With 2.8 billion active social media users, maintaining an active presence on these networks is becoming increasingly important in getting your business front of your ideal audience. These days, more and more consumers are looking to engage and connect with their favorite brands on social – in fact, research shows that a third of Millennials actually prefer to communicate with brands via social media.

Developing a strong social media marketing strategy will help boost brand awareness, increase followership, drive traffic to your website and generate leads for your sales funnel. In 2017, no brand should be without a plan that actively places their business on social media.

Here are five simple tips to help you formulate your social strategy in order to build a stronger presence.

1. Be Clear on Your Target Audience

Knowing and understanding your target audience is the prerequisite to a working digital marketing strategy. It’s important to know who you’re aiming to reach in your marketing so you can focus your efforts on engaging and connecting with that audience.

The best way to do this is by developing buyer personas. In this process, you’ll outline the pains, challenges, and interests of your ideal customer, enabling you to align your content to meet those needs.

2. Know Your Social Media Goals

Every post that you publish and share on your social networks must have a goal, an intent.

Do you want to drive traffic to your website? Are you looking to boost engagement (i.e. Likes, shares, and comments)? Or do you want to build your leads list?

Having a clear goal in mind for each post helps you tailor your content in a way that focuses on meeting it.

3. Share Engaging Content

Sharing valuable content is at the heart of any working inbound marketing strategy – by offering helpful advice, tips, and expertise, you work to position your brand as an leader in your field, which will then attract prospects to your business.

This same concept applies to your social media marketing strategy – the goal is not to solely promote your products but to share value so your followers view your brand as a credible, valuable source that they can turn to for assistance.

Here are a few ways to share engaging content on social media:

Capitalize on the engagement live-streaming videos – According to Facebook, people spend 3x longer watching live videos versus those that have been pre-recorded. Go live by hosting Q&A sessions, discussing a recent blog topic, or taking viewers behind-the-scenes at an event.
Ramp up on images – Many studies have shown that social media messages which include images capture more attention than those without. High-quality images that relate to your brand, relevant memes and GIFs, infographics, and image quotes can all be excellent content pieces which will help boost engagement with your message.
Increase your reach with organic video – A recent study by Quintly showed that native videos on Facebook have a 186% higher engagement rate, and are shared more than 1000% more, than videos linked to from other hosting sites. You can use videos to share content, answer common questions and provide product details and insight.
Post links to blog content – Social media can drive tons of traffic to blog content. When posting your link, be sure to use an image that populates from your blog post. This way, when users click on the photo, they’ll be directed to your blog content
While some of these may be fairly obvious to those working in social, the accompanying data points serve as a sold reminder of the value of these best practices.

4. Be Social

But don’t simply share your content and hope people will interact with your business. Be social – it is, after all, called ‘social’ media.

Comment, Like and share your follower’s content. When fans respond to your content, highlight them in the comments. You could also message customers and prospects personally to show appreciation for their support.

You’ll be amazed at how these small, personal touches can give you an edge with your audience.

5. Test your results

When executing your strategy, you need to test your efforts to ensure what you’re doing is actually working, and resonates with your audience. Leveraging a social media management tool like Hootsuite or Buffer will give you access to analytics tools which enable you to get a better understanding of the shares and content which are generating the most engagement – along with those that are not.

This is invaluable information, as you’ll be able to determine which content to focus on and provide your audience with more of what they want.

Conclusion

Implementing these simple tips will help guide your social media strategy in the right direction, and move your further towards your goal of building brand awareness, gaining followers, boosting engagement, and ultimately, growing your leads.

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