Plan Before You Leap Into Social Media

Blog Post by Sarah Malcolm, Chief Digital Strategist at The News Funnel

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Flying by the seat of your pants works for weekend adventures, but not social media marketing. When businesses aren’t seeing the results they expected from starting a social media platform, the problem is often a cart before the horse situation. Plan first, post second. Effective strategies start with a defined audience and clear objectives before drafting the first post. Anyone can build an effective social media strategy in four easy steps.

Know Your End Goals

What should social media achieve for you? Generate real estate leads, build brand awareness? Do you want to learn from your audience what services they need the most? The intended result determines the route to success. A goal around brand awareness may focus more on generating website traffic, but a goal for creating an audience dialogue may require more interactive content, chats, or groups.

Know the Metrics You’ll Track

Not every goal needs to follow the average reach per post. Determine what metrics matter to your goals and set your analytics to track them. If your metrics depend on website traffic, use the tools in Google Analytics to track where the click-throughs are coming from. Other goals require tracking conversion rates from certain sources or the brand mentions. Learn about the tracking dashboard offered by social media platforms for organic and paid campaigns.

Research Audience

Listen to what your customers are posting. Monitoring social media informs content marketers about their target customer’s feelings regarding a particular product or service. Learn from your audience about what matters to them, not just when designing a social media plan but all the time. How can you listen to the social chatter? Take a snapshot of audience demographics using the analytic tools available, follow brand mentions, and measure the audience’s social media reach.

Create Actionable Steps

Will you use influencer marketing to reach a larger audience? Will your curate popular posts? Will someone skim the day’s trending hashtags and create timely, relevant content? For each goal, clarify the process to reach the goal. Each step should involve a specific action by a designated person. Steps about social media posting should include the network, the frequency, and the type of content. These steps create the foundation of your social media strategy.

Don’t post as a shot in the dark and hope it draws traffic. Know the way to social media success with a plan. At The Content Funnel, we have resources about designing an editorial calendar, conducting social media audits, and more.