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6-step process to design your business’s SMM strategy from scratch

Yado Team – Social Media Marketing
28 November .  5 min read

Using social media networks to promote your brand is one of the smartest business decisions you can make in this digital age. 

What’s not so smart, however, is trying to do that without a well-thought-out strategy in place. Why? Because having a strategy is crucial to the success of your SMM campaigns, and there are studies to back it up. According to the 2018 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends-North America survey, respondents who had a mapped-out SMM strategy reported better overall business performance over those who didn’t.

From the managerial perspective, having a strategy will also help you streamline your social media efforts in an efficient, goal-oriented and systematic way. In this post, you will learn six essential steps you need to go through to develop your first social media marketing strategy from scratch.

1. Study your industry’s social media landscape.

What’s the first step in designing an impactful SMM strategy? Ask any marketer and there is a high chance they will say that it starts with defining what you want to achieve by going on social i.e. your SMM goals or objectives. However, we have a slightly different take on the matter.

We believe that before you even start thinking about your SMM goals – whether it is raising your brand awareness, boosting engagement, or generating leads – it is important that you have a good understanding of the social media landscape of your industry or niche first.

Understanding your industry’s social media dynamics will not only inform your SMM objective, but it will also help you figure out what strategies and tactics will make the most impact with regards to achieving that goal. That’s where your competitor analysis comes in. 

Your competitors are selling similar products or offering the same services and are therefore vying for the same eyeballs and wallets as you are. So, it only makes sense that your own target audience will respond to the same signals.

Start by studying your competitors’ social media profiles to get an idea of what kind of content does especially well with their audience. Are they killing it with infographics or funny vine videos? Or maybe it is user-generated content that makes the most impact? Which social media networks are they focusing most on? How often do they post? Which hashtags do they use to promote their content? 

You can organize your findings by categorizing their content into themes (e.g. user-generated, listicle post, video content) and documenting other strategic elements such as their posting frequency, their go-to hashtags, and their approach to handling user comments. 

Once you’ve analyzed a few of your competitors’ social media profiles, you will use  this information to formulate your own strategy. 

2. Set SMART SMM goals.

Trying to navigate social without an end-goal in mind is both pointless and frustrating, and trying to do so with a goal that’s too broad, vague or unrealistic is hardly any better. That’s why you need to take the SMART approach to your SMM objective setting by framing your goals in a way that makes them Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timely. 

Setting SMART SMM objectives can mean the difference between a brand that has a random page and a business with a legion of engaged followers whose ranks are growing day by day.

Here are a few examples of some of the most common SMM goals that are framed according to the SMART principle:

Increase brand awareness: Gain 300 new Instagram followers over the next 30 days.

Boost brand engagement: Get an average of 50 comments per Instagram post over the next 30 days.

Drive traffic to your website: Generate 200 click-throughs to the sales page from Facebook between the 1st and 21st of June. 

Generate leads: Generate a minimum of 25 leads per week via a LinkedIn post.

3. Define your target audience

Once you have decided upon your objective, the next step is to figure out the right audience to help you realize it.

Without a clearly-defined target audience your content will just get lost in all the noise and chatter of social making all your effort, time and money investment go to waste. 

To cut through this noise, your SMM strategy must be laser-focused on reaching and appealing to a specific, well-defined group of people. Naturally, you must identify these people first. 

A good place to start is to identify the demographic segments served by your business’ products or services i. e. your target market. Your target audience will be either the same as your target market or a specific subset of it that you plan to reach with SMM messaging.

In addition to your general target audience, we also recommend that you define your campaign-specific audience subsets for every SMM campaign you will be rolling out. Your general audience will inform your overall social media marketing strategy, while your campaign-specific audiences, as the name suggests, will be defined in relation to the objectives of the specific SMM campaign. 

4. Identify your KPIs. 

Just like any other aspect of your business strategy, you need to be able to measure the progress of your SMM campaigns and tweak them along the way. 

This can be done by identifying and tracking your KPIs (key performance indicators). 

But where do you even start? There are so many social media metrics you could be tracking. How can you make sense out of all this data without being swamped by it? 

You’d need to come up with some kind of organizing framework to categorize it into meaningful clusters that will help you analyze it in a systematic way. 

While you can by no means come up with your own KPI structure, there is no need to reinvent the wheel as such a framework already exists. It is the Consumer Funnel.

Here are some social media metrics you can track for the 4 stages of the Consumer Funnel that are relevant to SMM (Awareness, Engagement, Conversion, Consumer) :

Awareness: @mentions, shares, links, and impressions

Engagement: 

  • average engagement rate (the number of engagements relative to the number of followers)
  •  amplification rate (the ratio of shares per post relative to the total number of followers)
  • virality rate (the number of shares relative to the total number of impressions). 

Conversion:

  • Conversion rate (the number of visitors who responded to your call to action after clicking a link in your post) 
  • Click-through rate (the ratio of viewers who click on the call-to-action link in your post) 
  • Cost-per-click (the price you pay for each click on your sponsored social media post) 

Consumer:

  • Customer Satisfaction Score (how satisfied your customers are with your product/service; calculated by adding up the scores from your CSAT survey, dividing it by the number of respondents and multiplying it by 10)
  • Customer testimonials (any positive customer feedback concerning your brand)

5. Create and curate unique and engaging content.

Once you have defined your objectives, identified your target audience, and decided on your KPIs, it’s time to get to work and start producing content.

Regardless of the social network you will be posting it to, your content must reflect your brand identity.

If it doesn’t align with your brand identity, it will be all too obvious that your content is just there to boost traffic. And while you may get away with random run-of-the-mill content from SEO perspective, it is unlikely to transform those visitors into your long-term subscribers. 

Now, how do you make sure your content is in line with the identity of your brand? 

Naturally, you would need to determine what your brand identity is in the first place. A good place to start is to think about the unique selling proposition of your business. On what grounds should consumers choose your brand over your competitors’? Which exact features of your product make it stand out from those of your rivalry? 

Answering these questions will help you determine what core value proposition to put at the forefront of your SMM strategy in order to stand out from the competition. 

Take a look at the following examples to get an idea of how this is done in the real world.

 

 

Judging from their market positioning, it looks like SmartWater and Contrex all have a premium status in the market of bottled water. Nevertheless, they still seem to portray a distinct brand identity, as evident from their social media activity. While SmartWater is highlighting the natural origins of its product, Contrex is emphasizing its slimming properties, and Elvian draws special attention to its youth-promoting effects.

6. Evaluate your content performance.

No matter how unique, creative or popular your content is, its ultimate value will be judged by the impact it makes towards your SMM end goals. 

That’s why it is important to evaluate your content performance in terms of your KPIs (see number 3) so that you can further optimize it in a goal-oriented direction. 

For example, if your main objective is to drive traffic to your website, your main KPI would likely be your click-throughs. What content pieces have generated the most clicks to your website? And what is it about them that produced those results? Is it the hashtags? The time when the content was posted? You get the idea. 

All these questions can be answered by checking the social media analytics of the specific platform as well as Google Analytics and UTP parameters. You would also need to find a way to document and organize all this information to be able to glean meaningful insights from it. 

7. Boost your top-performing content. 

Once you identify your top-performing content, you can further magnify its impact with ads and ‘content boosts’. 

Each social network has its own system and tools for promoting your best performing content in a few simple clicks. 

On Twitter, for example, you can boost your tweets with Quick Promote. The great thing about this tool is that you will only have to pay for actual engagement on your promoted tweets such as clicks and retweets but impressions (the number of user feeds where your tweet shows up) are completely free. 

Facebook has a similar system whereby you can choose to “boost your post” in terms of engagement (likes, shares, comments), traffic (i.e. clicks to your website) or messages (drive private messages to your business page) without having to go through Facebook ads targeting process which many find too complicated and overwhelming. 

Conclusion

The social media landscape is always changing, and so should your strategy. 

Successful businesses keep their finger on the pulse of their industry’s social and regularly re-evaluate their SMM strategy to keep up.

To this end, make consistent content analysis your best friend. Every now and then, look over your top-performing content and figure out what it is about it that made it so successful. Then use those insights to inform your future posts.

Finally, keep in mind that your SMM goals should feed into the larger organizational objectives of your business. After all, it is not content that is the king. Your business is king, and your content must ultimately serve the king. So, make sure to always evaluate your SMM campaigns alongside your business as a whole.

 

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