We all know strategic social media marketing is hugely important to building a brand, connecting with your target audience, and driving traffic to your website
But we also know (and would maybe rather ignore) that your digital marketing efforts are a waste of effort without a strategic social media marketing action plan in place.
You cannot set out to promote your brand or service on social media without first sitting down to lay out your strategy. A social media marketing strategy is essential to give your online marketing efforts a sense of purpose. Furthermore, it helps you define your goals, target audience, and critical targets for the year. Once you have defined your goals and objectives–and made a plan for how to achieve them–you will be able to measure the return on investment for your online marketing activity. Moreover, proper planning will also improve your efforts in subsequent years.
Yes, it is time-consuming and can be a roadblock for anyone eager to get stuck into it. Still, strategic thinking and a strategic social media marketing action plan are necessary to get measurable results.
It can be challenging to get started and figure out how to put your plan on paper. So we’ve put together our ten steps to creating a social media strategy.
Before we start…
In this post, we will talk about ‘strategy’ and ‘campaign’, but do you know the difference between the two? Your social media strategy is the big picture. The who, what, when, where, and how of your online marketing activities. Social media campaigns, meanwhile, live within your strategy. You might have multiple campaigns in a year that are more targeted, focusing on a particular message or goal, such as a product launch campaign.
Strategic Social Media Marketing – Ten Step Plan
Step 1 – Key Objectives
Firstly, you must define your key objectives and ensure they are measurable and achievable. Examples of common, quantifiable objectives in social media strategies are brand awareness, website traffic, engagement, conversions, and video views. Decide what it is you want to achieve, and set targets. Targets for your strategic social media marketing action plan can, for example, include the following. Increasing website visitors by 50%yearly, or gain 100 new followers in three months. Don’t worry if your targets are a bit off the mark. Setting these figures the first time around can be challenging, so make sure you review them for next time.
Step 2 – Audience
You will have defined your audience and built personas in your branding work. Now that you are well acquainted with your audience, you should define them in the context of the online world. Ask yourself, where do they live online, and what platforms do they use? How do they use these platforms? What are they interested in? When it comes to social advertising, having this information will be very useful. Moreover, it will put you in the best position to utilize the extensive targeting opportunities available to you. In social advertising, you can target by:
Location – where they are living or have previously lived.
Interests – anything they have expressed an interest in or what pages they like.
Behaviours – do they respond to events, do they spend a lot online, do they travel, are they early adopters?
Demographics – age, parental status, education, relationship status
Even life events like being recently married, recently moved, or returning from travelling one week ago
Step 3 – Key Messages
Next, define your key messages for your overall strategy. This involves nailing down your top-line messages, the ‘who we are and what we do’ of your business or brand, condensed into short, snappy sentences. These are the messages you will try to communicate in every piece of social media activity you produce.
Step 4 – Key Platforms
Define which social platforms you will use. Will you focus on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and TikTok? Ask yourself where your audience is based and which platforms they use. Having a strong presence across multiple platforms is a great asset–such as helping you dominate the first page of search engine results for your brand name. Unfortunately, there’s no point in creating a profile on a platform that your audience doesn’t use. Likewise, it does not make sense to start an account and leave it dormant. Remember that each platform has a different purpose, style, and audience. While developing your strategic social media marketing action plan, you must focus on using the right platform for your business.
Step 5 – Strategic Activities
This is where we get into the detail of your strategy: planning your activities on social. Look at your key messages, objectives, and audience. Furthermore, plan the steps, initiatives, and activities you will carry out to realise your goals. You do this by taking an objective and strategically planning specific activities to achieve this goal. Will you engage in social listening? Would influencer marketing help you reach your audience? Maybe blogging could help drive traffic to your website. There’s a lot to get excited about here, but make sure you always have your objectives, audience, and key messages in mind.
Step 6 – Schedule
Next, you must schedule your marketing activities across your social channels for the year. Firstly, identify the key periods for your business. Secondly, look at holidays or events you want to incorporate. Thirdly, decide when you will run specific campaigns. Lastly, schedule time for activity reviews. It helps to set the points mentioned above as a year-long calendar.
Step 7 – Content Creation
Now it’s time to create the content needed for your social media marketing strategy. Your content can include blogs, images, videos, graphics etc. Make sure your content is valuable, good quality, and tailored for each platform. Not only are there different content formats for each platform, but there can also be differences in tone, copywriting, and messaging. Think about your content strategy–what kind of blogs will you write, will you incorporate user-generated content, and how will you repurpose evergreen content for multiple uses? Plan time for content creation at multiple times throughout the year.
Step 8 – Roll Out
You are now ready to roll out your social media marketing strategy across your social channels! This is where you carry out your strategy by following your marketing calendar, posting content, launching ads, and carrying out scheduled activities. You might look into social scheduling tools to help with the rollout process. Tools you can consider using are Hootsuite, TweetDeck, and Later.
Step 9 – Measuring and Monitoring
While you are rolling out your campaigns, it’s important to continually measure and monitor results to determine the most effective content and approach. Rather than just posting your content and never looking at it again, make sure you are checking in to see what worked and what didn’t. Update your approach accordingly. In particular, when running social ads, it’s important to monitor the results. Are results slowing down, is the cost per result going up, and is the frequency of delivery getting too high? If something isn’t performing well, pause it, take action, and change it up.
Step 10 – Review and Analysis
The final step! Ensure you review your activity at multiple stages throughout the year and across all social channels. Analyze your results. Look at your social insights, your website analytics and sales data for 360 analysis. Make sure you schedule review periods after every campaign during the year. Furthermore, look carefully at the advertising results. Was it effective? How could you improve? Did you achieve your objective? Were your targets met? Lastly, ask yourself if the expectations for your strategic social media marketing plan were realistic and achievable.
Strategic Social Media Marketing – In conclusion:
Carrying out each of these steps as part of your social media strategy will ensure that your marketing efforts are carefully considered, effectively implemented, and measured for results. Good luck!