You may want to track different goals for different networks, or even different uses for each network.
For example, if you use LinkedIn to drive traffic to your website, you would measure click-throughs. If Instagram is for brand awareness, you might track the number of Instagram Story views. And if you advertise on Facebook, cost-per-click (CPC) is a common success metric.
Social media goals should align with your overall marketing objectives. This makes it easier to show the value of your work and secure buy-in from your boss.
Start developing your social media marketing plan by writing down at least three goals for social media.
Step 2. Learn everything you can about your audience
Create audience personas
Knowing who your audience is and what they want to see on social media is key. That way you can create content that they will like, comment on, and share. It’s also critical if you want to turn social media followers into customers for your business.
When it comes to your target customer, you should know things like:
Get to know your fans, followers, and customers as real people with real wants and needs, and you will know how to target and engage them on social media.
Don’t make assumptions. Think Facebook is a better network for reaching Baby Boomers than Millennials? Well, the numbers show that Millennials still outnumber Boomers on the platform.
Social media analytics can also provide a ton of valuable information about who your followers are, where they live, and how they interact with your brand on social media. These insights allow you to refine your strategy and better target your audience.
Jugnoo, an Uber-like service for auto-rickshaws in India, used Facebook Analytics to learn that 90% of their users who referred other customers were between 18- and 34-years-old, and 65% of that group was using Android. They used that information to target their ads, resulting in a 40% lower cost per referral.
Odds are your competitors are already using social media, and that means you can learn from what they’re doing.
Conduct a competitive analysis
A competitive analysis allows you to understand who the competition is and what they’re doing well (and not so well). You’ll get a good sense of what’s expected in your industry, which will help you set social media targets of your own.
It will also help you spot opportunities.
Maybe one of your competitors is dominant on Facebook, for example, but has put little effort into Twitter or Instagram. You might want to focus on the networks where your audience is underserved, rather than trying to win fans away from a dominant player.
As you decide which social networks to use, you will also need to define your strategy for each.
Benefit Cosmetics’ social media manager, Angela Purcaro, told eMarketer: “For our makeup tutorials … we’re all about Snapchat and Instagram Stories. Twitter, on the other hand, is designated for customer service.”
For reference, here’s how other small and medium-sized businesses are using social tools to communicate with customers. Notice that Facebook and Instagram outrank even email for this purpose.
Pro tip: Write out a mission statement for each network. A one-sentence declaration to keep you focused on a specific goal.
Example: “We will use Twitter for customer support to keep email and call volumes down.”
One more: “We will use LinkedIn for promoting and sharing our company culture to help with recruitment and employee advocacy.”
If you can’t create a solid mission statement for a particular social media channel, you may want to ask yourself if it’s worth it.
Set up your profiles
Once you’ve decided which networks to focus on, it’s time to create your profiles. Or improve existing ones so they align with your strategy.
Make sure you fill out all profile fields
Include keywords people would use to search for your business
🇲🇽Cancun 🇲🇽Say it louder for the people in the back, Ceci: "You should never be afraid of failure" 👏Turning passion into purpose, Ceci is powered every day by a true love for what she does. It's what motivated her to start Ukuleleria, and it's what kept any doubts away through all the ups and downs. Let's show Ceci some love with 💚 in the comments.
Consumers can also offer social media inspiration.
What are your target customers talking about online? What can you learn about their wants and needs?
If you have existing social channels, you could also ask your followers what they want from you. Just make sure that you follow through and deliver what they ask for.
Step 7. Create a social media content calendar
Sharing great content is essential, of course, but it’s equally important to have a plan in place for when you’ll share content to get the maximum impact.
Your social media content calendar also needs to account for the time you spend interacting with the audience (although you need to allow for some spontaneous engagement as well).
Set your posting schedule
Your social media content calendar lists the dates and times at which you will publish types of content on each channel. It’s the perfect place to plan all of your social media activities—from images and link sharing to blog posts and videos. It includes both your day-to-day posting and content for social media campaigns.
20% of content will support lead-generation goals (newsletter sign ups, ebook downloads, etc.)
5% of content will be about your company culture
Placing these different post types in your content calendar will ensure you maintain the right mix.
If you’re starting from scratch and you’re not sure what types of content to post, try the 80-20 rule:
80% of your posts should inform, educate, or entertain your audience
20% can directly promote your brand.
You could also try the social media content marketing rule of thirds:
One-third of your content promotes your business, converts readers, and generates profit.
One-third of your content shares ideas and stories from thought leaders in your industry or like-minded businesses.
One-third of your content is personal interactions with your audience
Pro tip: Once you have your calendar set, use a scheduling tool to prepare messages in advance rather than updating constantly throughout the day.
We might be biased, but we think Hootsuite is the best social media scheduler. You can schedule posts to every network and the intuitive calendar view gives you a full picture of all your social activity each week.
Here’s a quick video overview of how scheduling works in Hootsuite’s post composing tool.
Step 8. Evaluate and adjust your strategy
Your social media strategy is a hugely important document for your business, and you can’t assume you’ll get it exactly right on the first try. As you start to implement your plan and track your results, you may find that some strategies don’t work as well as you’d anticipated, while others are working even better than expected.
Look at performance metrics
In addition to the analytics within each social network (see Step 2), you can use UTM parameters to track social visitors as they move through your website, so you can see exactly which social posts drive the most traffic to your website.
Re-evaluate, test, and do it all again
Once this data starts coming in, use it to re-evaluate your strategy regularly. You can also use this information to test different posts, campaigns, and strategies against one another. Constant testing allows you to understand what works and what doesn’t, so you can refine your strategy in real time.
Surveys can also be a great way to find out how well your strategy is working. Ask your followers, email list, and website visitors whether you’re meeting their needs and expectations, and what they’d like to see more of. Then make sure to deliver on what they tell you.
Social media moves fast. New networks emerge, others go through demographic shifts.
Your business will go through periods of change as well.
All of this means that your social media marketing strategy should be a living document that you review and adjust as needed. Refer to it often to stay on track, but don’t be afraid to make changes so that it better reflects new goals, tools, or plans.
When you update your social strategy, make sure to let everyone on your team know. That way they can all work together to help your business make the most of your accounts.
Social media strategy template
Bonus: Get a free social media strategy templateto quickly and easily plan your own strategy. Also use it to track results and present the plan to your boss, teammates, and clients.
What’s next? When you’re ready to put your plan into action, we’re here to help…
Save time managing your social media strategy with Hootsuite. From a single dashboard you can easily:
Plan, create, and schedule posts to every network
Track relevant keywords, topics, and accounts
Stay on top of engagement with a universal inbox
Get easy-to-understand performance reports and improve your strategy as needed