A 5-Step Guide to Developing a Successful Social Media Strategy

by Fahad Muhammad in Advertising

From influencing social change and setting trends to increasing brand awareness and strengthening audience relationships, social media advertising is one of the most powerful vehicles you can leverage to meet—and even surpass—your business objectives.

But there’s one big catch: That success rests heavily on having the right social media advertising strategy in place. A coherent strategy helps you adhere to goals, identify your target audience, and provide customers with the high-quality journey they expect. Without it, you’re likely to waste time chasing vanity metrics, such as the number of likes, shares, and followers, and drastically reduce your return on ad spend (ROAS).

So, how do you create a killer social media advertising strategy? Here’s a five-step guide to help you get there.

1. Get clear on your strategic goals

Planning your social media strategy starts with crystallizing your goals for a campaign. Maybe you want to raise brand awareness and build a more dedicated following. Or perhaps you want your social accounts to increase conversions and ROAS. Either way, be sure that you’ve done research to help you formulate your goals. Here are some steps to verify that your goals are well thought through:

Create SMART goals. Following the SMART framework—which stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound—helps you set up goals that are clear, realistic, and trackable.

Track meaningful metrics. Vanity metrics may be easy to track, but they don’t reveal much about campaign performance. It’s better to track metrics that surface meaningful insights, such as engagement data, click-through rates, and conversion rates. For example, if you’re using Instagram ads to raise brand awareness, you should be tracking the number of Instagram story views and post engagement metrics. For Facebook ads, tracking cost per click (CPC) or conversion rate (CVR) is most common.

Identify your target audience. If you fail to understand your target audience, you’ll waste precious advertising dollars chasing users who aren’t interested in your brand. Use demographic and psychographic data from previous marketing activities to set up segmented groups. Then develop a series of personas that each encapsulate the characteristics of the people who are likely to gravitate to your brand.

Perform a competitive analysis. A competitive analysis identifies your competition and tells you what they’re doing well and not so well, so you can understand what challenges you’re up against and what kind of mark you want to make in your industry. Do you want to disrupt the status quo or go with the flow? A competitive analysis can also provide guidance when making practical decisions, such as what social media platforms you to use and whether you should run ads on the same channels as your competitors or venture into less crowded territory.

2. Create a community of dedicated followers

Once you’re clear on your advertising goals, it’s time to start engaging with your target audience. Keep in mind that quality is better than quantity. Think of creative ways to build a community of qualified followers instead of simply gathering as many followers as you can. Draw out prospective customers with campaigns that speak to your perfect audience personas.

Try different styles of communication that show your followers that you “get” them. Create campaigns that feature humor, eye-catching visuals, and compelling statistics. Given how many other ads your followers are seeing, you’re constantly fighting for their attention, so vary the content of your ads to keep viewers interested. Don’t just stick with, say, single-image ads. You could post an Ask Me Anything (AMA), go live with an event, or run a contest.

3. Use brand advocates

It’s much more expensive to gain new customers than to keep the ones you have. Make the most of this precious resource—the people who love your brand—by enabling them to become brand advocates.

Brand advocates are individuals who champion your brand by sharing positive sentiments about your products and services with their friends and colleagues. It’s a powerful form of social proof that can convince new customers to give you a try. According to Convince & Convert, 92% of people trust the opinion of brand advocates, while only 18% trust influencers.

Brand advocates

4. Go Live

Reality TV continues to be immensely popular—audiences love getting a first-row glimpse into other people’s lives. You can use this to your advantage by inspiring and engaging your audience in real-time with content that is relevant to your product or service. Use popular hashtags to increase visibility.

Platforms like Facebook and Instagram offer live-streaming features. These stories are a great way to show your audience a human side of your campaigns, engage potential and current customers, and create shareable and memorable content. For example, Sephora went live to answer questions about eye lashes on National Lash Day.

Sephora live feed

5. Create relevant, connected experiences

One of the most effective ways to ensure that ad clicks translate into conversions is by making your content relevant from ad to landing page. Be sure that the customer’s post-click experience matches the message and design of the ad they’ve clicked.

This Coding Dojo ad promotes a 14-week coding bootcamp and offers visitors a free course packet. The landing page fulfills this promise by reiterating the offer and giving visitors more information through a video, concise text, and a customer testimonial. From a design perspective, both use realistic photos that appear to come from the bootcamp rather than a stock site.

Coding dojo

Use the right social media strategies to ensure success

Social media advertising gives you a powerful opportunity to engage with your target customers in real-time and strengthen your relationships with existing and potential customers.

Success with social media advertising comes down to going beyond vanity metrics and ensuring your content and ads are relevant and optimized for your target audience. Achieving optimization and ad-to-page relevance helps you convert ad clicks into advertising conversions.

Want to create social media ads that move beyond ad clicks? Schedule your personalized Instapage demo today and find out how the platform can significantly increase your advertising conversions and social media ROAS.

Fahad Muhammad

by Fahad Muhammad

Fahad is a Content Writer at Instapage specializing in advertising platforms, industry trends, optimization best practices, marketing psychology, and SEO. He has been writing about landing pages, advertising trends, and personalization for 10+ years.

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