Are you struggling to see any return on investment on the amount of time and effort you put into social media for your business? If the answer to this question is yes, then you may need to ask yourself a very important question. Do you have a clear and achievable social media marketing strategy for your business? Not many businesses draft a social media strategy before setting up and operating social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to promote their businesses. This article sets out a few important steps that any business can use to get a social media marketing strategy up and running.
How to set up a Social Media Strategy
- Set SMART Objectives
- Really Get to Know Your Audience
- Identify Your Competitors
- Carry Out a Social Media Audit
- Develop a Social Media Content Calendar
- Test and Iterate
1. Set SMART Objectives
The trick to an effective social media marketing strategy is being specific with your strategy. We recommend setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) objectives for your social media efforts and continuously monitoring metrics to confirm if objectives are being realised. Without SMART objectives you will have no way to measure your success or your social media return on investment (ROI). An example of a SMART objective for your business might be “Grow our Facebook Fans by 100 per month” or “Achieve over 25,000 impressions of our posts on Facebook per month”.
When it comes to tracking your performance, you should make sure you are looking at the right metrics. Metrics like retweets and post likes may seem impressive and easy to track but it is hard to justify their real value for your business. Instead, focus on targets such as website visits, conversion rates and newsletter subscriptions. You will need to track different objectives for different social media campaigns. You can use Facebook Ads to increase brand awareness or you can measure engagement on free organic social posts.
We must emphasis that you should always align your social media objectives with your overall marketing strategy. This will help you to keep focused on the overall marketing objectives for your business and how social media plays its part.
If you need some guidance in setting your SMART objectives, we have a free downloadable worksheet from the Templates section of our website that would be useful for this step.
2. Really Get to Know Your Audience
Listen to your target market on social media with listening tools such as Social Mentions. This is a fantastic tool as it can give you tonnes of valuable insights from real people who are actively talking about you or the products and services that you sell online.
Use insights that you gather online, staff expertise and the data that you have accumulated on your existing customers to create consumer personas. Getting to know who your audience is and what they want to see on social media platforms is key to creating content that they will engage with. Knowing your customer personas is essential for building and maintaining relationships with your social media audience in order to convert them into customers for your business. We recommend creating consumer personas for your business based on demographics, psychographics, buying behaviours and buying objectives for each type of customer for your business.
Developing consumer personas will sharpen your marketing campaigns. With personas, you’ll have the customer insights you need to create campaigns that provide your target market with content that is most likely to trigger a response. For more information on developing digital personas for your business, check out the article below or watch the Developing Digital Personas series of our Digital Marketing Tips videos.
3. Identify Your Competitors
Are your competitors using social media? You should really be analysing what they are doing and what is working or not working for them. Conducting a competitive analysis will allow you to understand who your competitors are and what they’re doing well (and not so well). This will give you some great research on what’s expected in your industry, which will help you set some social media targets of your own.
A competitor analysis will also help you identify opportunities such as a competitor that rarely posts on a social media platform that has a high volume of target customers. Social listening is also a great way to keep track of your competitors and see what people are saying about them online. This could provide great opportunities to highlight your competitive advantages.
4. Carry Out a Social Media Audit
It is essential to carry out a social media audit to help you assess how well your current social media platforms are working for your business. If you’re already using social media channels, you need to analyse what posts and ads have done well and those that have not. Make sure to look at who is following you on social media and if they are your target market. You should also compare how your social media presence compares to your competitors. Once you gather all this information, you’ll have a good starting point for planning how to improve the effectiveness of social media for your business.
A social media audit should also help you to analyse if a social media account is worth keeping or not. During your social media audit process, you may discover fraudulent or duplicate accounts using your business name. These imposter or duplicate accounts can be harmful to your brand and capture followers that should be yours. Always report social media pages that are pretending to be your business.
5. Develop a Social Media Content Calendar
Sharing highly interactive content is good, but it’s also very important to have a content plan in place for a social media marketing strategy for when you’ll share content to get the best impact. A social media content calendar also needs to account for the time you’ll spend interacting with your audience.
The best thing about a social media content calendar is that it identifies the dates and times at which you will publish types of content on each social media platform. This is essential for planning all of your social media activities from images, blog posts and videos. A calendar ensures your posts are spaced out appropriately and published at the optimal times. It should include both your day-to-day posts and your content for social media promotional campaigns.
Once you have your calendar set, use scheduling tools such as Hootsuite and Later to organise posting in advance rather than updating every day. This allows you time to spend on crafting the tone and format of your posts, rather than writing them sporadically whenever you have time.
6. Test and Iterate
Your social media marketing strategy should allow for regular adjustments as you test content and monitor performance of campaigns. Key performance indicators may need to be updated or posts may need to be changed in the social media content calendar. As you start to implement your social media strategy and track your results, you may find that some campaigns don’t work as well as you’d anticipated, while others are working even better than expected.
In addition to using the insights and analytical tools available within each social media platform, you should use UTM parameters through Google Analytics to track visitors as they move through your website, so you can see exactly which social posts drive the most traffic to your website and online conversions. Constant testing allows you to understand what works and what doesn’t, so you can refine your strategy in real time. It is important to embrace testing as things change fast on social media as new networks emerge and others go through significant demographic shifts.
Your business will go through periods of change as well. All this means that your social media marketing strategy should be a living document that you look at regularly and adjust as needed.
Develop a social media plan that is right for your business
Make sure to refer to your strategy often to keep you on track, but don’t be afraid to make changes so that it better reflects new objectives, platforms, or plans. Follow these six steps highlighted in this article to develop a social media plan that is right for your business. An effective strategy will help you justify the time and energy that you are your staff spend on social media. It should also reduce some of this time if operated effectively.
If you would like any further tips and advice on how to develop a social media marketing strategy for your business, feel free to get in touch with us. We would be happy to meet for a coffee and help you get the very most from you digital marketing efforts.