How to Craft a Social Media Marketing Strategy That Drives Success

Social media marketing takes a lot of effort and, if you’re putting effort into channels with little to no results, it can be difficult to continue using them. If you’re struggling, part of the problem may stem from lack of a clear social media marketing strategy. With a solid strategy in place, you can (as we say at CoSchedule), plan your work, and then work your plan.

When you read this blog post, you’re going to learn:

  • How to determine who your core audience is on social media.
  • How to determine which channels and types of content are best to reach them.
  • How to establish the right goals and KPIs to gauge the success of your strategy.

Plus a lot more. So what are you waiting for? Get to reading!

Want to use Click to Tweet on your blog?

Before You Start, Download Your Social Media Marketing Strategy Kit

Before you start reading this post, download our social media marketing strategy kit. In this kit, you’ll get a social media strategy Powerpoint to help you formally present your strategy to your team. Plus, you’ll receive a social media marketing reporting template to share your successes and present your progress. You’ll be able to quickly document your strategy and start executing on it fast.

Finding Your Target Audience

The first part of developing your social media marketing strategy involves discovering, analyzing, and creating a plan around your audience.

Why is it important define who your audience is?

First, it’s vital because you need to know that the content that you are spending time creating is for the right people. For example, if your target audience is aged 35 to 45 and you’re creating content that is more appreciated by 18 to 29 years olds, you’re missing your target and therefore losing possible engagement.

The second reason is that by knowing who your audience is, you know what kinds of content to create that will connect and resonate with them. If videos drive engagement and conversations about your product for your audience, you’ll want to publish them more often on your social channels. Why miss out on a chance to really connect with your audience?

The third is that by knowing who your audience is, you’ll be able to help increase the conversations around your product and/or your brand. The more relevant conversation creating content you can share, the more conversations you’ll be able to have with your audience, thus making more of a lasting connection with them.

three-reasons-define-target-audience.png

Alright, So Who Is Your Real Audience?

Now let’s get into determining who your audience is.

Step One: Figure out what problem your product or company solves. The first step in figuring out who your audience is determining what problem your product or company is solving. Are you solving organization issues, a new cooking technique or something else? It all boils down to what is the overall mission of your company or product.

Maybe you don’t have those answers right off-hand. That’s okay. That just means you’ve got to find the right people to talk to. Take five minutes to sit down with your CMO and get answers on the following:

  • What is the problem we’re trying to solve?
  • What are the pain points our customers are experiencing?
  • What is causing our customers to turn to us for help?

It may seem like a tiny step, but figuring out what problem your product is solving is the first step in unlocking who your audience is. If you know what problem you’re solving, you’ll be able to figure out who is more likely to experience said problem.

You can also record your answers in your social media marketing strategy Powerpoint which you downloaded earlier.

Step Two: Find out who is more likely to have said problem and therefore more likely to buy your product. Once you know what problem you’re solving you’ll be able to determine who is more likely to experience that problem and hopefully with the right social media marketing tactics, turn to your company or product for help.

So how do you figure this out? You get to chat with more of your team members, yay! In all seriousness though, these next two steps are going to involve chatting with your customer service team as they are the ones that are talking with your customers daily.

Your customer service team knows your audience inside and out and, will have some great insight into the problems you’re audience is facing. Record the answers to the following questions:

  • Who is more likely to experience this problem?
  • What is causing their problems to happen?

If you think of some more questions that might give you more insight as to what problems your audience is facing, feel free to tack them on. Our list is there to help you get started.

Step Three: What are the demographics of your audience? The next step in determining your audience is figuring out the demographic of your audience. How old are they? What are their interests? What is their connection to your product?  To start answering those questions you need to look at your current social audience.

How can you find all this information though? Some could be on your billing forms or purchase orders but it’s not enough to fully flesh out your demographic profile. What does your demographic profile look like? You could be tracking any of the following:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Industry
  • Job Title
  • Ethnicity

That information, however, isn’t normally just sitting out for anyone to find. So how do you find the information you need to fill out your demographic profile? There are actually two different ways to do this.

The first is through the built-in analytics tools within your social channels. You can actually use these tools to get some inside insights into who is following you on each channel.

Finding Your Facebook Analytics

  1. Go to any Facebook page that you are an admin of.

social-media-marketing-strategy-facebook-audience-demographics.png

  1. In your top bar there should be a tab labeled insights
  2. Within your insights tab is a short breakdown of your fan demographic including, age, country, gender and language spoken

social-media-marketing-strategy-facebook-demographics-example.png

Finding Your Twitter Analytics

If you click on your profile picture in the top right-hand corner of your home page a drop down menu should appear. In that menu is an analytics option.

social-media-marketing-strategy-tw-intro.png

On your analytics page is a menu bar, where an audience tab is located.

social-media-marketing-strategy-tw-example-2.png

Once you click on that tab you’ll get information on your followers, interest, gender, country, and region.

social-media-marketing-strategy-twitter-example-3.png

Finding Your Instagram Analytics

Open the Instagram app on your phone, in the top right-hand corner is a bunch of little lines that look like a graph.

social-media-marketing-strategy-insta-intro.jpg

Inside the Insights tab is a section labeled followers.

social-media-marketing-strategy-insta-followers.jpg

Click see more to get information on gender, age range, and location.

Finding Your Pinterest Analytics

Log into Pinterest.

Click the Analytics tab.

social-media-marketing-strategy-pin-followers.png

Demographics: gender, metro, gender, country.

social-media-marketing-strategy-pin-demographics.png

Find Your LinkedIn Analytics

LinkedIn analytics are only available for business accounts so if you only have a personal LinkedIn page you won’t be able to see demographic options.

Log into LinkedIn and select your company page. Then click Manage Page

Click on Analytics

Scroll down and check out your follower demographics. You can rotate through seniority, industry, company size, function and if you’re followers are employees or not.

 

Find Your Google+ Analytics

You can also use Google Analytics and other similar tools to help flesh out your audience as well as get audience data for your Google+ account. Google Analytics is a bit more complicated. Google is able to pull a lot of data, but it allows you to get really specific data on your target audience.

Finding your demographics on Google Analytics:

Log into Google Analytics.

social-media-marketing-strategy-google-intro.png

On the left-hand sidebar is a tab labeled audience, the overview section will give you insights into country, state, city, and language.

social-media-marketing-strategy-google-demographics.png

If you go back to the left-hand sidebar and click demographics you’ll find information on age and gender.

social-media-marketing-strategy-google-info.png

Then if you go back again and click interests you’ll see a breakdown of other areas your audience is interested in.

social-media-marketing-strategy-google-info-2.png

Step Four: Determine why your current audience is buying. The last step involves determining why your audience is buying your product. What is making your customer base turn to you instead of your competitors? What’s making you stand out to your customer base?

You may need to survey your current audience or talk to a small but varied group of customers that are purchasing your product. In fact, I would even suggest surveying your audience. Asking for those insights can help you gather the valuable information you need to make an even stronger connection to them.

Tools like SurveyMonkey, Polldaddy or Qualtrics are great services that will be able to help you create the right survey to send to your audience. But what types of questions should you be asking. Here’s a list to help you get started.

  • What brought you to [insert company name]
  • What product did you purchase?
  • Why did you need [insert product here]?
  • What types of problems were you experiencing that lead you to purchasing [product here]
  • Did [product here] help solve your problem?
  • If applicable how often do you purchase [product here]

What Channels Is Your Audience On

Now that you know where your audience is and why they’re invested in your product, you need to determine where they are on social media.

How can you do that? Turn to your current social media channels. By answering the following questions they’ll help you determine which channels your audience is the most popular on.

  • Where is the most engagement on social media?
  • Where is the most interaction?
  • Where are most of your followers at?
  • Where do most of the conversations that you have with your followers take place?

But where can you find this information? It’s time to dig a little deeper into your social media profiles to find those answers.

Step One: Look at engagement. Go to your social channels and over the past six months record the number of engagements that you’ve had on your posts?

What are engagements? Likes, comments, retweets, shares and more. Engagements are anything that has caused your audience to click on or interact with your post.

Facebook engagement statistics:

social-media-marketing-strategy-FB-engagement.png

Twitter engagement statistics:

social-media-marketing-strategy-twitter-engagement.png

Instagram engagement statistics:

social-media-marketing-strategy-insta-engagements.jpg

Pinterest engagement statistics:

social-media-marketing-strategy-pin-engagements.png

LinkedIn engagement statistics:

Step Two: Determine where the most interaction is happening between your brand and your audience. The second step in this process is taking the engagement data that you pulled from the last six months and analyzing which of your channels is gaining the most audience interaction. This process involves a bit of math and a lot of back-tracking but the information you garner from this process will help you flesh out your social media strategy.

To find your top engagement channels, you’re going to go through the last six months worth of posts and add up the number of engagements per channel divided by the number of posts you sent within that six month period.

For example, say your Facebook page over the last six months has pulled in 2,356 engagements over 35 posts. Your average interaction per post is 67.

Instagram on the other hand gathered 6589 engagements over 20 posts, making the average 329 interactions per post. You might have more followers on Facebook but by doing the math you can see that you’re actually gaining more traction on Instagram then on Facebook. While you can focus on both channels it would be better to divert more of your attention to Instagram.

Check In On Your Competitors

It seems a little weird to turn to your competitors so early in this process. Why would you look at what they’re doing? You’re not them. However, you are fighting for their same audience. Understanding how and why they’re pulling in their customers is part of the key to your success.

Want to use Click to Tweet on your blog?

Look At What They’re Posting

You may not be able to dig into specific competitor insights but you can determine some things from just looking at their social profiles. Before you can start, make a list of 3 to 5 of your top competitors. You’ll be observing their social profiles, so knowing who you’re tracking will be key to begin.

Make a list of your top three social profiles and those are the channels that you’ll be tracking your competitors on. It could look something like this:

But what if you don’t know who your competitors are? Maybe you’ve just started a business or you’ve been around for a while and you’re almost positive that your product is so unique there’s no way you’d have competitors. Better to be safe rather than sorry right?

There are a couple different ways to look for your competitors but the easiest would be to do a keyword search on one of your top social media sites. Using Facebook first may be your best bet, as it’s one of the most popular social media platforms out there.

Step One: Choose your keyword. The keyword you choose is going to be your key to success when it comes to competitor research, pun intended. What industry is your company based in? Do you have a specific type of product that you sell? These can help determine the keyword that you will need to find your competitors.

For example, let’s say I wanted to open a coffee shop in Fargo, ND (one of two cities where our offices are located). My keyword would be “coffee shop”; however, I know I’m not a national brand and therefore I only want to know about my local competitors. So I would search for “coffee shop Fargo”. You don’t need to add a location to your search, especially if you have a nationwide brand, but if you’re looking for local competitors, add a city or state for more refined search results.

social-media-marketing-strategy-fargo-coffee.png

Step Two: You have a list, now write it down. So Facebook yields a ton of results and you may suddenly realize you’re fighting for the same audience as a lot of other people. So how do you find your top competitors?

Look for the top number of followers! Write down the top five brands that have the most followers in of your top three channels.

social-media-marketing-strategy-competitors-two.png

Step Three: Scope out their content. The next part of your competitor research process involves looking at the types of content that they are sharing on their social media channels that are attracting a lot of attention from their fan base. If they’re posting different types of content which type is garnering the most reactions, the most conversation, or the most engagement? Look for posts like the following that are grabbing the attention of your competitor’s fans.

social-media-marketing-strategy-social-postive.png

Is it videos, blog posts or a combination of things that are causing that type of interaction? Go back six months into their posts, which I know seems like a long time but, it will give you a better look at the patterns occurring on their channels.

The opposite also applies. What types of content aren’t getting a lot of reactions or engagement? What topics or strategies are causing conversations to dip? Look for posts that have a lower interaction rate, like the following:

social-media-marketing-strategy-social-example.png

Just like with positive content, you’re going to want to go back six months and track where those dips are occurring and why.

Finally, if you know that one of your competitors are pulling away your customers, looking into their social media is a good place to start finding out why. Are they going above and beyond reaching out to your target audience? Are they finding a way to connect with your audience that you haven’t tried yet? See what they’re doing and do it better. You remember the old saying, “learn from the best and make it your own.”

Want to use Click to Tweet on your blog?

Determine Your Budget

The next step in creating your social media marketing strategy involves determining your social media budget. This is probably one of the most crucial points in your strategy development because your budget will help determine what you can and cannot execute on your social channels. So what exactly does your determining your budget do?

Your Budget Will Decide Your Resources

Say that you wanted to develop a giant Hollywood-style, tv worthy video for your social media but you have the budget for a phone and a tripod, well you can see what wins that battle. The amount of money that your marketing team is willing to spend or invest into social will determine how far you can go with it. In order to make killer photos and videos like McDonald’s, you need a McDonald’s sized budget.

Your Budget Will Be Determined By How Much Money The Team Is Willing To Invest.

Most marketing teams will be working with a yearly or annual budget. Which means that part of that budget will be going to your social media work. Whether it’s videos, images or paid ads knowing how much you have to spend is vital.

This is especially true if you’re working in an agency setting. Some clients will have a very strict budget of what they what to spend their money on. Therefore your team will be limited in options of what they can and cannot do for their social channels. Work with whoever is managing your social budget to get your social media expenses figured out before you start planning your campaigns or other projects.

Want to use Click to Tweet on your blog?

Set Your Goals

Goal setting is another vital part of your social media marketing strategy. Without goals, your social media has no direction or path to success. You would also have nothing to measure your social media efforts against. So how do you set up your social media goals?

Determine Your KPI’s

KPI’s (or Key Performance Indicators) are measurable statistics that will help determine if you are on track to meeting your overarching goals. KPI’s will be tracked on a weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual basis but how often you record your messages can be determined by your team.

Step One: What does your team want to track? The first step in developing your KPI’s is determining exactly what goals you want to track. There are a few different options but some of the most common are:

  • Traffic
  • How many people are visiting your social media channels? How many people who visit your social media channels are heading to your website?
  • Follower growth
  • How many people are choosing to follow your social channels?
  • Engagement
  • How often are people choosing to interact with your social media messages?
  • Reach/Impressions
  • How many people saw your social media post in their feed?
  • Conversions
  • Of the people who see or visit your social media pages, how many people purchase your product?

Step Two: Determine your baseline and calculate your growth goal. The second step of setting up your KPI’s involves determining where your baseline is. Without your baseline, you won’t know where or what a successful goal is. To determine your baseline look at where each of your KPI’s is right now.

But how can you find the information you need to determine your baseline?

Traffic:

To find the traffic for your social channels takes a bit of maneuvering but thankfully most of your social channels will be able to track that data for you.

Open your Google Analytics and select acquisition. Underneath acquisition is sources which you will need to determine your traffic from social media.

social-media-marketing-strategy-traffic-one.png

In the upper right-hand corner is a calendar, set that calendar to obtain the past six months worth of source data.

social-media-marketing-strategy-traffic-two.png

Once your dates have been set, choose social from your list of source options. From there another window will appear, allowing you to see the amount of traffic that your social media channels set to your website over the past six months.

social-media-marketing-traffic-three.png

Let’s move on to determining your follower growth. To begin, find your follower count on each social network.

From there, you can record your baseline for each channel into your Powerpoint.

Followers:

Now let’s determine your follower baseline. This part is simple because all you need to do is record the number of fans you have on each social channel.

Facebook:

social-media-marketing-strategy-followers-one.png

Twitter:

social-media-marketing-strategy-followers-two.png

LinkedIn:

Instagram:

social-media-marketing-strategy-followers-three.png

Pinterest:

social-media-marketing-strategy-followers-five.png

Google+:

Then record those into your Powerpoint:

Engagement:

Next, you need to figure out how to establish a baseline for engagement. Thankfully you’ve done that already! Take the numbers from your average interactions slide that you filled out earlier. This past six months of data and its averages are your baseline for your engagement KPIs.

Reach and Impressions:

Calculating your reach and impressions is probably the most time-consuming process of creating your KPI’s. Each social media channel has its own way of recording reach and impressions for each social media message.

Facebook:

Twitter:

social-media-marketing-strategy-twitter-reactions.png

Instagram:

Pinterest:

After you’ve got your impressions and reach averages, you can record them in your Powerpoint:

Conversions:

To get your conversion data, you’re going to have to go back into Google Analytics.

Go to Acquisition once again and select social:

From there a drop down menu will allow you to see the conversion your social media channels are creating.

Then you can record your average baseline conversions by dividing your total conversions by the number of months you’ve tracked your conversions through.

social-media-marketing-conversions-three.png

After your baseline has been determined you need to determine your end goal. From this date until the end of the year where do you want your KPI’s to end up? Often times you can calculate growth based on a percentage. Do you want to increase your numbers by 25%? Or maybe 15%?

Not too bad for setting up KPI’s, right?

What Does Success Look Like?

The second part in setting your goals is determining what success for your social media marketing strategy look like. You have your KPI’s and you have your growth goals but what does success look like and how are you going to share that information with your team?

That all comes with measuring your metrics and creating reports. By measuring your metrics you’re able to keep track of the important data to make sure that your goals are on track. You know the why, now comes the how. How can you keep track or even find the information you need.

First, you need to establish how often you’re going to record your measurements. Will you track them weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually? Or maybe a combination of all of them? When you downloaded that social media marketing strategy kit earlier, we included a marketing report template to help you begin to format your reports. You can adjust that report based on how often you want to record your metrics.

Second, you’re going to want to find the right tools for your team to track your metrics. There are tools within the social channels that you can use to track some of your metrics internally. We’ve been working with those internal tools throughout this post.

There’s also tools like Google Analytics, which we’ve already been using that will help you measure external analytics that you can’t get from the internal social media tools.

CoSchedule also offers an in-app tool to help you track your social analytics. Your strategy, execution, and analytics all in one place.

 

Create Your Content Plan

The final part of your social media marketing strategy involves the content that you publish. While this may seem like the easiest part of your strategy, determining what types of content you want to publish and how often you’re going post are critical to the success of your social media program.

Step One: Determine what types of content you want to post.

You’ve done your research on your audience and you know what you’re competitors are posting, now is the time to determine what types of content your channels are going to publish going forward. Let’s look at your options:

  • Blogs
  • Text Posts
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Polls
  • Curated content from other sources
  • GIFs/Memes

Some of these types of content will resonate better on other channels than others. So when you choose your content, keep your channels in mind. Memes and GIFs will probably perform better on Twitter than they will on LinkedIn. Vice versa, photos are probably your best bet for Instagram and Pinterest.

Step Two: Determine Your Posting Schedule

Your next steps involves your setting up your posting schedule. How often you post to each channel will depend on the best practices and the “lifetime” of each post. For example, the lifetime of a tweet on Twitter is about 18 minutes. Therefore, you would need to tweet more often in order to reach your audience.

Now before you see a standard social media posting schedule keep a few things in mind:

  1. You only need to focus on the channels you’re active on
  2. If posting that often seems overwhelming start small, you need to walk before you can run

This is what a generic social media posting schedule might look like if you’re having trouble getting started:

  • 3 tweets per day
  • 2 Facebook posts per day
  • 1 LinkedIn post per day
  • 3 Google+ posts per day
  • 5 pins per day
  • 2 posts to Instagram per day

Figuring out your posting frequency is important but posting a social media message just because you feel like you need to in order to stick to your posting schedule could do more harm than good. It’s better to have high-quality content that is posted fewer times than okay content that is posted more frequently. When you’re thinking about posting content ask yourself the following:

  • What are you posting? Is this right for the channel?
  • When are you going to post it? Is this content timely or can it wait a few weeks?
  • Where are you going to post it? Does this content fit the context of the channel you want to post it on?
  • Why are you posting it? Do you have a great reason for sending out this message? What is this going to give your followers?

Step Three: Create Your Content Calendar

The final step in your social media marketing strategy involves creating a content calendar to keep your campaigns, ideas and more on track and organized. There are a few different ways you can set up your calendar.

One way to create your content calendar is through a printed calendar or spreadsheet. This is an easy way to keep track of when your content is publishing and where it needs to publish. The downfall of this method is that if anything changes or needs to move on your calendar, you need to move it all manually.

The second way to create your content calendar is through an online calendar or app like CoSchedule. The beauty of CoSchedule is that our calendar allows you to seamlessly move your content in a drag and drop format. Not only that but if you need to move a whole campaign, everything you have associated with that project will move with it. No more manual editing.

Now You’re Ready to Plan Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

With the information in this post, you’re now prepared to plan out your entire strategy and execute better work. Is there anything we missed? Leave us a comment below!