GUIDE Social Media Marketing Strategy

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GUIDESocial MediaMarketing StrategyEight easy steps to develop yoursocial media presence

ContentsStep 1: Set social media marketing goals that align to business objectives3Step 2: Learn everything you can about your audience4Step 3: Research the competition5Step 4: Conduct a social media audit6Step 5: Set up accounts and improve existing profiles7Step 6: Find inspiration8Step 7: Create a social media content calendar8Step 8: Test, evaluate, and adjust your strategy10#239584107GUIDE /Social Media Marketing Strategy2

Step 1Related resourceThe Social Media Metricsthat Really Matter—andHow to Track ThemSet social media marketing goals that align tobusiness objectivesThe more specific your strategy is, the more effective the execution will be.Set SMART goals and track the right metrics to set yourself up for success.Set SMART goalsThe first step to creating a social media marketing strategy is to establishyour objectives and goals. Without goals, you have no way to measure yoursuccess or your social media return on investment (ROI).Each of your goals should n example of a SMART goal for your business might be "Grow our Instagramaudience by 50 new followers per week."With SMART goals, you’ll make sure your goals actually lead to real businessresults, rather than just lofty ideals.GUIDE /Social Media Marketing Strategy3

Track meaningful metricsWhile vanity metrics like retweets and likes can be fun to share and easy totrack, it’s hard to prove their real value for your business. Instead, focus ontargets such as leads generated, web referrals, and conversion rate.You may want to track different goals for different channels, or even different usesof each channel. For example, you can use paid campaigns to increase brandawareness, but measure acquisition and engagement for organic social posts.Make sure to align your social media goals with your overall marketingstrategy. This will make it easier for you to show the value of your work andget executive buy-in and investment.Start developing your social media marketing plan by writing down at leastthree social media goals.Goals1.2.3.Step 2Related resourceHow to build audiencepersonasLearn everything you can about your audienceif you’re not engaged in social media listening, you’re creating your businessstrategy with blinders on—and you’re missing out on mountains of actionableinsights from real people who are actively talking about you or your industry online.Here’s how to start listening and building your understanding of youraudience and their needs.Create audience personastKnowing who your audience is and what they want to see on social is key tocreating content that they will like, comment on, and share. This knowledgealso critical for planning how to develop your social media fans intocustomers for your business.Try creating audience personas. For example, a retail brand might createdifferent personas based on demographics, buying motivations, commonbuying objections, and the emotional needs of each type of customer.GUIDE /Social Media Marketing Strategy4

Personas sharpen your marketing tactics. Luxury buyers, for example,might not respond to Facebook ads with sales. But they might respond toFacebook ads with exclusive in-store events to be the first to see a new line ofclothing. With personas, you’ll have the customer insights you need to createcampaigns that speak to the real desires and motivations of your buyers.Gather real-world dataDon’t make assumptions. Social media analytics can also provide a ton ofvaluable information about who your followers are, where they live, whichlanguages they speak, and how they interact with your brand on social. Theseinsights allow you to refine your strategy and better target your social ads.Jugnoo, an Uber-like service for auto-rickshaws in India, used FacebookAnalytics to learn that 90 percent of their users who referred othercustomers were between 18 and 34 years old, and that 65 percent of thatgroup was using Android. They used this information to target their ads,resulting in a 40 percent lower cost per referral.Step 3Related resourcesHow to conduct acompetitor auditResearch the competitionOdds are, your competitors are already using social media—and that meansyou can learn from what they’re already doing.Getting started withsocial listeningConduct a competitive analysisWatch: How to set upsocial listening streamsA competitive analysis allows you to understand who the competition is andwhat they’re doing well (and not so well). You’ll get a good sense of what’sexpected in your industry, which will help you set some social media targetsof your own.This analysis will also help you spot opportunities. For example, maybeone of your competitors dominates on Facebook, but has put little effortinto Twitter or Instagram. You might want to focus on the networks whereyour audience is underserved, rather than trying to win fans away from adominant player.Engage in social listeningSocial listening is another way to keep track of the competition.As you track your competitors’ accounts and relevant industry keywords, youmay notice strategic shifts in the way competitors use their social accounts.Or you might spot a specific post or campaign that really hits the mark—orone that bombs.Keep an eye on this information and use to it evaluate your own goals and plans.GUIDE /Social Media Marketing Strategy5

Step 4Related resourceHootsuite’s social mediaaudit templateConduct a social media auditConducting a social media audit helps you assess how well your currentsocial media use works for you.Evaluate your current effortsIf you’re already using social media tools, you need to take a step back and lookat what you’ve already accomplished. Ask yourself the following questions: What’s working? What’s not working? Who’s connecting with you on social? Which social media sites does your target market use? How does your social media presence compare to that of your competitors?Once you gather all this information in one place, you’ll have a good startingpoint for planning how to improve your results.Your audit should give you a clear picture of what purpose each of yoursocial accounts serves. If the purpose of an account isn’t clear, think aboutwhether it’s worth keeping. It may be a valuable account that just needsa strategic redirection, or it may be an outdated account that’s no longerworth your while.To help you decide, ask yourself the following questions:1. Is my audience here?2. If so, how are they using this platform?3. Can I use this account to help achieve meaningful business goals?Asking these tough questions now will help keep your social media strategyon track as you grow your social presence.Look for impostor accountsDuring your audit process, you may discover fraudulent accounts using yourbusiness name or the names of your products—that is, accounts that youand your business don’t own.These imposter accounts can be harmful to your brand (never mindcapturing followers that should be yours), so be sure to report them. Youmay want to get your social accounts verified to ensure your fans andfollowers know they are dealing with the real you.GUIDE /Social Media Marketing Strategy6

Step 5Related resourcesWatch: How to optimizeyour social profilesWe’ve also got step-by-stepguides for each networkto walk you through theprocess:Create a Facebookbusiness pageSet up accounts and improve existing profilesDecide which networks you’ll focus on, and then set up and optimize youraccounts.Determine which networks to use (and how to use them)As you decide which social channels to use, you’ll also need to define yourstrategy for each network. For example, you might decide to use Twitter forcustomer service, Facebook for customer acquisition, and Instagram forengaging existing customers.Create an Instagrambusiness accountIt’s a good exercise to create mission statements for each network. Theseone-sentence declarations will help you focus on a very specific goal foreach account on each social network.Create a Twitter businessaccountFor example, you could decide that: Facebook is best for acquiring new customers via paid advertising.Create a Snapchataccount Instagram is where you build brand affinity with existing customers.Create a LinkedInCompany Page Twitter is where you engage press and industry influencers. LinkedIn is where you engage existing employees and attract new talent.Create a Pinterestbusiness account YouTube is where you support existing customers with education andvideo help content.Create a YouTube channelCreate a WeChat businessaccountDon’t let this list overwhelmyou. Remember, it’s better touse fewer channels well thanto stretch yourself thin tryingto maintain a presence onevery social network.Finally, here’s a quickreference guide for imagesizes for every network.GUIDE / Snapchat is where you distribute content with the goal of building brandawareness with younger consumers.If you can’t create a solid mission statement for a particular social network,you may want to reconsider whether that network is worth it.Set up (and optimize) your accountsOnce you’ve decided which networks to focus on, it’s time to create yourprofiles—or improve existing profiles so they align with your strategic plan.In general, make sure you fill out all profile fields, use keywords people willuse to search for your business, and use images that are correctly sized foreach network.Social Media Marketing Strategy7

Step 6Find inspirationWhile it’s important that your brand be distinctive and unique, you can stilldraw inspiration from other businesses that are great on social.Social network success storiesAll of the social networks feature success stories that highlight how brandsare using their tools effectively. You can usually find these on the businesssection of the social network’s website. (For example, take a look at theFacebook business success stories.) These case studies offer valuableinsights you can apply to your own goals for each social network.Award-winning accounts and campaignsFor examples of brands that are at the top of their social media game, checkout the winners of The Facebook Awards or The Shorty Awards.Step 7Related resourcesHow to create a socialmedia content calendarWatch: How to save timewith bulk schedulingCreate a social media content calendarSharing great content is essential, of course, but it’s equally important to havea plan in place for when you’ll share content to get the maximum impact.Your social media content calendar also needs to account for the time you’llspend interacting with your audience (although you need to allow for somespontaneous engagement as well).Create a posting scheduleYour social media content calendar lists the dates and times at which you willpublish types of content on each channel. It’s the perfect place to plan all of yoursocial media activities—from images and link sharing to blog posts and videos.Your calendar ensures your posts are spaced out appropriately andpublished at the optimal times. It should include both your day-to-day postsand your content for social media campaigns.GUIDE /Social Media Marketing Strategy8

Plot your content mixMake sure your calendar reflects the mission statement you’ve assigned toeach social profile, so that everything you post is working to support yourbusiness goals. For example, you might decide that: 50 percent of content will drive traffic back to your blog 25 percent of content will be curated from other sources 20 percent of content will support enterprise goals (selling, leadgeneration, and so on) 5 percent of content will be about your employees and company culturePlacing these different post types in your content calendar will help ensureyou maintain the ratio you’ve planned. If you’re starting from scratch andyou’re simply not sure what types of content to post, try the 80-20 rule: 80 percent of your posts should inform, educate, or entertain your audience 20 percent can directly promote your brandYou could also try the social media rule of thirds: One-third of your social content promotes your business, convertsreaders, and generates profit One-third of your social content shares ideas and stories from thoughtleaders in your industry or like-minded businesses One-third of your social content involves personal interactions with youraudienceOnce you have your calendar set, use scheduling tools or bulk scheduling toprepare your posting in advance rather than updating constantly throughoutthe day. This allows you to focus on crafting the language and format of yourposts, rather than writing them on the fly whenever you have time.GUIDE /Social Media Marketing Strategy9

Step 8Test, evaluate, and adjust your strategyYour social media strategy is a hugely important document for yourbusiness, and you can’t assume you’ll get it exactly right on the first try.As you start to implement your plan and track your results, you may findthat some strategies don’t work as well as you’d anticipated, while others areworking even better than expected.Track your dataIn addition to using the analytics tools available within each social network,use UTM parameters to track visitors as they move through your website, soyou can see exactly which social posts drive the most traffic to your website.Re-evaluate, test, and do it all againWhen data starts coming in, use it to reevaluate your strategy regularly.You can also use this information to test different posts, campaigns, andstrategies against one another. Constant testing allows you to understandwhat works and what doesn’t, so you can refine your strategy in real time.Surveys can also be a great way to find out how well your strategy is working.Ask your social media followers, email list, and website visitors whetheryou’re meeting their needs and expectations on social media. You can evenask them what they’d like to see more of—and then make sure to deliver onwhat they tell you.Things change fast on social media. New networks emerge, while othersgo through significant demographic shifts. Your business will go throughperiods of change as well. All this means that your social media strategyshould be a living document that you look at regularly and adjust as needed.Refer to it often to keep you on track, but don’t be afraid to make changesso that it better reflects new goals, tools, or plans.When you update your social strategy, make sure to let everyone on yoursocial team know, so they can all work together to help your business makethe most of your social media accounts.GUIDE /Social Media Marketing Strategy10

Bonus: Download our social mediastrategy templateDoes this all feel a little overwhelming? The truth is that building your socialmedia strategy is a substantial job. It should be, since it’s such an importantdocument for your business. But it doesn’t have to be complicated.We’ve created a template to guide you through the whole process ofcreating your social media marketing plan. Visit our blog to download it (plussix other social media templates that can save you hours of work).Take the next leap in your social media careerHootsuite AcademyEarn industry-recognized social media certifications that will make you standout from the crowd.Begin with our free comprehensive training on social marketing. All of ourcourses are delivered online and taught by expert industry practitioners.Take the free course here.Build a professional workflow with HootsuiteFrom scheduling Instagram posts to advanced ROI measurement, Hootsuite’sflexible platform helps you execute every aspect of your social media strategy.We’re the world’s most widely used platform for managing social media.Get started with the plan that fits your needs here.Did you find this guide helpful?Tell us whether we should praise our writers or shout at them. Either way,we appreciate your honest feedback. Take our 4-minute survey here.GUIDE /Social Media Marketing Strategy11

GUIDE / Social Media Marketing Strategy 3 Step 1 Set social media marketing goals that align to business objectives The more specific your strategy is, the more effective the execution will be. Set SMART goals and track the right metrics to set yourself up for success. Set SMART goals The first step to creati

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