When you are in the throws of starting a business every coach, mentor, bank and business partner will remind you to create a solid business plan first.
Most, if not all start ups comply and create such a business plan.
Each business plan created should have a marketing plan as part of its growth strategy because creating a business model without marketing is not a feasible business strategy.
Word-of-mouth marketing only goes so far!
We take it one step further.
We believe it is imperative that your marketing plan has a social media marketing plan, or social media strategy attached to it.
As the social media manager, how will you know what to do, say or share on social media without a plan? How can you know what is working, or not, without a plan? How will you know where to spend advertising money? How can you analyze something you're not measuring?
When starting with a new client, you the social media manager needs to have a road map to success or an internal playbook as we call it. This is called a social media strategy.
In this article, we look at 5 reasons why a business needs a social media strategy plan.
All the data! Who doesn't love data?
Data tells the story of your customer's journey.
- Where do your leads come from?
- How do they find you?
- What, if anything, do they purchase?
- When do they purchase?
- Which ads drove the most clicks and conversions?
Data tells the content story; what content works, and what does not.
- What content does your ideal customer like to consume?
- Do emails get opened and what links are clicked on?
- How much reach do you get using video vs blog content?
- When is your audience online?
- Which posts do best and have the most reach?
Data tells what digital marketing strategy works and will show you ROI.
Data is your friend!
Starting point → Implementation → Measure → Interpretation → Adjustment → Growth
2) Brand Awareness
If your brand, or your client's brand if you are a social media manager, is on social media because of ‘brand awareness', great!
Do you know how to measure brand awareness?
You need a strategy for monitoring your brand name, and online mentions to understand growth.
Just going by vanity metrics i.e. counting the number of ‘likes' on a Facebook page, or followers on Instagram or Twitter is not enough to measure brand awareness. Instead, you need to dig deeper and look at reach, engagement rates and mentions.
In other words, you need to understand and measure, or quantify, your influence.
In order to do that, you need a social media strategy to increase your brand awareness across several platforms.
That could include a content strategy. The content strategy could dictate the brand hosts a YouTube show or Podcast, or by having the CEO or CMO be a guest on such shows.
The goal is to increase overall visibility online. To do that consistently, you will need a strategy.
3) Customer Support
Social media can be an incredible asset to any customer support team.
However, in order to be that online support, you need a strategy for the following reasons:
- to not miss out on important conversations
- to have standard operating procedures and replies to inquiries
- for reputation management
A social media strategy centered around customer service could include messenger marketing, email marketing, community management and social media management.
In order to implement these strategies, businesses need procedures, best-practice documents, online reputation management strategies and more.
A business also needs the buy-in to this strategy from the CEO or owner of the company. Upper-management needs to understand what social media can do for their bottom line and needs to be supportive and in favor of using social media for customer support.
4) Integration With Traditional Marketing Strategies
As stated in the first paragraph, most businesses have an existing business plan. Most business plans have a marketing plan and a marketing budget.
What a lot of businesses are missing is the social media strategy as part of their overall marketing plan.
Seldom do we see a business use only social media marketing. Most businesses we encounter are already well versed in traditional marketing techniques. Social media and digital marketing work best when integrated with traditional marketing techniques that include but are not limited to
- TV ads
- Radio ads
- Newspaper ads
- Print advertising
- Direct Mailers
- In-store signage
- Trade show participation
When creating a social media strategy for a business it is imperative that all these marketing efforts are listed and known so integration can take place.
For example, when attending a trade show, a business could set up a selfie booth with a branded hashtag sign to get attendees to tag their business. This way their offline and online communities unite.
Showing social media signs, asking for the tag and ‘like', the follow and hashtag while offline and vice verso is social media integration at its finest.
Without a strategic plan however, a lot of these strategies and techniques can be overlooked or forgotten.
5) To Use Social Media With Intent
Often people get started with social media for their personal enjoyment. They create a Facebook account to keep up with family and friends, get on Twitter to follow news stories, search Pinterest for recipes and use Instagram to keep up with their teenager or travel friend.
Not all business owners understand the power of social media.
Therefore, without a social media strategy, these business owners might be tempted to implement social media usage for their business as they do for their personal enjoyment.
We already know that doing that seldom gives the business the desired results.
It takes a completely different strategy to build a personal brand as it does to build a business brand.
It is important to set goals for social media usage and to work on strategies and tactics to get to those goals.
That includes using social media with intent.
Planning out content and posts. Spending time each and every day on each platform that matters most. All these tactics are part of a social media strategy.
Writing down a social media strategy is the first step in using social media with intent!
How To Get Started With Your Social Media Strategy
Here is our 5 step approach to creating a social media strategy for any business:
- Set time aside to meet with the business owner and learn more about their business, including current marketing efforts
- Conduct a social media audit – include an audit of the website
- Perform a competitors analysis – include at least 3, preferably 5 competitors
- Do keywords research
- Write out a strategic plan
We have a brand new course that lays out everything you need to know about social media strategic planning. This course includes videos, templates, presentations, handouts, and questionnaires.
Did you know that social media managers charge money, good money to write strategic plans?
The #1 challenge that we see social media managers face is time wasted on responding to requests for proposals. We never write proposals for free. Not only do we charge for them, but it's also a process that wins the business more than 90% of the time. We recommend you start any new client relationship by writing a social media strategy!
Is this the missing link in your social media marketing business?
Are you ready to become a Social Strategist Pro?
I am a Certified Social Media Manager, Strategist, International Keynote Speaker, Organic Specialist and Agile marketer! Blogging is my creative outlet. Running, hiking and skiing are how I recharge. You'll recognize me on stage and online by my always present orange glasses, a nod to my Dutch heritage.