How to Develop a Successful Social Media Strategy

Building Your Social Media Marketing Strategy for 2021 | Sprout Social

When it comes to making a purchase, 75% of consumers will opt for a company they have previously liked on social media. With statistics like this, it is impossible to ignore the potential that social media has to transform your business. However, you can’t just post things willy-nilly and hope for the best; instead, you need to have a social media marketing strategy. In this post, we’ll take you through the process of creating one.

1. Define the outcomes you want to achieve

How to Develop a Successful Social Media Strategy

Your social media strategy needs to be linked to your company’s goals for it to have practical value for your business. For example, you may wish to expand awareness of your brand, improve online sales, increase ROI, get more customers visiting your bricks and mortar store or develop an audience of loyal followers.

When creating your social media strategy, you’ll need to decide what your objectives for it are and then set short-term goals that you know are achievable and affordable.

2. Know your audience

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Understanding your audience is the key to a successful social media marketing strategy. Luckily, your research can be made easier by using some of the many analytics tools. These can give you detailed insights into the audience demographics of the various social media platforms, showing you the best platforms to use and the types of content you should post.

Once established on a platform, you can drill down and analyse the demographic data of those who follow you. This can give you a much sharper understanding of those who actually see your content and how they interact with it.

3. Focus on metrics that count

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To work effectively, a social media marketing strategy should make effective use of the data it has available. However, some data is more valuable than others and you need to be selective about which metrics are going to benefit your company the most. Rather than focusing on likes and shares, it may be more useful to track the volume of users who see a post, the number of clicks-throughs your content gets, the rate of engagement (the ratio of interactions to impressions) and the sentiment of those interactions (emoji data). Overall, the metrics you choose to focus on should be able to help you understand how effectively you are achieving your outcomes.

4. Check out the competition

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Discovering what works for your competitors is a useful way to help you shape your own social media strategy. You can do this simply by following them and viewing their content or by using one of the many competitor analysis tools that are now available.

What you shouldn’t do is simply imitate what your competitors are doing. Instead, look at the most interacted with types of content which your competitors post, whether that’s video, images, text, or even user-generated content, and use these to inform the creation of your own, unique content.

5. Start working on your own content

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Only once you’ve set your goals, chosen your platforms, identified your key metrics and checked out how others do things well, are you ready to start creating the content to publish yourself.

There are several considerations you need to take into account here. Firstly, you’ll need to make decisions about what to publish. This will depend on the platform you have chosen, the preferences of your audience and your budget.

Video is one of the most liked and shared mediums on all social platforms, however, creating it professionally can be very costly. User-generated content, which can be created using a brand hashtag, is not only very popular, it’s often unique and saves you having to create so much content of your own – and because it’s user-generated, it can be forgiven for not being so professional. Visually stunning images have always been popular on social media and these are also useful for getting customers to click through to other content, such as blog posts or promotions on your website. Aside from the format, you must also consider what messages to post. If you over-focus on selling products, users can lose interest – almost half of users are likely to unfollow a brand whose content is consistently trying to sell them things. Instead, post on a wider range of engaging, relevant topics that promote your company without the hard sell.

6. Get the timings right

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Timing is crucial to the success of your social media marketing strategy – and in a number of ways. First of all, followers will expect to see you post regularly and consistently. Not just on Tuesdays, but every Tuesday. It’s like in the old days when we used to get our favourite magazine delivered on a certain day – we looked forward to it arriving and were disappointed if it didn’t. Lack of consistency can make you lose followers.

Users will also expect you to respond to their comments or questions quickly, which is important if you want to develop meaningful relationships and networks, and essential if you are using social media for customer service. The speed of your response speaks volumes about your commitment to your audience and quick replies are a big plus for social media brand building.

Another important consideration is the time you actually post a message. Post it at the wrong time and many of your audience might be offline. By the time they are online again, it could have disappeared into the abyss of their feed, never to be seen. Luckily, you can use tools that will allow you to schedule when your posts are published so that they can be sent out at the most effective times of the day.

7. Go back and check the metrics

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Finally, you should always keep an eye on your social media strategy data to see which things worked well and which things didn’t. This will stop you wasting time, effort and money on ineffective ideas and inform you which of your creatives are getting the most traction with your users. The more data you have, the better informed you will be.


As you can see, the process of setting up a social media marketing strategy requires forward planning and research. You’ll need to set goals, research the different platforms and their audiences, figure out the most important metrics to focus on and research your competitors before you start. Only then will you be in a position to create the right content, work out the best times to post and how quickly to respond. And remember to track the progress of your strategy throughout your campaign.

In 2020, keep an eye on these five social media trends.

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No communication channel is quite as fluid as social media. It is always evolving, continually influenced by its billions of users, and still learning the errors of its ways. It does, however, present businesses with the potential to reach out and engage with vast audiences. To take full advantage, it is always important to keep a close eye on the trends and developments that reshape the social media landscape. With this in mind, this post will look at the main trends predicted for 2020.

1. Video becomes users’ first choice format

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If you are not already posting videos on your social media accounts, now might be the time to reconsider. Video is by far the most popular form of social media content and its highly engaging format makes it ideal for reaching out to large numbers of users. It is also on a rising trend that businesses shouldn’t ignore.

Indeed, video has become so popular that YouTube now ranks second amongst the search engines, only outperformed by its owner, Google. Add this to the fact that, by next year, the format will account for three quarters of all mobile traffic and it’s obvious just how crucial it is for brands which use social media to start making their own – even if it is only short, in-house productions filmed and edited on a smartphone.

2. The rise of video-sharing platforms

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It’s not just video as a format that’s trending, but also video-sharing apps. While YouTube has been the dominant video-sharing platform for many years and looks likely to remain there, other video apps and networks are becoming increasingly popular and offer plenty of rewards for companies which find value in using them.

Instagram, which started out primarily as a photo-sharing app has now become increasingly video orientated, even ranking videos higher than other forms of content. This shift in emphasis has led to a huge rise in the platform’s popularity. According to, it is now the 2nd biggest global social media channel and has over a billion monthly active users.

There is also a growing number of highly popular niche video channels that offer marketing potential. TikTok, for example, is an app used for creating and sharing short videos, with three quarters of a billion monthly active users, most of them millennials and younger. Vimeo is another very popular video network with a similar demographic.

3. A more caring social media

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Social media can have its downsides and these come in the form of internet addiction, trolling and online bullying. The mental health issues and even suicides that result has led to increasing concern about the subject. In response, many users are spending less time on social networks; some, including a few well known public figures, have even abandoned it completely.

In 2020, any brand that posts on social media needs to be more accountable for its impact. Some companies are already making significant changes, posting less frequently and with content that is less likely to spark unhealthy disagreements between commenters. Instead of encouraging audiences to do more things online, they are, instead, trying to get them to participate more in real life – as was done by ITV’s Get Britain Talking campaign.

4. Liking is likely to go

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The liking of posts is another area that has come under scrutiny for its impact on mental health. This is because when posts stop being liked, it can lead to low self-esteem and all the problems that go with it.

In order to tackle this issue, Instagram is testing the removal of its liking features and its owner, Facebook is trialling the removal too. If likes disappear, they can no longer be used as a ranking criterion, and other forms of social engagement will take precedence, such as how many commenters and comments a post gets and how many times it gets shared. In 2020, the trend will be to produce more sharable and comment-worthy content (another reason to use video) and to find ways to encourage users to comment and share – something YouTube vloggers have been doing explicitly for years.

5. Social media for customer service

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Chatbots have been a common feature of business websites for a few years now but in 2020, we’ll see their increasing use on social media. These clever AI programs are designed to engage automatically when messages are received, giving users the confidence that your company is dealing immediately with their query.

Using machine learning, they respond to the keywords within questions to give the most appropriate responses and, as a result, help companies communicate with more customers, more efficiently, than they can with a human-only team. Next year, as chatbots are set to become the primary solution for customer service communication, expect to see even more companies using social media as the place to carry this out.


2020 promises to be a busy and exciting year in social media. We will see more video content, with businesses seeking out the growing number of niche video sharing networks. Demands for a more responsible internet will change how companies interact with their audiences, while the need for comments and sharing will push them to find better ways to engage. Finally, expect to see more brands using social media as the place to carry out customer service, relying heavily on chatbots to undertake many of the interactions.

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