The Beginner’s Checklist to Planning Your Social and Digital Media Strategy
There’s an abundance of new platforms, algorithms, content and metrics, and everything in-between? Digital marketers and social media managers today are faced with a challenge: just understanding where to begin! It’s up to you to create a structured, planned and successful social calendar, and also set realistic goals to push your social media strategy forward.
The Internet and social media doesn’t sleep. It’s alive, and active, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days per year. But, how is it that marketers and social media managers are near the top of the list of professionals with the greatest work-life balance?
If you are new to digital marketing and social media as a career, or just want to have more time for doing the things you love outside of work, here’s a checklist to get you started as a newcomer to social media marketing.
1. Audit the brand’s current activity across platforms
Understand your brand’s current social media presence: the number of platforms you’re on, which ones are active, the audience on each platform, the tone and voice across platforms, and as many questions as you can think of before “just starting” on a blank sheet. This will help you become familiar with the current strategy in place, and what you need to do moving forward.
After an audit, you can decide if you want to keep all platforms active, or if it’s better to only focus on a few most important to business objectives, products, services, and other relevant factors unique to your organization. A social media audit needs to be conducted in great detail, including a deep dive into existing content, metrics, and insights. This will allow you to use data to inform decisions moving forward, especially with your content strategy.
2. Listen to your followers
This is the second most important thing to do on your checklist. Find out who your brand is talking with online. Your offline audience might be very different from your fans and customers on Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms. To identify and understand them better, you must go through your followers.
Twitter Analytics and Facebook Insights makes this process a bit easier to digest. You can see the demographics, interests, and other relevant info on your followers in a centralized dashboard. It’s also worth searching for the latest conversations your followers had online and with each other, which will help you determine the type of content you post each day.
3. Create short-term content pegs
If your brand needs immediate social media solutions, you might need to create a few sustainable content pegs, as compared to a robust, long-term strategy. You can think of “content pegs” as quick bandages, such as setting up a Tumblr, an easy-to-opt-into sign up form, a drag-and-drop newsletter, and other forms of content creation that is easy, but professional, to send.
A quarterly roadmap will need to focus on one big idea that branches into smaller content buckets, and hence, may require quite a bit of time. Instead, you can implement a small number of sustainable and engaging “content pegs” that can be used immediately. Ensure that you create the pegs based on what your fans like to share and consume. The main purpose of the content pegs is to increase engagement with your existing fan base, while also developing the larger, big-picture ideas.
4. Learn more about all the social media products and services out there
There seem to be countless tools, products, services, and analytics providers in the social media world. Ask around your networks, or online on communities across LinkedIn or Quora. If your organization already has tools in place, make sure they are effective, and will help you reach your goals. If you think there’s a better solution, explore that new approach, and do as much as you can to collect information in order to make a decision.
These tools can help you become more efficient (social scheduling tools such as Buffer, Tweetdeck, and Hootsuite), as well as allow you to gather both qualitative and quantitative data from your content, community, and digital strategy. This date, in turn, can help you make the right decisions. For example, if Facebook drives the most amount of people to your website (you can use Google Analytics to find this), you might want to double-down and put more time, energy, and resources into your Facebook page.
5. Brush up your grammar
It doesn’t matter if you are writing the social media posts, or simply approving the content, but ensure your grammar and writing skills are top-notch. There is no forgiveness when a reputable brand makes a silly error on social media. Your fans will call you out, and small errors like that can be reason enough to turn someone off completely. Of course, you imagine most individuals would understand a silly mistake like that, but why risk it?
6. Set a response message and time
Today, customers engage with brands on social media every day, and they expect answers. Quick answers. It’s more likely you’ll see an individual post something negative about a brand than something positive, and the reason these users turn to social media is because of the fast turn-around time. Customers expect their issues to be addressed immediately, and while it’s difficult to help every customer immediately, it’s feasible to set a standard response time for your internal team, and ensure customers receive a response within that determined amount of time. Once you have that in place, you can pass along the inquiry to someone more appropriate on your team, or decide to manage the customer yourself in a timely manner.
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