too big just yet.

2. Gather Your Resources

Setting goals is all about thinking big, but you also have to realistic about your budget when planning out your social media marketing strategy.

Is there someone on your team willing and capable of taking on the responsibilities of managing your social media strategy, including creating content, managing and maintaining social media accounts, responding to customer questions, and being the voice of your brand? Before you get started with social media marketing, you need to be sure you have enough people with the proper skill sets to make it happen!

You may start to use social media with the intention of posting and checking your pages every day, but without the proper help, every day can quickly become 3 times a week, then once, then never. An inactive social media presence is almost worse than none at all.

While your plans can change and evolve as your channels gain more interest and you gain more resources, it’s important to know your limits at first. Start small, with one or two social media channels and build from there as your audience’s activity warrants it. Make sure you are active on the social media channels that make the most sense for your personas. (We discuss that more below!)

3. Determine Your Audience

So you’ve determined the kinds of resources you have or need. Now it’s time to decide just how large your online presence will be, and where you will focus your efforts. Think about your audience. Who purchases your products and services. Where would they be most likely to spend their time online? What kinds of things are the most compelling to them throughout the sales process? This is where it is beneficial to have created detailed buyer personas.

It is not effective to simply publish whatever content you please whenever you please. You are competing with many other businesses for your audience’s attention online. You need to be specific in who you target, where you target them, and what you target them with.

4. Create Your Best Content On the Best Sites
Now that you’ve determined your audience, you can focus specifically on which social media channels they are most likely to be present on. For example, if you are marketing a product that would be used on a golf course, the majority of your audience is not likely to be on Snapchat, and probably not Instagram either.

The same logic can be applied to products and services targeting younger audiences. Although they are more likely to be using most or all popular social media channels, Instagram and Snapchat are highly popular among younger generations, so focusing your resources there would be a smart move.

Once you’ve established where you’ll publish your content, think about what your audience values. This will help you determine the kind of content you should be creating and sharing.

Let’s say one of your buyer personas greatly values social proof. You’ll want to be posting a steady amount of case studies, statistics, and testimonials showing the effectiveness of your products and services. Do they enjoy reading their material or watching it? It’s easy to turn these forms of social proof into video content, and provide exactly what your audience is looking for.

5. Integrate Your Efforts

Your social media marketing effort should extend beyond what is simply being posted on your channels. It should feed off of, and work together with your other forms of marketing. If you are running an email campaign to promote a specific product or service you offer, you’ll want to make sure you’re coordinating your social media posts to enhance your email marketing efforts. The same can be said about the launch of a new landing page, video, or a blog. Everything works together.

6. Stay Organized

If you want to have a successful social media marketing strategy, it is very important to keep all of your information organized, and have a schedule planned out for posting. The content calendar is the perfect tool for this.

Not only does a calendar give you a way to integrate your marketing as I mentioned before, but it provides an effective way to manage your time spent on social media marketing, and to plan out exactly what content you will post on a certain date at a certain time. It can be hard to rush around finding content to publish daily, but having it planned out ahead of time can alleviate that stress, and also ensure you’re posting well thought-out content.

7. Have a Healthy Balance

It’s easy to gather up a bunch of articles relevant to your industry and brand, or just publish a few promotional posts about your best selling products and services every day, but it’s not going to be effective. Follow the 80/20 rule. This simply means 20% of your social media posts should be promoting your brand, products and services, and the other 80% should be interesting, industry-related content; be it yours or curated from another source.

When you’re first starting out with social media marketing, using more curated content than original is definitely easier if you have not yet written many blogs or produced a lot of visual content, but once you have, it is very important to have a healthy balance of original and curated content within that 80% as well.

8. Prioritize Quality Over Quantity

Your audience is interested in a digestible amount of content they find valuable and informative, not just a massive amount of shareable content that may or may not be useful for your specific buyer personas.

It’s never good to overwhelm your audience with any certain kind of content, as we established with the 80/20 rule, but it’s also not good to flood your audience’s timelines with mass quantities of content. That can just be plain annoying. Bottom line: stay organized with the content calendar, follow the 80/20 rule, use a bit of common sense, and you should be fine!

9. Learn to Let Go

It can be easy to get caught up on how many followers you're gaining on your social channels as a measurement of your success, but there is a lot more to consider. It’s important to establish this kind of strategy for your social media marketing, and stick with it to see how it functions. If you’re not seeing a lot of growth or attention around your brand and the content you’re sharing, maybe next month you need to switch up your post timing, or maybe change the amount of a certain kind of content you’re posting.

The important thing is to learn to let go and let your audience grow and develop conversations around your brand. You’re not going to have thousands of followers overnight, and your active online presence, even if you’re just getting started, is better than none at all. So remember to sit back and take a break from it sometimes. Let the great content you’re sharing speak for your brand and build your audience.

10. Never Stop Learning

Well, don’t sit back too much! You should be learning from the insights social media platforms provide you, and changing your strategy for the better. Social media marketing is largely a test and fail process to see what is really useful and attractive to your specific audience in your specific industry. It’s important to know that flexibility and the ability to accept change are key to a successful social media marketing strategy.

What helped you start your social media marketing? If you aren’t there yet, did this list help you get a handle on how to start? Let us know in the comments! We love hearing from you!

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Posted by Emily Salswedel

Emily Salswedel

Social Media Producer - Emily uses her background in journalism and love of pop-culture to create informed, relatable content. As a social media enthusiast (even her SIMS Character is a Social Media Writer), she aims to find a relevant hashtag for every situation, and find a use for instagram in every campaign. She’ll be your best friend for a bag of flaming hot cheetos. #NoShame.