Strategy & Tactics for Social Media Marketing
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, resources, and budgets to achieve it.
Tip – ensure your strategy is no more than 3-4 pages long. A strategy has to be concise and provide the governing principles that guide the plan.
1 - Building the strategy
Below is a summary of key content to include in your strategy document:
1.1 - Strategy statement
A short, concise summary of what the strategy is aiming to achieve, broken down into bullet points.
Below is an example from a homewares retailer:
1.2 - Context analysis
Set-out where you are in your social journey and where the business needs to be, and the reasons for this.
For example, are you a global organization seeking to consolidate a fragmented approach to social media, or a startup looking to build a social presence from the ground up?
1.3 - Goals & Objectives
Goals define your high-level aims and objectives use SMART criteria to ensure each goal has a measurable set of criteria against which to evaluate progress.
SMART criteria for objectives are useful because they encourage you to think about the practicality of achieving each goal, rather than focusing on things that sound good but might not be feasible.
Below are examples of high-level goals for your social media plan:
An example of a smart objective for goal #5 is:
We want to increase our followers on Twitter (Specific) to drive more organic social traffic to the website (Achievable/Relevant). We want to gain 1,000 new followers (Measurable) from our marketing by 31st January (Time based).
1.4 - Strategic challenges
Here you set out the business challenges for the social channel that need to be overcome, and the strategic activities that will enable this.
1.5 - Target audience
This frames who you want to reach via social networks.
For this, you need to understand your core audience (personas, profiles, demographics, etc.) and identify any new customer types that you want to attract based on your products/services.
It can help to split this into three types of social follower:
1.6 - Review
Your strategy shouldn’t be set in stone; it needs to be flexible to respond to changing market conditions.
Include an explanation of the review process:
Some people include social media guidelines in the strategy and this is the not best approach.
Guidelines are part of the tactical execution, providing a set of rules for the business to adhere to.
It’s not a strategic activity, so this content sits best within the tactical plan, or as a separate document referenced by the plan.
1.7 – Related documents
Make sure you include links to all other documents that are relevant to your social media strategy so that anyone new joining the business can find them and get the full picture.
2 – Creating your social media plan
2.1 - Deliverables
This provides a summary of all activities that need to take place to support the implementation of the plan.
1. Social Media Audit (Word doc) - to be completed by <name>, including summaries of the following:
2. Social media content calendar (Excel document) to be created, with stand-alone thematic moments, and full integration with wider marketing plans
3. Measurement framework to be devised (Excel document)
4. End of phase evaluation report to be completed (PPT plus full data in Excel).
2.2 - Channels + activities
Here you will spell out what you’ll be doing for each social network to satisfy the goals of your social strategy.
Be sure to include all tactical elements and any related, process, people and tools.
Below is an example channel level plan for Twitter:
2.3 - 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:
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 an example:
2.4 – Timelines
This is the ‘T’ in the SMART objectives – ensuring each activity has a time frame 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.
Note that some activities are recurring, such as posting the weekly newsletter to Facebook.
For these simply state the frequency and target day of the week.
2.5 - Measurement
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 be measured.
Then sense-check that your web analytics tools are configured correctly to capture all relevant data.
It is recommended to using campaign tracking parameters in all URLs you share via social.
Using Google Analytics as an 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.
It is used 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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