Social media is a polarizing marketing channel. There’s a deep-set belief that social media is critical to garnering audience engagement, and yet it’s often the channel receiving the lowest budget and experience. Frequently, marketing teams will make social media the intern-training ground, rather than crafting a holistic social media marketing strategy to guide the program and hit financially-driven goals.
At FullFunnel, we believe that social media marketing, both paid and organic, is critical to any multi-channel demand generation program. To create the optimal social media strategy for further testing and iteration, we recommend following these six steps:
1. Identify Social Media Marketing Goals
Social media can be used for a variety of purposes, which may not be equally valuable depending on your overall marketing strategy. Social media marketing without goals is a waste of time, but done strategically, it can bolster auxiliary marketing programs and help penetrate your target market.
Brand Awareness: Getting your name and logo in front of potential new customers to increase the effectiveness of subsequent programs.
Lead Generation: Driving customers directly to lead capture pages with the ultimate goal of generating revenue.
Customer Loyalty: Retaining contract customers or encouraging repeat business by engaging with your customer base.
2. Commit to KPIs
Soft goals like brand awareness aren’t meaningful without quantitative key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure progress. Old-school social media marketing programs often rely on what is referred to as “vanity metrics,” such as followers, likes, clicks, comments, etc. These are directionally helpful for brand awareness or other top-of-funnel goals, but even they require an understanding of who is following or liking your posts. Afterall, if you’re creating brand awareness with the wrong audience (or with bots!), then what’s the point?
Instead, commit to KPIs that are directly reflective of your end goals and follow the SMART format. For example, the goal of “generate leads” may translate into the KPI “generate 20 net-new prospects within our target persona this quarter.” To bolster your first-touch and lead lifecycle analytics, consider utilizing advanced attribution software, such as Oktopost or SproutSocial, or at minimum following UTM parameters. As you continually report on progress to your KPIs, use these insights to optimize your campaigns -- and over time, consider how your KPIs may need to evolve.
3. Identify Target Personas
Now that you’ve committed to goals and KPIs, identify the personas critical to achieving these goals. Whether you’re targeting your current customer base or brand new leads, all social media strategies should be aimed either at decision makers or purchasing influencers. On the B2C side, decision makers of a makeup brand may be parents (they hold the credit card), whereas influencers will be teenagers begging for your product. In the B2B realm, your decision maker may be a department head, while your influencers are your platform users.
If you haven’t already done so, complete a value prop exercise and create persona maps. Consider how each persona may contribute to hitting your KPIs, and how your messaging and tactics should vary by persona. Document not only what your personas want to hear, but also how they want to hear it, by clearly defining your brand voice.
4. Create a Content Map
Content maps are frequently utilized by content and product marketers, but are severely underutilized for social media marketing. Based on what you’ve identified as meaningful to your target personas, the next step is to outline the types of content that will appeal and drive your KPIs. Your content map will likely include a mix of brand-owned and third-party content, as well as ways to engage with your audience and community through comments or reposts.
As part of your content map, determine other guiding attributes, such as frequency and timing. There are many studies indicating the best times of day and days of the week to post that can act as a jumping-off point, but ultimately, your social media manager should monitor when they receive the best engagement towards their KPIs and optimize from there.
Paid social media marketing presents a plethora of possibilities for social marketers, but the art lies in identifying the optimal types of paid media for your goals. You can advertise directly on the channels, boost posts for more exposure, retarget website visitors, or even target a named accounts list. It’s critical to select the right channels and types of targeting for each campaign that will most optimally contribute to your social media goals. You can read more about building strong paid social campaigns here.
Paid social requires different skill sets from organic marketing, which is why it’s often outsourced to agency experts who can ensure you get the most bang for your buck. Ideally, both teams will work closely together, or many outsourced agencies can provide both paid and organic social media services to ensure cohesiveness across your marketing efforts.
6. Mobilize the Team
The last step to your social media strategy -- which can often be the hardest to execute -- involves getting your whole company on board. By encouraging people across the company to engage with your brand content, you will create a social presence that is both more authentic and taps into social algorithms that surface “trending” posts with immediate, high engagement.
Additionally, if you have a sales team that’s connected to your prospects or customers, consider advocacy software that enables employees to one-click share your branded content to their networks, further spreading your reach.
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Creating a social media marketing strategy requires thoughtful planning, but if executed correctly, it can amplify other marketing programs and help you hit KPIs. If you’re struggling with creating a strategy or executing at scale, request your social media consultation today.