How to build your Social Media Marketing Strategy in 5 steps
Imagine sitting in the cockpit of an airplane waiting for permission to depart from Zurich. You’re the co-pilot.
While you’re waiting in the cockpit for the captain to arrive, you post a selfie on Instagram. “Passengers are getting comfy – can’t wait for my first intercontinental flight!” Flight school tested you for all eventualities. You’re ready to take off for Tokyo.
But there’s one situation you were not prepared for, and that’s the captain stumbling into the cabin with rough scent reminiscing of last night’s party. Great, he’s not going to be of much help.
Worse than that: he had mapped out the flight route and is the only one who knows HOW to get to Tokyo. And while you’re sitting there, fighting against an outbreak of sweat, you’re faced with the undeniable reality that you’ll have to take over without a plan.
At this point, you might say: “Appreciate the story, but what on earth does this have to do with Social Media Strategies?”
There’s actually more in common than you might think.
Consider the flight route as the strategy. It is the exact plan of how you will get from Zurich to Tokyo: it sets out the weather conditions you might encounter, over which countries you will fly and who you’ll have to contact when you cross borders. The strategic goal is clearly defined (land safely in Tokyo) and is at the same time a measure for success or failure.
A social media strategy is a map of action: it is a concise plan that defines a set of measures that will help reach long term goals. It defines the benchmark for success and failure and will help you avoid silo solutions and interconnect the various actions on social media to leverage your actions.
This blog will help you create a Social Media Marketing Strategy. Let’s dig into the science then!
Analyze your efforts
A very important first step when creating your strategy is to analyze and evaluate your current efforts on social media. This will give you an overview of how you perform at the moment, what works and what doesn’t. It’ll be the fundament on which you’ll build your future actions.
A social media audit helps you to do just this. It’s nothing else than looking at all your Social media accounts and analyzing their performance. It helps you to gain an overview of your current efforts. Based on these insights, you’ll be able to adjust the focus of your social media presence, if needed.
In order to be able to analyze your efforts, you’ll need some metrics to measure them. While there are tons of metrics, we’d like to categorize them into four batches representing customer journey stages:
- Awareness: What’s your current and potential audience?
- Engagement: How strongly do people engage with your content?
- Conversion: How effective is your social engagement?
- Consumer: how do your customers think and feel about your brand?
Each one of these batches has different evaluation metrics. For brand awareness for instance, you might want to look at the reach of your posts or the audience growth rate. For engagement, however, you’d be looking at the average engagement rate or the amplification rate.
Look at the numbers and identify which channels are working fine and which ones need a shift of focus. You might find out that some of the channels are simply not needed. Get rid of them – it’s not necessary to be on all platforms.
Once you have mapped out your current efforts, it’ll be time to have a closer look at your competition.
Analyze the competition
In competitor analysis, you evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors as compared to yours. You can learn a whole lot with this exercise. And in case that your competitors are doing a lousy job, at least you will know what they’re doing wrong and can avoid the same pitfalls.
First, gather intel on them. What social media channels are they on? How often do they post? What kind of visual universe do they use? How many followers do they have?
Keep in mind that it’s not to make you feel good or bad about your own efforts. Get inspired by what your competitors are great at. But don’t copy! You always have to speak with the voice that suits your brand. Focus on filling in the gaps they left open.
There are several tools that can help you conduct a competitive analysis. At Enigma, we have developed our own tool, the Full Potential Analysis. It allows you to compare yourself to the competition and to spot potential areas for growth. You can find out more about the tool here.
Define your goals
When defining goals for Social Media, you always have to keep in mind: The content you share has to bring value to your customers.
Knowing who you post for and what these people want to see is crucial in order to create engaging content. Especially if you’re looking to turn your followers into customers. Creating customer persona will facilitate thinking about this. Read our article about them and download the free template to create customer personas.
Once you know who you are posting for, you’d want to define relevant, achievable goals that help you engage your (potential) customers and by that grow your business). This is why goals can also be seen as a thermometer measuring your ROI.
Your goals should be short and concise. This is why we employ the SMART framework. The acronym stands for:
- Specific: Be precise. “Increasing followers” is not a clearly defined goal. But “growing your follower base by 1’000 people” is.
- Measurable: You need to be able to measure your goal with metrics. “Improve Customer Experience” is something to strive for, but not a measurable goal.
- Attainable: Don’t define your goal too broadly, don’t be too ambitious.
- Relevant: Be sure that the goal aligns with the overall marketing strategy. If your goal is to increase awareness but your marketing objective is to convert customers, then the goal is not relevant.
- Timely: Fix a clear date until you when you want the goal to be achieved. This would be the addition “…until February” to the sentence under “Specific”.
Once you’ve defined your goals, it is crucial for you to keep track if you’re meeting them or not. A data dashboard will give you the necessary insights.
Set up a dashboard
Getting a clear sight of your performance is not an easy task. Having insights (data) about your actions is great – but how do you actually make sense of all that information?
As a matter of fact, many marketers face two big issues:
– Information overload: They do not know how to handle the data and are overwhelmed.
– Ignoring information: They are not paying any attention to the valuable data, thus making poor decisions based on opinions and not evidence.
A dashboard that collects information about the performance of your campaign helps you make sense of your efforts.
To do so, there are several tools that help you do that. We’ve selected a couple of them for you.
- Hootsuite Analytics: measure your success in real-time
- Brandwatch: You’re looking for a tool for social listening and benchmarking against your competitors? Then this is the tool for you.
- Unmetric: The AI tool that collects data from all major social media platforms and allows you to download automated reports.
- Individualized dashboard: If you wish to create a dashboard that is tailored to your needs, Enigma has its own solution.
Depending on your strategic alignment goals you might choose one tool over the other. Make sure to request demos so you can test and compare them to find the tool that suits you best.
Define a workflow
Once you have analyzed, defined your goals and set up a dashboard, you can now integrate all this into a workflow. This helps you plan and allocate the necessary resources and keep up a dynamic social media presence.
A workflow could look like this:
– Find ideas for posts for your different campaigns on different platforms
– Gather the necessary resources for the content
– Get operational: Write the copy, select pictures, …
– Schedule the posts
– Amplify the posts to add exposure
– Engage with the audience
– Measure and optimize
Optimizing your content based on the insights of your previous posts is crucial if you want to continue to improve your performance on social media. Try different visuals. Test new copy. Explore variations.
One more thing…
Now that you know how to create your Social Media Marketing Strategy, there’s one more important thing we’d like to mention: your social media strategy is only as good as it is integrated into your overall marketing strategy. In fact, a social media strategy itself is not a way to go – it is embedded in a global strategy.
… and at the very last: a gift
For a Social Media Marketing Strategy to be effective, it is crucial to think about which content you will show to people at what point in time. Mapping out a customer journey will help you plan social media actions depending on where people are on their customer journey and drive them to a conversion. We’ve created a template to define a customer journey for you. Download it here.