Nowadays we can no longer escape it, social media. Almost every marketing strategy contains a content strategy, which includes a social media plan. This cannot be otherwise, because the influence of (and on) social media is very large. All those facts are fun, but how do you write a strategic social media plan? How do you arrive at the right content for your target group and how do you ensure that you remain visible to your followers?
Let’s start at the beginning. Give a brief description of your organization, preferably in one sentence. This short description makes it clear for yourself what you stand for and what you want to radiate. This description will come in handy later in the plan.
Briefly answer the following questions for yourself:
- Who are you?
- What are you doing?
- What do you stand for?
- Which customers suit you best?
There is no need to write a complete business plan. But… for a strong social media strategy that matches your company, you must first describe your company. What do you stand for, what do you say and what would you rather NOT say?
Preferably write down a few key points of your organization, that will help you to maintain more focus later. Have you described your organization as briefly as possible? Then research which social media strategy suits you best.
In the second step of your social media strategy, we investigate. We check whether your organization is already being talked about on social media.
You can see who is talking about you and what is being said. People who are already talking about you are most likely interested in your organization as well. How easy is it to reach these people?
There are all kinds of tools to monitor what people say about you, some examples to help you are:
- Social Mention: via this tool, you can see what is being said about your organization. Social Mention searches over 100 different social platforms. In addition, you can see the positive, negative, and neutral messages in a clear overview. This helps you to respond to negative reactions, but it also helps you to find your (potential) target group;
- HootSuite: HootSuite provides insight into what is happening on all networks at a glance. You can also schedule messages for all your accounts and you can have reports compiled based on your preferences.
You have mapped out what your organization stands for, what you want to radiate, and what is being said about you. Now you are going to look at the future, what do you want to achieve with the use of social media? You may already have figured it out, in this third step, you will get started with setting objectives.
Social media makes all kinds of things possible, but it is important to clearly map out what exactly you want to achieve.
Think of increasing brand awareness, increasing the interaction on your page, or more website visitors via social media.
By formulating objectives, you know where you want to work towards your organization. You provide insight into what you expect and can see afterward whether this has been successful or not.
If it didn’t work out, you can see why this was and how you can improve this in the future.
Formulating objectives is not always easy. It is important that you formulate the objectives in such a way that you can later see whether you have actually achieved them. There are different methods for formulating objectives, but one of the most famous is the SMART formula.
SMART stands for:
- Specific: Be concrete and clear;
- Measurable: Make sure you can measure the objectives;
- Acceptable: Ensure that the objectives are accepted by the stakeholders so that the chances are greater that the objectives will be achieved;
- Realistic: The objectives must be achievable;
- Time-bound: Indicate the time span in which the objective must be achieved.
This is how it should be:
- The number of website visitors via Facebook must have increased by 15% within a year;
- The reach of the messages posted on the Facebook page must have increased by 20% by May 31, 2018;
- Increase turnover by 10% by means of social media in 2018, compared to 2017.
- The number of likes on the Facebook page must increase;
- We want more visitors to the website via social media.
In step 2 you looked at who is already saying something about your organization. In the fourth step, we are going to see what is being said.
The people who have already said something about you are most likely interested in your field. Therefore, make an overview of topics that these people have written about even more.
You can use this overview as input in determining your social media calendar, which you will create in step 8, and it will help you write your blogs.
Now that it is clear what you stand for, who is already writing about you, what you want to achieve, and what popular topics are, the time has come to determine your target audience.
You have already gathered some information from your previous steps, now is the time to make this specific.
Make a clear description consisting of:
- Where the target group is located;
- Why the target group is here;
- Characteristics of your target group (think of age, gender, interests, etc.).
Now that you know who your target audience is and where your target audience is, you can determine the resource mix. If your target group is mainly on Facebook and not on Twitter, it is logical that you use Facebook and leave Twitter out.
It is pointless to put your energy into creating tweets, while your target audience will not see them. Maybe your target group is mainly on LinkedIn, then you focus on coming up with content for this medium.
In addition, it is wise to consider which channels best suit your organization. Suppose your target group is active on LinkedIn and Instagram, but Instagram does not suit your organization at all.
You may find it difficult to share the content in the form of photos. Then it is not wise to put your energy into Instagram, it is better to put it into LinkedIn.
Reading tip! Discover how you can best use your social channels as an SME entrepreneur!
7 | Formulate a clear message that you want to communicate
Now we come back to where we started. You have to be clear about what you want to convey to your target audience.
How nice it is that you have already taken the first step in formulating your message. You already have clear what you stand for and this is the beginning of your message.
Work this out further and make it clear to yourself what you want your target group to receive. What do you stand for? What is your greatest vision, wish or ambition?
For example, at Internet Marketing Ease we want to make every website your best employee. We share all the tips and tricks we can give you to help you with this on our social media channels.
Ultimately, of course, you want to achieve the objectives, but before that happens, we must first ensure a clear social media calendar. It is now clear where the interests of your target group lie and what you want to convey to your target group.
The social media calendar must make it clear at what time and on which channel certain content is shared. It is wise to take into account important holidays, anniversaries, and other interesting days that you can respond to with your messages.
If you already have these days clear in advance, you cannot forget them and you will not miss any opportunities. The image shows how we have shown this. We made a holiday calendar with the fixed holidays and other nice days that we can respond to.
Sample Social media calendar
Get some inspiration by analyzing other pages, it might give you great ideas for your own social media channels.
Make sure that you come up with your own content and do not blindly adopt the social media strategy of others. Then you no longer distinguish yourself and your target group is not stimulated to read your messages.
Also, included in the social media calendar who within your company responds to certain messages and how long the response time is. If you leave this in the middle, then no one will feel called to respond or several people will react together. Then it becomes a mess and that’s not what you want!
Tip! Work ahead. Make sure you are ahead of your social media schedule and that you always have messages ready. This way you avoid having to come up with last-minute messages that may not match the strategy you have set in advance.
You can use various tools for this, but you can also prepare the messages in a Word or Excel file. It is of course always possible that there is a certain event that you have to respond to. Then do that in the form of an extra message!
KPIs, or ‘key performance indicators’ are variables to analyze the performance of an organization.
By means of KPIs you measure to what extent certain objectives are achieved. You make progress transparent, as it were, and you can intervene in time when things threaten to go wrong.
Why should you set KPIs? As a company you have to know what to invest in and how can you do that if you don’t measure the results? You don’t just draw up KPIs 1, 2, 3, no you have to think about it carefully.
Often KPIs just come out of the blue and relatively “simple” variants are used. KPIs should say something about the value of a social media account. If you want to go one step further, you can also involve the target group in your KPIs.
How not to do it in any case:
- Number of tweets;
- Number of followers.
KPIs that say something about the value of the account:
- Number of retweets;
- Number of clicks on links in updates;
- Number of partial actions per day.
As you can see, these KPIs provide more insight into the quality of the content. You are now not so much focusing on the number of followers, but on the quality. Ultimately, you prefer followers who are really interested in your brand, rather than people who like your page, but then never come back.
You can go one step further and involve your target audience in your KPIs. Some examples are:
- Number of retweets from people who have more than 1000 followers;
- Number of followers in the age group 18 – 24;
- Number of followers with the words ‘online marketing’ in their biography.
By drawing up target group-oriented KPIs, the strategy of social media is directed more towards the target group.
10 | Get started with monitoring the KPIs
You have drawn up the KPIs, then it is now time to monitor them. You can still draw up such strong KPIs, but if you don’t look at it anymore, it will be of no use to you.
Start monitoring the KPIs after the first three months. After a month you cannot say much yet, after three months you have a better picture. Respond to the results and adjust the KPIs where necessary.
How do you monitor the KPIs?
You can choose to monitor your KPIs via the social media channels themselves, but there are also all kinds of useful tools to monitor all channels in an overview. Earlier we talked about HootSuite, this tool can also help you monitor your KPIs.
But don’t forget google analytics, with this you can see exactly how many people have visited your website via social media. So if you have a KPI regarding the number of website visitors, make sure you know how Google Analytics works.
After those three months, you can monitor your KPIs every month and adjust them where necessary. It is important to keep track of this, because any change can affect your KPIs. For example, when you start a new social media campaign, this in turn affects your current KPIs.
Earlier you set the objectives and KPIs. Now is the time to see if your goals have been achieved.
Have your goals been achieved? Awesome!
This is positive, but it does not mean that you do not have to evaluate. It is still good to see which points have worked well and which points may have worked less well.
In addition, it is also good to see whether you have had to adjust your KPIs in the meantime and what was the cause of this. You can take all this information with you in the rest of your social media strategy.
Have your goals not been achieved? Unfortunately! Time for a good evaluation!
It’s a shame your goals weren’t achieved, but you can learn from your mistakes, right? Therefore, take a good look at and discuss the reason that your goals have not been achieved.
Perhaps you should have adjusted your KPIs in the meantime, but did you not? Or are there other things where you left it?
It may have nothing to do with your organization, but there were other factors that prevented your goals from being achieved. Factors that you have no influence on, in that case, it is good to see how you could possibly have responded to those factors.
Review and discuss this extensively with your team so that you do not make these mistakes in the future and achieve your goals in the future.
You have been given 11 tips to determine a strong social media strategy. You now know that it is important to formulate clear objectives and set the right KPIs, but above all that you continue to monitor. Just formulating objectives and KPIs is not enough.
You would do well to reuse these tips with every social media campaign. You always create campaigns that are well thought out and that you can evaluate well later.
I wish you a lot of success in determining your social media strategy!