How to Build a Social Media Marketing Strategy

Social media marketing should be strategic. While there is no simple formula for becoming an overnight success, there are still pragmatic marketing strategies you can implement to make your social media do the most for your business. The best part? It’s completely free. You just have to understand how to use it. Let’s dive into how to build a social media marketing strategy.

how to build a social media marketing strategy

Choose a Goal

Although it may seem trivial, selecting a goal is the foundation of any good social media marketing strategy. Too many businesses lack a sense of direction, so their social media doesn’t drive customers to do what they want them to do. Regardless of whether you are new to goal-making or you are as seasoned as they come, S.M.A.R.T. goals provide a good general outline when you’re setting your new goals. 


We want to get as granular as possible when setting goals that are related to the business. These should be marketing-specific goals. So, even if one of your big goals this year is to have more time or feel less stressed, those aren’t the marketing-related goals we’re looking for. Instead, we want to focus on choosing goals that are specific to your return on investment (ROI.) 

Here are some examples:

  • Grow brand awareness & increase follower count by 100 followers
  • Drive sales of a particular product or service by 10 purchases
  • Improve customer retention by 50%

Be sure to only choose one social media goal. While you might be ambitious enough to work towards more than one goal, don’t fall into that trap. It’s easier and more efficient to achieve one goal and move on to the next than it is to focus on more than one at the same time. 


Once you’ve decided on one goal, make sure you can track your progress with quantitative results. Social media platforms typically make this pretty easy. The trick is to check your metrics and save the data. You can easily track your followers, shares, comments, likes, website traffic, and reviews. If your goal allows you to track numbers, then you can stick with it. 


Select an attainable goal. Selecting a goal that is far out of reach will likely result in giving up on goal-setting or the marketing strategy entirely. Choose a goal that encourages you to stick with the marketing strategy or social media campaign. Growing a business is difficult. It’s the small successes and the small increments of progress that eventually grow into a wildly successful business over time. It’s very rare that you see or feel large amounts of social media success at once. It should build slowly and sustainably. 


In the grand scheme of things, how is this marketing goal helping your business? Do you really need to increase your following or do you need to increase the number of sales of a new product in stock? See how your marketing goal for the month fits into your goal for the year or even the next 5-years of the business. 


Set a date, and hold yourself accountable. This can be monthly, seasonal, or yearly depending on the goal. Just remember to focus on one goal at a time, that the time is realistic, and that you can track your metrics over that period of time. 


It is too often that we find our clients in the business of people pleasing. The truth of the matter is that not everyone is your audience. As a brand, it is far more effective to market to the target audience who is the most likely to become a loyal customer than it is to pander to everyone. Your audience is looking for authenticity, consistency, and reliability. Even Amazon started off small in a niche as a book distributor. They started small and grew into the giant corporation they are now. Now, we’re not expecting small businesses to grow to that scale, but the point is to have a sense of focus and gain success in a small area before growing. 

An interesting exercise to get as focused as possible is to imagine a single person who is your ideal customer. Imagine their age, where they live geographically, their income & job, their education, and their interests. Because this is social media-specific, you can use your analytics to confirm some of these stats like location, age, and gender. 


Analyzing your competition can give you an edge in your market. You can see how their website is performing compared to your business’s, how prominent they are on different social platforms, and decide how to differentiate yourself from the competition online. Competitive analysis isn’t the first tool you should resort to in creating your overall marketing strategy, but it can help you identify the gaps. 

The Social Audit

If you are new to social media, the first step you must take is to create your new social accounts. Be strategic about the platforms you choose and the usernames you select. If you already have existing social media accounts, it’s time to do an audit. The audit is your chance to see what’s working and where you can improve. 

  • What’s working?
  • What’s not working?
  • Is your audience engaging with the content? Who?
  • Do your socials move your audience down the marketing funnel to ultimately make a purchase?
  • What are your socials achieving? 
  • Are you consistent?
  • Is your content easily recognizable? 

There are so many questions to ask yourself during your social audit to determine how effectively your socials are working for your business. These questions can be extremely broad, but they can also be extremely specific to your niche. The most surefire way to know that your social media is doing the most for you is to ask the experts. COLLAB’s Social Audit helps you identify the gaps in your marketing, lets you know what’s working, and how to improve what’s not. It’s a one-time investment of your time that will change the way you think about social media strategy forever. 

how to build a social media marketing strategy


It’s important to stay on top of what’s trending and follow success stories of how certain brands climb to success. Find accounts that are creating content you enjoy, and take inspiration from what you are naturally drawn to. Pay attention to everything from social media strategies to brand voice and word choice.

That being said, you’ll never have an original idea if you’re always copying everyone else, and people love authenticity. They gravitate toward authenticity like they can’t help it. Find inspiration in your audience, in your community, and in the things you love. 

For example, TikTok is infamous for trending sounds people can’t get out of their heads. But they’re also really good at pushing original sounds, too. If you’re a luxury gardening account with a passion for classical music, there is no need to feature a funny trending sound. Your luxury gardening niche community will find you, and chances are they will prefer the sounds featuring classical music that matches your aesthetic. 


Social media content for each social platform is the bulk of your social media marketing plan. When it comes to creating quality content, you must first create a content strategy. Content planning includes determining the social media platforms you intend to target and creating the social media content you want to produce. Each social media post should enhance your social media presence, attract social media users and potential customers, increase engagement, and help move your toward your social media marketing goals. 

Content Pillars

Social content pillars add structure to your posts. Your posts should first and foremost give the viewer value. The value that your brand provides can typically be broken down into 3-5 categories. If you’re a digital marketing company, for example, your content pillars might include the services you provide. At COLLAB, these are social media management, website design, and business strategy. 

Content Purpose

Once you’ve narrowed down your content pillars, you can decide on the purpose of your content. Typically content is meant to entertain, educate, inspire, or promote. Adhering to these guidelines will keep your content valuable and true to your brand. 

Content Quality

Shoot your content in advance. It’s totally acceptable to use photos shot on an iPhone camera, but having professional photos can set your brand apart. Instagram is your chance to showcase your brand. Think of it like your portfolio. TikTok, on the other hand, is where you showcase your brand’s personality. It doesn’t have to be as curated. Finally, make sure the aesthetic and editing style of your content is consistent. It will help make your brand easily recognizable. 


You don’t have to be a marketing professional to check your social media analytics. On Instagram, if you are a business or creator account, you can check your “Insights” on your account profile. You can do the same on your other social platforms. They only save the analytics for a set amount of time, so create a spreadsheet if you’d like to keep track of your data over time. 


Social media is a full-time job. From strategy to content creation, posting, and analytics, it’s time-consuming. It’s also the best way to market your business. If you don’t have the time to dedicate to each social media channel or the capital to hire someone in-house, outsourcing to a social media management agency can grow your business, boost sales, and produce creative, high-quality content. If you can create a successful social media strategy on your own, another option is to utilize user generated content for content creation. You can also outsource digitally by investing in a social media management tool to organize your content or schedule a consult to learn how to build a social media marketing strategy so you can implement it yourself.

COLLAB with Katie is a digital marketing agency based out of Southern Pines, North Carolina. We’re disrupting the digital space by providing small businesses with access to affordable marketing and expert information so you can grow your brand into the business of your dreams. 

Rachel Cook

Rachel Cook is the head of Strategy, SEO, and Copy at COLLAB. Rachel’s mission is to change the marketing landscape by making digital marketing accessible to local small businesses. She is obsessed with lifestyle brands, especially in the health & wellness category. She loves reading, slow mornings, and cooking great food.

July 19, 2023


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