A social media marketing strategy is a summary of everything you plan to do and hope to achieve on social media. It guides your actions and lets you know whether you’re succeeding or failing. Every post, reply, like, and comment should serve a purpose.
The more specific your strategy is, the more effective the execution will be. Keep it concise. Don’t make your plan so lofty and broad that it’s unattainable or impossible to measure.
In this post, we’ll walk you through an eight-step plan to create a winning social media strategy of your own.
How to create a social media strategy
Step 1: Set social media marketing goals that align to business objectives
Set S.M.A.R.T. goals
Your goal should be clear and specific, otherwise you won't be able to focus your efforts or feel truly motivated to achieve it. When drafting your goal, try to answer the five "W" questions:
What do I want to accomplish?
Why is this goal important?
Who is involved?
Where is it located?
Which resources or limits are involved?
Imagine that you are currently a marketing executive, and you'd like to become head of marketing. A specific goal could be, "I want to gain the skills and experience necessary to become head of marketing within my organization, so that I can build my career and lead a successful team."
It's important to have measurable goals, so that you can track your progress and stay motivated. Assessing progress helps you to stay focused, meet your deadlines, and feel the excitement of getting closer to achieving your goal.
A measurable goal should address questions such as:
How will I know when it is accomplished?
You might measure your goal of acquiring the skills to become head of marketing by determining that you will have completed the necessary training courses and gained the relevant experience within five years' time.
Your goal also needs to be realistic and attainable to be successful. In other words, it should stretch your abilities but still remain possible. When you set an achievable goal, you may be able to identify previously overlooked opportunities or resources that can bring you closer to it.
An achievable goal will usually answer questions such as:
How can I accomplish this goal?
How realistic is the goal, based on other constraints, such as financial factors?
You might need to ask yourself whether developing the skills required to become head of marketing is realistic, based on your existing experience and qualifications. For example, do you have the time to complete the required training effectively? Are the necessary resources available to you? Can you afford to do it?
This step is about ensuring that your goal matters to you, and that it also aligns with other relevant goals. We all need support and assistance in achieving our goals, but it's important to retain control over them. So, make sure that your plans drive everyone forward, but that you're still responsible for achieving your own goal.
A relevant goal can answer "yes" to these questions:
Does this seem worthwhile?
Is this the right time?
Does this match our other efforts/needs?
Am I the right person to reach this goal?
Is it applicable in the current socio-economic environment?
You might want to gain the skills to become head of marketing within your organization, but is it the right time to undertake the required training, or work toward additional qualifications? Are you sure that you're the right person for the head of marketing role? Have you considered your partner's goals? For example, if you want to start a family, would completing training in your free time make this more difficult?
Every goal needs a target date, so that you have a deadline to focus on and something to work toward. This part of the SMART goal criteria helps to prevent everyday tasks from taking priority over your longer-term goals.
A time-bound goal will usually answer these questions:
What can I do six months from now?
What can I do six weeks from now?
What can I do today?
Gaining the skills to become head of marketing may require additional training or experience, as we mentioned earlier. How long will it take you to acquire these skills? Do you need further training, so that you're eligible for certain exams or qualifications? It's important to give yourself a realistic time frame for accomplishing the smaller goals that are necessary to achieving your final objective.
Step 2: Learn everything you can about your audience
Review any current data and analytics
Look to previous successes among your audience
Create buyer personas
Keep an eye on your competitors
Monitor audience feedback, comments, and engagements
Experiment with content and updates to your products and services
Step 3: Research the competition
Conduct a competitive analysis
Identify main competitors
Analyze competitors' online presence
What is the user experience like on their website?
Is it easy to navigate?
Do you clearly understand the products or services they offer?
Is their website mobile-optimized?
How often do they blog and most importantly, is the quality of their content good?
What topics do they blog about most frequently?
What social platforms are they actively using to talk about their products and services?
Is this content engaging their target audience?
The best way to gather information about your competitors is by acting like one of their customers. Sign up for their email list so you can get an idea of how they communicate.
Track your findings
Make sure you track your competitors' findings on a spreadsheet; it will help with ongoing monitoring.
Check online reviews
Identify areas for improvement
Step 4: Conduct a social media audit
Round up all of the social media profiles that your business currently has, even the ones that you may have never posted on or haven’t been active on recently. For each platform, record your username or handle the URL, and the number of followers or subscribers, engagement metrics, or any other KPIs that might be relevant to each channel.
Analyze each profile’s engagement.For each platform, record the engagement metrics, demographic information, top posts, plus your impressions and reach. This data can show what each platform’s strengths and weaknesses are for your business.
Find the patterns. See what popular posts within each platform and across platforms have in common. The type of post, the target audience of the post, the time it was posted, and any media in the post are things to explore.
Set goals for each platform. Your social media goals should be about how social media can benefit your business, including increasing brand awareness, engagement, and traffic to your website. Watch the video above for more info on how to set social media marketing goals.
Make a plan. Once you’ve completed the audit and set your goals, forge a plan for how to accomplish them.
Assess new platforms. Use the information you’ve collected to help you decide where your content has the highest chances to thrive and engage an audience. Social media audits should also be done quarterly, so you’ll be able to easily track data for any new ventures.
Step 5: Set up accounts and improve existing profiles
Determine which Channels to use (and how to use them)
Set up (and optimize) your accounts with all the information required. Read more about the elements.
Step 6: Find inspiration
Social network success stories
Award-winning accounts and campaigns
Our favourite social accounts
Ask your followers
Compare your competitor content
Step 7: Create a social media content calendar
Create a posting schedule
Plot your content mix
Step 8: Test, evaluate, and adjust your strategy
Track your data and your competitor data
Re-evaluate, test, and make changes to your strategy where required.