How to Do Social Media Marketing [3 Social Media Checklists]

Macy is a Content Writer at WebFX. With a Content Marketing Certification, she's an expert in crafting pieces filled with the facts about all things digital marketing. You'll find many of her pieces featured on UpCity's Top Digital Marketing Articles of the Week. When she isn't clacking her keys, she's wondering why her dog is so cute. Follow her on Twitter @iinfinitestorm.

Facebook has over 2.3 billion monthly users. Instagram has over 1 billion monthly users. Twitter has over 68 million monthly users.

When you see numbers like this, it’s easy to understand why so many businesses adopt social media marketing. Not only is it cost-efficient, but it gets you in front of audiences with billions of members. But how do you create and launch a social media marketing strategy?

We’ve curated three checklists to help you run a successful social media marketing campaign from start to finish. Keep reading to learn more about how to do social media marketing with our three checklists.

P.S. Want the latest tips and tricks for marketing on social and other platforms? Join 200,000 marketers by subscribing to Revenue Weekly!

How to do social media marketing: The pre-launch checklist

Before you start posting on social and engaging with your audience, you need to ensure that you have a few items in order. Here are some things you’ll want to establish before you start developing your social strategy:

[  ] Set your goals

Before you learn how to market on social media, you need to establish why you’re marketing on social media. What do you want to achieve by creating a social media marketing strategy?

Establishing this information upfront can help you create a social strategy that aligns with your goals. You can set many goals for your social campaign, like:

  1. Increase brand awareness
  2. Increase sales
  3. Increase form submissions/sign-ups
  4. Increase leads

Although it’s great to have these umbrella goals, you’ll want to be more specific.  It’s critical that your goals are SMART goals. SMART stands for:

  1. Specific: Your goals should be detailed and lay out precisely what you want to achieve with your social media strategy.
  2. Measurable: If you simply say “increase sales,” you won’t know if you ever achieve that goal.

    Instead, set specific goals like “increase sales by 15%,” so you can easily monitor your progress.

  3. Achievable: You don’t want to set your team up for failure. If you set a goal to see a 50% increase in sales when you’ve only been seeing a 10% increase month over month, you might be setting up your team for failure. Focus on goals that are challenging but doable.
  4. Relevant: Your goals should align with what your business wants to achieve and should be relevant to both your company and industry.
  5. Timely: Set deadlines for you to achieve goals, otherwise you’ll never know if you’re being productive and driving results.

    Whether it’s a week, month, or year, give your team a deadline so they can actively work to achieve your goals before the closing date.

SMART goals will set you up for success and help guide you when you create your social media strategy.

[  ] Know what metrics you want to monitor

Once you establish your social media goals, you can determine which metrics to monitor. You need to know what you’re tracking to prove you’re meeting your campaign goals. The metrics you track depend upon your goals. Here are some common metrics that companies monitor:

  1. Reach
  2. Clicks
  3. Engagement
  4. Likes
  5. Shares
  6. Conversions

So, for example, if your goal is to increase sales, you may focus on metrics like clicks and conversions.

For brand awareness, you may focus on likes, shares, and engagements.

[  ] Establish your target audience

Once you know what you want to achieve, the next step to marketing on social media is to establish your target audience. You need to know who’s interested in your products or services to have a successful campaign. Look at your current customers and establish common characteristics they share.

You’ll want to record information like:

  1. Demographics
  2. Occupation
  3. Income
  4. Buying habits
  5. Interests
  6. Hobbies
  7. Location

Once you have this information, you can form buyer personas. Buyer personas are fictional representations of your customers that enable you to know who to target with your products or services. Additionally, you’ll also want to establish your audience’s pain points.

You should know what problems they have and how your product or service helps that problem.

[  ] Conduct a competitor analysis

When you learn how to do social media marketing, you’ll find that knowing your competition’s strategy is a crucial component to success. To outperform your competition, you need to pay attention to their strategy. Bonus tip: It’s worth noting that you’ll want to look at competitors that are doing well, have a lot of post engagement, etc.

Taking a glimpse into your competition’s approach to social media marketing will help you gain an understanding of what your target audience is interested in, the post formats that they prefer, and more. This is all because you likely share the same target audience with your closest competition. A competitor analysis will help you gain insight into what your competition does and use it as inspiration to create a better campaign.

If you partner with WebFX for your social media services, you’ll get a social media competitive analysis included in your package. When you look at your competition, conduct a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for:

  1. Strengths: Establish what your competition does well and what makes them stand out from you and other competitors.
  2. Weaknesses: Determine where your competition falls flat — it could be anything from customer service to design.
  3. Opportunities: Look for opportunities where you could one-up your competitors — this could be a discontinued product or an extra charge for a service.
  4. Threats: Think of anything your competition does that could be a threat to your business, like lowering their prices or offering a product or service you don’t provide.

When you analyze your competition, don’t steal their ideas.

Use their ideas as inspiration for how you can conduct your social media campaign and what you can do better.

[  ] Create an aesthetic for your content

When you are marketing on social media, you need to have an aesthetic for your visual social media posts. Ensuring that all your visual posts have the same look increases brand awareness, so you’ll want to decide how you want to characterize your brand before you start posting. Your aesthetic should match your brand — for example, you can use your brand’s color scheme as inspiration for a filter that you use on all your photo posts.

Box Lunch is an excellent example of creating an aesthetic. When you look at their Instagram profile, you can see that the photos have a similar style and color tone to them. It helps create a cohesive appearance with their social strategy.

    When you establish your aesthetic, you create a more cohesive campaign for your social media strategy. You’ll help people get familiar with your brand and enable them to recognize your company when they see your content in their feed. In addition to the visual aesthetic, you also want to establish your brand’s tone and voice. Does your brand take a fun and silly approach to your message, or do you take a more serious tone when talking about your products or services?

Lego, for example, takes a fun approach with their brand’s tone.   So, when thinking about your brand’s aesthetic, think about how you want to convey your message to your audience.

[  ] Choose your platforms

When you develop your social media marketing strategy, you must decide which platforms to use. You don’t need to have a presence on every social media platform — generally, you want to stick to platforms where your audience spends their time.

Some popular platforms include:

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. Instagram
  4. Pinterest
  5. LinkedIn

When you know your target audience, you can look at the demographics for each platform to figure out where your audience is likely to spend their time. So, let’s say you’re trying to target people 18-29. Here are the percentages of people, in that group, on each platform, based on Pew Research’s data:

  1. Facebook: 79%
  2. Instagram: 67%
  3. LinkedIn: 28%
  4. Twitter: 38%
  5. Pinterest: 34%

So, based on this information, Facebook and Instagram would be the best platforms for reaching your target audience.

[  ] Decide if you want to use automation

When you launch your social media marketing strategy, you need to decide if you’re going to use automation. Automation can make your social media strategy easier to manage, especially if you’re posting on multiple platforms. You can use social media scheduling tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to help you manage your social media profiles.

These tools enable you to schedule content in advance, track your posts’ performance, and see what people say about your brand. If you think you want to use a social media automation program, sign up for the program before you launch your strategy so you can get familiar with the tool.

How to do social media marketing: The profile checklist

Now that you’ve completed everything on your pre-launch checklist, you can start setting up your profiles on social media. Here’s your profile checklist to ensure that you set up your profiles with everything you need:

[  ] Add your profile photo

When you set your profile photo, generally it should be your company’s logo.

Whether your audience sees your posts or visits your profile, they will see your profile photo next to your name. Choosing your logo for this profile photo enables you to build better brand recognition with your audience. They’ll get familiar with your business and recognize your company when they see your content in their feed.

So, for example, Victoria’s Secret Pink logo is a white dog on a pink background. To help build brand familiarity, they used this logo as their profile photo on Facebook.     If you’re using multiple social profiles, you want to use the same logo on all your profiles.

It makes your profiles consistent. You can see that Victoria’s Secret Pink uses the same logo on all their platforms.  

[  ] Set your cover photo (if applicable)

Depending upon the social site, you may need to add a cover photo to your profile.

You want to ensure that you’re choosing a cover photo that fits with your brand. Your cover photo can be another version of your logo, but you aren’t restricted to just your logo. You can upload a product photo or a collage of pictures.

If you’re using multiple social sites that have cover pages, make sure you use the same cover page for each one, like Lego does for their profiles.    

[  ] Create a bio

On every social media platform, you can create a bio for your business. The platform will determine the length of your bio.

On platforms like Facebook, you can have a longer bio section. On Twitter, however, you’ll want to keep it short. So, what information should you put in your bio?

There’s no right or wrong way to write your social profile bios. No matter what you choose to include, the tone and style should fit your brand. In this example, from Walmart, they chose to include their slogan and information to reach their customer support.

    Target, on the other hand, chose to do a fun play on Twitter’s 280-character limit in their Twitter bio.     You can take whatever approach fits your business best, but ensure that you fill out your bio on all your social platforms.

How to do social media marketing: The content checklist

Now that you’ve set up your profiles, it’s time to start posting! For guidance on how to have a successful social media strategy, check out this social media content checklist:

[  ] Post different types of content

When it comes to creating a content strategy for your social media campaign, you’ll want to consider different kinds of content.

If you don’t use a variety of content on your profile, your audience may get bored with your brand. The type of content you can post will depend on the platform. Some platforms are more focused than others, so they offer fewer content options.

Here’s a chart of some of the content you can post on each platform:

PlatformPhotosVideosLinks to ContentPollsText posts
FacebookXXXXX
TwitterXXXXX
InstagramXX
PinterestXXX
LinkedInXXXXX

Using a variety of content will help keep your strategy fresh while keeping your audience engaged. You’ll also appeal to people who like different types of content. Aside from the format, you can also keep your content interesting by posting about different topics related to your business.

If you own a clothing store and regularly post about your t-shirts, your audience will lose interest in your content. They want to hear about more than your t-shirts. Take Old Navy, for example.

While they’re using the same content format, each piece of content is different, which keeps it interesting. In one post, they talk about their jeans, followed by their fleece, and another about their fundraiser for Boys and Girls Clubs of America. This tactic is great for platforms like Instagram, where the content focuses solely on visuals.

You can keep your strategy engaging by posting about different topics related to your industry to keep your audience interested in your content.

[  ] Seek out user-generated content

When you learn how to market on social media, you find out that user-generated content is a critical component of a robust social strategy. User-generated content is content that your fans create and share on their social profiles, that you then share on your own profiles to show customer support of your brand. You want to seek out user-generated content to post on your social profiles because it helps you provide an authentic experience of your products or services.

Instead of getting the typical rundown from your company, followers can see a real person using your products or services. You can encourage people to tag your business in anything they post about you. If you find content that fits with your brand, you can contact those users and see if they’ll allow you to post that content on your page.

A great way to generate and find user-generated content is to create a hashtag. You can then use that hashtag to find content that your audience posts about you.

[  ] Utilize story feature (where it applies)

Some social media platforms have a story feature where you can post content, and it remains there for 24 hours. If you’re using a platform that provides this story feature, you’ll want to take advantage of this opportunity to post more content for your audience.

Platforms that use the story feature include:

  1. Facebook
  2. Instagram
  3. Snapchat

You can post a variety of content to your story. Whether it’s details of a new product, a tour of your company, or information about a flash sale, you can share all types of information with your audience. Posting to your story increases the chances that leads will see your content, too.

As people click through other stories from their friends and family, they can see your story. It’s an excellent opportunity for you to create new connections with your audience.

[  ] Create a social media content calendar

When you learn how to do social media marketing, you learn that posting content frequently is a must. When you post a lot of content, however, you run the risk of disorganization or posts getting forgotten.

With a social media content calendar, you help your business stay organized. A content calendar enables you to map out your content in advance — generally, you only want to plan up to four weeks in advance to ensure you’re generating valuable content. A social media calendar enables you to set dates for when to post your content.

This tool provides the added benefit of seeing an overview of your content strategy and determine if it’s cohesive. For example, you can see if you regularly post videos throughout the month, or if you only seem to post them at the beginning of each month. You can also identify gaps in your social campaign where you can add another post to keep your social presence active.

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Over 90% of WebFX clients continue partnering with us into year 2 of their campaign.

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How to do social media marketing: Post-strategy launch checklist

After you post content on your social media profiles, you don’t want to become passive with your strategy and never follow up with how your posts perform. To drive the best results with your social campaign, you must follow our post-strategy launch checklist. Here’s your post-strategy launch checklist to keep you on top of your social media efforts:

[  ] Engage with your audience

When you learn how to do social media marketing, you learn that engagement is a crucial component of a successful social media strategy.

You don’t want to launch your social media post and then never look back at how users engage with it. Once you launch a social media post, keep tabs on what people comment. Take time to comment back and engage users in conversation.

Whether it’s positive or negative, you want to address as many comments as you can. Engaging with your audience will help them get more familiar with your brand. They’ll feel more connected to your company and will feel as though someone is there to listen — whether they have positive or negative comments, or if they ask questions In this example from Billie, you can see them interacting with a customer who wanted to know when their products were coming to the United Kingdom.

    Here’s another example, this time from Target, where they respond to a negative comment on one of their posts. While it’s unrelated to the content, the customer still chose to use this post to explain their problem. Target decided to engage with this customer to try and solve the issue.

    No matter the context, make sure you find time to reply to people who leave comments on your social posts. It will keep them engaged with your brand and get them to interact with future posts from your business.

[  ] Monitor your posting schedule

Another critical component of marketing on social media is getting your timing right. There is no standard time or day for posting content on social media that will enable you to reach people interested in your business.

You need to experiment to figure out what time works best for your audience and leads to the most engagement. You’ll want to keep your target audience in mind when you’re choosing the best time of day to post content. Think about the times they’re most likely to be on their phones and browsing through social media.

You may want to experiment with a couple of time frames to figure out what times work best. Next, you’ll want to experiment with the day of the week you post your content. You’ll want to see which days your audience is most likely to interact with your content.

So, for example, you may find that you receive little engagements all day Saturday, but tons of engagement on Wednesday nights. Getting your timing right enables you to get your brand in front of more interested leads and increase engagement with your content.

[  ] Monitor your content to see what’s working

The last critical component of how to do social media marketing is to monitor your campaign. If you don’t keep track of campaign performance, you won’t know if you’re driving success.

When you have your metrics established from the pre-launch checklist, you can easily monitor and check those metrics on your posts. You’ll want to keep tabs on your content performance regularly so you can see what’s working and what’s not. You can see which types of content perform best for your company and which ones don’t drive results.

Tracking your strategy provides you with valuable insight into how you can optimize your social strategy to improve it. Also, keep in mind that most social media platforms have their own baked-in analytics platform. Facebook, for example, features Facebook Insights.

How to do social media marketing: Hire a social media expert

When you learn how to market on social media, you find that there is a lot that goes into creating and implementing a successful social media strategy.

If you don’t have the time to dedicate to building your social strategy, WebFX is here to help. We have a team of 500 experts that can help you create a social media strategy that drives results. We know how to drive results, too — we’ve driven over $3 billion in sales and over 7.8 million leads for our clients in the past five years.

If you’re ready to launch your social strategy, give us a call at 888-601-5359 or contact us online to speak with a strategist about our social media marketing services.

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