How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy
How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy
Welcome to the iASP Central blog series that will teach you How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy.
Social Media can be an effective tool for communicating and sharing information online with current and potential stakeholders in your enterprise.
When businesses promote or advertise through these platforms, it's called Social Media Marketing or SMM.
Social media marketing (SMM) is a great way to reach new and existing customers. It can also provide an opportunity to send important messages about your products and services.
Being active on social media and posting regular content isn't a guarantee that you will capture the attention of customers (unfortunately!)
There is a vast amount of content available on social media. It can be tricky to stand out. So it's essential your marketing efforts are generating the best results.
One of the best ways to make sure you're on the right path is to create a strategy!
A well structured strategic plan could be considered a vital starting point of any SMM initiative.
Developing a strategy can be a short exercise or a detailed and lengthy process, depending on what you aim to achieve with your social efforts. In either case, the exercise may prove to be invaluable. A strategy can provide direction, help examine customer behaviours and measure performance.
- Target Audiences
We will cover all six steps in this weekly series, to provide you with guidance and tools to help create a killer SMM strategy!
Not sure where to start? Read on as we begin with part one, a Social Media Audit.
Part One - How to Perform a Social Media Audit
Our first step in creating a SMM Strategy is to perform a Social Media Audit.
An audit is an opportunity to review, reflect and evaluate your current position in the social media landscape.
It can reveal which social media platforms and practices are working for your business and which are not.
Auditing can also get your social media efforts back on track and help establish a plan based on your required outcomes.
After all there is no point creating an action plan, unless you have reviewed your current performance!
The aim of this audit is to find out which profiles generate the best return on investment (ROI).
Some businesses make the mistake of having too many social media profiles. This can end up becoming time-consuming, costly to maintain or forgotten all together. This is not always the best practice and can impact the return on investment (ROI) that media engagement delivers.
Instead we recommend researching social media platforms most relevant to your industry and your customers. Invest time into the ones that work for your business.
If you are starting in social media, you may want to begin with one or two platforms. Facebook or Google + are commonly used for enterprises.
Then once you are happy with their performance, you can look for opportunities on other platforms.
To further help, we have compiled a list of online analytics tools and templates to get started.
Follow these steps and you could be auditing in no time!
Step 1 - Set up a Social Media Audit Template
The first step of this audit is to set up an audit template or spreadsheet.
Use an audit template to record the data in one place, which will make it easier to review later on.
You can download a template or even create your own simple spreadsheet.
Record, organise and compare data collected throughout the audit process on the spreadsheet.
A spreadsheet is also easy for team mates to access and contribute to.
iASP Central Tip: If you don't have time to create one 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 - Identify Social Media Profiles
- Facebook Business Page
- Twitter Business Page
- Google + Page
- LinkedIn Company Page
- Instagram Business Profile
- Pinterest Business Profile
List them on the audit template or spreadsheet you set up in Step 1.
Remember that Pinterest account you may have created a few years ago but never used? Can't remember exactly? Could a past employee or family member may have set up a profile without your knowledge? Well let's find out.
Perform a Google Search to locate the social media profiles associated with your business.
It's important to know which profiles exist, even if they haven't been maintained or updated recently.
This can help determine which profiles are beneficial and worth maintaining, versus those that aren't.
List the accounts on the spreadsheet, including the URLs and passwords.
Step 3 - Review Social Media Analytics
Reviewing analytics is an important step of this audit.
Analytics measure overall patterns, behaviours and performance.They convey how well a social profile is performing.
Analytics can include various metrics such as Reach & Frequency: The size and demographics of your audience and how often they were exposed to your campaign and Engagement: The actions users took such as new Facebook Likes or new Twitter Followers, sharing your content with others or visiting your corporate webpage
Where can you find analytics for social media?
- Facebook Insights
- Twitter Analytics
- LinkedIn - Company Page Analytics
- Instagram Analytics
- Pinterest Analytics
- Google Analytics
- Hootsuite / Buffer / Sprout Social - These tools compile analytics from multiple social media profiles in one place
- Go through each profile and review analytics
- Set time frame - How far back are you reviewing? Are you recording current metrics or including past metrics?
- Decide on the most valuable metrics
Record data on your spreadsheet
Sometimes there is so much data available, it can be difficult to know what is the most valuable.
To figure this out, ask yourself what you're aiming to achieve through each social media profile?
- To increase brand awareness
- To generate leads
- To increase engagement and audience growth
- To increase traffic to website
At iASP Central, we focus most efforts on Facebook and Twitter.
Our primary target audience consists of current and potential customers for the iASP Technology Platform, which facilitates publication of corporate websites, e-stores and enterprise software applications.
Our current strategy is to engage our social media community, by building a hub of informational resources valuable to our clients.
Therefore the primary metrics we measure audience and engagement, number of followers and the amount of mentions the content we publish generates.
This is some of the data we find most useful to record at iASP Central:
- Engagement Metrics: Page Views, Page Likes, Post Engagement, Reach
- Posts - Top performing posts and posting times
- People Insights - Fan demographics such as age groups and locations
iASP Central Tip: Facebook Insights feature a data export tool, that allows you to export a summery of analytics to a spreadsheet. It features a date range and data type export option, that provides data specific information on engagement, reach, impressions and more.
- Engagement Metrics: Tweet Impressions, Engagement Rates, Profile Visits, New Followers
- Twitter Audiences: Key demographics, interests and geographical data
- If you prefer to view all your analytics in one place, we suggest using a social media tool like Buffer or Hootsuite.
- These platforms are designed to help manage multiple social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google + Page and Instagram.
- They feature real-time posting, content scheduling and more.
- Both of these platforms offer free versions. The free version of Hootsuite provides basic analytics, however Buffer charges a fee to access analytics.
Links to these tools are included in the Resources at the bottom of the article.
Step 4 - Review Branding
Review branding across all social media profiles. Is the branding current and consistent?
- Logo - Is the logo high quality? Is the same logo used on all profiles?
- Profile Images / Banners: Do they fit the space without being cropped? Are they consistent?
- Profile Name - Is it consistent across all profiles?
- Business Description - Is it current? Does it include relevant keywords?
- Links - Are all links current and working? E.g. website, blog or product links
- Brand Values - Does your branding reflect your core values?
Write down your findings on the audit spreadsheet.
Step 5 - Monitor Mentions
Find out when and where the business is being 'mentioned' online.
What are mentions?
Mentions are when your business name or relevant keywords are cited on the web. They can appear in social media, search pages, videos and more.
- Social Media Audience - Who is citing, sharing and tagging your business on social media? What platform do they use?
- Feedback - Are your fans supporting or critiquing? This can be an opportunity to reply to feedback that you may not be aware of.
- Content - Which websites and blogs are referencing the business or keywords in their content?
iASP Central Tip: We recommend Mention.com. This free tool provides real-time alerts when your business name is mentioned on social media, websites, blogs and more.
Record top mentions on your spreadsheet.
Step 6 - Research Competitors
Now let's talk benchmarking!
It's time to compare your social media to industry competitors. By reviewing your competitors, you may discover potential strengths, weaknesses and other opportunities in the social media market.
- Who are your top industry competitors? Both local and national / intentional?
- What social media platforms do they use?
- What messages are they sending? Are they effective?
- How would you rate their social media persona?
- What are their strengths? Weaknesses?
- How often are they posting? How many followers and likes do they have?
- Do they use social media influencers to promote their brand? If so, who are they?
- We recommend using the nifty tool featured on Facebook Insights called Pages to Watch.
- This tool allows you to add your competitors pages, to privately view analytics on their post performance, engagement and page likes. It compares your competitors analytics to your own page performance.
- The SEMrush Social Media Tool provides detailed reports on your competitors social media analytics and social media campaigns. The SEMrush tool can also track your competitors online mentions across the web.
- Monitor your competitors online mentions using Google Alerts. This free service sends an email report every time your competitor's business name is used online.
Step 7-Compare and Analyse
The final step of the audit is to analyse your findings! Let's take a closer look at your audit spreadsheet.
- Metrics - Key metrics including engagement, followers, likes and shares
- Branding - Is it current or does it need to be updated?
- Performance - Which social media channels are working? Why?
- Competitors- How do you compare your performance?
- Opportunities - Can you see any potential opportunities in the market? Do have a point of difference?
- Conclusion- What are the top performing profiles? Which require more time and input? Should any be deactivated?
- The social media profiles generating the best ROI
- Your current market position in the social media landscape
- Other potential SMM opportunities
Continue to use your audit spreadsheet to track future data and examine the audit results.
Stay tuned for the next release in the series: How to set S.M.A.R.T Goals - Part Two
Have you completed a social media audit before? Were you
surprised by the results?
Let us know on the iASP Central Facebook Page or Get in Touch.