How to create a social media marketing strategy + 3 examples

Khoros Staff

Social media has undeniably become an influential aspect of modern life, revolutionizing how people connect and communicate with one another. So, it’s hardly surprising that there are 4.6 billion active social media users on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), and TikTok, with the average user spending 2.27 hours a day on social media.

However, social media isn’t just for friends and families to connect. These platforms are also a viable way for businesses to engage with consumers. In this digital age, businesses need a social media presence to attract customers, build brand loyalty, and more.

In this guide, we’ll explain what social media marketing is, break down why you need a social media marketing strategy, and discuss some social media best practices you can follow to leverage the immense potential of these platforms for your business.

SMM for enterprises

What is social media marketing?

Social media marketing involves using social media platforms to promote your business and its products or services. You might turn to Facebook, Instagram, X, or even LinkedIn to connect with your target audience.

However, there’s no single way to do social media marketing. For some companies, social media marketing means creating and distributing a calculated product launch via social media posts. For others, it also involves regular interactions via comments and messages or carefully crafted content that tells the brand’s story and showcases its values.

Not only can you increase the public’s awareness of your brand and cultivate engaged communities by using social media marketing, but you can also gain a better understanding of how people feel about your company, provide top-tier customer service, and ultimately drive more conversions for your business.

What is a social media marketing strategy and why does your business need one?

A social media marketing strategy is a carefully planned approach that outlines how your business will use social media platforms to achieve its marketing and business objectives. It involves setting clear goals, defining your target audience, selecting the appropriate social media channels, creating and scheduling content, and analyzing the results to continuously refine your approach.

Creating a solid social media marketing plan can bring lots of benefits to your business. More specifically, a social media marketing strategy can improve brand awareness, drive website traffic, generate leads, boost sales, build brand loyalty, and so much more.

Now that we understand what a social media marketing strategy is, let’s dive into the steps your business can start taking today to harness the power of social media effectively:

1. Create your goals and KPIs

Your business is unique—and it deserves a social media marketing strategy that reflects that. You need to think deeply about your company to create your own goals and KPIs. After all, a large business that has served generations of customers will have different goals than a smaller startup. As a result, each business will measure their success differently and pay attention to different metrics.

Typical goals can include:

  • Increase awareness of your brand: Getting your brand’s name out there isn’t easy, but social media can help. Many consumers follow brands primarily to stay informed about their latest products or services, making it a powerful platform for achieving this goal.

  • Drive traffic to your website: It's not always easy to get people to check out your website, but social media can be a real game-changer. Whether you're selling a product or providing a service, social media can significantly amplify your online presence and reach a broader audience.

  • Generate conversions and leads: Companies also use social media to generate conversions and leads. By letting potential customers know about your products, services, new offerings, and current promotions, you can encourage them to make purchases in your store, online, or even straight through social media.

  • Provide another avenue for customer service: With social media making it easier to get in touch with brands, it’s hardly surprising many organizations are turning to social media customer service to resolve issues faster and with more personalization.

However, simply declaring your goals isn’t enough. You also need a way to measure your progress—and that requires key performance indicators (KPIs). By tracking these metrics you can understand what’s working and pivot when something isn’t driving results as hoped.

Common social media marketing KPIs include:

  • Followers: This can tell you that your content is engaging enough for people to click the follow button. If your goal is to grow your brand, tracking your number of followers can help you determine your progress.

  • Impressions: Impressions, or the number of times your content is displayed to users, can signal how well promotional efforts are going.

  • Likes: Tracking the number of likes you receive can provide some insight into how your content is landing with viewers.

  • Clicks: By tracking the number of clicks on your content or account, you can better understand what types of content makes your audience curious enough to click and what types of content drives people to make purchases.

  • Reply time: Many consumers use social media to reach out directly to companies, so your team needs to stay on top of all customer messages. Aim for short reply times.

  • Brand mentions: If you track brand mentions, you’ll know exactly how many times your company is mentioned in posts and comments, even if your account isn’t directly tagged.

These are only just a few of the metrics you can track. Check out our social media metrics guidefor a more in-depth look into the different ways you can gauge your performance online.

2. Know your audience

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to create a successful social media marketing plan if you don’t know who you’re marketing to. That’s why you need to have a deep understanding of your audience demographics.

In order to do so, you’ll need to define your target audience to create impactful messaging and content for your social media marketing plan. More specifically, you’ll want to create buyer personas, or profiles representative of your audience—and that starts with paying attention to different demographics, including:

  • Gen Z: Gen Z is coming into their own, holding 40% of global consumer shopping and gaining more buying power with each passing year. However, their spending habits differ from previous generations. They conduct research via smart devices, appreciate customer care, and value authenticity over celebrity. So, marketing to Gen Z on social media has a massive potential return on investment.

  • Millennials: Millennials are also frequent social media users, though they aren’t hitting the platforms as often as their younger counterparts. Still, this generation is the largest adult population in the U.S. and is the most powerful spending generation. When it comes to their spending habits, Millennials enjoy the comfort of online shopping, value experiences over possessions, and love subscription services and sustainability.

  • Gen X: With 51% of Gen Xers having purchased at least one item via social media and over half saying they purchased an item after seeing it advertised on social media, this generation still presents plenty of opportunities for companies.

Once you’ve thought about the age of your intended audience, you’ll want to consider additional defining traits, such as gender, income, occupation, interests, and hobbies.

3. Conduct an analysis of your competitors

It’s a competitive world out there, but you can’t beat the competition if you don’t know who they are and what they’re doing. That’s why you should conduct a competitor analysis to level up your social media marketing plan.

Research industry terms, valuable keywords, and relevant phrases to see which competitors appear. Then, explore their social channels. Review their messaging, post frequency, content, hashtags, and the ways they engage with followers. You can then apply that knowledge to optimize your own social media marketing strategy.

4. Choose the right platforms for your brand

When it comes to how to market on social media, there’s no single way to do it — and there are a variety of platforms to choose from. However, no matter which you choose, it’s a good idea to get verified, as this can instantly increase consumer trust.

Social media platforms worth considering include:

  • Facebook: Facebook is one of the oldest and largest social media platforms, and it’s still around with nearly 3 billion users for a reason. With Facebook, you can leverage its incredible ad platform, connect through video, and even take advantage of the chatbot functionality to level up your social media customer service and marketing campaigns. It’s also incredibly useful for brick-and-mortar businesses. If you want to target local customers, you can allow reviews and check-ins to get the word out about your business.

  • Instagram: With over 3 billion active global users and an anticipated increase of 1.4 billion users in 2024, Instagram is another excellent platform for your social media marketing strategy. This platform is heavily centered around visual content, meaning you need eye-catching photos, graphics, or videos to succeed. It’s particularly popular with younger generations and is a wonderful place to connect with influencers or showcase your products - and the addition of in-app shopping makes Instagram all the more appealing to brands.

  • X: X (formerly Twitter) is more straightforward than Facebook or Instagram and requires minimal setup. It’s more conversational than some other platforms, making X great for providing top-tier customer service. You can use hashtags to help users discover your content—and you’ll be marketing to a large group, as there are over half a billion monthly monetizable active X users, with people spending 31 minutes on the platform on average.

  • TikTok: TikTok is a relatively new platform, but it has already taken off. It’s among the fastest growing social media platforms and is ideal for video content and influencer collaborations. In fact, 78% of users have purchased a product after watching a video from a TikTok creator. With TikTok, you’ll enjoy a hyper-personalized algorithm that puts relevant content in front of users. In 2023, TikTok was ranked second (behind Instagram) as the platform with the largest potential to grow businesses’ audiences, and it has been proven to cause 73% of users to feel a deeper connection to the brands they interact with compared to other platforms.

  • LinkedIn: While Facebook, Instagram, X, and TikTok are well suited for everyday, casual content, LinkedIn is geared towards professionals and ideal for networking and keeping up with business trends. 4 out of 5 users drive business decisions. As a result, it’s perfect for B2B companies.

When making your decision, remember to keep your target audience in mind. Concentrate your efforts on the platforms that align with your industry, goals, and target audience. If you’re targeting a large demographic, a thoughtful multi-channel approach can be highly effective in reaching a diverse audience.

5. Create a social media content calendar and post regularly

As with many things, a lot of success comes down to timing and persistence. So, you need to create a social media content calendar and schedule regular posts. This can help you stay on top of your day-to-day posting and campaigns.

For the best results, schedule posts at times for optimal engagement. Many sources recommend posting late in the evening, but it depends on your audience and the platform. Facebook’s global engagement is highest between 9 am and 1 pm. However, if your team isn’t online and ready to answer questions and engage, you might want to aim for a different time.

You also need to strike a balance between posting too much and too little. Too much may annoy your followers, but too little won’t give you the results you want and can make people question why they’re following you in the first place. As a general guideline, post to your Instagram feed three-seven times a week, Facebook one-two times a day, and LinkedIn and X one-five times a day.

When posting, you need to have the right mix of content. Try the eighty-twenty rule. Use 80% of your posts to educate, inform, or entertain your audience and 20% for direct promotion.

Or, use the rule of thirds. Dedicate one-third of your content to promoting your business and converting users, one-third to sharing content from industry thought leaders, and one-third to personally interacting with your followers.

6. Develop content that allows you to stand out

There are a lot of users on social media, which means there are also a lot of businesses. You need to differentiate your company by offering unique value and creating a memorable brand presence.

Let’s take a look at some examples of visually appealing, informative social media content to get some inspiration:

Social media post from New Balance with eye-catching imagery

  • Images: The right image can immediately draw someone’s attention, stopping them mid-scroll. This is especially true for visual-driven platforms like Instagram.

  • Videos: Videos are more popular than ever and have a high engagement rate. Consider creating TikToks or Instagram Reels—and keep it short. Short-form videos are 2.5 times more engaging than long-form videos.

  • Blog posts: Blog posts are a great way to provide readers with something of value and establish your brand as a thought leader. You can write about everything from the latest news in your industry to informational pieces on topics that your followers want to learn about.

  • Infographics: Infographics are both visually attractive and informative, making them particularly useful for social media. Avoid the temptation to add too much text.

Visually appealing pie chart showing a meal breakdown using real food to represent respective food groups

  • Collaborations: Partnering with other businesses or individuals can open up new opportunities and expand your reach. By joining forces, you can combine strengths, resources, and expertise to achieve mutual goals and create something exceptional that benefits both parties involved.

No matter what you post, pay attention to your tone. Whether you opt for a formal, informal, humorous, or serious tone, keep it consistent and make sure it showcases your brand’s personality.

7. When you start posting, leverage social media tools

The work doesn’t end after you’ve determined your audience, schedule, and content. You still need to post your content, track engagement, and analyze performance—and a social media marketing tool like Khoros can make all the difference.

This is because platforms like Khoros are designed to help marketers with publishing, engagement, listening, and analytics. Plus, best-in-class tools support many social media channels as well as paid and organic interactions, allowing you and your team to view and govern everything in a single location.

Tools like Khoros can also be powerful marketing tools for publishing and can help you schedule content across all your accounts and channels when needed. Plus, the global calendar will allow you to view all your scheduled ads and organic posts alongside valuable campaign and business context.

They can also make a big difference when it comes to engagement. With Khoros, you can manage your social campaigns and conversations in real time via a single dashboard, meaning you’ll never miss an opportunity to connect with your customers and can easily scale your interactions.

8. Engage with your audience

Building and nurturing strong connections with your audience is a multifaceted strategy that involves more than just posting content. It means actively participating in conversations, responding promptly to comments and inquiries, and genuinely interacting with your followers.

By nurturing connections in this way, you not only demonstrate your brand's accessibility and authenticity but also create a sense of community and belonging around your products or services. Engaging with your audience helps you gather valuable feedback, understand their needs and preferences, and ultimately build stronger, long-lasting relationships that can drive the success of your brand.

9. Use social media listening

Social media is a great way to get your voice heard, but it goes both ways. By engaging in social media listening or monitoring, you can see what people are saying about your brand, its products or services, and even your competitors. Using that information, you can create content that resonates better and drives engagement. You’ll also be able to see how your audience is perceiving your current content and can adapt your offerings and strategies to better suit their needs.

Engaging in social media listening will also go a long way towards helping you create deep and meaningful connections with your followers, which could pay off big time. Social media listening can also allow you to protect your brand, as you can quickly identify fraudulent accounts and even prepare for and react quickly to any social media mishaps or brand incidents.

You’ll want to listen for any brand mentions, complaints, compliments, industry developments, and relevant keywords and hashtags. You may also consider observing or joining discussion groups on Reddit, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google.

10. Monitor and analyze the performance of your content and accounts

Your social media marketing plan isn’t a one-and-done thing. Once you have created your accounts and started posting content, you need to regularly monitor and analyze their performance.

Schedule consistent times to review how your content and accounts are doing. This will allow you to gather metrics that can tell you whether your efforts are working as you had hoped or whether you need to fine tune your social media marketing strategy. Pay special attention to your previously established KPIs, but don’t be afraid to pivot if you realize those metrics don’t tell the entire picture.

11. Stay updated and continue to evolve

Social media is a fast, ever-evolving landscape. New updates are being constantly rolled out, and it seems like as soon as you get the hang of one algorithm, a new one takes its place. Newer generations are also coming into more buying power, meaning what worked before might not work now. On top of that, social media consumer trends are always fluctuating.

As a result, you need to keep up with the latest trends, updates, best practices, and algorithms. Your social media marketing plan shouldn’t be static. Instead, you should embrace change and regularly adjust your strategy to ensure you stay on track.

12. Evaluate and iterate

Similarly, you should reevaluate your strategy often, and test your posts, campaigns, and strategies. Instead of restarting your social media marketing plan from scratch, try making minor adjustments first and relying on the data to help you determine what your next steps should be.

If you find your current strategy isn’t aligning with your goals, use the data you have collected to drive your next campaign and then repeat the process. Through careful evaluation and multiple iterations, you can build a winning social media marketing plan.

Social media marketing strategy examples

1. Adidas

When it comes to effective social media marketing, Adidas provides an excellent example of a well-executed strategy. With a focus on engaging a global audience and promoting their athletic wear and lifestyle products, Adidas has developed a multifaceted approach to harnessing the power of social media.

Adidas aligns its brand with various social and environmental causes. For instance, they have campaigns promoting sustainability and inclusivity in sports. They emphasize their commitment to these causes, appealing to socially-conscious consumers.

The brand also encourages its customers to share their experiences with Adidas products using branded hashtags like #HereToCreate and encourage interactions in the comments. They regularly repost user-generated content on their official social media accounts, celebrating their community and showcasing real people enjoying their products. They also engage with the community by posing questions, such as the example below asking users about their favorite player of the 2023 Rugby World Cup:

Adidas social media post asking users about their favorite player of the 2023 Rugby World Cup

2. Target

Target has amassed millions of followers on social media thanks to its successful social media strategies. They encourage shoppers to share their finds using the hashtags #TargetFind and #TargetRun, which gets users excited about shopping at Target.

Target excels at creating timely and relevant content. They tailor their posts to reflect current seasons, holidays, and popular trends. For example, during the back-to-school season, Target shares content related to school supplies and dorm room essentials. During the holiday season, they highlight festive décor and gift ideas.

Target also uses a mixture of videos and photos and responds to many people’s comments. They post regularly but not overwhelmingly so, and their content is suitable for a wide range of audiences:

Target social media post showcasing holiday décor in a store

3. Dove

Dove, the renowned soap brand, has also harnessed the power of social media to engage and connect with its audience effectively. Their social media strategies focus on promoting self-confidence, body positivity, and their commitment to sustainable beauty.

Dove encourages its followers to share personal stories and experiences using hashtags like #RealBeauty and #ConfidenceIsBeautiful. These hashtags resonate with Dove's message of celebrating natural beauty and self-acceptance, fostering a sense of community among its audience.

Dove's social media content is empathetic and uplifting. They often share empowering stories and messages that align with their brand values. For instance, they may share testimonials from individuals who have benefited from Dove products or feature campaigns highlighting their commitment to sustainability and responsible sourcing:

Grid of Dove social media marketing posts

Create a social media marketing plan with Khoros

Building a successful social media presence takes significant time and effort, but if you use the right tools, stay patient and consistent, and are willing to adjust your approach based on the feedback and data you receive, your brand will reap the rewards. Not sure which tool to use? Khoros, a top-tier social media management solution, is here to help.

Khoros offers a wide variety of features, ranging from inbox moderation to in-depth reports. It’s secure, scalable, and offers a lasting return on investment, making it the perfect tool for improving your social media marketing strategy.

Ready to see what Khoros can do to level up your social media marketing efforts? Request a demo today!

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