If you’re reading this by chance or by choice, the probability is you could be either a marketer, an entrepreneur or a blogger. If you happen to be either of these, you can very well co-relate yourself with the need of having a social media strategy in place.
When I had started my career in digital marketing, I had touched upon all the verticals of marketing — content, social, event, email, SEO, SEM etc. While I was working on each of these, I figured out that small companies which are starting from the scratch need to have a marketing process, or you can say a framework.
Here I’m just articulating how I went about creating a social media strategy and how these 4 questions helped me to create strategies for my own companies Dressprise and Digimusk and for my other clients.
I believe this would make it very crystal clear for you to start from the scratch. As the content is on the boom, everyone is consuming even when the person is in the toilet or commuting by bus. Everyone wants to be seen and to be heard, but discovery process needs to be streamlined in order to stand out.
I have tried and tested a lot. Have failed a couple of times, few strategies worked, few didn’t. But these 4 questions always helped me to come back to basics and start accordingly.
Bookmark these 4 questions for your lifetime!
1. Why do you want to be on social media?
Yes, ask this to yourself if you’re building a personal brand. Ask your client, if you’re building a social media presence for the client. Ask your employer if he asked you to create a social media strategy.
Because everyone else is? Then rethink about your investment because this will take your good amount of time, resource and money.
Because you need brand awareness? Good, if this is the objective. Now let’s think about alternate options. Can you create brand awareness through billboard advertisements, pamphlets, radio ads, TV ads, or any other medium? If yes, rethink about the investment here as well. And compare the budget expenditure that you will do via social media. Analyze what would be best for you.
Because you need to build a community around your cause? Well, this could be a direct alignment with social media because you can find like-minded people, can collaborate, can exchange and can do a lot of other things when supported by a specific cause.
Because you need to build your thought leadership? This objective is not a direct one, this would have come through if you think you as a person or as a business has an expertise that could be shared with others. With this plan, social media can be an effective medium.
Because you need leads and sales? If this is the need, then you need to consider if your potential customers are on social media or not. If not, then you will be wasting your time.
When your broader objective is clear: Whether you need brand awareness, thought leadership, community building, leads or sales, break down this goal to a SMART goal.
S: Specific | M: Measurable | A: Achievable | R: Realistic |T: Time-bound
“Generate 300 leads within the1st quarter at a marketing budget of INR 1 lakh.”
“Get 400 students enrolled for the first batch of 2018 at cost of acquisition less than INR 1000”
“Gain 1000 new followers to the Medium account by Dec 2017”
Once your goal is precisely defined, next ponder over that social media is just a medium. It’s a path to reach your potential customers. This itself is not a marketing strategy or a tool or a plan. This is just a medium.
2. Where will you find your prospective users on social media?
So by now, you’ve figured out that the social media is really important for you and if you won’t be here, you’ll be at a great loss. Cool!
Next, you need to see who would consume your content on social media? Or rather say, where will you find people on social media who will consume your content?
The easiest way to identify is to segment your domain as B2B or B2C.
If you’re into a B2B business and you wish to promote your B2B product/service, then your potential customers would be on LinkedIn/ Twitter/ Quora/ Reddit.
If you’re into a B2C business such as e-commerce, then you can find people on Facebook/ Instagram/ Snapchat/ Quora/ Blogging sites/ Shopping sites.
You need not be omnipresent on all social media channels.
Pick up only 1 or 2 to start.
If you’re starting from the scratch and you have multiple options where you need to prioritize which one to choose (as you still need to experiment and analyze where your customers would be), you can use Buzzsumo to identify the presence of your competitors. Research which channels are giving your competitors the most results and pick the two most important.
3. How will you do social media marketing?
This is the tangible question where you’re accountable, answerable and measurable. As you have figured out that you need to sell clothes from your e-commerce website through Facebook and Instagram as the social media channels, how exactly would you go about selling clothes?
Having a plan in place will automate and document your marketing activities. Follow the following steps:
3.1 Social Media Audit
If you’re starting from the scratch, then you need to skip to step 2. If you’re building this for somebody who already has a social media presence, then first do the audit. By audit, I mean to examine your present social media status, followers, views, traffic sources.
I recommend you to refer to this social media template by Hootsuite.
3.2 Social Competitive Analysis
This one is crucial and the basic one. Before you even attempt to put out a word, do analyze what your competitors have been doing before. Which social media they are present? How many followers do they have? How many times they post/ share(frequency)?
3.3 Resources and Time analysis
Social media platform need visual creativity. So you will need resources to create visuals such as gifs, videos, infographics, e-book etc. You will need a dedicated designer to create visuals and a dedicated writer to roll out articles. If you have shoe-string budget, you can opt-in to hire freelancers from these platforms to kick-start your marketing –
Also, do consider how much time will it take to create a visual or an article? This needs an in-depth analysis and a step by step process.
3.3.1 How many articles per week do you need to publish?
3.3.2 How many visuals per articles do you need to publish per week?
3.3.3. Based on a count of articles and visuals, how much time will it take per week?
3.3.4 Can you increase the frequency if you hire more human resources or subscribe few marketing tools?
As you get a more clear defined picture, you’ll have more clarity on the budget side as well.
3.4 Content Calendar
Ok so now you have resources and time clarity in your hand. Let’s start creating a content calendar. This will help you to plan ahead of time and will also keep the team on the same page without any roadblock.
3.5 Social Media Marketing Budget
Ideally, this should have come earlier, but without following the above steps you might not have the clarity of what all you need. Now since you have, you can step onto creating a budget plan. Do not forget to stick to your SMART goal and always try to maintain a positive ROI with your expenditure. Marketing comes with its own experiments, A/B testing, and a lot of other variables. Thanks to the benchmark metrics that could forecast a probability on the budget.
3.6 Content Distribution
The most challenging step in the entire plan. You have set your goal, chosen your medium, have crafted content, now reach out to the people. Choose the platforms, the right message and also the right time and the right frequency to post.
Twitter: 10 tweets/ day + 5 curated tweets
LinkedIn: 1 post/day + 1 curated post/day
Facebook: 1 post/day + 1 curated post/day
Quora: 1 answer/day + 1 relevant question/day
Instagram: 6 posts/day with minimum 30 hashtags
4. What Should You Do Next?
Great! You’re done with your planning as well as execution. The last and the most important step would be to measure what you have done. Unless and until you measure, you won’t set up a benchmark to go ahead. You won’t know what’s working & what’s not. To improve yourself further, follow the breakdown steps:
It’s really important to automate your marketing. Initial doing manually would give you hands-on experience but as you grow this would become really difficult. Use tools such as Tweetdeck to schedule your tweets (I highly recommend), Buffer to schedule your posts, Hootsuite for content curation, Buzzsumo for influencer search.
For tracking, Google Analytics is still the best. The free, basic but still comprehensive one in all analytics to track. If you’re new to this, try learning online, refer to in-depth blog articles on this. Before you start to track, don’t forget to tag your campaign URLs with UTM parameters.
With Google Analytics, you would have clear idea of users, bounce rate, referral, traffic source. Now you need to upgrade the numbers and to do that you need to tweak your campaigns a little. You can try A/B testing on headlines, creatives, landing page and see if this outperforms the earlier one.
I believe these 4 questions will help you to stick to the basic framework to draft and execute your social media strategy.