One of the most commonly asked for resources I come across in the various forums and discussion groups online is a Social Media Strategy Template.
We recently published a series of blogs which tackled the approach to planning digital marketing campaigns and whilst the steps are broadly the same, the actions you need to take are different – which is potentially the reason why so many users want a template for their social media strategy to help them get started.
Before getting stuck in, I think it’s worth just re-capping what social marketing is. Wikipedia defines social media marketing as: “…the process of gaining website traffic or attention through social media sites”.
To paraphrase this Wikipedia article, social media can be thought of as a distribution vehicle for your content. With this in mind, the 5 steps below can be used as your Social Media Strategy Template.
Social Media Strategy Step 1: Situation Analysis
Going on the assumption that you already have a personal social presence, you’ll know how quick and easy it is to set up a twitter page, LinkedIn profile or Facebook page.
As you would expect, your company social profile requires quite a bit more thought and during the situation analysis, you’ll need to be prepared to answer some tough questions:
- Who is your audience?
- Do you have the resources and skill sets within your organisation to produce and deliver content that your target audience want to click on, view and engage with?
- Do you have the volume of content to ensure that when someone visits your site, they stick around and browse related content?
- Have you identified which social networks your audience use?
- Do you have buy in from every level of the organisation and are you prepared to manage responses from within your social networks, both positive and negative?
Social Media Strategy Step 2: Set Goals
Within social media, goal setting needs to be defined and rationalised so that you can encourage buy-in from stakeholders. It also makes sense to describe the outcome of reaching these goals and also the consequences of not achieving them.
Social Media goals can be based on a number of factors relating the traffic you receive from a particular channel to the amount of engagement (e.g. follows, likes or re-tweets) a post might receive.
As your social media activity grows in complexity, you want to be in a position where you can monitor the return on investment and you’ll need metrics in place that will allow you to track and analyse social media activity.
Social Media Strategy Step 3: The Strategy
Social Media Strategy is no different from any other marketing strategy in that it’s a range of methods which can be deployed to help you achieve your goal(s).
With the explosion of social media in recent years, B2B marketers are truly spoiled for choice in selecting the best method of distributing their content and it’s really down to your specific challenges and situation as to which one you select.
For example, Facebook is the world’s most widely used social networking site but from a B2B point of view, LinkedIn is often cited as the most popular tool for lead generation.
Even within LinkedIn, there are a number of ways that businesses can connect with their potential audience whether that’s through your own group, company profile or by taking part in discussions posted on 3rd party groups.
For each piece of content and each distribution method, always refer back to your objectives and ask “Why this content?” and “why this channel?”- If the answer doesn’t reflect the original goals, archive* it and move on (*if it is still a good idea – you may want to use it again).
Social Media Strategy Step 4: SMART Objectives
Think about each strategic element and consider the objectives.
And remember that social media objective should again follow the typical marketing approach of being SMART – that is;
Specific – e.g. generate 30 likes of our Facebook page
Measureable – only benchmark metrics that can be measured
Achievable – make sure that objectives are realistic
Relevant – Objectives should have a direct impact on your goals
Time-bound – all objectives should be set within a specific time period
Social Media Strategy Step 5: Tactics
The content that you produce is what you will be promoting via your social media channels, so do invest the time in planning your content plan.
As a start, pick 3 or 4 main areas and produce hefty pieces for content for each – say a whitepaper or an eBook. Then spit these cornerstone pieces into smaller blog posts, webinars, PowerPoint/SlideShares and infographics.
Your blog should become your content hub. It’s the place that you can publish and curate all of your other content (e.g. whitepapers). Whilst your blog article might have a fairly neutral tone, it doesn’t stop you cross-promoting another offer within the page framework or navigation.
By their very nature blogs are fresh, readable content – which the Google robot crawlers love – making blogs great for SEO.
As an aside (as it deserves its own blog – which I’ll get round to one day), comment on other relevant blogs and where appropriate link them to resources on your site.
The sites above differ greatly in the audience that they attract, the way in which they are used and even the tone in which users are used to.
For each, you need to consider how you are going to use it and by that I mean; how you are going to position your company – irreverent vs formal, how you are going to attract an audience – natural vs paid for, how you are going to communicate to your audience – individual posts vs group discussions
Video, images/infographics and presentation content can all be all be delivered to your audience using the above services.
Although the above sites have their own community element, marketers tend to use them to host content before embedding them within their own company blog.
Social Media Strategy: Measuring Success
Each of the channels and tactics detailed above can be measured in a multitude of different ways, although, try not to be distracted by the number of retweets your posts got when your original goals where to deliver leads.
Ultimately, the most significant thing you can measure is the role that your social media strategy played in delivering a lead and a sale, which is where target360’s digital campaign management functionality comes in
Marketing Automation tools like target360 are being widely used throughout the B2B sector. However, before investing in a marketing automation solution, marketers need to be sure that the activities that they are involved in justify the need for one.
Spend 5 minutes taking our quick Marketing Automation Readiness Audit and find out what you need to do to make sure you are in a position to supercharge your sales and marketing with marketing automation.
View/Download your Social Media Strategy Template
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