A perfect social media marketing strategy is not accidental.
It takes time and commitment.
But it is possible if you understand how social media marketing (SMM) fits into your overall company strategy and plans.
Done right, your social media marketing will not only engage your current customers but also attract new prospects, moving them through your marketing funnel driving more sales and growing your business.
In this epic, expert-level Strategy Guide…
We’ll review the basics of a successful social media marketing strategy, including which content types serve what purposes (with examples and templates of course), and how a good social media plan can work for you across the marketing funnel.
You see, most businesses miss out on massive opportunities because their vision for social media is limited.
As a result, they’re posting regularly on Facebook and Instagram, but not getting great results. That’s because doing what we call Posting and Praying doesn’t work. It doesn’t drive sales or traffic, and it usually only gets you in front of people that already know about you.
Perfect social media marketing strategy means sending the right message, at the right time, to the right people.
This is where a marketing funnel comes in…
Look at it this way: If you approach a woman you like for the very first time and ask her to marry you, chances are she’d say no. But after you woo her, take her out on dates, convince her that you’re perfect for each other, and then when you pop the big question, she might just say yes.
And it’s the same with your potential buyers. At the start of the funnel, they know nothing about you, your brand, and why should they even think about you. To them you’re nothing. Yet. So you need to hold their hand, and steadily but surely convince them they need you. Once they’re ready, you lead them to the checkout page and (subtly) push them towards the buy now button.
Perfect Social Media Marketing Strategy is as easy as one, two, three.
Social Media Marketing Strategy 101: The Funnel
There are 3 main stages of a perfect social media marketing funnel.
You just can’t expect a large number of people to go from being part of your cold audience to being super-qualified leads that are chomping at the bit to buy. – Neil Patel, co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar and KISSmetrics
A perfect social media marketing strategy tailors the right message to people at each of the three different funnel stages. These are the three main stages of your marketing funnel.
1. Awareness Stage [Strategy 101]
Imagine. You’re scrolling down your facebook timelines and you come across this video by Dove.
You click on it, and are instantly intrigued. It’s a great short film. A real tearjerker. In the last 10 seconds, it asks you to visit their official website to learn more about this beauty campaign. So you click on their website and get one step closer to becoming their customer.
This is the awareness stage. Top of the funnel.
Where you grab your target audience’s attention through eyeball-grabbing, hooking-you-in-instantly content. Make them aware that they’ve got a problem. Let them know that your brand exists through interesting content.
The first step of converting random interested people into paying customers.
2. Consideration Stage [Strategy 101]
This stage is known as the ‘middle of the funnel’.
Your customers-to-be are now aware that they have a problem that needs to be solved. And your brand looks promising. They’re focused on their finding a solution to their problem.
Research shows that 74% of consumers rely on social media to guide purchasing decisions.
This is the stage where you hold their hand, and give them solution to their problems. Nurture your leads. There no need to hard sell anything right now. Build a relationship with them and gain their trust with lots and lots of valuable content.
3. Decision Stage [Strategy 101]
Now they’re seriously considering their options. They know there’s a problem. They know what solutions are available to them. So now it’s hard-sell time.
You need to convince them here that your brand is better than the rest. Address all their hesitations and answer all their queries. Nudge them gently towards the checkout page.
Once people have purchased from you, they’ll turn to social media to follow you and keep updated with your brand news. Send them frequent reminders to turn them into regular buyers.
Perfect Social Media Marketing Strategy at Every Stage of the Funnel
Long gone are days when social media was considered just another fad in the digital world. Now, social media is a vital part of every online marketing plan. Social media spending in the U.S. alone is expected increase to $17.34 billion in 2019.
Let’s discuss how you can use social media effectively to prime, convince, and push your target audience into becoming satisfied customers for life.
Stage 1: Awareness [Strategies + Templates]
You number one goal in this stage is to attract new followers and fans, ones that have the potential to turn into paying customers.
Here’s how you do that.
Step 1: A Good Strategy Starts With Great Research
The first stage of the funnel requires the most effort. You need to understand who your target audience is, what they want from you (even if they don’t realize it yet), which social media do they hang out most on, and so on.
You can create a plethora of amazing content, but if it doesn’t resonate with your audience they’ll scroll past it without a second thought.
You need to also research viral content in your niche. Find out what kind of posts get the most shares, retweets, and overall engagement. Creating viral content not only makes marketing a whole lot easier, but you also get the lowest CPMs when using paid ads.
Use social monitoring apps to research about your audience, listen to their conversations, and find out what kind of content is getting the most hits.
- Track popular hashtags in your niche via TweetDeck,
- Read discussions, queries and arguments going on in niche-specific forums through BoardReader,
- Find out top influencers, most popular content (most retweeted photos and links), top keywords based on your search term on Twitter through Twazzup,
- Use Buzzsumo to find out viral content in your niche
Create buyer personas, one of the most powerful inbound marketing tools, based on all the information you gathered on your target audience.
Standing out from the crowd, amidst an increasingly noisy, competitive field. People only have so much time in their day to consume media and content, and social channels are fast becoming overwhelmed. The deficit of attention means content creators and social marketers will need to be massively more unique, more valuable, and earn more loyalty from their audiences in order to maintain or grow their presences.”- Rand Fishkin, Moz
Step 2: A Perfect Social Media Marketing Strategy Starts With Perfect Content
Different kinds of content performs effectively in different stages
For the first stage you need content that’s eye-catchy, super-fun, and on a topic that your target audience relate to.
- Video Marketing Strategies:
‘Video is the most versatile marketing medium of them all. Don’t let people tell you it’s ‘good for top of funnel’ or ‘just for case studies’. Used well, video is great at just about anything: long, technical explainers or short, emotional heartstring-pullers. – Doug Kessler, Co-founder & Creative Director of Velocity
Video is important. We get it.
But what kind of videos work best at the top of the funnel?
- How-to videos, either long or short, similar to Buzzfeed’s tasty videos.
- Animated videos
- Brand films like Kate Spade’s miss-adventure
- Videos arousing extreme emotion like Dove’s beauty video
- Funny videos
- Storytelling films, like Allstate’s #ItsNotJustStuff video
- Explainer/tutorial videos
- Interesting 360 degree videos
A great example of Volvo trucks ft Van Damme.
Read this post to find out everything you need to know about different video types and match what’s right for your social strategy
Looking for an easy way to add video to your social media strategy?
One way to do this is to break videos into shorter ones for social media.
Cross promote these videos on all your social platforms.
Still intimidated by video content? No problem.
Another great way to get started with video social media marketing is to repurpose your other content and turn it into a video. For example take a recent blog post (like this one) and turn it into a video. Then chop that up into even smaller clips for social.
- Post Types that Match Your Strategy
Now, what kind of content should you post on social media to attract potential customers?
Creating the wrong content (too pushy, too information, or too brand-centric) can easily alienate people at this stage.
A good strategy should include these types of social posts:
- Interactive content like quizzes
- Quotes/stats/tips and tricks with a longer explanation and a CTA in your caption
- Selfies and other content that shows your human side and puts a face to a name
- Short DIY or tutorial videos
- Share blog posts that are super-informative or long guides that provides solution to their pain points
- Share your brand story
- User-generated content (UGC)
- Run giveaways and contests to further garner interest
- Gush about your favorite influencers (that you know your audience follow, too) to build trust and relationship
At this point all your CTA’s for paid ads and social media content should be ‘Learn More’, sign up for your webinars and podcasts, etc. and direct them to a place where they can read or watch more about your brand. You should just focus on providing as much value as possible, and not worry about converting them.
Step 3: Hang out with the popular kids on Facebook and Instagram
Even your mom knows that you are who you surround yourself with.
Same goes for your social media marketing strategy.
Join social media groups related to your niche on social media. Facebook and LinkedIn groups can be super useful at promoting your brand (subtly, of course) and researching more about your target audience.
Once you gain a little momentum, you can create a group of your own and invite your followers. Post content outlined above in the first stage.
Here’s a great article help you get started with social groups.
You can then use this group throughout your funnel journey and prime, engage, and convert customers through it. It works amazingly in each stage.
Step 4: Target them strategically through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube ads
Social media platforms organic reach is no longer what it initially was. Buzzsumo reports that Facebook posts from brand pages saw a 20% decline in engagement since the start of this year.
So you need to take help of paid ads to reach out to the right people with the right content. You’re trying to attract a broad range of people who don’t know you but could be interested in what you have to offer.
The goal of your ads should be to generate interest and tell the audience more about your brand. Use minimal text in your ads and highlight your brand logo. Highlight their pain points. This stage is all about convincing your audience that they have a problem they need to solve.
And constantly test your ads. Test and tweak. Test and re-tweak.
Video ads would work great in this stage for all social media platforms. Canvas ads are great, too. For Facebook, you can also use dynamic and carousel ads.
Test each element of your ad to figure out which is working best at driving awareness.
Step 5: Collaborate with other brands and use influencer marketing as part of their strategy
Influencer marketing is so hot right now, and for good reason. It works.
On average, businesses generate $6.50 for every $1 invested in influencer marketing.
There are two ways you can use influencers in this stage.
- You can broach influencers or brands that are just a touch bigger than you and collaborate on YouTube videos, live videos on IG and Facebook, and even other forms of social content together.
Try The World’s collab with popular YouTuber Missy Lanning went viral and got over 500,000 views.
- You can create amazing content and reach out to influencers in your niche. Send them an email or a DM, and ask them to promote your content.
Let’s take the example of Golf Shoe company we discussed earlier. They’d want to reach out to large FB & IG pages related to golf and ask them to share. Large pages may charge for this, but if the video is good enough it will get reshared and maybe even other large pages will pick it up.
Stage 2: Consideration [Strategies + Templates]
Now we’re on to the next step. Your customers-to-be are aware they have problem and they’re considering different solutions for it. They’re also intrigued by your content.
59% of Americans with social media accounts think that customer service through social media has made it easier to get questions answered and issues resolved.
For example, if you have a fashion boutique, by this stage you’ve managed to entertain your audience through fun, educational, and niche-specific content (a great example is Kate Spade’s misadventure series), and reawakened the shopping monster inside them.
You’ve managed to convince them that they don’t have enough clothes in their wardrobe and they absolutely need new tops and skirts.
Now, in this stage, you need to show them different outfit combos that work well together, produce video and blog content on styling better (what works for petite girls, what looks good on an hourglass frame, and so on).
Build their trust. Give them useful content. Show them you’re an expert. Nurture these leads.
And build and monitor purchase intent of them. Guide them slowly and steadily towards the third stage. Start turning them into subscribers and followers.
What kind of content should you create in this stage?
As discussed previously, videos should be a crucial part of your marketing strategy. There’s a reason why almost 60% of marketing professionals worldwide name video with the best ROI.
In this stage, create educational videos; videos that provide solutions to their problems.
- Q and A; where you answer your audience’s burning questions.
- Live sessions; where you encourage followers to participate and engage with you.
- Interviews with influencers.
- Product demo videos, which is more educational and less salesy.
- BTS video; to present your brand’s human side in front of your audience.
- Case studies; focus on making them more educational and fun, rather than salesy and slimy.
- FAQ videos.
- Benefit-driven videos; address your audience’s problem and give them solutions for it (while sneakily mentioning your brand). As opposed to features-driven videos, where you drone on and on about your product’s technical features.
You can host these videos on YouTube, Vimeo, or your website. But don’t forget to chop them up and upload them on social media, too, adhering to a proper schedule.
Other social media posts that you should create at this stage include:
- Product updates.
- BTS pictures/videos and live posts.
- Conduct informational and interactive webinars.
- Picture posts with tips and tricks.
- Memes discussing your audience’s main problem related to your niche.
- Create information blog posts and add lead magnets to increase subscribers. Promote them on social media as it is, or take out snippets and tweet them.
Your CTA’s should encourage people to become your subscribers, follow you on social media, attend your webinars, listen to your podcasts, and basically follow your brand everywhere.
What kind of paid social ads should you invest in?
In MOFU, focus heavily on remarketing. Remarketing allows you to target visitors on social media (and elsewhere), who’ve visited your website with buying (or, virtual window shopping) intent. Not only is it a great way to pop up frequently in front of your consumers-to-be on social media, but it also has several other awesome benefits. It,
- Has better conversion rates
- Allows precise targeting
- Low Cost per Impression
PRO TIP: use Facebook retargeting to get a better return on ad spend.
Stage 3: Decision [Strategies + Templates]
You start this journey with a huge audience. You target anyone who (even slightly) might be interested in your product/service. Then you start filtering them through targeted content, paid ads and the works. As you go down the funnel, you’re further narrowing down your target audience, till you’ve finally got leads that are primed and ready to hit the ‘Buy Now’ button.
All they need is a little nudge.
You will have some people unsubscribe. You may even have people complain. But that’s okay. You only want people in your list who are great prospective customers. – says Gini Dietrich, founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich.
And this is how you provide that little nudge through social media.
Lots and lots of incentives
Research shows that 66% of people subscribe to brands on social media to receive discounts or product samples.
Discounts, free trials, free samples, a certain % off on first order, free shipping, 12 month subscription for the price of 8 are all great tactics at convincing people to take the plunge, so give them an offer they can’t resist.
Your audience will tire very quickly of you if you’re just saying “Buy our stuff” over and over again. But if you can give them a specific reason why you are telling them this NOW, they will be more receptive. E.g. “Get 25% off your first order through 2018.”
Hard-selling video content – always a good plan
Now you’re in the hard-selling mode. Don’t be afraid to bring out the sales-iest, slimiest salesman inside you and convince almost-buyers to become buyers-for-life.
73% more visitors who watch product videos will buy.
So start creating:
- Demo videos,
- Customer review videos,
- Video testimonials and case studies,
- Brand culture videos
- Webinars with live product demonstrations
Be creative. Think out of the box. Don’t just sit in front of a shaky mobile phone and shoot a crappy quality video. According to a Brightcove survey, 62% of consumers are more likely to have a negative perception of businesses that publish poor-quality videos.
Create something wonderful like this.
Address buying hesitations, strategically
Research this extensively as it is an important part of any good social media marketing strategy that converts.
Find out why people are not choosing to buy from you. Offer them incentives to get their answers. Survey folks via email or get them on phone.
Once you have a list of buying hesitations, address them through social media. Come on live on FB and IG, run discussion threads on social media, create short bite-sized videos addressing each hesitation and promote them on social media.
Here’s an epic video by Dollar Shave Club to brighten up your day and inspire you.
Annihilate all their doubts through carefully crafted, and heavily researched counter-arguments. And then lead them to the checkout page with a strong CTA.
Paid social ads strategy
Create highly personalized social video ads that address buyer hesitations, show convincing testimonials and case studies, show product demos and add a strong CTA to send viewers to ‘pricing’ and ‘buy now’ landing pages.
Pinpoint your buyers’ pains and desires exactly . Highlight their buying hesitations. Keep remarketing and retargeting people who bounce off of your buying pages.
Social Media is Always Changing
Your Marketing Strategy Should Too
Your goal isn’t to just capture qualified leads, but to retain these leads for life.
So create a leads retaining marketing strategy and keep your loyal customers up-to-date through frequent social media updates. Start an incentive-heavy social campaign for loyal customers. Turn them into returning customers.