Social media is an essential part of a strong digital marketing strategy.
Since the early 2000s, social media has been a forum for community engagement and a great way for marketers to reach audiences and build trust; it follows then, that a strong social strategy is essential for establishing a meaningful digital presence.
Social ad spending in 2023 is estimated to be about $83.72 billion USD. Influencer spending is also estimated to account for an additional $5.4 billion this year.
This massive marketplace can be hard to dive into, especially as it continues to become crowded with competing brands. Knowing how to stand out, while engaging with audiences is crucial.
The first thing to note is that there are two main ways to engage with users on social media:
Paid social refers to ads created for social media sites. These can be video ads that play on platforms like TikTok and Instagram or banner ads that appear on Pinterest or Facebook. Each platform also has their own formats and capabilities. It’s worth noting that the formats of ads are frequently changing as social networks update parameters.
Organic social posts:
Social posts are another great way to engage with audiences online. By creating and sharing content on social media, marketers can speak directly to their target audience, building trust and fostering relationships. They can count on an audience of engaged followers as it is made up of users who choose to follow their brand and want to see content directly from them.
The second thing to note is that whether engaging audiences through paid social or social posts, marketers are engaging with users on their terms, in their space.
Social media networks are the realm of social media users, and ads and brand posts can feel like an interruption if they are not created with the intended platform and space in mind. The same way a television ad needs to consider its audience’s desires, so does a social strategy. Effective social media posts and ads fit into the digital space seamlessly.
Using trends to bolster your social strategy
Following trends is an effective way to create impactful content for social media. By understanding the behavior, humor, and language a target audience uses online, marketers can make posts that fit the mold and attract engagement.
Social media posts do best when they don’t interrupt a user’s feed, but rather fit into it. This builds a sense of trust by making your brand feel more like a friend and less like an outsider.
This isn’t to say that posts shouldn’t stand out. There is a balance to be struck between fitting in and making a statement. The best engagement comes from posts that hit the sweet spot in between.
Trends are also important to understand when building paid social campaigns. Ads that are too interruptive are less likely to be engaged with by audiences in an oversaturated market, like those online. A good paid social ad strikes a similar balance as social posts, blending in with existing trends while standing out from the competition.
Understanding algorithms’ impact on social strategy
Social media algorithms determine who sees your social posts and when. This means that understanding how algorithms work on a given network is important when building out a social strategy.
The trick is these algorithms are constantly changing. Like trends, which evolve as users grow and change, algorithms change too. Social networks update these decision making equations in order to create an environment that appeals to their users, and since user behavior changes over time, so do algorithms.
Luckily, there are many industry specialists who track these changes. The Social Media Examiner, for instance, recently put out their report on how the Instagram Algorithm Works in 2023. By keeping up to date with how algorithms work, marketers stand a better chance of having their work seen and building meaningful engagement.
Putting your persona first
Like with all marketing, your persona should be at the center of your strategy. Every social media network targets a different demographic or fills a different purpose. By understanding how a network’s target audience intersects with yours, you are better able to delegate your efforts.
For instance, commerce efforts on social media are best made when targeting millennials and Gen Z.
Marketers should choose which platforms are the best fit for their brand and spend their resources accordingly. Likewise, when using multiple platforms, marketers should create tailored content in order to more effectively communicate with their audience.
By creating individual content for each platform, rather than copy-and-pasting from site to site, marketers can build their strategy around their persona in order to more effectively foster engagement.
Social media is a continually changing landscape. By continually conducting research and by paying attention to social trends, marketers can build a social strategy that effectively communicates with their audiences and fosters meaningful engagement.