Building a solid digital presence is integral to the success of your business – and mastering social media is no longer optional; it’s essential. Social media channels provide unique opportunities to engage with customers, amplify your brand voice, and drive tangible business growth.
This in-depth guide provides various practical strategies and tips to help you start and grow a thriving social media channel from scratch. From proper planning to effective posting, we’re covering all the bases – so let’s get started.
Step One: Determine Your Objectives & Goals
Every great journey starts with a destination in mind. In the context of social media, this destination is your business objectives and goals. What is it that you wish to accomplish through your social media presence? It could be increasing brand awareness, promoting customer engagement, generating leads, driving website traffic, or improving sales.
These goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) to effectively guide your social media strategy. For instance, a SMART goal might be “Increase website traffic from social media by 25% over the next six months.”
Your goals serve as a roadmap, helping you to plan your content, shape your engagement strategies, and determine success metrics. Tracking and measuring these goals is equally important to ensure that you are moving in the right direction. Tools like Google Analytics and social media-specific metrics, like Facebook Insights or Twitter Analytics, can provide valuable insights into your performance and areas for improvement.
Step Two: Choose the Right Social Media Channels for Your Business
Navigating the myriad of social media platforms can feel like a daunting task. Each platform brings unique strengths to the table, appealing to different user demographics and lending itself to specific types of content.
For example, the visual-centric nature of Instagram makes it a goldmine for lifestyle and retail brands seeking to showcase their products, while LinkedIn, with its professional audience, is a hub for B2B networking and industry thought leadership.
What are social media channels?
The term “social media channels” can encompass a huge range of platforms and websites, such as social networks, blogs, wikis, user review sites, and more.
Usually, when you’re talking about social media for business, the primary channels you’ll be looking at will include:
When it comes to social media channels for marketing, more isn’t necessarily better. The key is choosing the platforms most likely to reach your target audience and align with your business goals. A thorough understanding of your target audience — their demographics, interests, and online behavior — is crucial here. Once you’ve identified the most appropriate platforms for your business, invest time in mastering these channels before branching out to others.
Step Three: Craft Valuable Content
Creating valuable content is the fuel that drives your social media engine. It is the magnetic force that attracts followers to your channel and keeps them returning for more. But what constitutes valuable content? It should be content that informs, entertains, inspires, or solves a problem for your audience.
Depending on your audience and business, this might involve:
- blog posts
- case studies
- user-generated content
- behind-the-scenes snapshots of your business
By offering a diverse content mix, you keep your audience engaged and cater to different preferences.
Planning and scheduling your content in advance, using an editorial calendar, can ensure consistency and give you a bird’s eye view of your content strategy. Remember that your content should be sprinkled with relevant SEO keywords to boost visibility, but always prioritize providing value over selling.
Remember, consumers are savvy — they can distinguish between brands that are genuinely interested in providing value and those primarily focused on self-promotion.
Step Four: Understand the Power of Competitive Benchmarking
In the competitive landscape of social media, being aware of your competitors’ strategies can provide you with a critical edge. This practice, known as competitive benchmarking, involves identifying your key competitors, monitoring their social media activities, and learning from their successes and failures.
Benchmarking goes beyond merely observing your competitors. It deeply analyzes their content strategy, engagement tactics, and audience responses. Which of their posts is receiving the most engagement? How often do they post? What time of day? How do they interact with their audience?
By answering these questions, you can glean valuable insights to inform your own strategy. The goal isn’t to mimic your competitors but to understand what resonates with your shared audience, identify gaps in their approach that you can fill, and differentiate your brand to position it as the go-to source for your specific niche.
Step Five: Understand Your Customers’ Pain Points
Understanding your audience’s needs, challenges, and “pain points” is central to your social media strategy. Your audience wants to feel seen and understood. They’re more likely to engage with and follow a brand that consistently solves their problems.
Identifying these pain points involves listening to your audience. This could be through conducting surveys, reading online reviews, monitoring discussions on social media, or simply engaging with your audience through comments and direct messages.
Once you’ve identified these pain points, you can create content that speaks directly to these challenges. This not only positions your brand as a problem-solver in your audience’s eyes but also helps build trust and rapport, fostering long-term loyalty.
Step Six: Remember that Consistency is Key
Activity and consistency are the heartbeats of a thriving social media presence. With a regular pulse of content and interaction, your social media presence can stay in the background, resulting in increased engagement and follower attrition.
One way to ensure consistency is through a content calendar. This helps you plan out your content in advance and maintain a regular posting schedule, ensuring a steady stream of fresh content to keep your audience engaged.
But aActivity extends beyond just posting content. It also involves interacting with your audience, replying to comments, asking questions, and showing appreciation for your followers. This keeps your brand active and visible and builds a sense of community around your brand.
Step Seven: Consider the Role of Paid Promotions in Growing Your Channel
While organic growth is the bedrock of a healthy social media channel, sometimes it needs a little boost. This is where paid promotions come in.
Paid promotions can amplify your reach beyond your current followers, driving more traffic to your channel and increasing your follower count. Each social media platform offers a variety of advertising options, allowing you to boost posts, promote events, or target specific demographics.
Investing in social media advertising can offer a significant return on investment. By amplifying your top-performing posts, or those with the most engagement, you can capitalize on content that you already know resonates with your audience. When done strategically, paid promotions can turbocharge your social media channel’s growth.
Step Eight: Monitor Metrics to Optimize Your Efforts
Monitoring and analyzing key social media metrics is essential to any successful strategy. This data allows you to assess the performance of your posts, understand your audience’s behavior, and gauge the overall health of your social media presence.
There are a plethora of metrics to track, but the most significant ones typically include:
Reach and Impressions: Reach refers to the number of unique users who have seen your post, while impressions indicate the total number of times your post was displayed, regardless of whether it was clicked or not. These metrics help you understand the potential visibility of your content.
Engagement: This involves tracking likes, comments, shares, and other interactions with your posts. High engagement indicates that your content resonates with your audience and encourages them to interact with your brand.
Follower Growth: This metric reflects the increase or decrease in your follower count over time, providing insight into the effectiveness of your growth strategies.
Website Traffic: If driving traffic to your website is a primary goal, you’ll want to monitor how many visitors are coming from your social media channels. This can be tracked using tools like Google Analytics.
Conversion Rate: This is especially crucial for businesses selling products or services online. It reflects the number of social media leads that turn into customers.
Paid Promotion Metrics: If you’re running paid promotions, track metrics like click-through rates, cost per click, and conversion rates to assess the effectiveness and ROI of your ads.
Regular monitoring of these metrics helps identify what’s working and what’s not, enabling you to fine-tune your strategy. For instance, if a certain type of content is consistently receiving high engagement, you may create more of that content. Conversely, if your paid promotions are not delivering the desired ROI, you might reconsider your ad targeting or creative approach.
Remember, the aim isn’t just to gather data but to derive actionable insights from it. Utilizing these insights to make strategic adjustments can greatly enhance the success of your social media efforts.
Leverage the Expertise of a Full-Service Marketing Agency to Support Your Social Media Goals
Growing a social media channel from scratch involves strategic planning, regular content creation, audience engagement, and meticulous tracking of metrics. It can be a time-consuming and complex process, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses with limited resources.
Enlisting the help of a professional marketing agency like V Digital Services can lighten this load, offering expert guidance and tailored strategies to accelerate your social media growth. With a thorough understanding of various social media channels, we can help drive your digital marketing success.
Demystifying the world of social media marketing may seem like a challenge, but with clear goals, the right strategies, and a commitment to providing value to your audience, you’re well on your way to building a thriving social media presence.
Let’s embark on this journey together – connect with V Digital Services today to get started!
Photo Credits: NDAB Creativity