The three ingredients for a strong social media strategy

Businessman arranging ideas written on sticky notes

Big companies such as Oreo and Red Bull have previously been lauded as social media heroes that have captured the imagination of their fans. Oreo’s delightful Instagram account has an astonishing 2.4 million followers, while Red Bull’s Facebook account has a mind-boggling 48 million fans, and it continues to grow.

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In fact, in this day and age, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a company that doesn’t use social media at all. Why is it then, that some companies find themselves becoming social media rockstars, while others fall by the wayside, and eventually give up on social media altogether? In a word: strategy.

Oreo

Oreo's Instagram page

While most marketing managers simply publish the occasional post or answer customer queries at random, those who are savvier understand the importance of having a long-haul engagement plan. As Dreamgrow very aptly puts it:

Much like building a house, you shouldn’t buy materials before you have the blueprints of what you want to build. Using social media means long-term commitment—You have to be there for the long haul.

Red Bull Facebook page

Red Bull Facebook page

Ready for social media success? Here are three things you absolutely need to do to create a solid long-term social media strategy:

1. Find out where your customers are, and what they like

Knowledge is power, and this could not be closer to the truth when it comes to marketing — know thy customer, and you will win all your battles (poorly paraphrased from Sun Tzu).

Do extensive research on your industry, competition, influencers, and relevant keywords. Where do they hang out? What topics interest them? Strive to locate your customers accordingly, and find out what they talk about. Once you have done so, you can confidently pump your resources into efforts to reach your customers where they are, and into conversations that they are invested in.

People will pay attention to things that focus on their interests. Coffee? Got you covered with the Blue Photo Coffee Facebook Post template. Love to travel? You can reach out with White Photo Travel Facebook Post.

2. More is not necessarily better. Pick your social media platform wisely

Many businesses, having created accounts on multiple platforms, hit the ground running by rapidly building up their presence on every single social media platform there is, from Facebook to Instagram. Not surprisingly, many of these accounts will fall into disuse in a matter of months or even weeks.

Generally speaking, B2C marketers tend to use Facebook (overwhelming so, at 89%) as their social media platform of choice, while B2B marketers are gradually shifting over to LinkedIn (where they have seen a 61% success rate as compared to other platforms).

HubSpot Facebook page

HubSpot Facebook page

There are no hard and fast rules about this though – B2B companies such as Hubspot and Cvent have been using Facebook to great success, while B2C marketers in Starbucks and Nordstrom (to name a few) have likewise utilized LinkedIn effectively. At the end of the day, it is imperative to constantly track your efforts on each platform and adjust your focus accordingly.

Canva offers a growing number of templates across different social media platforms. You can choose one for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, even LinkedIn for whatever purpose you need. Here are two which you can start with: Modern Photo Camera Day Social Media Graphic and Peach Script Sunglasses Day Social Media Graphic.

3. Determine what objectives, and hence success metrics, you are looking to achieve through social media marketing

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The number of metrics out there that could indicate social media success would make a marketer’s head spin. Pageviews, click-throughs, likes, retweets, repins – the list goes on and on. It is therefore really important to determine what business objectives you hope to achieve through social media marketing, and hence decide which metrics define success.

For example, if you are looking to create brand awareness, you could use the number of mentions of your brand name online over a certain period of time to determine the success of your social media efforts.

Of course, this is only a rough approximation. You want to make your goals as concrete and measurable as possible by inserting numerical values wherever they are applicable.

You can help push brand awareness by participating in causes that you believe in, or that are relevant to you. See Greyscale Modern World Book & Copyright Day Social Media Graphic and Blue World Book and Copyright Day Social Media Graphic as samples of templates that promote advocacy.

You’re not alone

Social media marketers have so many things to keep track of on a daily basis, they practically have to live on the Web. To be sure, for each part of this strategy, it is important to be able to continually monitor and optimize the moving parts as you go along. To be able to do this consistently though, it is critical to have tools that will help to automate some of the processes and help you out along the road to success.