Social media strategy in 8 steps
In this article, you will receive a compact guide in 8 steps to create your own social media strategy. Each of these steps should be carefully thought through before you get started. This increases your chances of success and minimizes your risks. Here we go.
Step 1: the analysis
As in any good strategy planning, an analysis of the current situation should also be carried out with the social media strategy. The analysis examines the playing field (market environment), the own team (company, brand, current situation) and the opponent (competitor). A complete as-is analysis primarily includes looking at one's own resources, the strengths and weaknesses of the company, the opportunities and risks of the market (SWOT analysis), but also a closer look at the competition.
Also very important: Which story do you want to tell specifically? What is your company history? What core benefits can you offer? What makes you special? This content must then be packaged in suitable and channel-appropriate content. More on that later.
Step 2: the goals
The goals ultimately define the entire procedure. Depending on the goal, the channels must be selected, the correct content defined, the necessary measures defined and the appropriate key figures selected.
Social media marketing often focuses on softer goals such as awareness, image or leadership. But even harder goals like generating leads or increasing sales can be achieved and achieved with the right measures. Customer loyalty, PR and service improvement are also often on the wish list.
It is important that the goals can be categorized into the overarching marketing and corporate goals and support them. “Many Facebook fans” or “1,000 likes by the end of the year”, on the other hand, are not (good) social media goals, because they can firstly be reached by “shortcuts” such as fan or liking purchases, and secondly they still have no business Have relevance. "Intensification of our customer dialogue through at least 50 actionable improvement suggestions won by the community by December 31st", on the other hand, is, for example, a clear, measurable goal, the achievement of which can have a positive impact on the company's key figures.
Step 3: the target groups
A precise knowledge of the target groups to be addressed is of crucial importance. The more information available here, the better the channels can be selected and the more precisely the content can be tailored.
There can be several relevant target groups. The most common target groups are
- Potential new customers
- existing customers
- Potential applicants
- Multipliers (journalists, bloggers, etc.)
- Other stakeholders (e.g. associations, NGOs, etc.)
Often, different goals are pursued for different target groups on different platforms, so that a goal matrix results in more complex strategies.
In the B2B sector, the target group often does not consist of a single person, but of a buying center, i.e. several influencers. In these cases, it is important to keep a close eye on the individual roles (e.g. influencers, decision-makers, users).
Step 4: the channels
Only now that the initial situation, goals and target groups have been clearly defined and worked out can a really well-founded channel selection take place. Incidentally, this is one of the most common mistakes: Companies start directly with the channel without having asked themselves the previous questions. "We are now starting with Instagram" or "We also need a blog" are arbitrary statements that must be underpinned by a previous, strategic analysis or just discarded.
The following key questions are suitable for finding the right channels:
- Which channels fit our company, our (desired) image, our brands?
- Which channels fit our goals?
- Which channels are our target groups sufficiently active on?
- Which channels can be actively used with our resources (money, time, know-how)?
In many cases, it makes sense to put your own content hub at the center of the channel strategy. It can be a blog or a magazine.
Step 5: content
Now that the channels have been defined, it is time to think about the content to be published. Basically, you can choose from a wide variety of content forms. Text, video, audio (podcast) are only 3 possible formats, which can also be combined as desired.
In addition to the format, you also need to be clear about the orientation. Do you want to appear more helpful and informative (advice, tips) or rather funny and entertaining? Should the focus be on industry content, company news, competitions or hands-on activities? Or can you even generate content from your target groups? (User Generated Content)
Step 6: implementation
Social media is neither the egg-laying wool milk sow nor can and should replace all other marketing channels. Rather, social media is a tool in your toolbox that you can use to achieve different goals. However, they have the greatest impact in interaction with your other marketing measures. This is where the often conjured up synergies arise that need to be used. Especially when resources such as time or money are a bottleneck, you have to take advantage of all opportunities.
The most complete implementation possible in your other marketing mix is therefore of particular importance. First, list all means of communication that you have been using up to now. Often these include:
- (Image-) Brochures
- Emails and newsletters
- Business Cards
- Fair appearances, in-house fairs
- TV, radio
- Print Advert
- letter mailings
- Sales force, sales
- Automotive foils and stickers
- poster advertising
- Press and public relations
Now think about how you can link your social media channels with as many of these media / measures as possible. Let your creativity play and orient yourself on other industries or examples from other countries.
Step 7: measuring success
A popular business quote says "What gets measured, gets done". Or the other way around: If you cannot measure your goals, they are not goals, just pious wishes. This is particularly true in social media marketing, because here the risk of burning time and money without really achieving anything is particularly great.
In order to measure the results of your social media efforts, clearly defined goals and suitable parameters are important. For some goals, it's relatively easy. The goal of “increasing leads per month” can be measured simply by the number of leads received through the social media channels. Other quantitative goals such as traffic, sales or increasing the range can also be comparatively easily captured.
This becomes more difficult with softer, more qualitative goals such as image, brand building, customer loyalty or increasing awareness. Here it is important to use the appropriate key figures that at least roughly cover the target (unless professional market research can be used).
Step 8: monitoring
Monitoring and analysis / success measurement are often confused or lumped together. In short, monitoring is primarily about "qualified listening". Using tools and manual work, users' statements about their own brands or relevant topics should be recorded and collected.
The monitoring tasks depend on the objectives. A possible goal could be the detection of new trends (market research). Relevant terms are monitored, for example. Another goal, especially for companies with higher risk potential (energy companies, insurance companies, etc.), can be the early detection of trouble spots and possible shitstorms. The sooner you spot bubbling spots on the net, the sooner you can react to them.
These eight steps form the core structure of a good social media strategy. It should not contain less, but should be supplemented with other elements. It is important that the strategy provides you with a framework for action without unnecessarily restricting you. A good strategy “lives”, so it adapts to changing framework conditions and develops with it, which is essential, especially with such a dynamic topic as social media marketing.
I wish you success!