Social media has become a necessary and important marketing tactic for nearly every business, helping brands and marketers build brand awareness, share and interact with customers and prospects, and create another vital touch point in the evolving customer journey.
But as the social media landscape continues to evolve, competition for audience attention is stiff. In fact, 40% of marketers say social media marketing has become more difficult for them in the last year, according to Social Media Examiner’s 2016 Industry Report. As a result, many brands and marketers feel their social media marketing strategy needs to incorporate a little bit of everything to compete.
However, adding more channels and tactics to your strategy isn’t sustainable, let alone the key to getting the growth, engagement and ROI you’re looking for. The real key is crafting a social media marketing strategy that strikes a balance between your audience’s needs and your brand’s unique business goals.
And in order to create the perfectly balanced strategy, there are some critical questions you must be able to answer. Below we outline eight questions that can help guide your creation efforts.
#1 – How does my social media strategy fit within my overall digital marketing strategy?
Your social media marketing efforts should not be siloed. They should be an integral part of your overall digital marketing strategy—from helping curate content ideas to building brand awareness to engaging with influencers.
Tip: Use your digital marketing strategy as a roadmap for determining how social media can support your overall objectives, as well as individual campaigns or projects.Your #socialmediamarketing efforts should not be siloed. @CaitlinMBurgess Click To Tweet
#2- What is my objective?
Simply put, there can be no strategy if there’s no end goal. Your objectives are the foundation of your strategy, guiding every decision and tactic that comes next.
Tip: Whether you want to increase your number of followers, boost referral traffic to your website, foster engagement or drive more conversions, set goals that can be measured. In addition, set benchmark goals so you can gauge the success of your efforts as you go so you can put more effort behind what’s working and improve what’s not.
#3 – How will I measure effectiveness or results?
Once you have your objectives, you have to determine how you’ll know if you’ve actually achieved them in a meaningful way. As mentioned above, your goals should be measureable. However, you’ll need to interpret the data you collect to get an accurate view.
Tip: Go beyond high-level metrics. For example, if one of your objectives is to increase website traffic, don’t just look at overall social referral traffic to gauge success. Dig deeper to understand how those visitors are interacting with your content once they get there. Some things to consider are top performing pages, time spent on page, the average number of pages visited and conversions.Go beyond high-level metrics to determine the effectiveness of #socialmediamarketing. @CaitlinMBurgess Click To Tweet
#4 – Who is my audience?
If you want to build rapport and provide your audience with relevant content and discussion, you need to understand their interests, motivations and pain points, as well as which platforms they’re utilizing most.
Tip: Get started by defining who your ideal customer is by creating a customer persona, which is a general representation of who your target customer/follower is. Get in touch with your sales team to gather direct insights, and dig into your website analytics to learn which channels are driving the most traffic and engagement. In addition, use the insights and analytics options within social platforms to see when and how your followers are engaging with your content.
The goal here is to uncover which social channels are best for reaching your target audience, as well as what topics, content types and discussions are most relevant.
#5 – What type of content does my audience consume on social?
In today’s social media environment, simply sharing links to your company website or blog with a bit of text will not drive your objectives.
Tip: Use the audience insights you’ve gained from your work to create customer personas to create a plan including the appropriate mix of images, videos, links and discussion starters that connect to your audience’s topical interests and information needs.
#6 – What do I want my followers to know about my brand?
Social media gives your brand the opportunity to show people who you are and the value your offer, not just what you sell. Is your brand focused on innovation? Is your amazing corporate culture something that sets you apart from the competition?
Tip: Tell your company’s story. Develop a brand voice that brings a human element and personality to your social media pages. Leave the jargon and sales pitches behind, and talk to people on their level.Develop a brand voice that brings a human element & personality to your #socialmedia pages. Click To Tweet
#7 – How often will I engage on each channel?
Consistency is key to fostering continued engagement on your social channels. But that doesn’t mean you have to post 10 times a day on each channel. Ultimately, you want to be a regular fixture in news feeds, but not overwhelm your audience.
Tip: Develop a daily, weekly or monthly plan or schedule that details when, where, what and how you’ll be posting. Below is an example of what your template could look like.
#8 – How will I execute my strategy?
All your research and planning will be for nothing if you haven’t defined the tactics, tools and resources you’ll need to execute.
Tip: Combine your social media strategy with your other digital and content marketing efforts to create a tactical mix that speaks to your audience. Some tactics that you could include are influencer content, paid ads, video and live chats.
In addition, determine which curation or management tools will help you find and share relevant content with your audience. Also, make sure you define who within your organization will be responsible for execution and measurement.
When developing your social media marketing strategy, what other key questions did you need to answer? Tell us in the comments section below.
Great idea using social media as support to an existing digital marketing strategy roadmap!
Amanda Maurer says
Thanks for the great social media tips Caitlin. As a social media marketer, I work with clients daily that think that they need to be on every platform, like you mentioned in this post. As marketers, we must bring them back to reality and help them focus on social media tactics that align with their goals. I love all of the questions that you put together and I will definitely be using them in the future when talking to clients about their social media strategies.
Kevin Namaky says
Caitlin: You’ve done a really nice job laying out the critical questions you should ask yourself if you want to build an effective social media strategy. These can really help small business owners think through their objectives, audience, channels, content types and timing. Worth sharing!