By Citlali Erazo

Social media is practically impossible to escape in this day and age. Chances are, almost every person you meet has at least one social media account. According to Hootsuite, there are 4.2 billion active social media users, which almost doubled in just five years. Social media has transformed the world of marketing, which is why every business should devote time to build a strong social media plan. 

Building a social media presence may seem overwhelming, however, these simple tips will guide you in the right direction. 

1. Make a plan

Before anything else, it is imperative to create a plan. The first step in creating an effective strategy is to set goals, and more specifically, “SMART” goals. S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. This model is a guide to set effective business objectives. Studies show that those who write down their goals are 30% more likely to be successful. It is important to use numbers and deadlines when creating social media goals. For example, it can be as simple and specific as reaching 300 Instagram followers by the end of the year. 

Another important part of the planning process is researching the competition and other professional accounts in similar industries. Researching other accounts is great because you can learn what works and what doesn’t. Moreover, you can gain inspiration and ideas for your own business. 

The final step in setting up the groundwork is creating a social media calendar, which is an overview of upcoming social media posts. A social media calendar is beneficial because it is an excellent way to organize lots of content and ideas, as well as create a posting schedule. 

2. Find your target audience 

It is vital to understand your audience. If executed properly, social media can build a connection and increase consumer engagement. To start with, identify their needs, wants, and desires. Other important demographics include age, location, language, interests, stages in life, challenges, and spending patterns. A great way to compile data on your followers and consumers are surveys and using professional insight tools. 

3. Select the right platforms for your business

Once you have researched your demographics and established your target audience, you will be ready to decide which social platforms to focus on. Understanding how your followers spend their time online is critical. According to Hootsuite, the average internet user has 8.4 social media accounts, which means the opportunity to connect with consumers on several platforms is substantial. Researching the demographics of each platform will provide insight into choosing the best platforms to target for your business. For instance, LinkedIn is great for professionals, Instagram is perfect for highly visual content, Twitter’s specialty is microblogging, and Facebook’s power lies in being the most used social media platform, with 2.9 billion active users. 

4. Engage with followers

One of the easiest ways to build a relationship with followers is by engaging directly with them. Examples of direct engagement include liking comments, replying to comments, sending and responding to direct messages, tagging other accounts, and retweeting or reposting content. An active social media presence is also a great way to showcase brand values and personality. This promotes customer loyalty and leads to an increase in business profit. Moreover, it aids new customer acquisition and customer retention.

5. Participate in trends

Participating in trends is a great way to gain brand exposure. Being selective and exercising good judgment is key. It is important to participate in trends that align with your brand’s image. Social media is constantly evolving, and algorithms continuously change. This is why staying on top of trends is critical. Some examples of current trends are the surge in popularity of videos, and using Instagram stories for strategic marketing. Researching statistics and knowing your demographic will strengthen your social media presence. 

6. Quality over quantity 

With so many social media channels it is easy to get overwhelmed and feel like you must have a presence on each platform to be relevant, however that is not the case. The key is to post high quality content on a select few platforms. Posting high quality content on a few strategically chosen platforms is more beneficial than low quality content posted on several platforms. A helpful guideline is making sure to stay consistent with your brand image, and to produce content that keeps your followers engaged. 

To conclude, these simple tips lay the foundation for establishing a social media presence. The first step is to identify the brand’s objectives. Once that is determined, you can create a social media plan catered to your target audience and potential new followers. The long-term benefits of creating a strong social media presence include exposure, new leads, increased brand awareness and an increase in profits.