8 Steps To Effective Social Media Marketing
BRIGADE’s Digital Marketing Team shares everything you need to know about creating and implementing a social media marketing strategy.
Social Media Marketing is the most popular digital marketing channel and can be highly effective when done properly. Follow these 8 steps to build a kick-ass Social Media Marketing strategy and execute it the right way.
STEP 1: OBJECTIVES
“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” It’s cliché but true. If you don’t set concrete objectives – whether percentage or monetary – you won’t know if what you’re doing is working.
The more specific the better – simply saying, “I want to grow my audience on Facebook” isn’t going to cut it. Saying, “I want to increase my audience size (Likes) on Facebook by 20% by the end of Q1 2017” is much better. You have a number to shoot for and a deadline. Write it down and get to work.
Facebook and other social media platforms make it fairly easy to choose an objective for individual posts and ads, and they will optimize the delivery of those ads and posts to serve that objective. Learn more about that here.
STEP 2: LANDING PAGES
Your overall Digital Marketing strategy can be represented by a wagon wheel – spokes connecting to both a hub and outer rim. The spokes in your wheel are the various digital channels, of which Social Media Marketing is just one. The others include Email Marketing, Content Marketing and SEO, and Online Advertising. At the center – the hub of your wheel – is your website. The name of the game is to bring people from the outer rim to the hub, via the spokes.
You must determine which specific pages (landing pages), you will be driving people to via your Social Media Marketing platforms (such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc…). For example, if you have a certain offer that you would like to advertise on social media, you would want to use hyperlinking in posts and ads to drive people from those various platforms to the specific landing page on your website where they can easily buy the product, register for the event, etc.
STEP 3: BUDGET
It takes money to make money and social media platforms know it. Facebook in particular recently changed its algorithm to decrease the reach of non-promoted posts to nearly zero. This means that if you aren’t putting at least some money behind your posts and ads, they are very unlikely to reach new people.
Which types of content best serve your objectives established in Step 1? Which platforms will best help you to reach your target audience? How competitive is your industry and/or market? Once you’ve answered those questions, you’re well on your way to establishing the budget you will need to be successful on social media.
You’re not going to promote every post on every platform. Be strategic – only put money behind posts that serve your business objectives and drive traffic to the landing pages you established in Step 2, and only on platforms that make sense. Lastly, consider how competitive your market and industry are. The more competitive (think bank or insurance agency in New York City), the more money you should expect to spend in order to get your ads and promoted content seen by the right people. Less competitive areas and industries usually require less money to stand out and make an impact.
Consider how many times you plan to post per month, how much you think you’ll need to put behind each post (total, across platforms), calculate a monthly budget, and stick to it.
STEP 4: FREQUENCY
How frequently you should plan to post and run ads will depend on your budget, and vice versa: if you have a budget of $1,000/month for Social Media Marketing spend, you basically have two polar options: post fewer and promote each post with more money (bigger punches), or post more and promote each post with less money (more punches). The choice is yours.
STEP 5: PLANNING
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Again, cliché but true. Now that you have determined your goals and how much you’re willing to spend, you will need to outline a strategic plan to achieve them.
The key to this step is brainstorming content ideas and mapping out when you’ll post that content to social media six months or a year ahead of time. To do this, we advise developing a few different campaigns (types of content) that will get engagement from different segments of your target audience and have slightly different business objectives – and then brainstorming more specific content ideas underneath each of those.
This can be difficult. At BRIGADE, we offer a low-cost Strategy package that includes content idea generation, strategic planning, AND a branded content calendar. If you’re tight on time or simply don’t know where to start, we can help.
STEP 6: CONTENT
Once you’ve planned out what types of content you want to produce and when you will post each, the next step is to actually create the content.
We recommend outsourcing this step to a creative agency like BRIGADE. We are experts in content creation – whether you need a quality photo, text overlay on an existing image, a gif, infographic, or an even more complex graphic design, we’ve got you covered. We also can give you creative and conceptual direction to take your strategy from good to great.
Content is king, so take this step seriously. Your strategy is only as good as the content you use to execute it.
STEP 7: PUBLISHING
Different social media platforms each have different best practices (do’s and don’ts) and they can be as fastidious as what time of the day to post. The most important difference between the platforms is the way you’ll need to approach the copy. A few examples include LinkedIn not allowing hashtags, Instagram now allowing links, and Twitter limiting the amount of characters you can use. Facebook also restricts the amount of text allowed in images for ads and promoted posts, so be careful.
In addition to learning the lay of the land for each platform, we also recommend drafting content and scheduling it for dissemination on each social media platform as far in advance as possible. This can be done using the platform (Facebook already offers scheduling and other platforms are following their lead) or a third-party application like Hootsuite. Once a post is published, the various platforms with advertising capabilities will allow you to go into the back-end and run the post as an ad.
STEP 8: ANALYSIS
Last but definitely not least, you will need to pull your results regularly in order to see what’s working and what isn’t. Take a look at your objectives established in Step 1, then at the results from each platform (you can lump similar metrics from the various platforms together if your objectives are more general), to determine if you are succeeding or not. We recommend doing this monthly, that way adjustments can be made if need be.
For example, if one month your total audience size across platforms increased by 40%, and other months increased around 5% on average, you will want to look into what specifically you did that month to result in such an increase. It’s that type of analysis that will lead to more effective Social Media Marketing in the future.
Social Media Marketing is one of the most effective digital channels available to businesses. It can be complicated, but it’s worth doing right. If you are looking for help on any or all of these 8 steps, contact us HERE.