Complete Social Media Strategy Guide
Like most stories about social media management, it all started with a black cat. In this case, there were a lot of black cats. It turns out that 70% of cats waiting for adoption in New Zealand are black.
The problem: It is hard to take good photos of black cats, because they are… “tricky to photograph.”
That is when Samsung New Zealand came up with a unique social media strategy with the Auckland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to engage their users about the topic.
Together the phone company and the non-profit put together an instructional video on how to shoot black cats with a Samsung Galaxy 5. The video generated over 33,500 views on Facebook, 4,264 likes, 1,181 shares, and 573 comments.
Not bad for a video about taking photos with your phone that was exclusively shared on social media.
The bigger question is how we can use social media marketing for your company that can help you run similar campaigns for your own business.
That is why we want to break social media strategy for your own business in seven steps.
Your Complete Social Media Strategy
Step 1: Create clear business goals
At the heart of every successful social media strategy is a clear cut strategy. It is not enough to just want to increase your sales through social media.
You need to be specific about what you want to accomplish. Therefore, your goals need the following elements: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-Focused, and Timely (SMART).
- Specific- The what, how, and why of your goal. Think about what you want to do, how long it will take, and why you want to achieve this goal.
- Measurable- By measuring your social media strategy you determine whether it works.
- Achievable- It is always great to shoot for the stars. However, if you aim to high it might be more discouraging. Ensure you can achieve your goals.
- Results-Focused- Your goals should focus on the results, not the activities you take to get there.
- Timely– You should have a sense of urgency to complete your goals in a specific timespan.
Once you have your goals, consider one other aspect. Are your goals ethical and reachable? SMART goals that violate your ethics generally backfire.
Make sure your goals can be reached without violating your ethical principles.
Step 2: Targeting the right audience
After you create your goals, you need to determine your audience. Who wants or needs your products and services. These are the people motivated to listen to you on social media.
Start by evaluating your current user base. Specifically, look at your previous three clients. Why did they come to you? What questions did they have about your services? Then translate that in your ideal client. What makes your best clients so valuable?
By understanding your current business model, you can create buyer persona of your ideal client to identify your network on social media.
Next, study your current website analytics to understand who visits your site and why. Use free tools like Google Analytics to start. The Analytics provide demographic information you can use to create a buyer persona.
Additionally, start brainstorming additional things you want to add to your buyer persona. Think about items like their background, gender, age range, education, hobbies, likes, income range, and location.
Finally, use social media to fill in the rest of the information. Both Facebook and Twitter ads have a lot of demographic information about users that make it easier to find your ideal client on their social networks.
We discuss using paid ads further below in Step 6. For now, keep in mind that you can use the demographic information to determine the best way to target users on social media.
Step 3: Communication strategy
Once you identify your target market, you need to create a good communication strategy on the appropriate social networks.
This starts by identifying the different types of media you can use on social media. Here are some of the best types of media to use for social media.
- Photos– Tweets with images received over 150% more retweets than text only tweets.
- Infographics– 52% of B2B marketers use infographics to market their business.
- Blog posts– Marketers prioritizing blogging are 13 times more likely to receive a positive return on investment (ROI).
- White papers – 78% of B2B marketers find that whitepapers are a good way to influence purchase decisions. Sharing the links to those white papers is a great lead generation strategy.
- Videos– Over the past year, video shares increased 3.6 times over the previous year. As internet speeds increase this trend should continue.
- Polls– Social media polls generally result in 20% of the users participating, as well as 15% sharing the poll to their network.
- Share others content– While not a form of media, it is important you do not spend all of your time talking about yourself. Sharing the content of those in your network can be of vast help in developing and maintaining relationships with influencers and prospects.
Once you know the different types of media you want to use on your social media, create a social media marketing calendar to post on a regular basis.
Keep in mind social media content is part art and part science. Here are three things to remember to ensure a balanced social media content schedule.
- Time– Study the best times to post content. Also, if you have prospects in different time zones, keep in mind how to reach those markets.
- Frequency– How many times in a day do you plan on posting content? Do you plan on posting every day? Maybe just during the week. You need to know this ahead of time.
- Re-purpose– Make sure your content is not just used once. Tom Tunguz stated every time he re-shares content on Twitter it receives 75% of the retweets as the previous time. By tweeting his blog posts 3-4 times he increases the number of Retweets and traffic to his site.
In Step 7 we discuss a number of tools to help you schedule your social media posts on a regular basis.
Finally, your communication strategy is not just about how you write content. It is also about engage and listen to your followers. That includes talking to the angry clients as well as the ones who worship the ground you walk on.
Otherwise, you can exacerbate the problem. A good example of a company that knows how to balance their social media communications is Jimmy Johns.
They respond to those who praise them; and, as you can see below, are quick to help those with challenges.
@carbensmom I’m sorry Andrea, slow isn’t my style. Call the store and see whats up. Let me know how long it takes
— Jimmy John’s (@jimmyjohns) September 9, 2015
Step 4: Combining Target Market Research & Communication Strategy
While we just discussed how to craft a communication strategy, we need to add one more component. Your communication strategy needs to work with your target market.
To ensure a successful social media strategy, you need to add what the best methods to communicate with your audience are.
Do not just guess here. Test out your assumptions and research. Use A/B split tests to repurpose your content. Then review data to determine which content performs the best.
Using tools like Followerwonk and Hootsuite you can analyze the data to find the right mix of content and scheduling. We include more information in step 7 about how to incorporate these tools more effectively.
Step 5: Content Amplification
After you create your content, you need to amplify your results to reach the largest number of engaged prospects.
This is done by building relationships with influencers in your industry to help get the word out about your information.
To find them, you want to focus on two specific tools that can speed up the process of you connecting with influencers.
Buzzsumo– This search tool displays the most widely shared content for any keyword or industry. When you click on specific posts, you can then identify the top sharers for that post by the impact of their tweets on Twitter.
For example, if you do a search for Australian real estate you can identify which users on Twitter provided the most retweets of their retweet.
Snip.ly–A URL shortener boosts traffic to your own site while sharing content to other sites. A terrific way to share influencers posts and encourage them to return the favor by sharing your content.
However, content amplification is not all about the tools. You need a smart social media strategy to get influencers to share your information.
Here is an ingenious method from Onboardly. They received over 1450 social shares for a piece they wrote simply quoting other experts in the startup space.
When the blog was ready to be published, they did blogger outreach to connect with these individuals.
The key to content amplification is too ask influencers for help in exchange by giving them something of value.
For example, Relevance.Com wanted to connect with Ann Handley. To do so, they bought 5 copies of her latest book to give away to users who posted insightful comments on the Relevance.Com blog.
Great comments help the blog and encourage other users to engage with the content. Furthermore, influencers are more interested in working with an established blog compared to a newbie.
Step 6: Paid versus organic traffic
At the end of the day, most companies need to make a decision. Do they want to produce content organically, hoping it will go viral? Or should they invest in social media ads?
Most businesses need to have a good mix of organic and paid traffic from social media. That is because the paid and organic traffic create a symbiotic relationship. The results are better than they ever could be on their own.
To help you do this, we want to create an on Facebook. While you can create ads on most of the major social networks, with almost a 1.50 Billion users they probably have a demographic that fits your needs.
Plus, once you master Facebook, you can easily learn how to use the other social networks ad platforms.
Create an ad Facebook.com/Ads. It is best to create a few similar ads to test which ones work best on Facebook. Testing is one of the biggest keys to success with any advertising campaign.
Next, ensure you have all the graphics and copy you need to create a relevant ad. Focus on your target market research, as well as the results from the content you created already for your network.
You might want to create a SMART goal for this ad campaign (See Step 1). That way, you have a defined objective for your advertising campaign.
Then, define the demographics for your ad campaign. As we mentioned earlier, one of the great reasons for working on social media ads is the power to examine the different demographics on the social networks.
Nowhere is this truer than on Facebook. The social network is a goldmine of information.
Furthermore, using Facebook pixels, you can insert code on your website that tracks the users on your website in connection with who those users are on Facebook.
This means you can keep track of current visitors to ensure that you can retarget specific ads to current prospects. A great way to increase the reach of your marketing campaign.
Step 7: ROI and social media – The final step includes all of the tools you need to measure and improve your social media ROI.
Here are some of the best tools for social media management.
This is used by many professionals to help with your complete social media strategy. They improve your communication with your social community.
HootSuite– A complete social media dashboard and scheduling system to help social media teams schedule content across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram. They also have reports to analyze your results.
Dlvr.it– Share your content more effectively. This is great for text and photo updates that you want to share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Also, get access to promoted stories as well.
FollowerWonk– A great source for analyzing your Twitter followers to determine the best time to communicate with your network.
Social Mention– Study all of the mentions you or your competitors receive on social media.
Klout– Traditionally known for the scores they give you on how well you are doing in social media, the company also helps you schedule content and receive perks for sharing businesses content.
Facebook Insights- Facebook Fan Page Insights help you understand the engagement between your fans and your content.
Source: Social Media Examiner
Google Analytics– While not a purely social media tool, Google Analytics helps you understand the demographics of the visitors to your site. It also shows you how your visitors came to your site, including social media visits.
This is a Twitter and Facebook management tool to help you analyze your relationships, manage and schedule posts, and provide data on what content to Tweet.
Socialbro– Your complete Twitter analytics tool to help you discover the best content and influencers for your niche. Learn how your audience talks to each other on social media, so you can understand how they think, act, and speak.
Topsy– Analyze tweets on different topics. Check your own username to determine when people discuss your brand. Also, review hashtags as well to see what topics are trending on Twitter.
IconoSquare– One of the few tools out at the moment to help you with analyzing the success of your Instagram campaign.
How do you create your start for a social media campaign? You start out by creating specific goals. Then you need to extend outward to create the elliptical sphere and focus next on your target market and the best type of content to create for that audience. Just take it step by step to get the most out of your social media campaign.
If you still have questions about how to create a great social media strategy, feel free to contact the social media experts at Shout.