How to create a successful social media marketing strategy in 6 steps
by Gemma Agnew
Every action you take on a social network should be part of a larger social media marketing strategy. In other words every “like”, post, and comment you make, should be guided by a plan in line with your business goals and objectives. Learn what a social media marketing plan should include, and follow our six-step plan for creating your own.
What is a social media marketing strategy?
A social media marketing strategy is a documented outline of everything you plan to do and hope to achieve through your business using social media networks. Your strategy should comprise of:
- An audit of where your social accounts stand currently
- Your goals of where you want them to be in the near future
- Tools and actions you are going to take to get you there.
The more specific you are, the more effective you’ll be implementing it. The strategy will guide your actions and also act as a measure of whether you are succeeding or failing.
The very first step to any social media marketing strategy is to establish very clear goals and objectives. Without these you have no way of gauging success or measuring social media marketing R.O.I (return on investment). Additionally having clearly defined goals allows you to act quickly when campaigns aren’t meeting your expectations. These goals should be in line with your broader business goals so that your social media efforts drive towards your business objectives.
A key component of setting effective goals for your social media strategy is to determine what metrics you’ll use to measure their success. Focus on things such as leads generated, web referrals, and conversion rate. Ensure you have developed tight audience and customer personas, that include details about demographics, interests, pain points, etc.—to test your goals. You should also use the S.M.A.R.T. framework when setting your goals. This means that each objective should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. A good example of a well-written S.M.A.R.T. goal might look like this: “For Facebook we will share photos and posts that communicate our company culture. We will do this by posting three photos and optimised posts a week. The target for each is at least 30 likes and five comments.”
Step 2: Conduct a social media audit
Before creating your social media marketing strategy, you need to know your current social media results of your existing efforts. It includes working out who is currently connecting with your business via social media, which social sites your ideal target market uses and how your social media presence compares to your competitors’. It’ll also be advantageous as part of your audit to create mission statements for each social network you use or plan to use. This will help you focus on a very specific goal for the particular social account and will help guide your actions.
Once you’ve conducted your audit you should have a clear picture of every social account representing your business, who runs or controls them, and what purpose they serve. When trying to decide which social channels to move forward with, ask yourself two questions:
- Is my audience here?
- If so, how are they using this platform?
Once you’ve determined which channels to use, you should also think about your brand’s voice, tone, and style.
Step 3: Create or improve your social media accounts
Once you have completed your social media audit, it’s time to fine tune your online presence. Ensure to choose the social media networks which best meet your social media goals. It’s important to update and refine your social media accounts to get the best possible results. You should optimise profiles for SEO (search enginge optimisation) as it can help generate more website traffic. Additionally cross-promoting social accounts can extend the reach of content. In general social media profiles should be filled out completely, and images and text should be optimised for the social network in question.
If you’re not sure of what kind of content and information will get the most engagement, look for inspiration in what others in your industry are sharing and use “social listening.” Social listening is the process of monitoring social media channels for mentions of your brand, competitors, product, and any other ideas or themes that are relevant to your business. The next step is analysing that information for actionable insights. Those actions can range from engaging a happy customer to shifting your overall brand positioning strategy.This will allow you to know how to distinguish yourself from your competitors and appeal to prospects they may be missing.
Your fans and target market can also offer social media inspiration by both the actual content they share and the way they phrase their messages. Research the the way your target audience write tweets for example and aim to copy that style. In other words learn their habits, when and why they share and use that as a basis for your social media marketing strategy.
Step 5: Create a content marketing plan and a social media content calendar
Creating valuable, compelling and remarkable content to share will be essential to your success with social media. Your social media marketing plan should include a content marketing plan, comprised of strategies for content creation and content curation, as well as a content calendar.
Your content marketing plan should answer the following questions:
- What types of content do you intend to post and promote on social media?
- Who is your target audience for each type of content?
- How often will you post content?
- Who will create the content?
- How will you promote the content?
A social media content calendar outlines the dates and times you intend to publish posts, tweets and other content. It’s the ideal place to plan all your social media tasks, from images and link sharing to blog posts and videos, comprising of both your day to day posts as well as content for your social media campaigns. Ideally you should create the calendar and then schedule your messaging in advance rather than updating constantly during the day.
As a general rule, you should follow an 80-20 rule. That is, 80% of your posts inform, educate or entertain your audience and the other 20% directly promotes your brand. Alternatively you could try the social media rule of thirds:
- One-third of your social content promotes your business, converts readers, and generates profit
- One-third of your social content should share ideas and stories from thought leaders in your industry or like-minded businesses
- One-third of your social content should be personal interactions with your audience
Step 6: Test, evaluate, and adjust your social media marketing strategy
To ensure you get the most out of your social media marketing efforts you need to monitor, test and tweak your campaigns. Google analytics is one tool you could use to track page visits driven by social media. Surveys are also a great way to determine success both online and offline. Ask your social media followers, email list, and website visitors how you’re doing on
social media. This direct approach is often very effective. Then ask your offline customers if social media had a role in their purchasing.
An essential element of your social media marketing strategy is that it should be constantly changing:
- You may want to add new social networks to your plan as they become apparent they will benefit your business or as they emerge.
- As you achieve goals, you will need to set new targets.
- Unexpected challenges may become apparent that you need to look at and fix
Rewrite your social media strategy to reflect your latest insights, and make sure your team is aware of what has been updated.
You now have an outline of how to create a documented successful social media marketing strategy. If you feel you would like some professional guidance, contact us here at Write Marketing Corp for your FREE marketing audit, consultation and success strategy session and start achieving your online business goals today.
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