(note from us at Good Oil Marketing – this article is not acutally our work! Our friend Anthony Murphy from Attention Media put this amazing guide together, and we simply couldn’t look past it! It’s here with his permission, and if you are in Victoria Australia, he’s a person we certainly recommend talking to about all things digital marketing https://attentionmedia.com.au/social-media-strategy/ )

Step 1. SET YOUR OBJECTIVES

So you are wondering how to create a social media strategy?

To start,  you need to decide on what would you like to achieve with social media marketing.

Creating new business and generating leads is often at the top of the list, but social media can also help you achieve a range of other objectives!

Here is a list of objectives that you normally see around digital and social media marketing

  • Generate new leads and sales.
  • Nurture leads.
  • Increase brand awareness.
  • Increase brand advocacy.
  • Drive website traffic.
  • Boost brand engagement.
  • Build a community around your business.
  • Collaborations with other brands
  • Improve customer service.
  • Increase mentions of your business in the media.
  • Increase your influence in your industry.
  • Build relationships

You may decide that you would like to focus on just one objective or maybe a few at a time?

There is no right or wrong approach! If you are first starting out, I would suggest that you pick the most important one to you at this time and focus on it to start with!

This will help you put all your energy into achieving great results and not spreading your focus too far!

Step 2. REVIEW YOUR BUSINESS

The next thing you want to do when developing your social media strategy is to conduct some market research!

It’s a good idea to collect as much data as possible so that you have an idea of what you’re working with.

Start with an audit or review on your existing social media channels.

Here is a basic list of items to record:

  • Existing social platforms and their URL’s or usernames.
  • Number of page likes or followers
  • The reach and engagement you have achieved over the past week/month/year
  • The frequency that posts have been added or the last time the platform was updated
  • The demographics of your current audiences

If there are existing social media platforms in use, it’s a good idea to make a copy of or record your analytics before you start.

This will give you a starting point to look back on and see the progress you have made.

Most social media platforms offer some form of analytics inside the app itself.

Otherwise, connect your platforms with a program that can do it for you like.

Next, you need to see what your competitors are doing!

Step 3. RESEARCH

The next thing you want to do when developing your social media strategy is to conduct some research!

This is a vital part of developing your strategy because you need to know what others are doing and what is or isn’t working for them, to optimise your own strategy.

Who should you research?

  • Businesses and brands in your industry that have a social media presence
  • Businesses and brands that aren’t in your industry, but have a large social media presence.
  • Brands, influencers, personalities & celebrities that you follow online
  • Your direct competitors

What to look for when doing your research:

  • Which platforms are being used?
  • What sort of content are they posting?
  • Which types of content are getting the most engagement? (likes, comments, shares)
  • How often are they posting?
  • What are they not doing that you could do instead?

Tools to help you do your research:

SOCIAL MEDIA

The best place to find the answers you need it to search each social platform for the businesses and brands that you are looking for!

GOOGLE

Search Google for things you are trying to find and the questions you need answers too!

ANALYTICS & KEYWORD TOOLS

There are many types of software and tools that you can use to help you dig deeper into your industry and find the types of information you need to create a winning strategy.

Step 4. CHOOSING PLATFORMS & CHANNELS

When it comes to choosing the right social media platforms (yes, you may already be using a number of them) there are a few things you need to consider:

  • Which platforms are people in your target audience using?
    • You may or may not what to try other platforms to be different or get an edge?
  • Which social platforms will you be able to create content for most effectively?
    • You may not have a visual product or service and a picture centered platforms like Instagram might not be best?
  • Which platforms can you or your team use most effectively?
    • Creating content or Snapchat is different to Facebook. Will you be able to consistently create the right types of core content?

You can find more info on how to choose the right platform for your business by checking out this article we wrote:

BLOG: How to choose the best social media platforms for your business

Step 5. CONTENT STRATEGY

This is the part of your social media marketing strategy that gets into the creative side of things.

It’s time to look a how you are going to plan your content for each month and how you can create content that will help you achieve your objectives.

Target Audience

Before you start creating content you need to figure out who you are trying to create content for.

Here are some questions you need to ask to define your target audience:

  • Who are you trying to reach?
  • What problems are you trying to solve for them?
  • The interests that they have?
  • The type of demographic they fit into?
  • What types of content do they consume the most?

Now that you have established the ideal person you want to reach you can start creating content for that person.

Planning your social media content

Regardless of whether you are creating a social media strategy for yourself or for a business you can follow these 4 guidelines.

  1. Plan for internal or personal events

Use any information you have with what will be happening internally over the next month/s.

Some examples are:

  • Company events & news
  • Meetings
  • Client & customer content

        2. Plan for external events

Use any information you have with what will be happening externally over the next month/s to generate content ideas.

Some examples are:

  • Upcoming events
  • Current news and affairs
  • Recognised holidays etc

3. Plan around campaigns that you will be running

You may have set marketing campaigns running and would like to create content that ties in or adds to the individual marketing campaign/s.

4. Create a content calendar

For all the times/day that you do not have something to post after planning around the points above, create a content calendar to fill in the gaps.

Step 6. POSTING STRATEGY

Once you have your content ready to go, the next step is to work out how often you will be posting on each different platform.

How Often To Post?

It depends on the platform!

On Twitter you should post multiple times per day, whereas with Facebook 1-2 per day seems to be industry best practice at this time.

Here is a great blog by Co-Schedule with more information on How Often To Post To Social Media.

Like everything in marketing, don’t get bogged down in what you read or are told.

You should test and measure for yourself to see what works for you, your business and your audience.

How To Post Your Content?

Now you have your content and you have decided on when and how often you will post. The next thing to consider is how you will post.

You can post in real-time to each platform but this can be time-consuming and difficult to manage.

Try using an automated scheduling tool to batch load your content ahead of time. This way, you don’t have to worry about finding the time or missing a post!

Here are some tools that we use in our agency and personally recommend:

  • Buffer – free and paid versions

We like how simple and easy to use Buffer is! It’s a great tool for anyone starting out or looking for an option that won’t break the bank!

This tool is a very popular one throughout the social media industry. Hootsuite offers a powerful scheduling platform and also includes analytics for most platforms with the paid version. One reason it is so popular, is due to being very affordable yet powerful.

Creator Studio lets creators and publishers manage posts, insights and messages from all of your Facebook Pages in one place. It’s a Facebook platform, simple and easy to use.

Step 7. ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY

Engagement is vital to the success of your social media marketing!

It’s called ‘social’ media for a reason.

There is a two-way conversion to be had!

Many people and businesses neglect this when it’s so important to your success and growth.

You have gone to all the effort of creating a social media strategy, now you need to nurture and build on the relationships that will come your way.

You need to reply and respond to the comments, questions and leads that you receive.

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes…

If you engage with content from a business or brand you expect to get a timely response!

So with that being said, it’s important to plan your engagement strategy as well.

This is a modified example of the original by Daniel Knowlton at KPS Digital Marketing.

DAILYWEEKLYMONTHLY
Check and respond to all notifications promptly Responsible:Go to industry events / meet ups and connect with everyone you meet on social media. Responsible:Check analytics to see which posts got the most engagement.  Responsible:
Proactively engage with potential customer’s content. Responsible:Identify 5 new prospects to start engaging with on social media. Responsible:Test a new type of post which encourages engagement. Responsible:
Proactively engage with current customer’s content.Responsible:Share & add a detailed comment to an interesting piece of content from a prospect. Responsible:Create a new competition?Responsible:
Proactively engage with industry influencers content. Responsible:Unveil new product/s?  Responsible:

Step 8. GROWTH STRATEGY

Growing your social media presence and audience is important.

You want to reach new people who will potentially become leads and generate sales once you have built a relationship with them.

A little word of advice, however, is to work on growing an audience (small is ok!)  of engaged and loyal fans that love you and your business.

This is much more valuable than having 1 million followers that will never engage with your content!

When it comes to growth, there are paid methods and ‘growth hacking’ or free methods.

Paid Growth

Most of the top social media platforms today are in the ‘pay to play’ business.

Advertising revenue is their business model.

Organic reach continues to drop (Facebook organic reach can be as little as 1-5% of your Facebook fans) and this means you need to spend some money in order to get your content into the newsfeeds of your target audience.

Facebooks Ads is the greatest advertising method in the world right now.

Facebook knows pretty much everything about everyone and they allow you to use this data to reach the right people.

The other platforms; LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram…all offer paid advertising as well.

It’s a wise idea to allow for an ad spend budget as part of your social media marketing.

Growth Hacks

“Growth Hacking” is a term referring to implementing tactics and experimenting with different marketing methods to simulate rapid growth, often with little to no money involved.

Here is a list of simple growth hacks you can implement immediately!

  • Add your social media links to email signatures, websites, business cards and other content
  • Follow every person you meet on social media (this should be a no-brainer in building your following!)
  • Employee advocacy – ask all your employees to engage with your content
  • Run social media competitions
  • Run influencer marketing campaigns
  • Give your audience a reason to tag or mention their friends in the comments

Step 9. MEASUREMENT STRATEGY

Of course, all your hard work in developing and executing your strategy needs to be measured!

ROI, return on investment, is a key term used in the marketing industry.

Can you show that you are getting a return on the time, money and resources you are using?

Measuring your social media success involves taking the objectives you chose and measuring against the metrics or key performance indicators you have set.

How To Measure Your Metrics

Most of the top social media platforms have some sort of inbuilt analytics to help you measure your success.

Otherwise, you can make use of other analytics software like Buffer, Hootsuite, Agency Analytics etc.

So to summarise, you want to take your objectives and metrics and measure them against the KPI’s that you set to ensure you are moving forward.

For example:

  • Objective: Increase engagement
  • Metric: Growth of social media engagement
  • KPI: X amount of engagement with your content for the selected period of time
  • Tool: Use a tool such as Facebook Insights, Hootsuite or Agency Analytics to show you the amount of engagement you received compared to the previous period.

Step 10. REPORTING

Create a report on a monthly basis to ensure you are progressing and to review or adjust the KPI’s you have set against your objectives.

This can be kept for your own personal use or as a report for your CEO or manager.

And that’s it! How to create a social media strategy and turn your business into and iconic brand!

If you have any questions about what you have read, please let us know if the comments below!

Always happy to help!

Thanks for reading!