Building the strategy
First you need to understand what a strategy is, and isn’t it. A strategy should define the main aim of your social media presence and set the parameters for what it will deliver and how it will be delivered. It will be supported by a tactical plan that defines how the strategy will be delivered, including the channels, resource and budgets to achieve it.
Integration with other marketing
Note down how social will align with other marketing channels, so that the people doing the work understand the wider picture. For example, for email marketing explain:
- How you’ll use social networks to promote newsletter content
- How you’ll use apps/widgets to drive email sign-up
- How you’ll use social engagement data to inform the email team what content is working well and for whom.
Don’t forget, it’s a two-way street, so also define how you need other marketing channels to support social. Again, taking email as the example:
- Our social network links will be included in the email footer
- Emails will include social sharing option which posts the browser version of the email
- We will work with the email team to explore how we feature popular social content in relevant emails.
This is the ‘T’ in the SMART objectives – ensuring each activity has a timeframe stamped on it, so you can track progress.
Timelines are critical because they give you a yardstick against which to measure your ability to implement the strategy. Activities without deadlines tend to drift, and are often seen by others as less important (if you don’t know when you need it by, it can’t be important can it!).
Note that some activities are recurring, such as posting the weekly newsletter to Facebook. For these simply state the frequency and target day of week.
Start by defining the KPIs for your social strategy, which should break down into macro KPIs (for the whole strategy e.g. increase traffic from social media) and micro KPIs (channel specific e.g. increase RT rate on Twitter).
You should align your KPI expectations with the metrics that you can track for each social network, so that they can easily measured. Then sense check that your web analytics tools are configured correctly to capture all relevant data.
I recommend using campaign tracking parameters in all URLs you share via social. Using Google Analytics as the example, this means adding UTM parameters for at least medium, source and campaign.
You’ll be able to drill down into traffic from social and isolate specific elements of activity, such as individual links. I’ve used this for differentiating between different content formats, such as text vs. image vs. video updates for the same campaign. You can overlay ecommerce goals and conversion data to see what is adding the most value, and use the learning to fine tune your social marketing.
Include details of the reporting you’ll do to measure performance, and where these reports can be accessed.
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