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How to Develop and Execute a Social Media Strategy in 2018

By Brandon ZingaleDec 5, 2017

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Over the past few years, I’ve been growing my personal social accounts as well as major medical and manufacturing enterprise brands. Along the way, I’ve learned a lot about social media growth.

Why is growing your social presence important? Research from Crowdtap revealed that 64 percent of people surveyed use social media for purchasing decisions (up 51 percent vs. prior year). If your company is not implementing a social media strategy, these purchasing decisions will benefit your competitors who are using social channels.

Whether you hire someone as your social media manager or contract with an agency to do it for you, a social media strategy needs to be developed for your company to thrive in today's market. But social media takes time and should be managed fully.

Where to start? First, determine your social media goals. Are you looking to grow your following? Do you want to increase ROI? When you start with your goals, it's easier to determine your strategy.

Once you know what you want to accomplish with social media, here are a few tips to organically grow your brand. And if you really want to boost your brand, check out the paid options toward the end. 

Organic Social Media Strategy Tips to Grow Your Brand

Choose Quality and Quantity

Some people believe posting more will help grow your social media presence, and others believe it’s the quality of posts that do this. Overall, it’s a little of both. You want to keep a consistent number of posts while also making sure their quality fits with your brand standards. Consider posting at least once per day on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, and three to five times per day on Twitter.

Facebook Ad

As far as the quality of these posts, consider the 80/20 rule. Twenty percent of your content should be promotional, with persuasive calls-to-action, including information that would benefit customers, whether it be a discount, special offer or useful stat. The other 80 percent of your content should be educational. This includes influencer content that revolves around the way you do business. Look at what content appeals to your audience by creating buyer personas.

 

80 20 rule

Get to know what your demographic is into. What is the content they would most likely want to see? Base your posts off of this type of information while also making sure it is a good fit for your brand’s message.

Schedule Your Posts

Keeping up with posting can get overwhelming, whether it’s for your personal account, or for multiple accounts you are managing. Services such as Hubspot’s Social Media Tool let you schedule posts. This way, you can plan your social calendar and keep everything consistent.

HubSpot Social Media

Know When Your Followers are Online


This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at the number of companies that do not factor in when their followers are online viewing content on each platform. Instagram and Facebook let you view when your followers are online. This way, you can consistently post at the right times each day, on all of your platforms. Use Tweriod.com to view when your Twitter followers are online.

Engage With Your Followers

Ask questions in your posts to help increase your engagement. Ask them to tag friends in your post that may enjoy your content. Friends tend to have similar interests with one another, and this will only help grow your audience. 

On top of this, respond to your followers. Be personal with them so they feel they’re truly a part of the conversation. It’s not called social media for nothing.

Keep An Eye on Your Competitors

Observe their social media posts to find out what’s working and what isn’t. This will help you avoid certain topics and go above and beyond to get a step ahead of the competition. It starts with trial-and-error, but if you can see what isn’t working from your competitors, you are saving yourself time by avoiding content that isn’t relevant enough for your brand. Also, check out HubSpot’s Social Monitoring Tool. This will help you track social conversations that matter to you most, including the conversations your competitors are having.

Cross Promote Your Platforms

Find out which of your platforms are the strongest and which ones need work. The best way to do this is to take a look at your engagement rate. (Hint: Take the number of people engaging on your posts—comments, likes, shares—and divide it by the number of followers you have.)

Capitalize on those platforms with a strong presence and create posts to promote your other platforms. You can even pin these posts to maximize your reach. And don’t forget to put links to the other channels in your bios.

Use Instagram “Pods”

Instagram pods are invite-only groups that like and comment on each others' posts manually. This will help you capitalize on the “Instagram algorithm.” Your posts may even be found on the Instagram explore tab. Since Instagram has changed from chronological order to a new order based on popularity, pods are perfect for anyone trying to grow on the platform.

If you are not sure how to get into a pod, start by knowing what your theme is. If you are a food account, reach out to other food enthusiasts and ask if they are in any. Find people in your niche for the best interaction. You’ll have to do some digging. If you aren’t able to find one, create your own. Reach out to those Instagram accounts and see if they would like to join your pod. It may be difficult at first, but once you get the hang of it you’ll have your own Instafamily, and it can be extremely beneficial in the long run.

There are 3 types of pods:

  • A group message on Instagram
  • A Facebook invite group
  • Turning on notifications for influencers in your pod to like and comment immediately

 

Paid Social Media Advertising to Boost Your Brand

Boost Your Facebook Posts

If you want your posts to be seen, it is a necessity to boost them, as changes to Facebook's algorithm have essentially made the platform a pay-to-play model for brands. With a wide range of targeting options and facebook scheduling, you can essentially reach who you want, when you want. If you want people to see your posts, you will need to boost them.

Boost Facebook Posts

Pro Tip: Boost the posts that receive the most organic reach. The more people who see your post organically, the more people will see these posts when you boost them via paid advertising. To view what posts are receiving the most organic views, go to your insights tab on Facebook, then select “reach.” Here, you will be able to see each Facebook post broken down by reach.

Also, boost posts that ask questions. This will increase your engagement. The more people see your post, the more responses you will receive.

Facebook Lookalike Audiences

A great way to expand your target audience is with Facebook lookalike audiences. These are advanced targeting options that give you more control finding new audiences similar to your existing audience.

cl-facebook-create-lookalike-audience-options.pngYou can create lookalike audiences based on your sources. Some examples of lookalike audience sources you can use are people who have viewed a page on your website, a custom email list, people who have watched a percentage of one of your videos, and so on.

cl-facebook-create-custom-video-audience-6.pngThese audiences are based on a percentage sample of people in your target country, from 1 percent to 10 percent. The best way to get the most out of lookalike audience advertising is to test each of these percentage samples to see which are producing the best results.

 

Growing a social media presence isn’t going to happen overnight. It takes time. The information shared in this article can help you reach your social media goals. I would love to know what questions you might have when it comes to executing a social media plan and growing on social media. Let me know in the comments section below!

Social media is only one part of your overall strategy. Learn more about best social media practices and advertising your message more strategically with this free Demand Generation Guide. A Better Way to Reach Your Buyers and Build Relationships.

The New Demand Generation

Additional Topics: paid media , Social Media
The Author

Brandon Zingale

Brandon is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communication. He has over six years of social media experience, as well as a mix of SEO and PPC. Outside of the office, Brandon enjoys spending time with his fiancée and building his personal social media presence.
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