There are currently 3.96 billion active social media users worldwide. With social media usage only expected to climb, social media marketing only becomes more critical to brands. Social media is a must-have for marketers today.

However, it isn’t enough for your brand to just be on social. You need to have a strategy too. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can align your social media efforts to goals for greater overall success.

1. Intelligent scheduling. First, consider when your brand should be active on social media. It’s important to be available on social networks when your audiences are there. But it’s not always possible to manually post updates on your social media accounts that suit your audiences’ preferences. This is where a proper social media schedule comes in handy. This will not only keep your accounts active and fresh, but also ensure that you reach out to audiences at the right time. Many tools allow you to manage your social media accounts with scheduling and performance measurement options. You should leverage these tools to increase your productivity and achieve more in less time.

2. Social listening. Social listening is essentially the monitoring of various mentions of your business on social media. It can also help you explore what people are saying about your immediate competitors too. It allows you to track, interpret and give a response to various conversations taking place about you on social media networks. To meet your marketing goals, take social listening very seriously. You need to know where your audiences are and what they are saying about you. Also, keep an eye on your competitors for what they are saying to their consumers. It’s all about tracking consumers’ sentiments and taking the right action after analyzing insightful data.

3. Content curation. People use social media for many reasons; it can be for entertainment, information or simply connecting with their favorite people and brands. They look for content that meets these needs. So, content curation is an essential function that you need to perform for achieving your social media marketing goals. But social media requires that you constantly feed the content machine, which can be difficult and time-consuming if you are relying solely on original content. That’s where content curation comes in. By sharing news and topics that are of interest to your audiences from other respected sources, you provide valuable resources for your followers while filling your social media editorial calendar. As a brand marketer, your content should engage your audience and want them to crave for more. Make sure you maintain consistency in your content across all channels to paint a cohesive picture of your brand.

4. Social advocacy. Social advocacy empowers a group of people to show support for your brand by sharing content and reaching out to a wider audience. This group of people can be stakeholders, employees, loyal customers or business partners. These people know your brand in and out and advocate your brand for greater traction. When you utilize social advocacy, your brand gets much-needed visibility in the online space. Moreover, content shared by social advocates increases the trustworthiness and credibility of your brand, meaning it will have a greater, more impactful influence on your audience. So, make sure you get some social advocates on board to maximize your social media marketing results.

5. Social customer care. 63 percent of customers expect businesses to provide customer service through social media. In fact, 90 percent of people have already connected with a brand on social media. As such, it’s all the more important for you to be active and engaging on these networks. After all, that’s where people are looking for solutions to their problems. Providing customer care through social media includes answering queries, addressing complaints, offering guidance and even processing refunds. It makes interactions with your customers more personalized and shows that you genuinely care for them. So, make sure you have a plan and processes in place for delivering customer care across your social channels.

You cannot ace social media marketing overnight, but the above strategies are sure to help you achieve your social media marketing goals over time.

Happy Marketing!