With so many different social media platforms and tools, we understand the difficulty in creating a social media marketing strategy for 2021. Every year, it seems another social media platform enters the market and makes marketing even more challenging for businesses. Should you advertise on Facebook? Instagram? TikTok? Pinterest? Reddit? Or another channel entirely?
The good news is that this guide will break down everything you need to know in digestible chunks. By the end, you should feel confident in creating a plan and choosing the right platform for your goals. Grab a notepad and pen, get comfortable in your chair, and prepare to learn the information you need to succeed on social media this year!
The first step with any marketing strategy is to set goals. It’s not enough just to use social media because all the other services in the niche are doing so - you need a purpose for your social media activity. What do you want to achieve from the time and money you invest in social media?
Ultimately, this is unique to you and it depends on where in the funnel people discover your social media channels. For example, some businesses use social media for brand awareness. With a combination of paid ads and genuinely useful content, consumers become aware of the brand and what you have to offer.
Additionally, you might want to grow followership on social media. As you grow an audience, you learn what matters to them, how to resonate with them, and how to develop products that they need and value.
Of course, businesses need sales to survive and social media can help with this. With platforms like Instagram, consumers can click on a link and purchase a product without even leaving the platform. Alternatively, you can also send people across to your website.
Finally, you might use social media as an engagement tool. You can become a valued member of the community by getting involved in discussions, answering the questions of customers, and becoming a leader in the field.
There’s no right or wrong answer on what to use social media for, but there is something wrong with using social media aimlessly. Choose a goal to help with the steps that follow.
As perhaps the largest step in the process, you now need to research your audience and choose an appropriate platform. We decided to include these two as one because they have a connected relationship. The platform you choose depends on the audience. Likewise, you might shape your audience segments based on different platforms.
The more you know about your audience, the less stress you’ll experience choosing between the many social media platforms. If you have a buyer persona, use this as a basis to get started. Don’t be afraid to segment your audience and create multiple buyer personas. From here, you’ll decide how to approach each with the right tool.
To learn about your audience, look back over past data, and call in the help of third-party tools when needed. Think about their age, location, interests, hobbies, job, salary, gender, and other demographics.
Creating a social media marketing strategy in 2021 should be easy, so we’ve broken down some key details for each channel below:
For something that started in a dorm room for Harvard students, it’s weird to think that Facebook now has nearly 3 billion active monthly users. As the largest social media platform, it has the most target markets and plenty of content options. You can:
It’s fair to say that you can use Facebook for all of the biggest goals from generating sales to building brand awareness. Facebook’s simple interface is easy to use for those of all experience levels. Also, the paid advertising targeting options are the most detailed and granular you’re likely to find. You can even build lookalike audiences and find people similar to your most loyal customers.
YouTube is the biggest video-sharing website on the internet. While some use it to send traffic to a website, others use it to engage with the community, upload product demonstrations and tutorials, or build a following. Depending on your initial goal, you’ll have to choose between teaching and entertaining on YouTube.
Thankfully, these days it’s possible to record a high-quality video with just a smartphone. Videos can provide consumers with the behind-the-scenes content they love and provide an opportunity to advertise all in one.
Now owned by Facebook, Instagram is a predominantly image- and video-based platform with over one billion active monthly users. There are a few options on Instagram including building a following, sharing Stories and videos, and investing in influencer marketing. If you haven’t dabbled in this area of social media marketing before, Instagram is a great place to start.
Find somebody who operates in your niche, has a genuine interest in your product, and has a strong following. As you work together, the followers of the influencer should have some interest in what you have to offer, and a percentage (hopefully!) become supporters of the brand.
Instagram also provides opportunities to post inspiring quotes, questions to followers, ads, infographics, and high-quality photos of your products.
As our fourth main suggestion, we don’t want to leave B2B services behind which is why we have LinkedIn. This has been a professional social media platform for some time, and it remains so today. If you like to produce long-form content, your audience will be on LinkedIn. Scared of posting a 2,000-word article on Facebook or even your own blog? Upload it to LinkedIn.
As well as advertising on this platform, you can join LinkedIn Groups, create high-quality content, connect with other professionals, and more.
Other names that might suit your strategy include:
With an account on your chosen platform and an idea of your goals and main audience segments, it’s now time to start creating content. As before, the content you produce will depend on everything you’ve already decided in the previous steps. For example, Instagram lends itself to short videos and high-quality images. Meanwhile, LinkedIn is all about discussions and long-form articles.
If we’re to provide a couple of tips, the first would be to get creative. Rather than just following the crowd, try to move away from competitors and do something that nobody else has done. This bleeds into the second tip which is to show some character and personality in your content - give people a reason to choose your brand over all others.
Especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, people want to connect with brands. With a human element to your content, it’s easier to build a genuine and authentic connection with an audience. For example, this could be as easy as a five-minute Q&A video.
As you produce and upload content regularly (another top tip!), you need to think about the key metrics and performance indicators for your goals. Pay attention to clicks, reach, the performance of individual hashtags, engagement, cost per conversion, and other metrics. Remember, the metrics pertaining to your social media marketing strategy depend on your goal. If you want to build a following, you’ll consider likes, comments, new followers, and similar metrics.
We could write a whole article on this section, which is why it’s a shame that analysis often goes forgotten by marketers and businesses. Keep your KPIs in mind and continually assess the performance of your strategy. What is working well and helping to push the brand towards its goals? What isn’t working and needs to be removed from the strategy? There’s nothing wrong with trying new things, but you need to analyze the success of these new things before deciding whether to keep them or remove them.
Look at the data, take advantage of automation tools, and continually move along the path of progression. If you’re working across several social media platforms, bring them all under one roof with an integration tool. Suddenly, you’re managing everything in one place and saving lots of hassle (just typing login details, for one thing!).
When advertising, do the same and measure performance against expectation. Thankfully, automated optimization tools are designed to make the lives of marketers much less stressful.
You now have the five steps to create a social media marketing strategy in 2021. Listen to your audience and research where you will enjoy the most growth!