Social media has exploded over the last 10 years or so. No longer are we using Friends Reunited, Myspace or Bebo though. Instead, the super heavyweights have moved into this space and millions are actively on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others.
So, with plenty of potential customers to track on these social media platforms, why don’t you have a plan or strategy in place to reach these and sell your goods or service?
What is a social media marketing strategy?
As with any walk of marketing, your strategy should compile your hopes and ambitions, plus the steps you’ll take to ensure success. Amongst this, you’ll need to complete an audit for how successful your social media is today and where you want it to be in the future.
Essentially, the more detail you can include in your strategy, the more effective results you’ll witness. However, it’s important not to be unrealistic. Set yourself goals that are attainable and don’t put your business on the back foot instantly.
In this article we’ll look to help you create a social media marketing strategy that can be effectively used within your company to drive positive results.
1. Determine your goals and objectives
As we’ve mentioned above, one of your key steps is to create goals and objectives you wish to fulfil. When these are in place, you’ll know if the strategy is meeting your expectations and can make changes accordingly. Without this in the first place, you have no real measure for recording success.
These shouldn’t be standalone goals though and instead, would ideally fit into your full marketing strategy. Also, social media objectives must avoid being superficial – Likes are great, but a better metric would be leads or traffic as a result of social success.
Goals can be measured using SMART:
To start with, jot down a few goals you’d like to meet, that are certainly doable. Make sure you know how you’ll track this and away you go onto step two.
2. Audit your existing social media
Before outlining your plan of how to achieve the goals you want, you need to assess how your current social media is performing and where there are gaps to exploit. There are a number of factors to consider – how many people your social is reaching, who you’re connected with, understanding which social platform your audience uses and how competitors are conducting their social.
When you’ve compiled the answers and tracked down all the social media you’re using, along with success rates, you should have a better picture of the whole operation. Now it’s worth creating a mission statement for each platform, so you can focus your attention on keeping to this and accomplishing your social media goals.
Remember, not every social platform will be necessary. For instance, Pinterest and Instagram could work well with various industries, where visuals are crucial, but may be redundant for others.
3. Creation and improvement becomes vital
OK, so you’ve done your audit and ascertained where your business is at online. Now it’s time to improve your social presence. If you don’t have any social media activity, you’ll need to start from scratch – so do this with your goals and objectives in mind. On the other hand, if you’re on social media you’ll want to refine and update them in line with your targets.
Every social media profile you’d consider has a different type of audience and therefore your strategy should be varied for each. You may be able to optimise your social profiles and benefit from instant improvements in success. Meanwhile, optimising the content on each social media will grow your company’s reach.
4. Be inspired by the best in the business
Your next step to forging a social media marketing strategy is to analyse your industry authorities and see what they’re dong. You should be inspired by clients, industry leaders and even competitors to get the best of all worlds in front of your customers.
If your customers are on social media, the chances are your competitors are there too. Whilst this isn’t great news, it does mean you can feed off their experience and take on board useful tips that’ll push your own online presence. For instance, checking out what your competitors are doing will help you analyse the types of content perfect for user engagement.
Your customers’ online habits will also be useful. You’ll be able to see what they’re sharing and responding well too. See what they write and tweet about, then create content that targets their worries. Don’t forget the industry leaders either. Follow them on social media and find out how they’re taking on these platforms to generate success.
5. Start your content plan and calendar
Organising your social media and content marketing, starts with the editorial calendar. In order to be successful you need to create great content – and to create great content you need a brilliant plan. This is where your strategy will become crucial.
With your content plan you’ll analyse gaps in the industry you wish content to fill, whilst answering key questions and queries your target audience may have. Your editorial calendar maps out the process, with dates in place for when everything’s released into the wider world. Include where content will be published and also each day’s social updates.
Remember, throughout all this you’ll want to stick to the mission statement discussed earlier. For instance, your strategy could be as follows:
- 50% of social content should drive traffic to your website
- 25% of content will be shared to your customers from another source
- 20% of content will be entrepreneurial, with call to actions
- 5% of the content published will reflect HR and cultural aspects of your business.
Another approach could be:
- One third of content promotes the business and generates leads
- One third of content shares ideas and gets people thinking
- One third of content base don building interactions and the brand.
6. Be ready to adapt and change your strategy
Hopefully by this stage you’ll have been able to create a working social media marketing strategy. However, it’s important to plan should things not pick up instantly and have back-ups in place, so you’re able to adapt and change your approach.
The way you’ll calculate what’s working is by tracking. Whether this is likes, comments, clicks or actionable leads, make sure you’re tracking every metric under the sun and discover how successful your social media has really been.
You could also consider surveying your customers and getting their feedback. Ask them directly how they feel your social is and find out whether it has any influence on their buying decision, or whether they find the content shared to be of use.
Building your social media marketing strategy
Essentially, when it comes to creating your strategy it’s important to remember that things are continually changing. As a new social media surfaces, don’t be afraid to create an account and start promoting your business via this.
When you start to witness success and meet the goals you’ve originally mapped out, set new ones and increase the importance of your social media game. If this becomes evident, you may even want to consider bringing in a dedicated social media account manager to handle the various platforms.