How to create a social media marketing strategy

1. Why does your business want to be on social media?

The very first question to answer is the Why.

This relates to your social media goals. Are you on social media to promote your products? To drive traffic to your website? Or to serve your customers?

In general, there are the nine social media goals you can have:

  1. Increase brand awareness
  2. Drive traffic to your website
  3. Generate new leads
  4. Grow revenue (by increasing signups or sales)
  5. Boost brand engagement
  6. Build a community around your business
  7. Provide social customer service
  8. Increase mentions in the press
  9. Listen to conversations about your brand

You’ll likely have more than one social media goal, and that’s fine.

Generally, it’s great to focus on just a handful of goals unless you have a team, where different people or groups within the team can take on different goals.

For example, at Buffer, the marketing team uses social media both to increase our brand awareness and drive traffic to our content while our Advocacy team uses social media to provide timely customer support.

2. Who is your target audience?

Once you have figured out your Why, the next thing to consider is your target audience.

Understanding your target audience will help you more easily answer the following questions on what, where, and when you are going to share.

For instance, if a travel and lifestyle brand (like Away) knows that its target audience loves to read about new places and travel tips, it could share such content on its social media profiles.

A great exercise to try here is to build marketing personas.

There are many different ways of building marketing personas. My personal favorite approach is to, again, use the 5Ws and 1H.

  • Who are they? (E.g. job title, age, gender, salary, location, etc.)
  • What are they interested in that you can provide? (E.g. entertainment, educational content, case studies, information on new products, etc.)
  • Where do they usually hang out online? (E.g. Facebook, Instagram, etc. or niche platforms)
  • When do they look for the type of content you can provide? (E.g. weekends, during their daily commute, etc.)
  • Why do they consume the content? (E.g. to get better at their job, to become healthy, to stay up to date with something, etc.)
  • How do they consume the content? (E.g. read social media posts, watch videos, etc.)

3. What are you going to share?

When you see this question, you might be thinking about the types of content to share. For example, do you want to share videos or images?

But hold on for a second!

We’re talking about your social media marketing strategy here so let’s take a step back and think on a higher level. Instead of the types of content to share, “theme” might be a better word.

Here are a few brands and their theme(s):

  • MeUndies, an underwear brand, shares photos from their customers and photos of their products on their Instagram profile.
  • Huckberry, an outdoor and adventure brand, shares their editorial content and high-quality photos of the outdoors on their Facebook profile.
  • Burrow, a luxury couch brand, mostly shares memes on their Instagram profile.