Do You Have A Social Media Marketing Strategy?

Very often entrepreneurs do not have a focused, well thought through and documented social media marketing strategy. The contents of this blog post describes an approach that social media marketing specialists use, when creating a social media marketing strategy, which consistently delivers results use.

Make their approach your own, and I’m confident that you will find a palpable/measurable change in the results of your social media marketing strategy for your business, irrespective of its size.

All social media marketing efforts are focused on attracting and engaging fans and followers on multiple (but appropriate) social media streams, and then converting them into paying customers.  To achieve this consistently, you must have a clearly thought through, goal oriented, documented, social media plan.

Many people do not believe in documenting their social media marketing strategy.  They believe that it’s a waste of their time.  It’s always possible to drive a social media marketing strategy from the top of your head.

However, if/when the social media marketing  strategy does not produce the results desired (from my past experiences too many SM plans driven via the top of one’s head do not) and you are looking at Google Analytics stats and trying to figure out what happened and why one half of the problem is only hazily in your head.

Tweaking and resolving an issue (or issues) in your social media strategy, under those circumstances, is almost impossible.

Worse your fans and followers from your target market may recognize that you are running an unplanned Social Media strategy which may damage the brand you are building.  You will also run the risk of losing money by indirectly sending your audience to your competitors.

If you are running a social media strategy for the first time, this can feel overwhelming; hence here are 12 things that you can do which will make sure that you implement an excellent Social Media Marketing strategy for your business.

1.  Research, then know your customers intimately

  •  Be crystal clear about which topics and interests they are most social about.
  • Understand what problems they are trying to solve.
  • Understand what their pain points are.
  • Be clear-headed how your business (products/services) can help them.

This means you’d need to identify the Facebook / LinkedIn / Twitter groups in which your potential customers hang out.  Read and analyze what they are saying there. Figure out exactly how your products/services can help them, only then start posting on social streams of your choice.

Always remember the 90:10 rule though, 90% of your posts must add some real value to the group you are posting on, 10% of your posts can then be marketing spiel for your products and services.

2.  Use the same social networks (streams) that your customers do

Are Facebook and Twitter your customer’s platforms of choice?

Do most of them use Pinterest and Instagram?

You have to go where your target audience (customers) are, engage them by adding measurable value to them first and then create awareness of your products/services.

3.  Identify your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

KPIs measure your progress toward your goals. Hence, you must be sure what you want your social media strategy to accomplish? You have to quantify exactly what Social Media marketing success brings to you / your business.

For example: Must your social media strategy get you more followers on Twitter or more fans on Facebook? If Yes, then how many more followers/fans must your SM strategy bring you month on month?

Once you’ve reached your target numbers for Followers and Fans, then what should your SM strategy deliver?

For example: At one time or the other your SM strategy must focus on delivering money into your bank account, by your Followers and Fans making purchases from you after they’ve engaged with you, know you and trust you.

4.  Document your Social Media marketing strategy in-depth

Your social media strategy should define and document your:

  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Customer profiles – Get your customer demographics as accurate as is possible
  • Brand personas of your customers
  • Your social media campaign concepts
  • Your promotional events
  • Your contests
  • Your content themes
  • What you expect the promotional events and contests must return to your business
  • A social media – crisis management plan

Do make sure that you’ve tailored Social Media strategies unique to each of your Social Media channels.

A successful social media strategy is definitely not a – one strategy fits all social streams – approach.

5.  Simple things to do to stay involved with your social media strategy

Once you have your social media marketing strategy defined and documented, just step back a bit and recognize the huge value that sticking to your social media strategy will bring you.  Enjoy the moment of realization that being involved 100% is an absolute necessity for your social media strategy to deliver the results you want.

Your social media strategy will encompass multiple things you’ve got to do on multiple social streams, hence, you must set aside time for:

  • Writing and posting to your Blog
  • Marketing the Blog post on multiple, but appropriate social streams
  • Ensure your Blog post went out to specific interest groups within each social stream

Set aside another half hour in the day, perhaps towards the end of your workday, when you will respond to comments and @mentions on your social streams.  Your target audience must believe that you are willing and able to engage with them.  Nothing puts off an audience quicker than being ignored.

Another half hour of your day must get set aside to take care of Google Analytics tracking and reporting. Export relevant data from Google as an XL sheet, or in a format that you like best, then spend a few minutes blending the data exported into a master sheet.

Use this master datasheet to create bar graphs or pie charts, or use any other format that works best for you, so that you get a regular update on whether your Social Media strategy is delivering what it should or it’s not and hence needs tweaking.

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6.  Set aside some time at each week’s end to prepare for the coming week

On your weekend, make sure that you spend between 30 mins to an hour to schedule Tweets. Facebook posts, LinkedIn posts, Pinterest pins and all your other social media content for the following week.

Work really hard to come up with original ideas. You can send out links to your own (customer centric) content. You could also identify links to content that is not yours, but you are sure will be useful or interesting to your customers, and make sure that your customers know about such content.

Once you have appropriate content identified, then schedule this content to be sent out on the social media stream it’s appropriate for, on a day of your choice, the following week. Once done then diligently stick to the schedule you’ve created. This will help you engage with your customers by delivering to them content that they will find invaluable at regular intervals.  This helps keep you in uppermost in your customer’s mind.

7.  Develop a content marketing calendar.

Use a simple XL sheet then plan a Day / Date / Time release schedule of the content/topics you have identified will be of use to your customers.

Add Headlines, Related links, Author’s name and other relevant information that you will need to be at hand when you start posting this useful and relevant content for your customers on various social media streams.

If you are properly set up,  you will do a great job when posting content and you will spend the least time doing this.

8.  Post newsworthy content as it happens

As soon as breaking news is available about anything related to your business, brand or industry, do share your reactions, thoughts, opinion about this with your customers on the social streams you are engaging them on. You then become part of ongoing conversations.

This is an excellent way to get your customers to look up to you.  It’s also an excellent way to let your customers know that you are on top of things

9. Treat all of your social channels differently.

Each social stream you post on has its own nuances of engaging its audience. Hence, the content you post on Facebook may fall flat on Twitter and vice versa.

In the Excel sheet, in which you have created your schedule for content delivery to your customers make sure that you take good care of this when jotting in the content that you will deliver.

A simple, effective rule of thumb is – Don’t post the same message everywhere – remember who the audience is on each platform and how they use the platform to interact.

10.  Remember to act as a customer service rep.

In social media marketing what’s vital is – engagement.

Social media marketing must be a two-way street.  If ever you treat social media as a technique for only sending out information to your customers without caring twopence for what they are saying, your social media strategy will tank really alarmingly.  Unless of course you are not really measuring the results of your social media efforts.

It’s imperative that all user-generated content, such as comments (for or against), feedback (positive or negative) are responded to on a social media stream almost immediately.  Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is crucial to the success of any social media marketing effort.

11.  Schedule metrics reporting.

Ensure that someone collects, collates, and analyses the statistics obtained from Google, as well as any other social media statistics delivery tool (do take a quick look at Moz).

Then maps the statistics backward to the social media strategy.  This is imperative to figure out whether the effort you are putting in on various social media streams is actually paying you back in business or better yet, repeat business.

Statistics should be collected daily but can be analyzed on a weekly or bi-monthly basis. If the time frame for analyzing your social statics goes beyond 15 days, then you run the danger of putting in a ton of social media marketing planning and execution, without getting the results expected.

12. Tweak your social media marketing strategy constantly

Based on the statistics you’ve obtained from reliable sources, and its analysis, get ready to make small, but significant, changes to your social media marketing strategy.

If something you’re doing is not delivering results, then switch it around a bit. Do some strategic A/B testing to determine what type and/or format of content your customers respond to better.  Use two different versions of your content simultaneously, then measure to see which content is more successful and use that approach going forward.  Success is measured by the amount of customer engagement triggered by the content.

In Conclusion:

Twelve, simple, commonsensical, steps you can follow to make your social media marketing strategy, a well planned and executed one, which will deliver awesome Return On Investment to you.

If you have some other approach, or you believe you can expand on any/all of these twelve steps to deliver more, please do share your thoughts, critique and more in the comments section below.

Ivan Bayross is a techno-geek author who has published more than 63 books. He advises business organizations on how to use the Internet and Digital Marketing to increase their profits. You can reach him at OpenSourceVarsity which offers a ton of free tutorials on Open source technologies and Digital Marketing. Follow his OSV page on Twitter for more updates.

48 thoughts on “Do You Have A Social Media Marketing Strategy?”

  1. Great ideas! Having a plan is a great way to set yourself up for success. What percentage of content shared do you suggest be links back to your site or just information?

    I have found a great deal of success lately with using high quality images within my tweets. My clicks and retweets have increased by at least 300%!

    Chris recently posted 11 reasons your blog could failMy Profile

    • Hi, Chris,

      I totally agree about the Twitter images. Setting up Twitter cards, either through JMTwitter plugin or Yoast SEO plugin works well for that.

      Thanks for your comment!

    • Hi Chris,

      I never have more than one or two links back to my website in any content I share. Have a ton of links pointing back to your site does not really add a great deal of value to your site as all the links appear to come from a single ip to Google and Google is clever enough to process that information intelligently.

      Doing too much of such – back linking – can (and most likely will) get your site whacked on its knuckles by Google.

      Using a really attractive image along with your Tweet is a sure fire way of getting more people to share your Tweet when compared to a pure text tweet. Humans are a very – Visual. I guess choosing the best fit image, royalty / copyright free is the tough part.

  2. Hai @sue

    First of all Thank you very much for the great article on SMM

    I recently started the journey in SMM and Looking for success and following some great tips as like u said and also rectifying my -ve's. Hope your Tips will definitely Gives me a good success.

    Thank You Very Much
    Rocky recently posted Furious 7 Full Movie Watch Online FreeMy Profile

  3. Great ideas! Having a plan is a great way to set yourself up for success. What percentage of content shared do you suggest be links back to your site or just information?

    I have found a great deal of success lately with using high quality images within my tweets. My clicks and retweets have increased by at least 300%!

    I always believe that a Strong Social media presence is always necessary for the success of any online business and for branding also. One can`t even imagine the benefits of social media if he use proper social media startegy.

    Your tips are definately useful to build a strong social media presence. Good thing is that now we can use social media tools also to automate the process of social sharing.

    Thanks you again for writing this one of the most valuable article on Social media marketing.
    Gaurav Kumar recently posted Google Adsense Revenue Share Between Advertisers and PublishersMy Profile

    • HI Gaurav,

      As I mentioned to Chris above, I never have more than one or two links back to my website in any content I share. Have a ton of links pointing back to your site does not really add a great deal of value to your site as all the links appear to come from a single ip to Google and Google is clever enough to process that information intelligently.

      Doing too much of such – back linking – can (and most likely will) get your site whacked on its knuckles by Google.

      I'd just like to raise a small cautionary flag here Gaurav, while it may seem like a general rule that having a – strong social media presence – is always necessary for an on-line business, I personally do not believe that this is 100% true.

      I've encountered one or two special niche, on-line businesses for which having a strong social media presence is absolutely unnecessary and a waste of both time and money.

      My take as a digital marketer is that I need to be crystal clear about a client's business model, be equally clear as to where their primary market is available and only then decide on whether a social media marketing strategy is necessary or not.

      Just sharing my DM experiences Gaurav, that's all.
      Ivan Bayross recently posted OSV Home pageMy Profile

        • Hi Gaurav,

          Just glad that I could be of help Gaurav. If there is anything at all that I can help with. please feel free to reach out.

          I grew because others helped me when I asked. It's time to pay this forward.

  4. One thing that I will offer as a bonus tip is for newbies to follow successful social media accounts of others (potentially competitors) in their niche. It's important to learn from how they interact with their audience. What types of content do they share? What types of content receives the most shares, likes, retweets, etc.?

    While your audience might not be an exact copy, it's likely that you'll be able to learn quite a bit by using this method and pick-up some tips to incorporate into your personal social media strategic plan.
    Kenneth recently posted The Definitive Guide to Building a Popular BlogMy Profile

    • Hi, Kenneth,

      Great idea! That plan is a great bonus tip for bloggers.

      Thanks for commenting and sharing it with us.

    • Hi Kenneth,

      There is an old saying – I keep mu friends close but my enemies closer – kind of touches a chord in me every time I study the patterns of my competitors social media stream posting.

      You are absolutely right Kenneth.

      I've really been educated (and had several great laughs as well) studying my competitors.

      Great tip.
      Ivan Bayross recently posted OSV Home pageMy Profile

    • Hi Tor,

      Thanks heaps. It always feels great to get endorsed.

      Growing high quality twitter followers from 0 – 2000 in 28 days can only come from a well thought through and executed plan.

      BTW, can you share the name of the tool you used, if nay?

      Would love to know more.
      Ivan Bayross recently posted OSV Home pageMy Profile

  5. Some very insightful points. I must admit that being new to all of this makes learning about it somewhat daunting, however, I do feel that your posts are making my journey much easier in terms of coming to grasps with some of the key ideas surrounding SMM. Even though these steps may seem simple on paper, I can definitely see that they can be time-consuming, to say the least, which is why I suppose many people outsource tasks such as updating their customers via social media sites. Needless to say I've made to sure to bookmark this post for later reference 🙂

    • Hi, Bradley,

      Don't get overwhelmed with social media. Blogging, commenting and guest posting are bigger traffic drivers than social media.

      Just start with one social media channel at a time.

      Thanks for commenting.

    • Hi Bradley,

      Thanks for commenting. Oh Yes!, what's suggested is time consuming all right.

      What I've always done in my life is executed several of such plans myself, watched GA results and tweaked them when necessary.

      Today, after gaining in-depth knowledge first hand, of where the shoe pinches worst, I happily sub-contract such work out, knowing that the sub-contractor cannot pull a fast one over me.
      Ivan Bayross recently posted OSV Home pageMy Profile

  6. Hi, Ryan,

    I agree! I also focused on Twitter for a year before I moved to Pinterest and there I'm stopping. You only need one or two channels to gain authority, as you already know.

    Thanks so much for your comment.

  7. Hi Ryan,

    OOO! Bali – wicked.

    My wife Cynthia and I have Bali on our to-do list. Lots of our friends have already visited and say its really beautiful. We are off to Prague and Budapest in about two weeks. Will spend sometime there its supposed to be beautiful at spring time.

    BUT I digress.

    I guess its essentially where your audience really is OR what one really wants to achieve that decides the social stream or social stream(s) that will be used.

    I've personally found the tweet (half life) to be so small that Twitter does not really work for me. That said, I definitely have a my presence on Twitter.

    For me my audience is largely on Facebook so that's where my focus lies.

    Like you the other social streams are basically – for support.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting Ryan, appreciate that.

    Enjoy the day its going to be a great one.
    Ivan Bayross recently posted OSV Home pageMy Profile

    • Very true Jossef,

      Having a workable blue print and being successful are really two different things.

      About Topic and Niche, here's my take. Once you've got about 400 to 500 followers and whom you are are following as well then there is already a group of people who like the same topic and share common interests that you are tweeting to.

      Hence, as long as at least 80% of your tweet content adds value and delivers solution to about 25% to 35% people on the group consistently you should be building trust and gaining authority.

      My experience has been that only after that happens does business happen.
      Ivan Bayross recently posted OSV Home pageMy Profile

    • Hi Dennis,

      Thanks so much for your kind words. They do encourage me a heck of a lot.

      Here's a suggestion. There are quite a few easy read Digital Marketing tutorials I've written and published on opensourcevarsity. Access is totally free. Why not have a quick look?

      I'm also quite happy to have a quick chat on Skype if you feel you need to ask a few questions on any topic I have competence in. I'd be happy to help in any way I can.

      My Skype Id is bayross.If you ever need, send me an Skype invite.
      Ivan Bayross recently posted OSV Home pageMy Profile

  8. Hey Sue/Ivan,

    Thanks for the 12 steps, definitely food for thought. I totally agree with different platforms require, different strategies. I don't get much traffic from Twitter, when I let everyone know I have a new You Tube out, yet I have many people that I correspond with and enjoy immensely on a daily basis. And it appears Google participants give me more feedback when I let them know about my You Tube videos. As I am just new to it all, it is early days yet. But I have been talking about getting my blog up and running. I am currently taking your advice Sue and leaving comments here, there and everywhere attempting to build relationships. When I think about the workload – it is rather overwhelming, but using a strategy like the write up above suggests, allows me to put things into categories, which agrees with my mind far more.

    • I'm so glad that the strategy helped you, Rachel. When it comes to blog comments, do 2 a day for a week and increase by one a day each week until you are at 5 per day.Commenting on 60 blogs a month is huge!

      Thanks for your comment about Ivan's guest post.

      • Hi Rachel,

        What sort of videos do you create and upload to You Tube?

        Getting your website found in search engines becomes a whole lot easier when you are creating and uploading videos to You Tube (or any other video delivery site).

        As long as your videos deliver great value to your audience, Google and other search engines will pay attention to your You Tube channel. After all they are in the business of returning the most appropriate content to seekers of such content.

        Like Sue says, doing about 60 comments a month will also bring you a lot of traffic.

        Get your Blogsite up and running as quickly as possible. Create great content that supports and perhaps expands on your videos and you may be amazed at how quickly you will get faithful followers for your Blog.
        Ivan Bayross recently posted OSV Home pageMy Profile

  9. Hi Sue and Ivan

    That's a really helpful post, thank you.

    I used Buffer to find and great content (thus sharing mostly other people's content).

    Obviously other article (such as yours) that I find in my own "blog travels".

    I also use Tweet Old Post on my blog to repost my blog content, and TweetAdder.

    I have to admit my schedule isn't as scheduled as it should be! But at least now I have some great guidelines to follow.

    Thanks, and have a great Easter. Joy
    Joy Healey recently posted Thanks To My Comment Authors in March 2015My Profile

    • Hi, Joy,

      I also use Buffer and Tweet Old Posts. They are great, inexpensive tools.

      I so appreciate your comment! I'm not as rigorous as Ivan with my schedule either 🙂


    • Hi Joy,

      I'm using TweetAdder. Unfortunately I've not had a lot of success with it. I'd love to hear from you how you are using TweetAdder and how successful you've been in getting pertinent Twitter followers.

      When I first started out on Twitter I had quite the thrill of seeing my followers escalating rapidly, until I discovered that a ton of them were placement agencies for all over the world UK, US, Europe, and so on. Total junk.

      I had to spend quite sometime UnFollowing and Blocking them.

      Did you have the same sort of experience as I using Tweet Adder?

      The followers I'm most interested in are Digital Marketing enthusiasts and Techies i.e. PHP, HTML CSS programmers. This is my focus group on Twitter.

      I'm sure over time your schedule will get scheduled 🙂 especially when you notice all the good things that are happening around your site because of this.
      Ivan Bayross recently posted OSV Home pageMy Profile

  10. Hi Sue and Ivan,

    this is really an insightful post on creating a social media strategy.

    I am more one of these top of the head guys, but started meanwhile to write everything down and to keep track of it.

    The tips and strategies from your post will surely help me getting my social media plan done and stick to it.

    Thanks for sharing and have a Happy Easter,
    Torsten Mueller recently posted How To Clean A Mailing List – Get It Wrong, You’re ScrewedMy Profile

    • I so appreciate your comment, Torsten. Ivan did a great job on this post.

      If I don't write everything down, it doesn't get done. So I totally understand.

    • Hi Torsten,

      Thanks for your comment.

      By coincidence, I've read and replied to your post, just before my family, wife Cynthia, daughter Chriselle, and I are going to be dressing up and leaving for Easter service in my home town Mumbai / India.

      I always have a notebook and mechanical pencil at hand on my desk when I'm working, although I use a computer for about 14 hours a day nearly 7 days a week I still prefer paper and pencil to jot down small notes to myself.

      Here's wishing both You and Sue a Happy Joyful Easter.
      Ivan Bayross recently posted OSV Home pageMy Profile

  11. Most of peoples are ignored about social media marketing but now days most peoples are come on blog through the social media sites like Facebook, Twitter etc..

    When I entered into blogging at that time we are driving traffic through only Google Search but when we entered into Social media at that time we gained more traffic and more peoples are visiting our blogs and we get lots of subscribers also.

    One of the way to increase your social media sharing by using content locking plugin.
    Raju Rai recently posted Bluehost Coupon Code 2015My Profile

  12. Hi Ivan,

    Awesome ideas. I totally agree with your on the basic requirements. Researching and understanding your audience and their behavior on social media is key to success. Preparing a schedule has helped me a great deal.

    Last but not the least is to tweak your contents to make them perfect for the particular platform. Thanks for sharing the wonderful ideas with us.

    Thanks Sue for roping in Ivan. Both of you have a great day ahead!
    Nisha Pandey recently posted BOOM! An awesome talk with Ritesh Sarvaiya, the founder of DefencelyMy Profile

  13. Great advise! You've got them all pinned down. I agree on the treating your social media channels differently. I've seen some channels that are linked together and doesn't really have the effect they wanted to get. It might look well on facebook, but it's just a cutoff sentence in twitter and your reader might not understand.

    Wonderful insights!

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