Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
Advanced Planning for Social Media Marketing Strategies = an Even Better Strategy
We have plans for everything else, so why not set one to streamline our future social media marketing strategies?! After all, setting processes for critical strategy elements and integrating them into tasks saves time.
Imagine what it would be like to only focus on the critical stuff and flawlessly filter out the rest?
Full disclosure, this article isn’t magic and doesn’t focus on automating anything. It’s here to help with process improvement to better plan for future social media marketing strategies.
How many times have you been at strategy meetings and it seems like everyone is looking at numbers for the first time? …Then everyone begins to ‘analyze’ the data and ultimately comes up with the same old stuff?
To get to the point, we’re focusing on social media marketing strategies because there’s a fuzzy line between social media marketing tactics and social media marketing strategies. First, we’ll clarify. After that, we’ll get to the tips on how to better plan future social marketing strategies.
The difference between social strategy and social marketing
First, the strategy part comes into play before you start marketing/sharing content! In short, you need to sit down, create a social media marketing plan and figure out the specific goals you’re striving to reach.
Skipping the strategy part leads to missing info, backtracking, and lost time. Plus, without having a strategy, you’ll be in-the-dark on how to jump back from setbacks.
The marketing (tactics) part comes into play after the strategy part.
To further clarify, below is a general strategy/marketing process. In parenthesis, I’ve noted either strategy or marketing to help separate each part. The goal is to help you see how the strategy and tactics differ, but also intertwine. By clicking them, they’ll match you up with the tips for each section.
- Set obtainable and realistic marketing goals by reviewing AND analyzing past data (strategy)
- Implement analytics tracking if you haven’t already (strategy)
- Figure out which social networks to use and precisely why you’ve chosen them by doing a social media audit (strategy)
- Complete competitor research to help you figure out what to talk about, what sets your business apart and to further develop your brand’s persona. Side note: This is part of the social media audit! (strategy)
- Draft a content plan and content calendar (strategy)
- Setup analytics/data tracking plan (strategy)
- Set and schedule meeting dates (right after you create your data tracking plan) to review metrics with the team consistently (strategy)
- Start creating content (based on strategy/for marketing)
- Schedule newly generated content (using Buffer or Hootsuite) based on the dates in your content calendar. (strategy/marketing)
- Interact with audiences, ask questions, answer inquiries, etc. (marketing)
- Present your findings and discuss what has worked, what hasn’t and what needs to be optimized. (strategy/marketing)
See the differences?
Notice how they both intertwine? Gets confusing!
We’ve also compiled the below tips into an infographic so you can use it as a checklist.
10 Social Marketing Strategy Planning Tips – Start to Finish
1. Before deciding future social media goals, review previous analytics and analyze trends.
- Look for “peaks and valleys” and then compare the dates with past content.
- Keep an eye out for your content that resonates and then compare it to something that didn’t. After that, note the differences and try to repurpose one or two pieces of content. [Don’t change everything at once! Tried and true tracking and testing can make a world of difference!]
- For actual metrics to track, here are five ways to analyze social media marketing performance by Social Media Examiner.
If you’re new to creating social marketing strategies and lack the data:
Create some goals based on your own past social media experience and pick stats that are familiar. Trying to follow data that doesn’t make sense to you (yet!), won’t make sense! Keep in mind that analytics tracking is very different when comparing personal and business social profiles.
Next, search online for ‘setting social media goals.’ If you strive to consistently research and learn about marketing strategies, it’ll expose you to more in-depth analytics and new tactics over time. Once you become familiar with new datasets, integrate them!
2. Set up a Google Analytics (GA) account and create custom reports.
If you already have a GA account, but don’t know how to create custom reports, segments, etc. save time and go to the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery. The GA Solutions Gallery is a library full of already built reports! However, Before you download any of them create a ‘new view’ in GA! By doing so, you’ll keep your original site data (All Website Data) separate from the new views.
Why do you want to keep them separate?
A general GA practice is to keep the “All Website Data” view unfiltered, so there is a raw copy of all historical data. If you filter the ALL WEBSITE DATA (view) it’ll begin excluding stats that you may need access to in the future.
If you need a suggestion on which new view to choose, the 1st one on the list will (probably) be Occam’s Razor Awesomeness. It’s a collection of 6 segments, 9 custom reports, and a VP dashboard!
3. Audit YOUR business’s social media presence!
Yep, auditing your business social profile(s) is imperative! It’s not only important from an optimization standpoint but to figure out how you match-up with competitors.
4. Research (new) marketing tactics
Once you do the research, then brainstorm on how you can integrate similar content. To add, a lot of research goes into planning a social strategy, so try to keep it simple!
Here are two key areas to focus on:
Competitor Research: During your social media audit there’s a section for auditing competitors. Start with researching 3-5 (you can add to the list later).
Once you have them narrowed down, make sure all areas of the audit get filled out and also leave room for notes! After that, note down any trends you noticed, who they’re engaging, how often they post and which posts are getting the most traction. Then start to brainstorm on where your business can improve and how to offer customers an even better experience.
Researching Social Networks: Once you complete your social media audit and have a better idea of where your business stands, decide if there’s another social network that you should utilize. If you’re stuck and aren’t familiar with the different demographics and context of each channel, here’s some info on choosing the best social media network.
5. Create a content strategy AND content calendar, separately. Or utilize editorial calendars.
Make the content plan, first.
Your content plan is a list of things to create and how it’ll all flow together. Once you decide on what to make, break down each project into pieces and assign due dates. Side note: Establishing a content marketing strategy by utilizing an editorial calendar can help you streamline processes, so content is ready in advance.
A content calendar contains the dates when blogs (or infographics, image quotes, tips, events, etc.) need to be scheduled to post.
Here’s an excellent guide to creating a social media calendar by Buffer.
6. Come up with an analytics tracking plan and stick to it!
At this point, you should have GA account set up and an idea of the different metrics you’ll be tracking. If you don’t know which parameters to start with, here are seven important social media metrics to pay attention to by Hootsuite.
Don’t get distracted by obsessively tracking analytics. It’s a time suck! Instead, create a plan and add it to your calendar, so you know when to pull specific reports. That way, you won’t be focusing on the numbers daily. Start by generating a report once a month and then move to once every other month or once per quarter.
7. Set dates to review your metrics based on your analytics tracking plan.
Schedule meeting times that correspond with your analytics tracking plan. It’ll allow you to prepare the results in advance and be more consistent with how you want to present your findings.
8. When it comes to creating content, advanced planning (RE: #5) and utilizing tools saves A LOT of time! Don’t overextend yourself!
Ever brainstorm brand new content “on the fly,” got super excited and then started to work on it?
*sound of record scratching*
…4 days later you’re still not finished and keep getting stuck/distracted? Don’t overextend yourself by not planning! Yes, it takes a bit of time, but it won’t be a waste of time! Also, check out this list of content creation tools to move things along even faster.
9. Invest in a social media management tool!
Notice that we’ve mentioned Buffer and Hootsuite? There’s a reason! They help with a multitude of things! Most of all, they are easy-to-use (and affordable) platforms to use to distribute content over multiple social networks.
Anyway, you’ve probably heard of them both before, but if you aren’t utilizing at least one, start! Today!
Who has the time to post manually, especially when doing all this research, anyway?
If you want more info about these tools or other options, check out this list on 15 of the most popular social media management tools via Forbes.
10. Interact with your audience to improve future strategies!
What’s the best way to figure out how your company can improve and at the same time discover problems that your audience is having? How can you better improve your services, overall?
Ask! Interacting with your audience is a sure-fire way to figure out things when you’re stuck! It also helps when you have writer’s block or creating-any-type-content-in-general block.
If you have a small following, ask friends and family their thoughts and improve from there.
So there you have it, ten tips to help you plan your social media marketing strategies from start to finish! If you’re looking for more social media tips, check out these posts:
- Social media marketing tools to try
- Seven social media marketing benefits for small businesses
- Why you shouldn’t buy followers (or backlinks)
- Read this before you create a new social media page
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