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As the influence of social media rises, so does the opportunities it presents for marketing and promoting brands on social media. In fact, approximately 90% of young adults use social media to interact with their favourite brands and, far from dying down, that usage is only likely to increase, making having an effective social media marketing strategy absolutely crucial.
Read on to find out the elements you will need to create compelling and effective social media campaigns.

1. Create an Audience Persona

An effective social media campaign targets a specific audience and to understand that audience you will need to create an audience persona.
An audience persona examines your audience demographic, which includes their behaviour and interests, fears and needs; their goals and the challenges they face. Once you understand their goals and needs, you can better fulfil those needs.

2. Set Goals

You need clearly defined goals for your social media strategy so that you know what you are aiming for and what you are hoping to accomplish through it.
The primary goals for most social media marketing strategies are:
Building brand awareness
Getting web traffic and
Lead generation
You need to set clear goals and align them to metrics to be able to effectively measure the success of your campaign.

3. Budget

Once you’ve set your goals, you need to decide on the budget you can allocate to it. For an effective social media campaign, you will need to invest in:
Campaign content
Paid promotions
Social media managing tools
Community engagement efforts and
Analytics tools

4. Team-Building

If you’re a small business, you may not have the manpower internally to cover all the bases of your campaign, in which case it might be a good idea to outsource some of the work to freelancers.
There are also a variety of tools you can use that will help simplify the process.
Blog Aggregator Tools – Use a tool such as Feedly to assemble your blog feeds in one place and easily share the content with your audience.
Social Media Automation Tools – Using a tool like Hootsuite, you can schedule your posts to optimize them for maximum engagement, as well as analyse the results.
Social Following Tools – You can use a tool such as ManageFlitter to identify your target audience and follow them.

5. Research

Next you will need to do research for your campaign content and posting strategy. As your campaign will likely be a combination of your own content and sharing of others’ content, you will need to take the time to find that content and that is best accomplished with a tool such as Buzzsumo. It’s also important to take the time to identify what kind of content gets the best results and engagement from your target audience and on which platforms.
As far as a posting schedule goes, Hubspot says the best times to post on Facebook are:
Wednesday – 3:00 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays – 12:00- 1:00 p.m.
Thursday and Fridays – 1:00- 4:00 p.m.

6. Choose Your Platforms

As the average social media user maintains approximately 5 accounts on different platforms, you will need to reach them on at least a few of those. To decide on which platforms you want to use, consider your goals and each platform’s ability to reach those goals.The platforms you choose will also have to depend on which platforms your target audience spends the most time on.

7. Create Great Content

For your content to perform at an optimal level it should be:
Visual – Including images in your content makes it 40% more likely to be shared, liked or otherwise engaged with.
Emotional – Create content that people can relate to, connect with and get behind.
Useful – If your content is helpful and provides some kind of value to your audience, they are much more likely to share and promote it in turn.

8. Integrate With Your Larger Digital Strategy

Tracking tools like Google Analytics can help you determine which marketing channels are producing the best results. Using that data, you can determine how to integrate your social strategies with your larger digital strategy to market your brand effectively. Important marketing strategies to include are:
Content marketing
PPC and display advertising
Email marketing
Search engine marketing and
Offline marketing
When these strategies work together, they will turn leads into real sales and more customers.

9. Track Analytics

Tracking analytics gives you details of your campaigns; which strategies are working and which aren’t, which will enable you, in turn, to adjust and better your strategy. The way to measure the success of your campaign is to base it on 2 main factors, depending on your goals: engagement metrics (likes and shares) and website traffic.

In closing, a good social media strategy is an ongoing process. There isn’t a specific point where you have arrived. You will have to keep fine-tuning your strategy and adjusting to your audience, but it is well worth the results.