Four billion.

This is the expected monthly number of active users on social media platforms by 2025, according to Statista. To put this into context, more than half of the total global population posts content, tweets, and comments regularly on social media.

It’s a number that serves as a painful reminder to businesses that without a strong social media presence, their brand is in danger of disappearing. Businesses can easily be intimidated by social media marketing, especially start-ups that have limited marketing resources. It is often difficult to know how and where to start.  But the truth is that there is no single approach that guarantees success. Still, believe it or not, this is a good thing. Strategies for posting original content on social media allow creative business leaders to stand out.

That said, here are some helpful tips for setting up an effective social media strategy from scratch.

Set measurable goals

First, it’s important to define what you hope to achieve for your business using social media. These goals should be very specific, measurable, and relevant to your business. Only wanting people to like your page will not generate the business results that can improve your profit.

For example, you can raise awareness of your brand by increasing the number of your followers; increase loyalty by communicating more frequently with customers; or increase conversion rates through ad clicks leading to your platform. 

Determine relevant content

Once you have determined what you want to accomplish, create the type of content that will allow you to achieve those goals. It’s good to observe your competitors and other successful brands in other industries to get ideas. Creating content just to create content isn’t really the best use of social media.  For example, an effective tactic for making an impression on the audience that works on social media is to embed an image or video in your posts. Users spend five times more time watching video content than static content. A post without an image looks blank and is easier to miss while scrolling down a page.

Know your platforms

You wouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket; don’t limit your entire social strategy to one platform either. People use different social media platforms for different reasons, so it’s important to know their differences and tailor your content appropriately. That’s roughly how much time your audience will give you to communicate what you have to say or promote. If you promote an article on Facebook, you are unlikely to get potential customers. The attention span is very different from that on LinkedIn for example.  Given the extraordinary volume of content shared on social media, the secret is to prioritize quality over quantity. 

Be authentic

Be real. On social networks, people are constantly posting messages that do not represent their company. Whoever you hire [to manage your social media component] needs to understand the product and the community and need to be part of it. Part of being authentic is including your customers in the evolution of your company. Giving them insight into your daily life can make your brand more accessible, as can live streaming company events or hosting Q&A forums. Asking thoughtful questions about your brand can inspire honest feedback that will offer valuable insights to improve your product and build trust.

Build a content calendar

Creating a social media content calendar is essential to managing your content across multiple platforms. Audiences need a steady stream of content that encourages them to come back to your page for more. Content scheduling tools can be great for blocking out convenient time slots for posting original content. Remember, when you post your content is important. You will need to post the content at times when your target audience is likely to see and interact with it. In general, posts made during work hours work best, but this can vary by industry.

Respond to messages quickly

It is also important that businesses take time out of the day to respond to customers. In this age of instant communication, the majority of people expect brands to respond to comments they post on social media in 24 hours or less. Feel free to respond to criticism, as long as it is honest and respectful; it greatly increases the impression that your business will fix things if things go wrong.

Adapt to your customer’s needs

Today, there are so many competitors offering almost the same product or service. The only real way to stand out is how quickly you adapt to your customers’ needs and how quickly you solve their problems. Automation is undoubtedly a way to increase responsiveness and ensure that when a customer complains about something, you can adapt very quickly before they cause an uproar. 

Get started 

The main success or failure factor is probably patience. The social media landscape is changing rapidly and businesses need to constantly reassess the strategies they employ to reach customers. Building a trustworthy, transparent, and engaging brand takes time, effort, and constant experimentation. However, the reward is a connection with customers that is worth far more than any billboard or banner ad.