5 Steps to Create a Multi-Platform Social Media Strategy

By Ian Heinig / 27 June 2018

92% of small businesses plan to increase their investment in social media in 2018. Follow these five steps to expand your social media presence and drive results.

A multi-platform social media strategy is like a Rubik's cube. Each social platform presents its own unique challenge. When you align these channels cohesively, the result is both impressive and effective.

However, tweaking all these moving parts in real-time can make your head spin.

A recent survey found that small businesses rely on a variety of resources – from in-house staff to freelancers to social media management software – to orchestrate their social media presence.

Graph of resources small businesses use for social media

If you solve this social media puzzle, great complexity brings great reward.

Expanding your brand across multiple networks will compound your brand’s following. Cross-promotions allow for enhanced engagement opportunities. Plus, you'll expand your credibility in a way that helps to drive sales and retain customers.

Here are five steps to creating an effective multi-platform marketing strategy for social media.

You’ll get tips, tools, and examples from leading brands to point the way to social media success across multiple networks.

  • Create goals for social that solve business challenges
  • Choose the right social media platforms
  • Create unique content for social media
  • Cross-promote your brand
  • Analyze then optimize your social media strategy

1. Set Goals for Social That Solve Business Challenges

Effective strategies are rooted in relevant business objectives.

Simply put, the possibilities of social media marketing are too numerous to tackle without clear goals.

You can use social media to:

  • Generate leads
  • Grow sales
  • Provide customer service
  • Improve brand awareness
  • Enhance customer loyalty and retention

A clear image of success will guide your platform selection, content creation, and your engagement strategies. How you engage your audience will change given your goal and the platform.

For example, a lead generation campaign on LinkedIn will use different content and language than a brand awareness campaign on Instagram.

Each objective has its own set of key social media metrics. Brand awareness means focusing on engagement metrics like followers, mentions, and shares. If you’re generating leads, track downloads for gated content and clicks on social media posts.

Tools like SproutSocial and SocialBakers can help you monitor key metrics for social media success.

2. Choose the Right Social Media Platforms

You’ll want to engage with the social networks preferred by your customers. This will help you to reach the widest audience and generate the greatest return on investment (ROI).

To find your customers, examine the demographics of your most valuable social media channels.

This graphic from Sprout Social’s Guide to Social Media Demographics shows the breakdown of users on Facebook:

Facebook user demographics
(Source)

Each platform offers unique advantages and disadvantages to engaging your audience.

79% of adults use Facebook but the social giant might not be your best investment given the steady decline in organic reach. Instagram offers higher rates of engagement and could be a better choice for your brand.

However, if you’re a SaaS company with a product that defies visual representation, Instagram might not work. It's better to reach your tech-savvy customers on Twitter where reading is commonplace.

Once you know where your audience spends time online, play to the strengths of your offering and each platform.

Here are some pointers to help you select your best platform:

3. Create Unique Content for Social Media

Relevant content is the lifeblood of any effective social media strategy. According to Sprout Social, 41% of consumers will unfollow a brand if the brand shares too much irrelevant content. 

Consumers want to follow a brand that’s authentic and cool. Use storytelling to forge an emotional connection with followers and develop a value-driven relationship. Find a branded voice that resonates with your audience.

The challenge is to align your brand's personality with each platform. To create a seamless cross-channel experience, develop a theme for your content and tweak your tone.

In the following example, meditation app Headspace adjusts its messaging strategy to the user behaviors of Twitter and Instagram.

Headspace Twitter post

The inquisitive tone caters to Twitter users’ desire for efficiency and productivity while on-the-go. A headshot of the CEO reinforces the brand’s thought leadership on this cerebral network.

Headspace Instagram post

Here we see the brand adopt the affirmative language so well-received on Instagram. This helps the brand stay relevant while maintaining a consistent yet distinctive visual aesthetic.

Tools like Canva can help you create striking posts with personality.

4. Cross-Promote Your Brand

You can leverage followers from one platform to grow the others.

Cross-promoting your brand affords you the greatest reach, maximizes your engagement, and drives the fastest growth.

Here are a handful of tactics to cross-promote your brand on social media:

  • Add social links to each of your profiles: Your profile biography is highly visible and an ideal place to mention your other social profiles.
  • Offer exclusive content on a specific platform: Exclusive content is a strong pull towards your other profiles. The allure of high-value resources, when combined with the fear of missing out (FOMO), can be irresistible.
  • Partner with an influencer: Influencers give you access to their engaged and loyal following. Align your brand with a niche-specific person to boost your visibility and kickstart your social media goals.
  • Add social icons to marketing emails: If you’re already sending emails, why not invite users to follow you on social media? You could craft a promotion to generate new followers, or just add your social icons to the email footer.
  • Cross-promote with another brand on social: Look for a non-competitor in your space with a complimentary audience. This will allow you to reach a similar following and share relevant content with ease.

For example, Macy’s uses Facebook to promote their charity partner, Special Books by Special Kids.

Macy's social media post
(Source)

This allows the retailer to showcase their softer side and drum up goodwill on Facebook. A heartfelt video testimonial is an ideal way to highlight the good works of both brands.

5. Analyze and Optimize Your Strategy

Before you can optimize your multi-platform social media strategy, you must assess your campaign performance. According to MarketingProfs, 46% of B2B marketers don’t know if their social media strategy is creating revenue. 

To isolate which links on social are driving specific actions on your website, use custom tracking URLs. Available from Bitly, these will let you check the number of click-throughs that arrive from each source on your social media profiles.

Familiarize yourself with the native analytics for each social media platform and your Google Analytics to determine the efficacy of your marketing efforts. Below we see a breakdown of page activity on Facebook Insights.

Facebook Insights screenshot
(Source)

From here you can track the metrics that relate to your objectives and benchmark your initiatives against the competition.

Paid tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, and SproutSocial help you monitor and refine your cross-platform social media marketing strategy.

This software gives a dashboard view of campaigns, key metrics, and offers social listening capabilities to enhance future targeting.

Multi-Platform Social Media Marketing

To magnify the benefits of your social media marketing, expand your presence.

Yes, it’s more challenging to manage your business across multiple social media platforms.

However, the more expansive your social media presence, the more reach, impact, and revenue you brand can enjoy.

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