Just a few years ago, you could get away with building a social media marketing strategy on the fly. As long as you were present, you were doing more than your competitors–right?
Well it’s 2018 and not much of the same logic applies today. With 30% of millennials saying they engage with a brand on social at least once a month, your strategy can’t be only about existence. Brands must be fully invested in their social media marketing strategies and focus on engagement. Otherwise, you’ll lose out on real customers, which means serious effects on your bottom line.
We’re not here to scare your brand into the world of social media. Instead, we want to provide your marketing team with the right steps to take toward a successful social strategy so your brand isn’t left in the dust.
Here are the seven steps to create a winning social media marketing strategy in 2018:
7 Step Social Media Marketing Strategy Checklist
1. Create Social Media Marketing Goals That Solve Your Biggest Challenges
The first step to any strategy is to understand what you want out of your efforts. Social media marketing isn’t about flipping a switch and calling it a day. Instead, social media planning should be looked at like cooking your favorite dish.
Once you have your ingredients, you follow a recipe and presto! But that’s not always the case. What if you have guests and need to feed more people? What if someone is allergic to one of the ingredients? Suddenly, your goal goes from making a meal to ensuring it will feed enough people and be edible by all.
That’s why creating goals is so critical to the first part of your social media strategy. At the same time, it’s best to set goals that you know are attainable. Asking for 1 million new Instagram followers in 2018 is unrealistic. With achievable goals, you’re more likely to stick to the original plan and continue to take on new hurdles as you complete old ones.
This is the same reason why brands should never take on every social media channel possible in their current marketing strategy. Try to choose the channels that have the most importance based on your brand’s goals. Avoid over complicating a strategy with too many targets and objectives. Simplicity can take you a long way.
And also, don’t forget to document your social media goals. Not only is it important to help you benchmark where you are, but it also improves your chances of achieving them. According to some statistics, people who write their goals down are 30 times more successful.
Social Media Goals to Consider in 2018
Goal setting is a staple of all marketing and business strategies. Social media is no exception. Of course, with a range of social capabilities, it can be difficult to determine exactly what your objectives should be. For guidance, here are some common social media goals to consider:
2. Research Your Social Media Audience
Approximately 79% of adults use Facebook–but are your customers actively engaging with your brand there? Understanding your audience is necessary to learn things like who buys your products, what age group is the toughest to sell and what income level makes up the most of your returning customers? As for social media, it’s just as critical to know your audience.
First, your brand should look into the demographics of your most valuable social channels. Like we mentioned before, you should have a goal in mind for your social media marketing strategy. This is why you need to research the channels that correlate the most with your goals.
To help you find your focus channels: let’s take a quick look at the essential demographics data for each major network:
Twitter’s most popular demographics include:
Women users (25%)
18-29 year olds (36%)
Urban-located users (26%)
Those earning $50,000-$74,999 (28%)
Users with college experience or more (29%)
LinkedIn’s most popular demographics include:
Men users (31%)
18-29 year olds (34%)
Urban-located users (34%)
Those earning $75,000 or more (45%)
Users with college experience or more (50%)
Snapchat and other auto-delete app’s most popular demographics include:
Men users (24%)
18-29 year olds (56%)
Those earning less than $50,000 (27%)
Users with some college experience (27%)
See even more demographics data on our in-depth guide!
Social Media Demographics to Inform a Better Segmentation Strategy
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While the demographics data above gives you insight into each channel, what about your own customers? Further analysis has to be completed before you can truly know your customer demographics on social media.
That’s why many brands use a social media dashboard that can provide an overview of who’s following you and how they interact with you on each channel. Most brands today are using at least some sort of dashboard. However, does your dashboard address your specific goals?
Whether you’re an agency providing insights for your clients or an enterprise company discovering your own demographics, an all-in-one dashboard solution is critical.
3. Establish Your Most Important Metrics
While your targeted social media metrics might be the most important step of a strategy, it’s often the spot most veer off the path. Vanity metrics like follower count and likes are always good to measure, but does it tell you the whole story of your brand on social media?
We often get wrapped up in viewing followers and likes as the truth to a campaign, but it’s smart to take a step back and evaluate the social metrics associated with your overall goals.
Engagement metrics sometimes paint a better picture, because as we’ve mentioned many times here, building lasting relationships works on social. Large audiences and likable content is absolutely great, but here are some other metrics you might want to pursue in 2018:
Reach: Post reach is the number of unique users who saw your post. How far is your content spreading across social? Is it actually reaching user’s feeds?
Clicks: This is the amount of clicks on your content, company name or logo. Link clicks are critical toward understanding how users move through your marketing funnel. Tracking clicks per campaign is essential to understand what drives curiosity or encourages people to buy.
Engagement: The total number of social interactions divided by number of impressions. For engagement, it’s about seeing who interacted and if it was a good ratio out of your total reach. This sheds light on how well your audience perceives you and their willingness to interact.
Hashtag performance: What were your most used hashtags on your own side? Which hashtags were most associated with your brand? Or what hashtags created the most engagement?
Sentiment: This is the measurement of how users reacted to your content, brand or hashtag. Did customers find your recent campaign offensive? What type of sentiment are people associating with your campaign hashtag? It’s always better to dig deeper and find what people are saying.
Organic and paid likes: More than just standard Likes, these likes are defined from paid or organic content. For channels like Facebook, organic engagement is much harder to gain traction, which is why many brands turn to Facebook Ads. However, earning organic likes on Instagram isn’t quite as difficult.
4. Research Your Social Competitive Landscape
Before you start creating content (we promise we’re almost there!), it’s really smart to investigate your competitors. We put this before the content creation process because you often find new ways to look at content by analyzing what’s making your competitors successful.
Again, we’ll always believe you shouldn’t steal your competitors ideas, but instead learn and grow from their success and failures. So how do you find that information? The first step is to find out who’s your competition in the first place.
The simplest way to find competitors is through a simple Google search. Look up your most valuable keywords, phrases and industry terms to see who shows up. For example, if you sold various soaps, “handmade natural soaps” would be a great keyword to investigate: