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Changes to Google Maps API and Google’s New Billing Structure

Changes to Google Maps API and Google’s New Billing Structure

Changes to Google Maps API and Google’s New Billing Structure

In 2018 Google made an announcement that read in part: 

"Beginning June 11, you'll need a valid API key and a Google Cloud Platform billing account to access our core products. Once you enable billing, you will gain access to your $200 of free monthly usage to use for our Maps, Routes, and Places products..."

Read the Article: Google Maps Platform: Introducing Google Maps Platform

What does this mean?

Google has introduced a significant change to Google Maps services that involves transitioning it's Application Programming Interface (APIs) into three key services called  Maps, Routes and Places

As part of this initiative, Google has advised that from 16th July 2018, websites using Google Maps are now required to have a valid API key and a linked Google Cloud Platform Account with enabled credit card billing. 

As a result, Google will no longer support keyless usage of Maps. This means that websites and website applications using keyless Maps may experience technical issues such as: 

  • Maps may display at low resolution or not display at all
  • Maps may not function as expected
  • Maps may display a watermark message 'this page can't load Google Maps properly' or 'for development purposes only'

Google Maps Billing Changes

Under the new billing structure from 16th July 2018, Google will charge based on Maps usage volume. The new pricing is based on a pay-as-you-go method. 

The good news is that Google will provide a $200.00 free usage credit per month for each Google Cloud Platform Account for Maps, Route or Places when billing is enabled. 

The Google Cloud Platform features tools to monitor Map usage via the Billing Report section. Information on billing, rates and map spend can be viewed via the account. Google Cloud Platform also features a Budget & Alerts section where you can set daily quotas to help avoid unexpected map charges. 

If Maps exceeds the $200.00 monthly credit, you will only be charged for what you use. 

For more information on Google's Pricing and Billing Changes please see resources below.

What is the next step?

Google Maps is as an optional service available to iASP Central powered websites. If you have not already, please provide your instructions via the questionnaire here:

Instructions - How to Get an API Key

To apply for an API Key, please follow these steps:

  1. Firstly, if you don't have a Google Account, you will need to sign up for an account. Sign up for a Google Account here .

  2. Once signed into your Google Account, go to Google Cloud Platform Console

  3. Click on APIs & Service tab - this will open the Google Cloud Platform APIs & Services Dashboard 

  4. Create a Project by clicking on 'Create' button

  5. Create a New Project by adding Project Name (i.e. API Maps) and click create
    Project name: API Maps
    Location: No Organisation 

  6. Once you've created a project, in the API & Services Dashboard click on 'Enable APIS and Services'

  7. The API Library will open. Now select the API
    (You will require a total of 3 APIs for Maps JavaScript AP, Directions API and Geocoding API. However, you will need to select each API individually and enable each API individually)
    For example: Click on Maps Java Script API

    Click on Enable Button:

    Once the Maps Javascript API is enabled the page will display as per below screenshot. Click on the back 'arrow' button to return to API Library. 

    Once an API is Enabled it should display on the APIs page under 'Enabled APIs':

    IMPORTANT -  Please repeat this step a total of 3 x times as you will need to enable 3 x APIs for:

    Directions API 
    Geocoding API 
    Maps JavaScript API

    This means you will need to enable each API for Directions API, Geocoding API and Maps Javascript API.

  8. Once you have completed step 7 and enabled all 3 x APIs they will appear listed in 'Enabled APIs':

  9. Now Click on Google Cloud Platform to be taken back to the Dashboard

  10. Hover the mouse over the APIs& Services tab on left hand side and select 'Credentials' from the drop down menu

  11. On the 'Credentials' page, click on 'Create Credentials' down arrow and select API Key 

  12. An API Key will then be created:

  13. Now click on 'Restrict Key'

  14. In Application restrictions select: HTTP Referrers (web sites)

  15. In "Accept requests from these HTTP referrers (web sites) please add your website domain using the following format:


    For example: https://*.iasp.com.au/*

  16. Once you add your domain in this format it will appear as per screenshot below:

  17. Then click Save. To check your API key is restricted it will appear in list view under 'Restrictions'

  18. Click on the copy button to copy the API key

  19. Once you have copied the API Key, then paste it in an email and send to Enotia Support via support@enotia.com.au.

The next step is to enable credit card billing on your Google Cloud Platform Account. Please refer to instructions below.

How to Enable Credit Card Billing on Google Cloud Platform Account 

In order for an API to work,  credit card billing must be enabled in the Google Cloud Platform Console. 
To do this, please follow these steps:
  1. Login to your Google Account
  2. Go to Google Cloud Platform Console
  3. Open the left-hand side menu and click on Billing

  4. If you have more than one billing account, select Go to linked billing account. If your new to Google Cloud Platform and want to add a new billing account, select Manage Billing accounts.

  5. Follow the steps, add your payment information and save.
    Read: Google Cloud: Add, remove, or update a payment method

How to View Billing 

Once credit card billing is enabled, you can track and monitor billing reports. 
When logged into the Google Cloud Platform Account, click on the Billing section. 

The Billing section contains important information about your account including Transactions, Reports, Budgets & Alerts and an Overview. Track and monitor usage and spend in Reports. For more information on Billing please see Resources below. 


Billing and Pricing: 

How to Create a Social Media Strategy - Part Six

How to Create a Social Media Strategy - Part Six

How to Create a Social Media Strategy - Part Six

Welcome to the final edition of our six part series How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy.

If you've been following this series, we hope you have gained a better understanding of how to research, plan and execute a Social Media Marketing (SMM) strategy.

If you've missed out, you can catch up on previous articles here:

Part One - How to Perform a Social Media Audit

Part Two - How to Set Goals and Objectives

Part Three - How to Identify Key Target Audiences

Part Four - How to Plan Social Media Marketing Tactics

Part Five - How to Execute a SMM Strategy

Our final article will focus on how to review and evaluate SMM performance in order to understand which activities drive return on investment (ROI).

Part Six - How to Evaluate SMM Performance

Developing a Social Media Marketing (SMM) strategy can require significant planning, research, organisation and tools. It can be a short exercise or a detailed and lengthy process, depending on your goals and what you aim to achieve.

If a budget has been allocated towards SMM advertising, it's vital that the activities are driving profitable growth.

So you've crafted a solid SMM strategy and executed it seamlessly...

  • How do you know if the strategy was a success?
  • Were the SMM activities effective?
  • What metrics should you measure to determine it's success?
Analysing SMM performance provides an opportunity to reflect on what worked well and the areas that require revision.

Evaluation can help fine-tune tactics and build a stronger strategy in the long run.

Analysing social media metrics can help understand the type of content your audience is engaging with and why.

Join us as we cover iASP Central's 6 steps to evaluating SMM performance.

Step 1. Create a spreadsheet to record findings

When analysing SMM performance, it's important to record your findings in one place.

We suggest using a spreadsheet or SMM report template.

There are many types of SMM reporting templates available for download from the internet. For your reference, we have provided some links to SMM report template in the resources section of this article.

The data recorded in the spreadsheet will help build the basis of a SMM Report.

Set up your spreadsheet or template before proceeding to Step 2.

Step 2. Review initial strategy

Take some time to review the SMM strategy framework and what was set out to achieve.

This includes strategy goals, objectives and the marketing tactics implemented to deliver the strategy.

  • What SMART goals were you aiming to achieve?
  • What tactics were implemented to support these goals?
  • Did you make changes to marking activities during the execution process?
Create a tab on your spreadsheet and list these down.

If goals or marketing tactics have been altered during the process, list the most recent.

This will help you to compare your findings to the original goals set. It will also formulate the basis of a report.

Step 3. Use Analytics Tools to Measure ROI

Use Social Media Analytics Tools to measure and analyse performance.

This could be considered the most important step when evaluating strategy success!

Social Media Analytics tools track and analyse important data relevant to your social media page or profile. For example: Page Likes, Engagement levels, Sign ups etc.

Analytics tools can help to understand how well posts and ads are performing.

Tracking data is essential in helping you achieve better results with your SMM.

If you've been reviewing content throughout a campaign, you may have better understanding of how SMM activities are tracking.

So what kinds of SMM analytics tools are available?

Analytics Tools

As outlined in Part 5, we suggest using analytics tools relevant to the social media channels.

There are many kinds of analytics tools available.

Such as tools provided by the large social media platforms:

And tools provided by other websites: Most social media platforms have some form of free analytics, once you reach over 100 profile Likes or Followers.

Tools such as Buffer or Hootsuite can provide analytics from multiple social media accounts in one place, however these analytics tools often come at an additional cost.

Here at iASP Central, we regularly use Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics and Google Analytics to help track our social media and website performance.

Important Metrics to Track

So what metrics should you focus on?

Measure and record metrics that relate directly to your goals and marketing activities.

Below is a list of some common SMM metrics.

Please Note - the metrics below are not common to all social media

Content Engagement

Likes, Comments and Shares

Engagement is a measurement of how many times people have interacted with your content, posts or profile on social media.

Measuring engagement can help you understand how well content is performing. It can also help provide customer insight on your products or services.

Likes, Comments, Shares and Retweets are all forms of engagement with content.

If your goal is to raise brand awareness or promote a specific product, measuring engagement metrics can help you understand how well your message is received by your target audience.


Reach refers to the average number of people a post or ad can be shown too on social media.

It's your potential audience size.

Please note - The volume of reach is an estimate measure of potential number of people who may see the post or ad. It doesn't represent an exact number of people that view or interact with a post or ad.

A large number for reach means content is more likely to be viewed by a larger audience.

A smaller reach, can mean your content visibility is limited to a smaller audience.

If you're aiming to increase brand awareness and send a message to a broad audience, measuring reach is an important metric.


Impressions are the number of times your content is displayed on social media news feeds.

There are two types of impressions:

- Organic Impressions
- Paid Impressions (used in paid advertising)

If you're aiming to increase brand awareness, measuring impressions will help you to understand how many newsfeed impressions your content is receiving.

Click-Through-Rate (CTR)

A Click-Through-Rate (CRT) refers to the number of people who click on a post or link that is then directed to a webpage.

CTR is relevant to Facebook and Instagram advertising, Google Analytics and Email Marketing.

If you're running a paid advertising campaign and set up Google Analytics tracking, measuring the CTR will help you understand how many exact clicks you've received directly from an ad or post.

Conversion Rate

A Conversion or conversion rate is a measurement given when a specific action or goal is achieved.

Conversions are only applicable if conversion goals have been set out.

For example, conversion rates are common to Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising on Facebook and AdWords. Conversion rates can help you to understand how paid advertising converts directly into sales.

If you're running paid ads with Google Analytics tracking, measuring the conversion rate will help you understand exactly how many set goals or conversions have been achieved.


Reviews can be placed by customers on social media or other online platforms.

Reviews can provide feedback and insight from your customer perspective.

Analysing reviews can give you important information about products, services and overall brand perception.

It's important to monitor and track your reviews before, during and after strategy execution.

If your goal is to build rapport with customers and improve brand credibility via social media, recording review data can help with this.

IASP Central Tip: We suggest monitoring the total number of positive and negative reviews, common subjects and patterns in reviews.


Mentions are when a company or brand is 'mentioned' or referenced online.

Mentions can be found on social media, Google and other community forums.

If your goal is to build brand awareness, strategic partnerships, sponsorships or influencer marketing, then reviewing online mentions can help you understand what people are saying about your brand online.

iASP Central Tip: We suggest using Mention, a free tool to help monitor online mentions.


Visits refers to the number of visitors on a profile or page.

Video Views

Video views refers to the number of people who have viewed your video for 5 seconds or more.

Once you've identified the most important and relevant metrics to record, list them down on your spreadsheet or template.

Below is an example of an iASP Central SMM goal and the metrics relevant to the goal.

iASP Central Example:

Strategy Goal: To increase website traffic and sales to ecommerce website through SMM campaign.

Objective: To run a targeted Facebook Ad promoting a product that includes a direct link to a product page on the website.

Action steps taken:

  • Facebook Pixel tracking set up - This will help to monitor how many clicks received directly from the Facebook Ad to the website. In order to create set up Facebook Pixel, we must convert to a Business Manager Page. 
  • Facebook Custom Audience set up - to display remarking ads to the visitors who clicked on the product website page and didn't purchase the product. The remarketing ad will act as a subtle reminder. 
  • Facebook Remarketing Ad Set up - design a custom ad and select the customer audience created in the previous step. 

Metrics to measure:

  • Click-Through-Rate - The CTR will help us establish how many clicks the ads received.
  • Conversion Tracking - this is an accurate way to measure website traffic and sales directly linked from the Facebook Ads. We can see how many sales were converted from the ad.
  • Facebook Ads Manager Analytics - to track Ad results including Click-through-rate (CTR), Engagement and Reach. Measuring the number of Likes, Comments and Shares can provide insight on key target audiences and how they interact with the Ad.

Using these metrics we can establish how many sales, clicks or actions were taken as a direct result from the Facebook Ad.

For more information on Facebook Fixel please refer to the resources section of this article.

Step 4. Prepare a SMM Report

Now it's time to analyse and report on the data collected.

Evaluate your findings and create a summary.

  • Which SMM activities received the highest level of engagement?
  • What is the best performing type of content ? Video, Images, Links?
  • What goals did you achieve? E.g. Product Sales, Brand Awareness, Website Traffic
  • How would you improve your efforts for next time? What would you do differently?
  • Which activities provide the highest return? Which drive profitable growth?
  • How would you rate your SMM strategy in terms of success?
  • Did the activities provide return on investment?
When creating a summary, you may want to present the data in a report. Use the spreadsheet or report template outlined in Step 1 or there are various SMM reporting templates available online for download. Please see templates in the resources section of this article.

Calculate Return on Investment (ROI)

Social Media ROI is the return generated for the time, money, resources and energy invested into this exercise.

To calculate ROI, follow this formula:

Return - Investment

Where Return is what you received from the exercise, and Investment is what you invested into the exercise (this can be money, time, efforts etc.)

iASP Central Example ROI:
  • iASP Central's Facebook Ads directly sold 50 x products worth the value of $50 each. Total value of $2500.
  • We set a budget of $2 per day for 30 days, running targeted Facebook product ads. Total cost of advertising was $60. Plus approx 4hrs of employee time, to create and set up Facebook Ads and monitoring. Total cost of employee time was approx $120. The total investment cost to iASP Central is $180.
  • ROI = $2500 - $180 = $1020 profit. Therefore this exercise is considered very profitable with high ROI.
Once you have calculated Social Media ROI and finalised your report, it can be then be presented to a team and management.

This report can also be used as a reference for future SMM planning.

Step 5. Set up Touch Points to Communicate with Customers

The next step is to focus on your target audience and what you learnt from this experience.

  • What did you learn about your customer?
  • What feedback did customers provide?
  • How did your customer like to communicate? (E.g. Facebook Messenger, Chatbot, Website Enquiry Form, Phone Call)
  • What social platforms do they use most? (E.g. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat)
It's important to maintain and harness customer relationships established during and after strategy execution.

We recommend setting up touch points to help you reconnect with your customers.

Below are some ways to continue communicating with your customer:

  • Regular Social Media posts
  • Blog Articles
  • Email Marketing or Digital Newsletters
  • Facebook Re-marketing Advertising
  • Phone Calls
  • Split Testing
  • Customer Surveys
  • Paid Advertising

Step 6. Forward Planning

Reporting on findings help improve future SMM efforts.

Refer to the report when revising and making changes to a SMM strategy, campaign or advertising.

When revising a SMM strategy, be sure to focus and grow exercises that generated ROI. This will help build a well performing, solid strategy second time round.

When planning future Facebook marketing, be mindful of the planned algorithm changes that will focus and "prioritise posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people" as announced by Mark Zuckerberg recently. Incorporate changes like this into future strategy planning. As the social media landscape is constantly changing, it's important to dedicate regular time to reading and researching social media updates, changes and new tools. This will ensure you get the most out of your marketing activities and keep you ahead of the game.

iASP Central recommends the following resources for social media news, articles and updates:

We've reached the end of our journey...

Thanks for following the iASP Central How to Create a SMM Strategy series.

We hope this series has helped to grow and fine-tune SMM skills in strategy development, content planning and marketing execution.

Building a targeted SMM plan can help reach the right customers, increase brand awareness, sales and performance. Once an initial strategy has been created and tested, use this a sounding board to improve on.

Have you planned and developed a social media marketing strategy before?

What SMM activities did you use?

Let us know on the iASP Central Facebook Page or Get in Touch.


How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy - Part Five

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy - Part Five

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy - Part Five

Welcome to the iASP Central series How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy.

If you've been following the series, we have now reached Part Five of our Six step journey to developing a Social Media Marketing (SMM) Strategy. 

In case you've missed the previous articles, you can catch up here: 

Part One - How to Perform a Social Media Audit

Part Two - How to Set Goals and Objectives

Part Three - How to Identify Key Target Audiences

Part Four - How to Plan Social Media Marketing Tactics

Next we focus on how to successfully execute a SMM strategy. 

Let's dive in… 

Part Five -  How to Execute a SMM Strategy 

Once a SMM strategy has been researched, planned and developed.. it's time to put the plan into action!

Execution is the process of delivering a SMM strategy and bringing it to life. 

Have you ever heard of the phrase 'Execution is Everything?'

Well, the execution phase of a SMM strategy is considered very important. 

The delivery process can be critical to the overall success of the campaign. 

Even the most highly crafted, well thought out strategies can fail, if a plan is not executed effectively. 

The execution phase of a SMM strategy can be a challenging process. It can require a significant amount of organisation, project management, leadership skills and team communication. 

When there are multiple marketing activities coordinated at the same time, there can also be more room for error.

If possible, formulating a team to take on various roles and responsibilities can help with the delivery process.

So how can you help ensure a smooth-sailing and well executed strategy?

Follow iASP Central's 3 step process: 

Step 1. Update Social Media Accounts 

The first step is to update all social media accounts. 

All business information and branding should be current and consistent across all social media platforms. 

It's important that social media branding reflects business values, goals and marketing messages. 

Ensure all images and written content is engaging and appeals to your primary target audiences. 

iASP Central Example: If your Facebook Business page features a high-quality business logo for the profile image, make sure this is visually consistent across Instagram, Google+ and LinkedIn. Or if your business has a marketing tag-line, be sure to include it in the description on all social profiles. 

Part 1 - How to Perform a Social Media Audit, provides steps on how to analyse key competitors social media accounts including their strengths, weaknesses and potential opportunities.  

A social media audit can help identify outdated information, improve visual branding and establish potential branding opportunities. Identifying branding opportunities can help set you aside from competitors social media.

When updating social media profiles, consider the following: 

  • Logos, Profile and Cover Images - Use high quality, professional, visually appealing images or video
  • Page Content - Update Profile Descriptions or 'About Us' sections to include current contact details, keywords, links and tag-lines that reflect strategy goals
  • Call-to-action - Include a CTA that strategically encourages customers to act. This could be 'Call Now' 'Message Now' or 'Visit Website'. A CTA can help with conversion rate and achieve sales goals. 
  • Update Profile Settings - Ensure your profile is fully optimised, that your Profile is visible to the Public and that your account is Verified. 
  • Consistent Branding - Make sure branding is visually appealing and consistent across all platforms. Use the same colour palette or filter for all images. Try using images that are bold, eye catching and effective.
  • Research and compare competitors social media profiles, what's working and not working for your competitors. Also research and find inspiration from other outside sources on social media. 

iASP Central Example: You have conducted a social media audit and analysed your three top competitors social media profiles. From the analysis, you can see that all of your competitors are using still-format images for their Facebook cover image. 

After researching video content, you understand that video is the highest engaging form of content on Facebook. 

You perceive a potential opportunity and decide to use a short-video feature for the Facebook cover image. This creates a point of difference from your competitors SM profiles and helps grab the attention of your fans when viewing your Page. 

Step 2. Execute SMM Activities

Running multiple integrated SMM activities requires high-level organisation and management skills. 

Organisation is the key to executing a solid strategy.

Part Four - How to Plan Social Media Marketing Tactics, can help you plan and develop a SMM strategy further, including: 

  • The SMM Activities to be carried out, including a template to help monitor activities throughout the process
  • A projected budget and template to help monitor spend during the execution stage  
  • A plan of the content to be released on social media, including an Editorial Content Calendar 
  • Delegated roles and responsibilities

Prior to the execution phase commencing, it' important to have a clear plan of the activities carried out and who is responsible. 

If you have a team helping to execute the strategy,  ensure they understand their individual roles and responsibilities during the process.

This will help keep SMM activities on track and running smoothly.

Nominating a project manager can also help to lead a team, monitor marketing activities and meet set goals.    

Good communication is vital when executing a strategy. 

Effective communication can help a team understand the challenges of the project, what's working well and how to best provide support if required. 

If you've selected a project manager, they can track and report on performance, help deliver completion of SMM tasks and  identify any potential problems.

When executing SMM activities, it's important to:

  • Refer to the strategy and goals to stay on target 
  • Analyse SMM activities and report on them weekly. If necessary, adjust SMM activities that are not performing
  • Monitor budget and marketing spend throughout execution
  • Stay active on social media - Post regular content, engage with audience and be timely in your responses 
  • Use templates and worksheet to help stay organised - Editorial Content Calendars,  Budget Spreadsheets, Runsheets etc. 
  • Monitor and report on KPIs
  • Communicate effectively with team members

iASP Central Tip:  Using an Editorial Content Calendar can help keep you organised during the execution stage. We have provided some example templates in the resources section of this article below. 

Step 3. Measure and Report on Performance

Analysing SMM activity performance throughout the execution process can help save efforts, costs and time. 

Examining data can allow you to make educated changes to SMM activities.

It's important to know which activities are generating return on investment (ROI) and which aren't. 

From here, non-performing activities can be changed or replaced by better performing SMM activities. 

So what types of analytics are available and relevant to SMM performance? 

Social Media Analytics can provide data and reporting on how well social media activities are performing. This includes content posts and advertising. Analytics can also provide key insights into target audiences, who is viewing and engaging with content. 

The data you choose to measure and track shouldl be based on your SMM goals. 

iASP Central Example: 'Skin Beauty' is an online e-store specialising in skin care products. The marketing team are planning to run a Facebook Ad to help increase sales for their skin care product. They decide to create an image ad aimed at a broad audience of women from 15 - 55 years old with interests in skin care. They set the ad budget to a maximum of $50 per day to help improve the visibility of the Ad.  

Two weeks into the ad campaign, the team review Facebook Insights and the ad performance. Upon reviewing Insights, they can see that the majority of clicks and interactions with the Ad are from women aged 18-25yrs old. While they are reaching the max budget spend every day, they are unsure if these clicks are converting into sales. 

Therefore the team decide to adjust the Ad target audience age group to 18-25yrs old and lower the daily spend to $25per day. 

This will increase the likelihood of Ads being displayed to a more narrow and defined target audience. They then focus on using the extra $25 to set up a Facebook Re-marking Campaign for visitors who visit the website and view this product. 

Using Google Analytics they can then track and monitor the conversion rate of customers who purchase directly rom the Facebook Ad. 

Facebook Insights and Google Analytics have helped the team monitor their SMM performance and generate the best ROI.

Team KPIs 

Holding a weekly catch up with your SMM team can help keep your team and SMM activities on track. 

It provides an opportunity to review and report on SMM activity performance, team contributions and concerns. 

Using a Social Media Report can help track performance and important data. We have provided a SMM Report Template in the References section of this article. 

When meeting with your team for a Work in Progress (WIP) update, report on the following: 

  • SMM Activity performance and analytics 
  • Goal and Objective tracking 
  • Team KPIs
  • Potential obstacles and ETAs

Collect Important Customer Data 

When reviewing social media analytics and reporting weekly,  it's important to collect information about your customers. 

Collecting and analysing data about your target audience will help future campaign success. 

Collect information from your customers including Email Address, Location, Interests etc.  

Using a Facebook Lead Form or Facebook Poll can help you gain insight into your customers and your services. 

Compile customer data to form data bases. Segment your lists into new customers and existing customers. This information can be utilised to create email marketing campaigns in the future. 

Report on the customer data collected during your team catch ups. 

Now it's time to put your plan into action…

Deliver your strategy with precision and accuracy. 

Remember the key components of a strong execution are: 

  • Organisation
  • Team communication
  • Detailed plan of SMM activities 
  • Understanding team roles and responsibilities 
  • Measuring and reporting on performance  
  • Adjust and make changes where relevant 

Analyse and make changes to your plan and activities as you go, to ensure the best ROI. 

Have you executed a SMM strategy before? How did you execute your plan effectively?

Let us know on the iASP Central Facebook Page or Get in Touch.


How to Create an Extraordinary Social Media Strategy for 2018

Implement a Marketing Plan

6 Steps to Successfully Execute a Strategy 

6 Essential Steps for Executing Your Social Media Strategy

7 Steps in Creating a Winning Social Media Marketing Strategy in 2018


Social Media Analytics Report Template 

Create a Social Media Content Calendar 

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy - Part Four

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy - Part Four

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy - Part Four

Welcome to the fourth edition of the iASP Central series How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy.

If you've just joined in, you can catch up on previous articles:

Join us as we continue with Part Four - How to Plan Social Media Marketing (SMM) Tactics.

Part Four - How to Plan Social Media Marketing Tactics

When planning a SMM strategy, it's important to develop and implement effective marketing communication tactics.

SMM tactics are the action steps carried out to achieve set goals and objectives. These steps help to execute a strategy.

Marketing tactics are often referred to as marketing activities, strategic methods or promotional tactics. 

Marketing activities can help communicate important messages to specific target audiences.

For example, if you wanted to sell a product to a target audience on Facebook, sending a strategic marketing message about the product's features and benefits could help increase sales. In order to effectively communicate this message, the following SMM activities could be used:

  • Facebook Content Posts
  • Facebook Boosted Posts or Adverts
  • Facebook Event Invites
  • Facebook Re-marketing

With a large volume of social media marketing platforms and media available, it can be tricky to know which will marketing activities will drive the best return on investment (ROI).

If you've completed Part Two - How to Set Goals and Objectives and Part Three - How to Identify Key Target Audiences, you may have a better understanding of the goals and the target audience you want to reach.

The next step is to start planning the SMM activities that will support this strategy.

When choosing marketing activities, it's important to select activities that are relevant to your audience and business values.

Follow iASP Central's 7 key steps to help formulate marketing activities that drive results:

Step 1. Set up a SMM Activity Template

The first step is to set up a marketing activitiy template or spreadsheet.

This template can be used to plan and record the marketing activities that will be carried out.

Running multiple activities over a period of time is often an effective way to get marketing messages out there. It's important to stay organised when running different activities, so an activity spreadsheet will come in handy.

Here are some suggestions to include on your spreadsheet:

  • Marketing activities undertaken e.g. Targeted Facebook content posts
  • Platforms used e.g. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+
  • Target audience
  • Person responsible e.g. Team member, team or department
  • Expected completion date
  • Success indicator e.g. How will you tell if the activity is successful? What metric or goal must be met?
  • Cost of marketing activity

A spreadsheet can help to monitor activities and performance throughout a campaign. It can help a team understand their individual roles, as well as a place to contribute information.

iASP Central Tip: If you don't have time to create a template from scratch, there are a number of free templates available for download. We have provided some links in the Resources list at the end of the article.

Step 2. Plan SMM Activities and Channels

Start planning the SMM activities you will carry out and list them on the spreadsheet created in Step 1.

This step relates directly to your goals set out in Part Two and the identified target audiences outlined in Part Three.

When planning SMM activities, remember to consider the following:

  • What message are you trying to communicate?
  • Who is your audience on social media?
  • What is the best platform to use?
  • What is the key time to reach your audience?
  • What is your end goal?
  • What date do you want to achieve your goal by?

On your spreadsheet, write down the marketing activities that will be performed and the relevant social media channels to be used.

Remember to list the expected time arrival (ETA) for the completion of each activity.

iASP Central Tip: There many ways to send marketing messages via social media platforms. Here are some suggestions:

  • Targeted Content Posts
  • Advertising or boosted posts
  • Lead Forms
  • Social Groups or Communities
  • Re-marketing
  • Event Invites
  • Cross promotional posts

When planning activities, it's important that the activities undertaken are relevant to your target market, strategy and business values.

Step 3. Assign Team Roles

Assigning team roles and responsibilities is an important part of planning SMM activities.

A team's contribution and efforts can impact on the overall success of a campaign.

Assign roles to team members that reflect their strengths, build confidence and motivate.

Ensure that you provide your team with clear and detailed information about their specific role and responsibilities.

When running multiple marketing activities, it's vital that team members understand:

  • Their individual role and expectations
  • Team roles and how team members are contributing
  • Overall goals the team is planning to achieve as a collective

There are many SMM roles that can be undertaken when running activities, here are some just to name a few:

  • Content Development
  • Community Manager or overseer
  • Social Media Advertising
  • Analytics and Reporting
  • Campaign Strategy

Once you have organised individual and team roles, write them down on the Spreadsheet created in Step 1.

Step 4. Set a Budget

Developing a budget is a vital part of SMM planning.

A marketing budget can help track spend, funds allocation and generated revenue.

It also helps to keep a team on target, and avoid over spending.

Before starting any SMM activities, try to estimate the projected costs of each activity. If your goal is to make sales, calculate how many sales are required in order to cover the cost of the marketing activities undertaken.

Tracking spend while running activities can help work out the ROI or where funds could potentially be better spent.

iASP Central Tip:There are lots of marketing budget templates available online. We have included some below in the resources section of this article.

Step 5. Plan SMM Content

The final step is to research and plan the content that will be released on social media.

Content is the foundation of any SMM strategy. It's a powerful tool that can help engage target markets, drive messages and create demand.

Content is the information or media distributed via marketing platforms. Content can include images, text, video, e-books, downloadable documents etc.

Content Marketing is the practice of developing strategic content to communicate marketing messages to an audience.

When developing a content plan, it's important to create content that is relevant, educational and engaging.

So how can you create high-quality, effective content?

Follow iASP Centrals Key Tips:

Research Competitor's Content!

Knowing and understanding what content is working, and not working, for your competitors can give you a head start!

As suggested in Part 1 of our series, completing a social media audit can help you reflect and evaluate on your current position in the social media landscape. It also allows you to analysepotential opportunities for content development.

Find Content Inspiration!

Conduct research within your industry to find content that inspires you!

Finding content ideas can help to create fresh, interesting and trending content that will allow you to engage your audience more effectively.

We suggest using BuzzSumo, an online keyword tool that allows you to find popular relative content on the web.

Hashtag research can also help you discover new content to draw inspiration from. We recommend using toolsKeyhole and RiteTag to conduct hashtag research.

Use an Editorial Content Calendar!

An Editorial Content Calendaris a schedule of the content you plan to release on social media.

It helps keep content organised and provides a clear outline of the date and time content will be released.

When running a SMM campaign, a content calendar can help keep content on track and ensure it's consistent and timely.

Plan and list content on the calendar including:

  • Type of Content Post - E.g.Video, Blog Post, Live Video, Image Post
  • Social Media Platform -E.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn
  • Target Audience - E.g. You may have more than one Target Market you're trying to reach on social media, so list which specific audience your post intends to reach
  • Marketing Message E.g. What is the marketing message conveyed? Does the post promote a specific product or service?
  • Release Date and Time
  • Scheduled Post Information E.g. Is this post scheduled for release? What platform is is scheduled on? Buffer, Hootsuite, Facebook Scheduled Posts?
  • Engagement Levels E.g. How many likes, shares or interactions did the post receive

iASP Central Tip: There are many Editorial Content Calendars available online for download, we have provided some links in our resources section at the end of this article.

Create Unique Content!

Content is everywhere online!

Therefore, creating unique 'standout' content is the trick to getting a message across.

Content Creation can be time consuming and costly, especially if it involves design or a team collaboration.

However there are a number of online tools available to help assist with writing and designing content.

We suggest using Canva,a free design tool to createeye-catching visual content or branded images. Canva is an easy-to-use online program that allows you to design content posts and images specifically for social media. You can also post directly from the platform to a social media profile or page.

When creating written content, establish a unique voice and tone that correlates with your target audience.

For example, if your target audience age group is between 50-75years old, it would not be appropriate to use modern slang or catch phrases in your language and written content. Adopting a more mature tone could help relate to this audience.

To write catchy headlines or subjects for your content, we recommend using Hubspot's Blog Idea's Generator or Coschedule's Headline Analyser.

Hemmingway Editor is a free grammar tool that highlights grammar errors and makes suggestions to simply sentences. We use this tool regularly at iASP Central when creating content, as it helps to keep sentences clear and succinct.

Use a Social Media Scheduling Tool!

Social media scheduling tools allow you to manage and organise social media posts from one place.

We suggest Buffer or Hootsuite as our top social media scheduling tools. These platforms allow you to streamline posts and schedule for release ahead of time.

Using an editorial content calendar along with a social media scheduling tool will keep your content and team organised.

To Sum it Up....

Plan, develop and implement SMM tactics that support your strategy.

When planning marketing activities, budget and content,use the available marketing templates to help assist you and keep organised.

Ensure the activities carried out relate directly to your target audience, goals and business values.

Join us next time for Part 5, as we focus on the execution of SMM tactics and how to review and report on key analytics throughout the process.

Have you developed social media marketing tactics before? How did you implement them?

What marketing activities did you use?

Let us know on the iASP Central Facebook Page or Get in Touch.


Marketing Activity Templates:

Budget Template:

Editorial Content Calendar:

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy - Part Three

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy - Part Three

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy - Part Three

Welcome to the third edition of the iASP Central series How to Create a Social Media Strategy.

Effective Social Media Marketing often starts with a detailed plan.

Creating a strategy can help drive goals, marketing activities and measure success.

If you've just joined in, here is a quick recap of iASP Central's six steps to creating a Social Media Marketing (SMM) Strategy:

  1. Auditing
  2. Goals
  3. Target Audiences
  4. Planning
  5. Execution
  6. Reviewing

In Part One - How to Perform a Social Media Audit, we reviewed social media profiles to determine which are generating the best return on investment (ROI).

Part Two - How to Set Goals and Objectives addressed the importance of creating detailed, specific goals using the S.M.A.R.T formula.

Next we focus how to identify target audiences, in order to develop effective marketing communication tactics.

Part Three - How to Identify Key Target Audiences

Engaging the right target audience is vital to SMM success.

Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter use the term Audience to refer to fans, followers or a broader social community.

Companies target specific audiences via marketing messages, through traditional media channels like television or radio, or online media channels like Facebook or e-Mail.

A target audience is a group of people who are likely to be interested in your product, service or offer, and who will be the target or focus of your campaign.

For example, you might target single men for a Valentine's Day promotion, or you might target working mums for a new product you are launching.

A target audience is often also referred to as a Target Market, a Target Group, or Focus Group.

Getting your marketing messages to the right people can be a tricky task! It can be the difference between marketing failure or success.

Marketing messages aim to influence, engage, educate or persuade consumers to react in a specific way. For example - to buy a product or to provide an email address.

But even the most creative SMM campaigns can fail if messages are not communicated to the right target audience.

To get the most out of a SMM initiative, it's important to understand an audience's demographics and underlying motivations.

Identifying key target audiences can help develop effective marketing messages and maximise ROI.

So what method can you use to help identify target audience?

We've put together a 8 step process to guide you:

Step 1. Define a Target Audience

The more you know about customers, the easier it will be to engage with them.

Ask yourself who are you targeting?

Brainstorm the following:

  • Who is your ideal customer? Who would benefit or enjoy your new product / service / offer the most? How would you describe them?
  • List their demographics including: Age Group, Gender, Occupation, Interests, Geographic Location, Income, Education, Values.
  • What products or services are they interested in? Why?
  • What social media platforms do they use?
  • Are they desktop or mobile users?
  • What patterns or similarities can you conclude?

Brainstorming practices can help create and identify different market groups. And you may end up targeting different groups with different SMM campaigns.

The practice of grouping customers who exhibit similar traits or interests is called Customer Segmentation.

By segmenting customers into groups, unique buying personas can be developed to engage them.

If you're having trouble identifying a market group, try these iASP Central Tips:

  • Review your Social Media Analytics

    Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn all feature analytics tools with detailed audience information.

    The Facebook Insights People tab features information on Fans, Followers and People Reached including age, gender and location.

    Twitter Analytics - Audience Insights provides key metrics in age, interests, language, lifestyle and gender.

    Twitter Analytics' Add a Comparison Audience tool compares audience demographics and interests to a broad Twitter audience.

  • Conduct a Survey or Pole

    Surveys are a great way to learn more about an audience on social media.

    Create a survey or poll to gain information about your audience, their likes, dislikes and thoughts on products and services.

    Twitter Pole is a tool to create voting poll posts. Poll answers can be viewed publicly or privately.

    Facebook apps My Polls and Simple Surveys are great tools to create unique surveys on Facebook.

    Survey Monkey is an online survey platform that can be integrated with social media and email marketing.

Step 2 - Understand Audience Motivations

Understanding an audience's motivations is an integral part of developing and identifying target groups.

Customer motivations are desires or needs that can drive a customer to purchase.

By identifying the motivations of an audience, it can be easier to establish how you can help them.

Creating a Buying Persona is a great way to predict the needs of your customer.

A Buying Persona is creative description or characterisation of your ideal customer, their behaviours and emotions.

To create a Buying Persona, it's helpful to think from the customer's perspective.

Ask yourself:

  • What help does the customer need? What problem do they need solved?
  • How do they feel? What behaviours do they exhibit?
  • What drives or motivates them to use social media?
  • What motivates them to buy?

Creating a buying persona can help develop a deeper understanding of a customer, their buying behaviour and how you can address their needs.

iASP Central Tip:Product Knowledge is key!

Product knowledge is very important.

Once audience motivations are established, you can best match a product or service to suit their needs.

Make sure you know the features and benefits of the products your marketing or selling.

iASP Central Example:

Fictional Scenario: An online e-store Beauty4Us sells all organic beauty products in Australia. They want to promote a new skin product via a SMM campaign.

Target Audience: After brainstorming they have identified their key target market as young women, aged between 15-35years old, with interests in beauty care and health.

Buying Persona: Young women who are looking to buy quality organic skin products, who value eco-friendly products at an affordable price. This audience is interested in understanding ingredients used in the product and how it can benefit their skin.

Motivation: This target audience is driven to find an affordable, organic skin solution online.

By pre-determining customer motivations and behaviours, effective marketing messages can be developed to appeal to their needs.

Step 3 - Create a Value Proposition

This step relates closely to your overall goals and objectives that were set out in Part Two.

Once the motivations and buying behaviours of a target market have been established, focus on why you want to reach this group.

What is your main motivation?

  • To sell a product
  • To build brand recognition / reputation
  • To promote a service or product
  • To create a lead or establish a relationship with a customer
  • Build social media engagement

Always keep goals in mind when developing target groups. It's important that objectives align with your customer's needs.

A Value Proposition is a statement that explains why a customer would want to buy a product or service. It's a unique statement that sets you aside from competitors, and explains the value a customer receives from your services.

Creating a unique Value Proposition is a great way to help your team better understand a target audience.

Step 4 - Research Competitor's Audiences

Conduct research to establish who competitors are targeting on social media.

In Part One - How to Perform a Social Media Audit we identify the social media platforms your competitors are utilising.

Using the audit results, review your competitor's profiles and report on the following:

  • Who is engaging with your competitiors content?

    e.g. Are people in certain demographics appearing more than others, such as a specific gender group, or age group, or people within or around a particular location?

  • How is their audience engaging with content?

    e.g. Are they liking, commenting, disliking or sharing the content?

  • What type of content are your competitors using?

    e.g. Is your competitor using image posts or video posts? What content is gaining the most attention? What language and tone are they using for their social media posts? What content is least effective?

  • What conclusions can you draw from reviewing competitors profiles?

    e.g. What content is most effective? What key demographics and interests do their audiences share? What motivates their audience to respond to content?

  • Who are your competitors tagging and engaging with?

    e.g. Are your competitors using cross posting or tagging social influencers? Do they post in social Groups or on specific Pages? Do they tag partnerships, sponsors or charities in posts?

By reviewing your competitor's social media activity, you can gain valuable audience information. Formulate different target groups based on your competitors audiences.

This will help you to find if you will be targeting the same audience groups as your competitor, or identify new audience groups that your competitor isn't targetting.

iASP Central Tip:

SemRush is a great social media tool for analysing competitor's Audience Insights . It provides detailed metrics on competitor's audience growth and key demographics.

Step 5 - Determine Audience's SM Platform(s)

Establish where your audience is 'hanging out' on social media.

Research the following:

  • Review social media analytics and locate where your chosen target audience spends the most time E.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest or Snapchat. It may not always be the Big 4 social media platforms.

  • Do your social media followers visit the company website?

  • Do they read the company blog or email marketing?

  • What other websites do they spend time on?

By understanding where an audience is spending time online, strategic marketing activities can be developed to reach them.

iASP Central Tip:Review Google Analytics!

Google Analytics is a free tool that can track and measure website and social network performance analytics. It allows you to track traffic to specific website pages and social media.

iASP Central Example:

Fictional Scenario: e-Store Beauty4Us research shows that their target audience of women aged 15-35yrs old are spending the a lot of their time on Instagram.

After reviewing Google Analytics they can tell this target group are also spending time on a beauty blog website, and are often viewing their video content.

Therefore creating video content and sharing it via Instagram could be an effective method to attract and engage this target audience.

Step 6 - Establish the Best Time to Target

What is the best time to reach your audience?

When are they on social media? Day, night, lunch or a specific time?

Publish your content and posts on social media at optimal times when most of your target audience is active on a social media platform.

iASP Central Tip:

Review social media analytics and find out when your audience is most active online.

Facebook Insights: The Local tab allows you to view the peak times a local audience is using and engaging on Facebook.

Buffer: Buffer is a social media scheduling tool which has a paid analytics option, to track audience insights from social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google+. Buffer can provide metrics on the peak times to post content.

Step 7 - How to Reach an Audience

Determine the methods you will use to reach an audience.

How will you reach your audience? What methods will you use to contact them?

There are many ways to reach audiences via social media including:

  • Facebook Lead Ads - create a Lead Ads form that directs customers to a sign-up Form or direct webpage contact form.

  • Facebook Advertising and Instagram Advertising - create content targeted adverts that can be delivered to specific target audiences. Import customer's email addresses and create Custom Target Audiences and Look-a-like Audiences to directly target your market group.

  • Facebook Preferred Audience Tool - Create targeted posts to reach an organic audience using this tool.

  • Twitter Advertising - Create geo-targeted posts using details such as location, language, interests and country.

  • LinkedIn Advertising - create persona groups on LinkedIn and advertise directly to them.

  • Facebook Pixel - Installing Facebook Pixel allows you to re-market and track conversions. Display an ad who have recently visited your website or Facebook page. This is a great way to remind customers to take action after engaging with your brand.

Step 8 - Build a Relationship with Audience

The final step focuses on building a relationship with your audience and establishing trust.

Creating good content and reaching your audience via advertising is a great way to gain an audience's attention. However it's important to consider how you will get your audience to take the next step and convert them into a lead.

Establishing a personal connection with your audience is key. To do this, try to provide an offer or something of benefit to your audience. This is often referred to in marketing as a 'hook'. Showcase your customer service skills by offering value and assistance.

Think about the following:

  • How can you build trust with your audience?

    Respond to your audiences comments and queries in a timely, professional and personable manner. This can help establish trust and build rapport with individuals. Remember to respond as a 'real person,' be genuine in your approach and use language that is casual yet professional.

  • What can you offer your audience? What could you offer of benefit?

    Think about what you could offer your audience to establish a personal connection. Here are some examples:
    • Free one-on-one consultation to expand further on your services
    • Downloadable ebook with tips on your industry and how you can best help your customer
    • Tip sheet or downloadable PDF document
    • Discount or limited offer on services
    • Giveaway or competition

  • How will you turn a lead into a prospect? How will you follow up?

    Once you have established an offer, consider how you will follow up with your audience once you provide the offer.

    How do you plan to contact your audience?
    • Phone Call
    • Email
    • Newsletter
    • Printed letter or pamphlet
    • Text

    Organise your follow up method before you create the offer.

    In order to follow up, it's important to collect customer contact details. Incorporate this in your offer.

    e.g. If you are creating an offer on Facebook, we suggest linking the offer to a website Contact Form. A contact form will collect important contact details such as name, address, contact number and email. Once a form has been completed, the offer can be claimed. This provides you an opportunity to follow up in a more personal way and grow your relationship.

To conclude...

A well defined Target Audience can help ensure SMM messages are being sent to the right people.

By identifying the key demographics, behaviours and motivations of an audience, marking messages can be tailored to reach them.

This 8 Step process will help provide the main framework for a SMM strategy.

Join us next time as we focus on 'How to Plan and Execute Marketing Activities.'

Have you created target groups or audiences for SMM before?

What methods did you use?

Let us know on the iASP Central Facebook Page or Get in Touch.