Step 1. Determine Your Goals
Your first step is to figure out what you want your efforts to accomplish. Setting and documenting your goals for each campaign upfront will help the decision-making process moving forward.
Social Media Marketing Goals
Increase Brand Awareness
Many brands rely on social media channels to help them create brand awareness. If this is your goal, you’ll want to avoid too many overt promotional messages and instead focus on offering valuable and actionable information. A rule of thumb is that 80% of your content should be VALUE DRIVEN.
Increase Brand Engagement
Once you’ve attracted new followers you’ll need to begin to nurture these relationships through engagement campaigns. Engagement posts will ask your users to take action, ask questions to your audience to invite their response. Not only does this create intimacy with your audience but it also plays into the platform’s algorithm. Accounts with more engagement signal higher relevancy and will ensure your content is shown to your followers more often. Consider using analytical tools to determine the effectiveness of your engagement efforts. Which content and channels are driving the most engagement?
Drive Website Traffic
Your website is the center or your marketing world. It’s where customers and prospects gather more information about your products or services, get a clearer understanding of your brand personality, and eventually, make a purchase. Google analytics can help you recognize which social media tactics and channels are driving the most traffic to your site.
Drive In-Store Sales
Are you a brick and mortar store that hopes social media will get more feet coming through your door?
Create a Loyal fanbase
Creating a positive brand persona on social will require you to promote user-generated content by sharing and interacting with followers.
Step 2. Know Your Audience
The only way you’ll be able to create relevant content and make sure you deliver it on the right channels is to know exactly who it is you are trying to engage. To determine your ideal customer’s persona, you’ll need to know demographics as well as psychographics.
These are the basics of your target market. You’ll need to know things like age, gender, annual income, education level, location, occupation, and marital status.
Imagine your target market is an ice cream sundae. The demographics are like the two scoops of vanilla ice cream, but the psychographics are the hot fudge, bananas, sprinkles, whipped cream and cherries on top.
This is to say that knowing demographics is an important base, but the psychographics helps you figure out all of the delicious stuff about your audience.
What makes them tick? Who are they as people? What do they love? Hate? What are they afraid of? What are their values? What kind of lifestyle do they lead? What kind of entertainment do they enjoy? How do they like to consume information? How does your product or service inform their lives?
Who is your target market influenced by? Where do they get their information, who do they follow and what are they influenced by?
Make sure you document this information, it can also be used for targeting in your advertising campaigns.
- Once you’ve gone through these exercises, you may end up with more than one target customer. That’s fine, just be sure to keep them segmented so you can always be sure to create and send content that is relevant to each group.
- If at any point you feel lost during these exercises, just spy on your best-performing competition. Study their social media content and channels to pick up clues as to who their target market is. Chances are, yours will be very similar.
- Once you’ve got an idea of your market, create a singular persona and name them. Whenever you write copy or pic images imagine this person, how you would talk to them, if they’d be interested in your message or creative.
Step 3: Choose the Platforms Your Audience Uses
Let me dispel a myth right off the bat: you do NOT need to be on every single social media channel in existence. Trying to be everywhere at once will only spread your resources too thin.
You’ve just taken the time to understand exactly who your target market is, so choose channels based on who you are trying to serve. An affluent 57-year-old empty-nester may prefer Facebook whereas a recent college graduate might spend little to no time on Facebook but hours every day on Snapchat.
Spend a little time researching the main demographics of each social media platform and select the top one or two channels that fit your audience.
Step 4: Select Your Metrics
Too many marketers make the mistake of either ending their strategy after step three, or choosing only vanity metrics (likes, follows) that don’t tell the whole story of how their brand is performing on social media. But remember step 1 – you had an overall goal you wanted to reach, so you’ve got to choose metrics that will tell you if you’re on track to reaching that goal or not.
To get the fullest, clearest picture of whether your efforts are effective, use engagement metrics such as:
How many unique users saw your last post? Reach is a good indicator of how far your content is spreading across social.
Tracking clicks is critical in understanding what content is driving engagement and inspiring sales. Clicks show how users move through your marketing funnel.
Some quick math – engagement can be calculated by taking the total number of social interactions and dividing them by the number of impressions. What you’re looking for is a good overall average interaction ratio out of total reach.
Step 5: Create Your Content Calendar
Creating a content calendar is one of the absolute most important things you need to do before you start any social media campaign. If you skip this step you will find yourself scrambling each month to create content to share.
But planning social media posts ahead of time ensures you always have quality content to share with your audience on a consistent basis. Here are some things to consider when building your calendar:
- To determine what kind of content to focus on, go through old posts to figure out which got the most likes and shares.
- Decide on how often to post based on your target market and selected channels.
- Use a mix of original and curated content.
- Start filling your pipeline with content and, if possible, use software to schedule posts on a regular basis. (My favourite is Later for smaller budgets, and Sprout Social if you can spend a little more.)