What should you include in your social media strategy for organic growth in the new year?
In this guide, I’ll go over some of the most important strategies that will help you grow your business as we enter 2021 and exit a pandemic.
I’ll also walk you through a hypothetical about how a new company can develop a successful social media marketing program.
We’re Going Organic Here (Primarily)
For starters, let me make one thing clear: for the most part, this guide covers organic social strategies.
If you’re new to this digital marketing thing, then you might not even know what that means.
Organic strategies cover ways that you can reach people in your market without paying for advertisements. So if you’re running ads, that’s not organic.
We call advertising campaigns paid strategies in this business.
I’ll touch on a few paid strategies here, but they’re not cost-per-acquisition strategies. They’re more focused on building brand name awareness.
Meet Green Cali
I promised above that I’ll walk you through a hypothetical scenario about how a startup can get busy on social media. Now I’ll deliver.
The fictitious company is called Green Cali. It’s a small business that sells shortboard surfboards in California (my own stomping grounds).
It’s also a company that lives up to its name. Green Cali is environmentally conscious.
So how would a struggling startup in this challenging economy launch a successful social media strategy?
For the answer to that question, read on.
It starts with creating personas.
What are personas? They’re fictional representations of people in your target market.
In the example of Green Cali, one persona would look like this:
- 18-25 year-old male
- College student
- Lives in southern California
- Loves surfing more than life itself
- Environmental activist
Keep in mind: that’s just one example of a persona for Green Cali. There are many more.
Another persona for Green Cali: somebody like me.
I’m 37 years old. I love surfing. I live in California.
Next up: gathering demographics on people in Green Cali’s target market.
I’m a surfer so I know that the market leans more towards men than women. I’d say 70-80% of potential customers are male.
And then we get into their age range: 13-49 years old. Primarily.
But they also need to live in coastal communities.
Sure, you’ll find folks who live far away from the beach that are surfing enthusiasts. But there aren’t many.
And should you really try to market to those folks right out of the gate as a new startup? No, you shouldn’t.
Better stick with the high percentage shot.
Pondering the Platforms
Which online hangouts do potential customers of Green Cali prefer?
They like three social media sites: YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. So the company should focus its social media strategies on those channels.
This is a good time to remember that not all social media platforms are for all audiences. LinkedIn, for example, is geared towards B2B marketing.
Twitter, on the other hand, is a microblogging service that enables people to express their thoughts in short soundbites. It’s a great place to go if you’re trying to score a quick win with a brief message.
So what kind of content should Green Cali post on social media?
How about videos of wipeouts?
Sure, that might seem strange if you’re a non-surfer. But some of those wipe-out scenes can easily go viral. That generates more buzz about the brand.
Another option: surf lessons. Yes, people can learn a thing or two about surfing by watching a quality instructor on video.
Green Cali could also post top surfing clips. That will raise engagement.
The company can also post info about surf-related products. Surfers need more than just a board, after all.
If Green Cali wants to bust out of the organic shell, it could even sponsor influencers at different locations. I’ll cover that more in a bit.
Creating an Editorial Calendar
Now that Green Cali has plenty of ideas for content, what’s next?
An editorial calendar. That’s what’s next.
What’s an editorial calendar? It’s a plan that covers future posts on social media.
For example, the company might plan to post a wipe-out video on Dec. 1. Then a surfing clip from Hawaii on Dec. 2. Then an instruction video on Dec. 3. And so on.
The idea is to publish five posts per week.
The Weekly Campaign
Next, the company needs to develop a weekly campaign.
A weekly campaign consists of something like a picture of the week.
What kind of photo? Something like an awesome trick a person did on a surfboard, an environmental shot, or a photo of somebody helping clean up a polluted beach.
Then, for the weekly campaign, Green Cali can run it through an app like Woobox. That’s a contest platform for social media.
In this case, the company can structure the campaign so that every submission has a chance to win a surfboard.
Also, for every submission, Green Cali could donate $10 to some beach-cleaning activity. Once that fundraising hits a certain number, the company pays for somebody to go to the beach and help clean it up.
So not only do people get engaged because they want to share photos, they also get engaged because they can win a surfboard.
But beyond that, people are also getting engaged because they care about the environment. That’s right in line with the mission of Green Cali.
The Quarterly Campaign
Green Cali needs more than just a weekly campaign. The company needs a quarterly campaign as well.
This is where Green Cali needs to go big or go home.
Also, this is where the people who entered the weekly pic contest could actually win that coveted surfboard.
The company can run one of these campaigns for each season of the year: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter.
Strategy Per Network
As I mentioned, not all social media channels are created equal. That’s why, in this beginner’s class on social media marketing strategy, I’ll cover network-specific campaigns.
For example, it might be better to post on YouTube in the afternoon while it’s preferable to post on Instagram in the morning.
But how does Green Cali know that info? Truth be told, it probably doesn’t.
There are as many studies highlighting the best times to post on specific social media channels as there are stars in the sky. And they don’t all agree with one another.
Green Cali should just grab a tool like SproutSocial that schedules posts for when they’re most likely to get engagements.
Also, the company can check its own analytics to determine the best times to post.
There’s little doubt in the business community that people who set goals tend to outperform those who don’t. That’s why Green Cali should set goals with its social media strategy.
For example, the company might set a goal to gain 5,000 new subscribers on its YouTube channel every quarter. Or add 100,000 new Instagram followers the first year.
Green Cali can also set goals regarding engagement rates, likes, shares, and comments.
After following its social media strategy for some time, Green Cali might post a video that goes viral. If so, the company can take steps to make that post even more popular.
How so? By spending money on it.
Green Cali can pay social media sites to show posts and videos to people in its target market even if they don’t follow the company’s account or subscribe to its YouTube channel.
It’s an investment that will build brand-name awareness. And Green Cali will likely land more followers and subscribers.
Also: remember that the platforms use finicky algorithms to determine who sees what. So even if Green Cali accumulates a large following on Instagram, its posts might not appear to all followers.
The company can change that by making an investment.
Developing an Influencer Strategy
As I alluded to earlier, Green Cali can use influencer marketing to reach people.
One way the company can do that is by sending gifts to local rippers with a healthy online following.
So, for example, if Green Cali wants to get into the San Diego market, it could reach out to amazing surfers in that area and send them gifts on a consistent basis with a message like: “Hey, would you mind giving us a shout-out on your social media?”
They’ll do that about 90% of the time.
Wrapping It Up
So there you have it: a great social media marketing strategy for a hypothetical startup entering the new year.
Even if you’re not running a surf shop, you can still follow the principles I suggested here for your own business. They’ll help you boost online visibility, generate buzz, and eventually land more sales.
So why not get started today?