Successful Social Media From Square One (How To Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy)

If you’re a beginner in social media marketing and you’re not sure where to start, you’re probably both excited and a little bit scared. You’ve seen the power of social media and how it can skyrocket businesses to higher success. You’ve seen other people in your niche use social media to attract and serve their ideal clients.

At this point, it’s vital to have a plan laid out before you start posting willy-nilly on every available social media platform. This can seem challenging at first, but if you take it step by step there is no reason you can’t hit the ground running with the perfect social media strategy for your business.

Step 1: Select The Right Social Media Platforms

The types of posts and methods of conversation are different on each platform, and you would want to say the same thing differently on Instagram than you would on Facebook or Twitter. This is called native language, and every platform has its own native language that appeals to its specific audience.

The strategy you want to use and the goals you wish to achieve should help you to determine which social networks are right for your business. It’s better to do even 1 platform extremely well than to run a mediocre campaign on every network you can.

Here are some factors that can help you determine which social media platforms are right for you and how many you should try to juggle at once, at least in the beginning.

Target Audience
Who are your ideal customers? Which social network’s demographics align most closely with your target audience?

How much time can you spend on your social media strategy? Will you have a devoted social media manager or are you doing everything yourself? At least in the beginning, whoever is working on your social media presence should be able to devote an average of 1 hour a day to each platform you are active on.

How much experience do you have with social media marketing? Do you have marketing materials available to work with? Social Media is a visual medium, and you will need resources like quality images and video to create engaging content.

Step 2: Complete Your Profiles

A complete profile includes a profile picture, a cover photo, a short biography, and general information like address, phone number, and website URL. Having a completed profile shows that you are a professional and it tells your visitors that they can engage with you in that space.

For the visual areas of your profile, you should try to ensure that they are consistent. The more similar your profile and cover photos are across multiple networks, the more easily your customers will recognize and trust your business.

In the text section of your profile, the most important thing to remember is to be concise but informative. Make sure that you fill out every applicable section so that your customers can find the information they need.

Step 3: What Is Your Brand Voice?

If your brand was a person, what kind of personality would it have? How would it interact? Is your brand serious or fun, professional or friendly? What do you want people to think of when they think about your brand?

These are just some of the questions you can ask to determine what your brand voice should be. This is the way your brand communicates online, and it should be the same no matter who is running your social media campaigns. Create a brand voice that appeals to your ideal customers, and your customers will be happy to share your message.

Step 4: Create A Posting Plan

Before you start posting, there are some questions you’ll need to know the answers to. What works for one niche might not work for another, but reviewing some general guidelines is usually a good place to start when you’re working from square one.

What should you post?
In terms of media type, videos are currently the most engaging post types. Videos get the highest engagement rates by far on Facebook and are 6 times more likely to be retweeted on Twitter. There’s something to be said for balance, and the best strategies combine images and videos on a variety of topics, but there is no arguing that when it comes to social content, video is king.

The 80/20 Rule
Your purpose for promoting your business on social media is almost certainly to increase your profits, either by getting more customers, increasing overall sales, or promoting special offers. However, it’s not a good idea to only make posts that are directly promotional.
Think about this way: If you opened a magazine and there wasn’t anything in it but ads, you would probably put it right back down.
This is the same thought process your visitors on social media are likely to have. Because of this, it’s best to ensure that about 80 percent of your posts are purely informational, educational, or engaging. This will draw your followers in and make them more receptive to the sales messages you have reserved for the remaining 20 percent of your posts.

Don’t Use Automated Crossposting. Seriously, Please Don’t.

Many businesses that use posting tools like Buffer or HooteSuite are tempted to set their posts to disseminate automatically across all of their platforms. This may seem like an excellent shortcut, but unfortunately, it’s a shortcut that shines a garish spotlight on the fact that you’re not being as thoughtful as you could be about what you post. As I mentioned earlier, every platform has its own native language. If you just pick one language and try speaking it in every situation, the fact that you crossposted will stick out like a sore thumb and can make your business appear lazy or disconnected from your audience.

When should you post?
Platforms like Facebook have specific insights that will allow you to see exactly what times your followers are most active, but you won’t have access to this data right off the bat. Here are some good guidelines for standard posting times (all are EST):

  • Facebook – 1:00 pm To 4:00 pm On Weekdays
  • Instagram – 5:00 pm To 6:00 pm On Weekdays; 8:00 pm On Mondays
  • Twitter – 1:00 pm To 3:00 pm On Weekdays
  • Linkedin – 7:00 am To 8:30 am And 5:00 pm To 6:00 pm On Tuesday, Wednesday, And Thursday

How often should you post?
You may find that your specific experience lends itself to a different ideal frequency for posting, but in the beginning, you can start with these standard guidelines:

  • Facebook – 1 to 2 times a day
  • Instagram – 1 to 3 times a day
  • Twitter – 3 to 10 times a day, including retweets
  • LinkedIn – 1 to 2 times a day

Step 5: Always Be Testing

These guidelines can provide you with an excellent place to start, and once you’ve been running your social media campaign for a while you will start to see which frequency, timing, and content works best for you. You can use a social media reporting tool or review network insights right within the platform. Always be testing new ideas and reviewing the results to determine what works best and move forward with only the winning strategies.

Step 6: Engage With Your Audience

Now that you’ve got an active posting strategy and you’re ready to start reaching out on social media, you need to be prepared for some of your followers to reach back. I see hundreds of businesses treat their social media pages like a bulletin board, always making announcements and never replying to customer questions or remarks. This is a killer when it comes to successful social media marketing. Engaging with potential clients is the whole reason you want to be on social media in the first place, so when someone comments on your post, mentions your business, or sends you a direct message, always reply in a timely and courteous manner.


Creating an active social media presence is one of the best decisions you can make for marketing, whether you’re getting started with a new business or updating the marketing for an older one. Make sure you have a social media marketing strategy before you get started and you’ll be much closer to creating a social media presence that is engaging, creates brand awareness, and converts followers into customers.

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What’s Your Web Traffic Like?

Most clients who I talk to have Google Analytics hooked up to their site. My typical client, never looks at it, and those who do scan some top line numbers, like visits, new traffic and time spent on the site. What they don’t realize is if they dig a bit deeper in their web traffic, there is a wealth of advice waiting to be had in Google Analytics

I want to break down a client of mine’s web traffic for you. So far this month my client has seen 1,569 sessions on their web site. The traffic is meeting their expectations, but the conversions are lower than expected. So we jumped into Google Analytics to see if we could understand what’s going on.

Behavior Flow

We started off looking at Behavior Flow. This client is getting traffic from social media campaigns, email campaigns, and organic traffic, and Behavior Flow shows us what people do when they arrive on the site, based on the traffic source. We saw pretty quickly that their email recipients were much more likely to stay on the site, and click through to the inner pages that we needed.

The social media people, however, were floundering. Nearly 90% didn’t click on anything, and of those who did, we were seeing just a handful arrive at our registration page. Our first impression was that we needed to re-evaluate our social campaign, because if 90% are dropping off, we’re probably missing our target market.


Our next stop was the acquisition tab, where we looked at how our social media campaigns were performing. Our campaign URLs all have UTM codes, so it was pretty simple to see which campaigns were bringing in traffic that led to conversions, and which campaigns were total duds.

Acquisition was helping confirm our suspicion that we needed to adjust some things in our social media campaign. However, it was more nuanced than our initial impression. Our campaigns were all targeting the same audience, and since some were more successful than others, it seemed that the issue wasn’t our target audience, but was probably ensuring that the messaging in the ads was supported by the landing page. Canceling or adjusting some social media creatives would probably increase conversions.


Our last stop flipped all our thinking. We compared the difference between our mobile and desktop traffic. Our web traffic was 53% desktop, 47% mobile, but our conversions were 85% desktop, 15% mobile.

We looked deeper and found that nearly 80% of our social media traffic was coming in on mobile devices, and 90% of them were dropping off without clicking a single thing. When we compared social mobile traffic to email mobile traffic, we found the same low conversion rates. However, most of our email recipients are older, and they were arriving to the site via desktop, not mobile.

It was clear that while we needed to adjust some of the campaigns, the real issue here was the mobile experience. My client has a responsive site, but the mobile site loads slowly, and the user experience was never really considered. It was basically a modified version of the desktop site.

Now, my client has a decision to make. They can stop advertising on channels that cater to mobile users, and keep their website as is. Or they can completely rethink the mobile experience, and deliver mobile-friendly content to their mobile visitors.

As the world moves more and more mobile, it should be an easy decision to make.

How To Create Your First Hot Traffic Campaign

In the previous two articles we discussed cold traffic and warm traffic ad campaigns. If you haven’t already, jump over to those articles to get caught up.

(pro tip: hold down CTRL when you click the links to have them open in a new tab while still staying on this screen)

Now we are going to dive into Hot Traffic Ad Campaigns. This is the shortest section of the three and the last part of our funnel. Here we are going to re-market through the funnel to turn one-time buyers into multi-buyers.

Created byRobert McMillin

What’s the definition of Hot Traffic?

Mine is: “They know you, they like you and they have ‘shopped’ you before.”

If you’ve heard of the “Pareto Principle” you’ll be familiar with the 80/20 concept. Eighty percent of results will come from twenty percent of your actions. The principle applies to many things and here it applies to your customers. If you retarget throughout your funnel you’ll find that twenty percent of your customers or leads will account for eighty percent of your revenue.

This may be the shortest section in the series but it is, in my opinion, the most important.

One of the hardest things you’ll do is capture new customers for your business. One of the stupidest things many businesses do is they sell then abandon that customer in the pipeline, mark them as a conversion and move on to fresh leads.

That’s a mistake.

Many customers, once you’ve created authority and provided exceptional value, would be all too happy to purchase from you again.

Consider it for a moment…

You’ve done the hardest part. You’ve gotten them to (along with a few other things) take their credit card out of their pocket, put their info into your payment form and checkout.

Why would you not leverage this to provide more value, ascend the customer to a multi-buyer and create a scalable and repeatable process for increasing your customers lifetime value?

After considering you’re now faced with another question…

Will my business do the stupidest thing (not retarget throughout the funnel) after they’ve already done the hardest thing (capture and convert new leads into customers)?

When the it’s framed like that the answer is an obvious “no”, right? With that said…

Let’s get started with your Hot Traffic Ad campaign setup

Step 1: Navigate to your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and export a list of your buyers in a Comma-Separated Values (CSV) spreadsheet. All customer relationship management software has the option to export a list of your buyers

Step 2: Head over to your Facebook Ads Manager and navigate to “Audiences” like in the image below.

Facebook ads manager

Step 3: Once you’ve navigated to the “Audience” section of your Facebook Ads dashboard click “Create Audience” and select “Custom Audience” (like in the Warm Traffic Campaign) See the image below for more details.

Custom Audience

Step 4: Here’s what we’re going to do different than what we did in the Warm Traffic Campaign. We’re going to create a custom audience using the “Customer File” option. Here we’ll upload the comma-separated values (CSV) sheet to Facebook.

Here you will match the fields (First Name, Last Name, Email etc.) of your customer file. Facebook will then create a custom audience and match that data with those users on Facebook. This allows you to retarget and market to your known buyers on Facebook and gives you the opportunity to turn them into multi-buyers.

Bonus: Depending on your volume. You will be able to also create a lookalike audience of buyers. You won’t be targeting them for your multi-buyer campaign, because they are, after all, not yet buyers. However, they have a high likelihood of being buyers in the future based on the fact they are very similar to your known buyers. These would be great candidates for your Cold and Warm traffic campaigns and will have a higher probability of converting.

The Hot Traffic Offer

Our goal is to turn our hot traffic into repeat buyers. You’ve probably guessed that we’re going to be offering them additional products or services.

As an example, you sell a physical product. We’ll say it is XYZ Salad Dressing.

You know that the average person will consume the entire bottle within two and a half months. So, you could take your customer list (from Step 1), upload it to Facebook, and run an ad that says something like this…

“Did life get in the way? You forgot to re-order your XYZ Salad Dressing! Here’s 10% OFF your next bottle on us. Click Here.”

Or (still using salad dressing as an example)

“180 Times Better – Your favorite Salad Dressing just got even better! We’ve put together over 180 recipes you can make in less than 5 minutes. You’ve already got the secret ingredient, now it’s time to get the recipes! Claim your discounted Recipe eBook for $29.95 $9.95 – Limited Time Only”

You may be saying “Robert, hold up, I only have one product, what am I supposed to offer them”. If you’re wondering that very thing, my advice is to create another product. I’m positive that you and your team could at a minimum create an eBook and offer it for sale in less than a week.

Defining Success Metrics:

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): They purchase something. (or cost per lead if you are sending hot traffic to a landing page as covered in the Warm Traffic Campaign guide)

  • Ad Objective: Repeat Buyers
  • Content/Offer: Retarget Through the Funnel
  • Success Metric(s): Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
  • Bidding: Slightly higher than suggested bid
  • Budget: $5-$10 per day (as an example)
  • Target Audience: Previous Buyers (customer file)

To Break it Down For Ya….

Targeting: Customer file (CSV) containing your known buyers.

Content/Offer: You will be retargeting them via ads to purchase additional products or services.

Budget: In the land grab for customers this can be your lowest investment. I would recommend spending more on the cold and warm traffic campaigns and keeping a consistently operating low budget campaign running for your buyer list.

Success Metric: Straightforward. Do they buy or do they not and what is the cost to per sale (or acquisition). So, your success metric here will be Cost Per Acquisition (CPA).

For more guides and actionable digital marketing advice visit or book me on my Book Like A Boss page for a free 15 minute consultation.