A social media strategy outlines the goals you intend to achieve with social media, and how it will help all aspects of your strategy to market. It helps you determine your audience's preferences,
to join and the kind of content you'll need to create and share. When you have your strategy outlined, you can get working on perfecting your content and the cadence, looking at follower engagement, and building stronger relationships with your audience.
Nearly every company has a presence on social media. But being successful on social media requires more than posting daily updates. Are you aware of what your goals are and who you're trying to connect with? Are you aware of the kind of content your users really care about and why they would want to engage with you? The answer to those questions and getting beyond a social media presence that is merely ad-hoc requires a well-planned strategy.
How can I develop a social media plan?
Most marketing teams develop and revise their social media plans a few times per year. This is usually done in conjunction with other plans for the company and team level. You could also create separate social media plans for certain campaigns or launches These plans could support the broader strategy for social media. Follow these steps for creating a plans that produce real outcomes:
Set out the social goals and KPIs.
The first step to an effective social media plan is reviewing your marketing goals and initiatives. The goals you set for your social media should be a ladder back to your top-level marketing objectives These goals will inform your social strategy.
Goals of social media usually fall in the following categories:
Get new followers
Bring traffic to your site
Create new leads or trial sign-ups
Enhance community engagement and increase loyalty
Triage customer support requests
Depending on the size of your team, you may choose to pursue various goals. For instance, if do not have a team of customer support on hand to keep an eye on social media, you may not be able to offer in-depth customer support via social networks. Instead, make direct support inquiries to email or an assistance desk.
Next, you are ready to align social goals with pertinent KPIs. If you want to boost traffic to your website, for example, a meaningful KPI would include click-through rates on social content and referral traffic to specific websites. Many teams make the error of tracking every metric available on social networks (e.g. followers, followers influence scores posting reach, shares, or likes). Lots of data can be useful but it's often easier and more effective to trim KPIs to those that directly are in line with the desired goals.
Be aware of your target audience and competitors.
Review your existing buyer personas to get an understanding of who you should be targeting and what kind of content will boost engagement. It might take a bit of guesswork, however, you can use social analysis tools to determine the most important demographics, track interest and get insights into the audience of your competitors.
Take a look at how your competitors utilize social media -- evaluate the platforms they use, the type of content they publish, and how often they post. It's your responsibility to decide if you'd like to establish a presence with the same social media platforms as competitors , or if you'd prefer to choose specific channels that are more pertinent to your needs.
Choose social networks
Each social network fulfills its particular specialization. You don't have to have a presence on every one of them. You should choose the channels in which your customers spend the most time, and where your brand's presence is the most useful. For example, if your company don't create video content, there's no reason to create your own YouTube or Vimeo channel. (This may sound obvious, but plenty of marketing teams are under pressure to be everywhere because they are able to.)
Look at smaller platforms that may be relevant to your customer base and target. Sites such as Houzz, Goodreads, or Behance allow you to network with individuals who have particular skills and passions.
Review the past performance
A lot of teams utilize the beginning of a new year or quarter to examine marketing programs. If you are revising an existing social media plan you should look over what you've already tried. Seek answers to the following:
What networks can we invest in? Which ones, if any, should we quit?
What kind of content works most effectively -- through reach, clicks, shares, or other KPIs?
What amount of time and money have we invested in social? Are the benefits worth the expense?
What are we supposed to keep or stop doing?
Create an activity book
A playbook for social media represents the final product of your strategic plan, as well as the smaller details that will guide your daily content -- including content themes the audience segmentation process, as well as posting frequency. A typical playbook includes the following elements:
Aims at the target audience, including any segmented lists (e.g., by industry, age, location, job role, etc.)
There are different reasons to segment your target audience. For example, you can create lists to keep track of different conversations or for advertising targeting purposes.
Social platforms on which you are a part of, including the goals of each channel
Tone and style
Your brand's social media brand voice or persona
Typically, you'll define one voice of your brand for all marketing content , but with distinct styles or tones on social media. For example, some brands have a more playful tone on Twitter while others are more professional on LinkedIn.
The core messages
Main messages that can help convey your brand's value
They are likely to match or support fundamental messages in your content marketing plan.
Main themes and conversations you'd like to join in on social media channels
Mix of post
Types of posts you'll make (e.g. text images, links, videos, and reshares)
The posting mix depends on many factorslike the interests of the audience as well as internal sources.
Frequency of posting
How often you plan to blog and at what times of day
The ideal frequency and timing depends on how your audience responds to your posts. Examine engagement metrics and industry research to determine the most appropriate cadence.
Policies and processes to guide the use of social media, such as how to reply to a customer who has been dissatisfied
How can I implement my social media plan?
You've identified the "why," "what," and "when" of your social media strategy. Let's take a take a look at how to go about the "how" -every step that go into making, scheduling, and tracking your posts. There are three primary areas to think about:
Choose the right tools
The tools for social media management allow you the possibility to publish posts, track the performance of your posts and manage social media ads. Some of these tools can be integrated with other marketing platforms you're using. Other tools are standalone.
A tool that maps out your plans, such as Aha! provides specially-designed workspaces for marketing teams , so you can plan your strategy, create marketing calendars, as well as share plans across teams. Teams generally use Aha! for creating broader marketing strategies and use a specially-designed tool for publishing content and keeping track of social media.
A well-defined workflow can help your team maintain its concentration and energy. It is possible to create workflows to address the following areas of interest:
Research (e.g. audiences and competitors, content topics, hashtags)
Administration of communities (e.g. listening to, monitoring, and responding to suggestions)
Content and creative (e.g., developing campaigns, writing posts, designing advertisements and images)
Approvals and outbound scheduling
Analyzing and measuring
Identify any workflows that you can automatize -- this will reduce time and increase engagement. For example, if your audience clicks on content shared around 5 a.m., it is far simpler to schedule automated posts to that time , instead of putting the early birds on your team to set their alarms every day.
Define roles and responsibilities.
Social media management that is sophisticated requires a team of experts. For every workflow, map out the roles and responsibilities of each person so that everyone understands what is expected. You will likely need to identify folks across the organization who can be of assistance when you need help. For instance, you might prefer to select members of your support as well as the IT department who can help if technical questions from customers arise through social media channels.
Showcase the value of social media
Also, make an effort to monitor and report on your results. The majority of major social media platforms provide comprehensive engagement reports. Pay close attention to the metrics you have observed when setting your goals. Set goals and measure your progress on a regular basis. Make use of the lessons you've learned to recalibrate the audience segments, themes for content, and posting frequency.
The details may change but your overall strategy should remain the same. With a great plan in place, you will get the confidence that comes with the ability to achieve business success.