It doesn’t just start and end with media buying. Social Media Marketing (SMM) like any other marketing effort has to be planned to the very last detail to enable a brand achieve its predetermined organisational objectives. Planning your SMM strategy helps you put things into perspective and provide a road map to your final destination.
Here are 7 steps you can take in creating a successful SMM strategy:
- Have clear objectives
- Develop your engagement idea
- Identify the social media channels
- Set up/ optimise your media
- Monitor and interact with audience
- Employ other modes of marketing communications
- Track, evaluate your results.
1. Clear Objectives
Failing to plan is planning to fail. Launching a campaign without having goals is a total waste of time, money and man-power. When it comes to social media marketing, your objectives must be clear, practical and not too ambiguous. Having clear goals and objectives allows you to monitor and optimise the campaign when it is not meeting the expectations. With clear practical objectives, you can demand for the resources that will help your campaign and prove your Return on Investment.
Your objectives should clearly state:
- Your campaign message
- Your target audience (buyer persona)
- Call to action
- The duration of the campaign
- Other media of collaboration
2. Engagement Idea
This step might come in your execution plan but for me, I prefer having it glaring at me when I put together my SMM strategy. Engagement idea simply means the part of the strategy that keeps your target audience in your campaign scope. It might be a quiz contest on your Facebook page, a bi-monthly Tweet chat or cartoon series on your blog. Whatever it is, make sure it has the capacity to drive engagement and entertain your audience. You have to tailor your idea to suit the buyer persona or target audience.
3. Identify the social media channels
This is a very important step in creating your SMM strategy because the channels you choose to employ affects the kind of content you will share in your campaign. If content is king, the channel should be queen (my personal opinion though) or as my traditional media colleagues always say, “the medium is the message.” At this stage, having known your objectives and overall campaign Key performance Indicator (KPI), you have to choose the social media channels that:
- The target audience are exposed to
- That can be measured
- That can be optimized
Twitter only allows for 140 characters so every letter should count. Facebook gives you the opportunity to tell a visual story that your audience can connect with and share. Your TV commercials if any, will make good YouTube videos which with the help of paid promotion, can grow your audience reach and bring more people into your campaign scope.
4. Set up/optimise your media
All your social media channels must be active and ready to provide interaction during and after your campaign. Make sure you’ve linked all your social media channels to one another to streamline the user journey. If your campaign objective is to increase the traffic to your website, be sure to link your page to your Facebook page, Twitter page and of course Google+. Not only will this help your Search Engine ranking, it will also help you during the evaluation stage when your analytics tool is providing you with your traffic sources.
Also don’t forget to add your contact details and a few important details about your brand.
5. Monitor and interact with audience
One of my favourite features about SMM marketing is the ability to monitor the activities of your audience and interact with them in real time. With the various social media tools like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, Keyhole and so on, monitoring and plugging into the ongoing conversations about your campaign is pretty easy and free (to some extent though). You can go as far as monitoring a particular keyword or hashtag and tap into the trend to engage with your audience. That never ceases to amaze me! It is so “unlike” billboard and TV commercial where you send the message and sit down and pray that your audience gives you the right feedback. With social media, the feedback is in real time and you can use it to optimise your content strategy!
6. Employ other modes of marketing communications
Yes SMM is pretty cool but not so cool that it doesn’t need other media to make it cooler. Experts strongly advise that your SMM should be part of the overall marketing strategy and not be done in isolation. Isolating your SMM could lead to difference in messages, tone of voice (relative) and duplication of efforts. As I mentioned before, your TV commercials should be featured on your YouTube channel and Facebook, all your billboards should have your Facebook ID, Twitter and Instagram handle and website link. I have seen a Facebook handle on a biscuit wrapper…yea seriously!!
7. Track, evaluate your results.
You have your objectives, you have your social media channels, and now you’ve got to plug in the necessary analytics tool to track the performance of the campaign. Now it’s time to evaluate the results of your campaign. Did you reach the expected click-through-rate, did your increase the Twitter followership by 35%, how many app downloads did I gain from this campaign etc? These are questions that you should be able to answer during the tracking and evaluation stage.
This stage provides you with the option of removing the unresponsive elements of the campaign and apply the viable elements of the campaign. There are a lot of tools for tracking and evaluating your campaigns. I will mention some of them in details in my subsequent write ups.This is how SMM works for me. I still improve on them with every campaign I execute. Did this help you?
Tochukwu Anene is a Media and Platform Executive of Terragon Media Limited (TML), a Digital Media Agency and Business unit of Terragon Group.