The ultimate guide to social media marketing

The ultimate guide to social media marketing

Social media marketing is a crucial element of any brand, whether established or emerging, connecting you to your audience in such specific, important, and measurable ways. Although it offers benefits such as immediacy and an increased amount of control over your brand image, it’s the potential to quickly and easily build an emotional connection with audiences that really makes social media such a crucial part of any marketing strategy.

What is social media marketing?

At its core, social media marketing encompasses the publishing of content on popular platforms, the measurement of specific metrics, and ongoing engagement with followers to meet set marketing goals. The most notable social media platforms are Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter and Pinterest and, as with any marketing approach, the end goal is to harness these networks to build a stronger connection with your audience or consumers in order to build brand recognition, increase interest in your brand, drive traffic to your website and, hopefully, increase sales as a result.

Why is social media marketing important?

Any modern marketer will tell you that a multi-pronged approach is your best chance of capturing the attention of a customer. With such a constant wealth of content at our fingertips, it takes a lot to stand out and truly connect with a customer. Social media marketing can help with this, offering boundless opportunities to connect with your customers in meaningful ways that authentically reflect your brand and its core mission.

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How to build a social media marketing plan

Image by Essentialiving via Unsplash.

1. Set some goals

Every brand is different and therefore, every brand will need a personalized social media marketing strategy. Metrics that work for some brands might not work for you—a focus on high engagement numbers at the expense of conversion rates, for example, would suit an influencer who derives revenue from advertising rather than a consumer brand that has stock it needs to shift. After taking a look at competitors for inspiration, get specific about what results you want to see from your social media and how you’ll measure success. Are vanity metrics (likes, shares, engagement) initially preferable? Or would you like one person in every 100 to purchase your product? Get clear on where you’re aiming with your strategy so you can properly pave the path.

2. Understand your audience

How can you create relevant content without knowing what’s relevant to your audience? Creating audience personas — based on research and data, not assumptions — is a great way to start this journey, capturing and distilling the character of the people you’re aiming to connect with.

Are your customers emotionally motivated? Are they part of the 15-24 bracket or are you hoping to attract an older audience? What’s their average annual income? Which platforms do they prefer to engage with? Knowing the answers to these questions will help inform your strategy by keeping the most important person — your customer — at the center of your efforts.

Equally, don’t do a single number crunch of demographics and expect some quick statistics to tell you everything you know about your customers. Like any relationship, it takes time to cultivate true depth and understanding.

“It takes time to nurture your audience,” Hay House CEO Reid Tracy explains. “I think people just don't give themselves enough time. They run a promotion and expect a sale immediately - and it just doesn’t work like that. Especially if you are just starting out online. You have to build rapport with your potential customers, and then once they become customers, you have to treat them really well so they tell their friends and want to continue their involvement with you. That’s pretty much been our whole strategy at Hay house over thirty years.”

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3. Start optimizing your content

No matter where you are in your journey with social media, there’s always more to do. Have you completed all the relevant details in your profile, including an updated website and phone number? Have you streamlined all the visuals including your logo and title graphics so each platform from TikTok to Twitter retains brand continuity? Have you set up a click-through option for easier product purchasing? Take an audit of your current social media standing and create a list of ways you can optimize your offerings. Start by looking at two key aspects: what has proved effective with your customer base and how can you continue it, as well as what hasn’t succeeded and solutions as to how you can rectify this.

4. Build a social media calendar

Social media is a greedy beast, especially if you’re managing multiple accounts across several platforms. A social media calendar will not only allow you to keep track of what content should be uploaded when it helps you manage all the moving parts of your content including the split of content types: how many posts a week will make my audience laugh? How many posts will directly promote my product or service? How many posts will attempt to drive followers to my website?

Need a simple yet effective calendar template? Canva has a wide range of calendars to help you keep track of your social media strategies such as Rainbow Colorful Bold Big Type General Calendar or Colorful Simple Dotted Weekly Calendar 

5. Adapt your strategy

Whether it’s with your customer or the global context, change is something you can count on. As such, your social media strategy should never stay stagnant. Make a date to complete audits of your social media performance metrics at regular intervals in order to tweak your efforts according to your findings. Find that sweet spot between allowing your current strategy enough time to succeed and also knowing when to try something new.

Tips and tricks to grow your social media following

Image by Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash.

1. Keep it visual

In the realm of social media marketing, visual content is king. With consumers scrolling through hundreds of ads, posts, and notifications at any given moment, it takes a bold, visual content strategy to set your brand apart from the rest so spend some time establishing how you want your brand’s mission and values to be communicated visually. Continuity is a particularly important element when considering the visuals of your social media feed so use software to your advantage here; when browsing image galleries, create boards of saved images to see how certain images work together before you decide to post them to your social feeds.

Canva has an incredibly wide selection of visually engaging images you can use to curate eye-catching social feeds. 

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2. Use persuasive with language

All good marketers know the value of a few carefully crafted words — carefully consider captions for their connection to your brand’s values, mission, and also its visual identity. Go further and pair your text with a distinctive typeface that accurately reflects your brand’s identity and you’ve created a simple, effective way to connect with your customers that’s unmistakably yours. Not sure how to work with typefaces? There are only a few simple rules you should follow.

3. Keep it up to date

Social media doesn’t sleep—multiple platforms are perpetually churning outlive, up to date, and current news and information, so in order to stay on top of the social media game, your brand needs to stay relevant. Although there are many theories on optimum social media frequency, how often brands should post is somewhat less important than maintaining the frequency you set. If you post once a week on a Sunday, for example, stick to that plan. If you want your brand to be the first to jump on the news, you’ll have to keep it that way.

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4. Enhance your photos

So you’ve got a beautiful image saved on your phone that you want to share. Before you do, have you considered enhancing it with a filter or two? Don’t think that an image can’t have your particular stance stamped on it; experimenting with filters is an easy way to enhance, dress up, or change the whole tone of an image with the simple tap of a button. Filters are also fantastic for helping to keep your imagery on brand, creating your own signature stamp on all images that you upload to social.

Canva lets you customize images with its easy to use image tools. Use the preset filter gallery or tweak your image to pixel perfection by using the image adjustment tools.

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5. Collect powerful and consistent imagery

Stunning imagery is the foundation of successful visual content. A powerful image has the ability to grab users’ attention and direct it in very specific ways. When using imagery it’s important to keep it on a theme and tailored to your brand. Does your brand post inspirational, scenic shots of mountaintops and serene landscapes? Or do they focus on emotive images of consumers and people? Whatever your image preference, make sure it’s always consistent.

You don’t have to be a master photographer to unlock stunning images. Discover a fully stocked library of breathtaking content from Canva’s photo library. Full of beautiful free and premium stock images that are ready to use in your designs, there’s truly no excuse to have a lackluster photo album.

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6. Create valuable content

Image by Szabo Viktor via Unsplash.

While there’s a near-endless amount of content you can offer your audiences, the best type is by far the content that is valuable and relevant to your audience. Any consumer, even the most loyal and dedicated, will be driven to explore content that’s relevant to them, which confirms just how important it is to know your audience intimately.

Get your content out there

Arguably the most important part of a successful social media campaign is simply putting your content out into the world. At any given moment, countless other brands are pumping out content to users, so to keep up with the clamor, you need to be doing the same.

Try not to commit to an overly ambitious posting schedule if you don’t think you will be able to keep up with it. Just be sure to keep your posting consistent, regular, and interesting.

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