The top social media platforms have experienced explosive growth over the past decade, and most show no signs of slowing down. According to projections by Statista, there will be nearly 2.8 billion social media users by 2019 — representing a 211 percent jump from 2010.
But as social platforms grow in popularity and sophistication, so does the challenge for marketers. Not only do you now have to keep up with ever-changing trends and features, you're expected to build a social media marketing strategy that performs successfully across a wide range of channels and consistently engages users — all while retaining your brand's originality and authenticity.
This herculean task often seems impossible, but here's the good news: brands of all sizes are enjoying wild success with a multi-platform social media marketing strategy. Here are three ways you can do the same:
1. Establish Brand Guidelines for Social
One of the best things you can do for your social media program is to establish a clear set of rules and guidelines. This way, as your program grows and more people participate in publishing, the voice and tone will remain the same.
Be sure to include a protocol for style as well as subject matter. Compiling a comprehensive list of "don'ts" (to prevent your brand from landing in hot water) is also a good idea.
2. Don't Try to Do It All
Unless you have a massive social media department with dozens of dedicated specialists, you can't expect success everywhere. Be strategic and spend your time and resources only on the platforms that make sense for your brand and the customers you want to attract.
Consider the age, lifestyle and interests of your buyer personas and use those insights to determine where to focus your marketing efforts. For example, if you're representing a B2B brand and hoping to reach professionals between ages 25 and 40, you'll likely have better luck on LinkedIn than on Snapchat. However, if you're representing a consumer goods brand that targets millennials, you'll want to build a presence on Facebook and Instagram — but may forego LinkedIn.
3. Combine Organic and Paid Efforts
If you've noticed your organic reach declining across social platforms, you're not alone. Recent algorithm updates have left brands with pretty abysmal organic numbers. Today, any marketer who wants to succeed on social media must be prepared to "pay to play."
The good news? Granular targeting can help make sure you're serving ads to users who are likely to convert.
Of course, that's not to say you should abandon organic content entirely. The best and most effective social media strategy includes a combination of organic and paid efforts.
Creating a winning social media marketing strategy and navigating multiple channels can be tricky — even for a seasoned expert. As algorithms change and user interests shift, it often becomes more difficult to increase engagement rates. But by staying true to your brand identity, being strategic in how you allocate resources and combining the power of organic and paid social content, you can increase your chances of multi-channel success.