Social media marketing is a hot topic right now and is by far the most popular method of modern digital marketing.

When you are just starting out, however, finding success on social media and running a good marketing strategy can be quite difficult. There is a lot for you to take in and learn, especially within your first few weeks, and this can often leave small business owners and newbie digital marketers feeling defeated.

By thinking of social media marketing as a process, you can easily put together an effective strategy and build an authentic audience of engaged followers. With that being said, here are eight steps you should take to get to grips with social media and come out on top.

1: Figure Out Your Audience

This is the most important aspect of finding success with social media. If you do not know who your audience are, how can you create content which is appealing, actionable and engaging? You should put effort in to getting to know who your audience are, what they like and what engages them.

This information will help you create content with which they can resonate. Looking at your local audience can help too. If you are based in Birmingham, for example, it is always worth reaching out to a digital marketing company in Birmingham who will have links to the local area.

2: Create Some Goals

When you know who your audience are, you can start creating goals to work towards. Clearly defined goals allow you to find your direction and a purpose on social media, and make it much easier to create relevant content which your audience will enjoy.

3: Choose the Right Social Media Platform

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pintrest, among others, are all very popular and viable social media platforms your business can use for marketing and engagement with followers.

The one which is right for you, however, will depend on your business, what you do and what industry you operate in. A professional services company, for example, will be more suited to Twitter whereas a clothing brand can make good use of Instagram.

4: Invest in Quality Content

At the end of the day, it is your content which will make the difference between success and failure. Your followers will want to see high-quality and engaging content which sparks their interest and is highly targeted. Content is king and being a bore will no longer cut the mustard. Your content should be actionable, emotive and somewhat targeted towards the general interests of your average follower.

5: Research Keywords and Hashtags

Collecting information about the top keywords and hashtags which are being used and engaged with by your audience will make it much easier to create compelling pieces of social media marketing. Although you can do this research yourself, working closely with local professionals – such as an SEO company in Birmingham – will make this job much easier.

6: Make Use of Analytics

The big social media platforms come with powerful analytical tools which you can use to see how your content is performing in real time.

Analytics are an essential part of fine-tuning any social media marketing strategy, however, it can be quite confusing, especially when you are looking at them for the first time. These analytics can boil down to specific demographics and localities, and are very useful tools for gauging how well a local audience is responding to your content.

We suggest working with a digital agency in Birmingham, or any other industry professional who has worked with analytics previously.

7: Only Post Relevant Content

Many individuals fall down here. You should only be posting content which is relevant to your page, brand or service. Irrelevant content is viewed as spammy and can very quickly ruin any trust you have built up among your followers. People have made the decision to follow your page for one reason – because they like your content – and they can just as easily unfollow you.

8: Schedule Automated Posts

The best strategy when it comes to social media and digital marketing is to be constantly posting high-quality, relevant content. We are not talking about ten posts an hour, but six posts stagnated across the course of 24 hours gives you maximum possible exposure to your entire audience.

Most social media platforms have some form of post-scheduling functionality and you should make full use of this and tie it in with your goals.

Social media marketing is the most popular form of digital marketing today. With virtually all of us using one type of social media or another, it is by far the cheapest and most effective way to reach a worldwide audience, something which is especially useful if you are a business or service with a global reach. By paying attention to these steps, you can avoid some common social media mistakes and get your business off to the best possible start.