Preparing a social media marketing strategy


Our social media marketing course equips you with the skills you need to help you use popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and many more, as powerful marketing tools.

Many businesses open Twitter and Facebook accounts because everyone else has them. They don’t really know what to do with them.

They use them to make announcements and promote goods and services. But, this approach can be a waste of time and money.

It’s better to ignore social media than to use it badly, especially if rival companies use it well. Potential clients may compare your social media with that of your rivals, and decide that your rivals’ products or services are also better than yours.

Don’t forget, your goal is not to be good at doing social media. Your goal is to make the business even better because of social media.

If you want your social media marketing to be effective, you will need a strategy.

Don’t panic though – it doesn’t have to be complicated. Part of your strategy is to set out your goals and objectives. These will guide your social media activity and help you to successfully connect with customers.

Your strategy will also include day by day, week by week or month by month action plans.

Let’s look at some of the steps needed to draft a suitable strategy:

Define your target audience

You will need to know who you are trying to reach and engage.

How old are they? What is their gender? What do they do for a job? Where do they live? What is their income? And, what are their interests?

Don’t try to list them all. Instead, concentrate on the three or four types of people who are likely to best represent your customers or service users.

Set your objectives

You will need to define what it is you want your social media to achieve.

It may be to sell more of the widgets that your business manufactures and sells, or perhaps to get more people to take up a service you offer.

You need to be realistic though. If the company only sells 100 widgets a year, setting an objective to sell 1,000 in six months is not going to be sensible.

Focus on just a few key social media platforms

There is no point in signing up for every single social media platform that exists, otherwise you will get nothing else done.

Instead, use the information you compiled in the first step above to assess which platforms will be most effective in reaching your target audience groups.

You can always join other platforms in the future, but it’s generally best to start developing and building a community of engaged people on one social media website before moving to another platform.

Don’t run before you can walk!

Develop your social media calendar of activity

This could be as simple as mapping your proposed posts, Tweets, videos or photos on a calendar. Day by day is probably best.

You should always have a good idea of when you intend to update your social media platforms and what you are going to say.

Consider using a Google calendar to plan your social media activity. These are good because they also remind you via pop-ups or emails.

Be sure that your posts don’t clash with what is going on in the world. You could cause a problem posting something which may be seen as inappropriate because of something going on in the news.

Likewise, consider when an event may be useful to your business, such as Christmas or Black Friday. You may be able to exploit something like “International Apples Day” or, perhaps, a major sporting occasion.

Further reading: the best times to post content to social media websites (for US) and for UK.

Measure your results

Lots of tools are available to help you track and measure the impact of your social media marketing activity. The previous Lessons have explained how you can track your impact for each platform.

Also, review the comments you get, to see what your customers and potential customers think of you and your posts, products or services. Try to spot any trends – in terms of posts, topics, keywords or content – that generate the most interest.

Adjust and refine

There is no point in ploughing on if your metrics show that your daily posts about paperclips and staplers fail to generate a response or to help drive engagement.

You will need to do some experimenting to see what works best. You won’t have an overnight success.

Change the “recipe” for your social media activity and find the content which really chimes with your audience.

Hootsuite offers an online social media template which can help you to get your strategy together. It’s available from this webpage:

Devising a workable strategy will give your social media marketing operation focus, purpose and direction.

See our social media marketing course