Planning a Social Media Strategy: Step-by-step guide to SMM

According to data gathered by Forrester Research Marketing company modern day buyer’s are becoming more independent: 60% of buyers prefer not to interact with a sales rep as the primary source of information; 68% prefer to research on their own, online. This means that the majority of buyers complete more than half of their buyer’s journey self-directing; and if you can’t be there physically, you might as well get online. So what better way to do it than get on social media?

Planning an en effective social media strategy will help you remotely guide your potential customers towards making the right decision of purchasing your product or service. In this article you will find a detailed step-by-step guide to planning SMM strategy that will help you promote your business on social media.

So let’s get to it…

Step 1: Define your strategy

To begin working on your strategy start with answering and noting down the answers to the following questions:

  • What do you want to achieve with your social media strategy? Note down your target and aims. What are the objectives that you have to meet in order to achieve your aims? Keep in mind, these aims have to be concrete, measurable, achievable and time-sensitive. For instance, you could have a goal of having an increase in traffic to a 100 people a day, which is to be achieved in three months period.
  • Who is your target audience? Have a clear understanding of who is it that your product is for, or what type of people your products could appeal to on social media? You can use HubSpot’s Buyer’s Persona template as a guide to knowing your target audience.
  • What is it that your potential customer needs to know? Try to simulate a buyer’s journey of your target audience. What questions might they have during the process? Answering this question will help you plan an informational marketing campaign for your business.
  • Where does your target audience hang out? Set out the numbers of platforms where your target audience spends the most of their time.
  • When are your potential customers most active on social media? This will be the time for your publications and posts.

 

source: conversationprism.com

Step 2: Choose a communication tactic

After having answered the strategic question you have to figure out your tactics. Set out the tone for your audience; make it easy to understand yet informative and engaging.Is your communication style the same with clients and colleagues? 

To better define your tactic follow these recommendations:

  • Assign a person responsible for posting content and replying to comments on social media. Suggest they use an informal communication style.
  • Have an expert person dealing with specialised questions. They will be responsible for conflict regulation, preferably in a formal tone. 
  • Don’t forget about the visual elements of the brand. Make sure any user is aware what your business is about when visiting your brand’s profile. Use branded headers, covers and post templates to do so, head over to Canva for pre-made templates for all types of social media graphics. 

Once the above recommendations are followed, stick to the selected tactic so your audience gets used to your communication style.

 

Step 3: Create content

This is the most important step in planning a social media strategy; as quality content is fundamental to an effective SMM. The following tips will help you make the most out your content campaign:

  • Announce your own content. Curate your competitors content and repost the publications that received the most likes and engagement.
  • Mix it up. Don’t forget to work on to the visual aesthetics of the posts. If you’re not sure what type of content to post check out this article I wrote on

 10 Types of Content to Drive Traffic and Increase Engagement

  • Encourage your followers to create their own user-generated content. Get users with a big following to repost your content.

Step 4: Optimize content

Even if you think your content is out of this world, it can’t really compete with cat videos and scandalous celebrity pictures, unless you optimize it. Use these tips for content optimization:

  • Attach a photo to each post on Facebook, Twitter etc. It might help to use the photos that stand out from the rest of the feed and capture the eye of the audience. In fact, if your audience likes cats and scandalous celebrities you might as well give to them just that; but don’t abuse it, it still has to be relevant. Also, try using headers that’ll make the user read more.
  • Make sure the content is readable. Speak the language of your target audience.
  • Don’t forget about SEO. Your content has to appeal your audience as well as search engines, make sure you place relevant keywords and metadata. Also, hashtags are a must.
  • Use social share buttons. These also come in a form of widgets it’s always good to encourage your audience to share.
  • Use Calls-to-action. This type of content will help your audience navigate and likely move forward through their buyer’s journey.

Step 5: Think about conversions

Evidently, likes shares and comments don’t earn you profit and deals on their own. You can take the following measures, to ensure user conversion on social media:
  • Enclose your contact details on all your social media profiles. These could be an e-email, telephone number, website url etc. 
  • Encourage users to leave their contact details. For instance, you could give out exclusive content or promotions in exchange for user’s contact details. 
  • Make sure to direct users to an ‘about’ page of your website. It should be the source of information required to make a purchase-related decision.
  • Direct your audience to a landing page. Or use pop-up promotion banners to interest users in your products.
Come up with ways to interact with your audience beyond Instagram and Facebook.

Step 6: Communicate

Social media are there for people to communicate. To successfully  market your business you must keep in touch with your potential clients and colleagues. To ensure effective communication follow these recommendations:

  • Stay relevant. To do this make sure you’re publishing content relevant to ongoing events and trending topics and don’t forget to actively promote it on other platforms.
  • Convince your existing and potential customers to follow your page. Motivate them with discounts, promotions, exclusive content and with the ability to interact with others. 
  • Engage in conversation with other accounts. This will help you win users over and earn authority among relevant groups and chats. 
  • Get influencers to review your content. This will bring you hundreds of followers. 
  • Reply to comments, encourage users to engage in conversation. The more active your audience the bigger following you’ll earn.
  • Be provocative. Think about the ways you could incite your audience to start a conversation. This’ll get you more engagement and shares.

Step 7: Use web-analytics:

Yes, you get an increase in following but is your strategy achieving your aims? Measure the changes in your ROI (return on investiment). Use UTM codes, monitor key metrics on the website. You might find the following tips helpful:
Analyse numbers on social media. Pay attention to the numbers of followers, likes, comments and shares; with a successful strategy these numbers must grow.
USe web analytics. Track the inbound traffic from social media. You’re looking for specific metrics such as: time on site by SM, CR(conversion rate), tone of mentions, unlikes rate, BER (brand evangelists rate) etc. 

Monitor the number of sales. These can be analysed via AOV (average order value), LCR (lead close rate) metrics. Your goal is to find wether your investments are paying off. If the outcome doesn’t satisfy you, your strategy must be optimised.

 

Final thoughts…

Social media strategy should be a part of a more complex approach to online marketing. It should be planned according to particular features of your website marketing, audiences needs and distribution channels for your product. Don’t forget to evaluate the effectiveness of your strategy every 6 months, to keep improving operation. 

Safko, L. (2012). The social media bible. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons.

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