Once you possess good knowledge of the basics of how to make social media work for your business, including choosing your platforms and how to stand out on them, it’s time to define your plan of action. Otherwise known as your social media strategy, this involves detailing what you plan to do, what you hope to achieve, and how you’re going to measure it after launch. Here’s a simple, six-step process to get started.
1. Audit Your Social Accounts
This can be a bit tedious to start with, which is why it’s best to get it out of the way first. While you may already have an idea of which platforms are working best for your brand, by taking some time to analyse each one in detail, you’ll clearly see how positive an impact they have on your business.
Record the size of each network (how many followers you have), the rate of engagement on your posts (likes, shares, comments), any information fields that haven’t been optimised and the incoming traffic to your website from each network, via Google Analytics.
2. Analyse Your Competitors
This one requires a little detective work. If you’re not sure who your competitors are, search Google for businesses offering the same kind of products or services. Then, visit their sites to find links to their social media pages.
As you did during your own audit, check the size of their network, and the rate of engagement their posts generate on social. Then, check how frequently they post. If they’re performing better and posting more – maybe you should do so at a similar frequency.
However, if they’re posting less but generating more engagement, think about what they’re posting, that you’re not – and make a note of it in your strategy.
3. Define Your Target Audience
An essential part of any social media marketing plan is knowing who to target. Social media offers you the opportunity to reach practically anyone, anywhere, but it’s always better to focus on the right people in the ideal place and engage them at the most advantageous time.
Targeted social media advertisements allow you to target people by age, location, job title, family, relationship status, and many more useful and even unusual demographics. By defining who your audience are in your social media strategy, you can always have in mind what they may want from you, why they want it, and how you’re going to tell them all about it.
4. Determine Both Short & Long-term Goals
By deploying the SMART goal framework (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound), you can commit to meeting a range of feasible targets over time. Without these, how will you actually know what’s working and what’s not?
You’ll already have some of this in place after your audit and competitor analysis. However, by heeding the definitions within the SMART goal framework, you’ll also be looking at tangible and achievable goals, as opposed to unrealistic ambitions.
Such a goal could be as simple as gaining 50 followers in a month, or increasing weekly website visits from social media by 50% over a longer period of time. This key part of your social media strategy allows you to reflect on what you’re doing well, what isn’t working, and why.
5. Make Your Plan of Action
This does sound a little bit like we’ve gone back to square one, but it’s really a case of gathering together everything you’ve done and making it a reality. You’ve decided on which platforms you’ll use, the type of content that’s most relevant – and to the most relevant audience – and what your end goal is at specific intervals throughout the campaign. All that’s left to do is put into practice by scheduling all your posts (paid and organic) and writing the content with previously defined intent.
6. How Will You Measure Success?
Within your SMART goal framework, that ‘M’ is absolutely crucial. However, going all the way back to your social media audit, you’ve already started building up the information that will allow you to effectively measure your campaigns.
Keep an eye on your followers, and how much traffic is coming to your website from social. 80% of marketers believe that simple engagement, in the form of likes and shares, is one of the most essential metrics for assessing success.
Finally, do make a note of the dates you’ve set for achieving your goals. When these dates arrive on the calendar, there’s no harm in returning to step one and re-auditing your social media strategy.
If you continue to adapt, react and innovate, you’ll stand a great chance of consistently running effective social media marketing campaigns. For more advice, our team here at Success Local is ever-ready to guide you through making social media marketing work for your business – so don’t hesitate to call 01788 288 800 today.