Social Media Marketing 5 min read
A Guide To Creating an Effective Social Media Strategy for 2021
- 26 Feb 2021 9 min read
There are 3.2 billion social media users today—that’s about half the global population. This rate continues to grow because of the availability of mobile access. Users spend an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes per day, browsing content on social media, exchanging messages, and exploring pages.
With countless content and pages being created every minute, how will you stand out from the rest? How can you create buzz and drive traffic to your page? How will you convert visits into interactions, subscriptions, and sales? This is where having a solid and efficient social media management strategy comes in.
Social media management is the art and science of handling social media accounts across various platforms. It is not simply posting articles or images and having presence just for the sake of it. Social media management requires techniques in creating content, scheduling posts, and analyzing social engagement.
As a data-driven digital marketing agency, Propelrr believes that being closer to where your market is always a good move. Pushing the right content to the right audience at the right time is the trifecta of a successful business. Ready to start?
Here’s a complete guide on how to create a social media strategy this 2019:
- Conduct a Social Media Audit
- Establish Your Social Media Goals
- Set Your Benchmarks
- Do Market Research
- Conduct Social Listening
- Make a Competitor Audit
- Craft Your Brand’s Persona
- Identify Tactical Approaches
- Determine the Content Buckets
- Craft the Themes of Your Content
- Create Mood Boards
To learn how to create a great strategy in all social networks and markets, keep on reading on.
The Social Media Strategy Process
1. Conduct a social media audit
Take stock of your current performance by conducting a comprehensive audit. Consider it detective work to find out what is working and what is not in your social media accounts. This will give you a clear picture of where you currently stand in the social media game.
After your audit, decide what is most important to you. Find insights from your data. Check your top-selling qualities, strengths, and solutions that can help you create your unique selling point. Through your research, ask what brings the most value to your business. When you find the answer—bingo! You’ve just identified your starting point.
To know what to look for and what data to analyze in your social media audit, download our template here.
2. Establish your social media goals
Start with defining your social media marketing goals. If a strategy is your compass, your goals are your destination. Remember to establish SMART goals that will support your business objectives. Be razor-sharp specific.
For instance, do you want to increase your followers to at least a thousand? If so, by when? Clearly identify what you want, and set your goals.
If you don't know where to start, here are a couple of guide questions:
- Do you want to boost brand awareness?
- Do you want to build a strong community around your business?
- Do you want to generate new leads?
- Do you want to increase subscriptions and/or sales?
- Do you want to boost engagement?
- Do you want to deliver more responsive customer service?
- Do you want to know what people are saying about your brand?
If you want to achieve more than just one goal, stick to two or three at most, to prevent getting overwhelmed--especially if you’re just learning the ropes. Your social media marketing goals can be a combination of two or more of these.
For example, a retail brand may aspire to increase its brand awareness and boost traffic to its e-commerce website. On the other hand, a media group might aim to entice interaction and increase subscriptions. So it all depends on the outcome(s) you want.
3. Set your benchmarks
After establishing your social media goals, it is time to dive into the key components of formulating an effective strategy. Let’s start with benchmarking.
Benchmarking requires you to identify, analyze, and review your business’s performance metrics, a.k.a. your social media goals. This involves measuring your performance against a meaningful standard such as social leaders, a previous activity, or the achievements of your direct competitors. Additional online research would also further benefit you, and documentation is always a must.
Create a benchmark by applying the following steps:
- Decide what stats are relevant to your social media strategy; for instance number of likes, shares, comments, and clicks.
- Use Google Analytics to determine your stats per day, per post, and per follower.
- Record and pool these stats; so you can determine patterns and trends on which you can base your projections.
Benchmarking is a must because success is more than just getting likes or going viral. Success is about growing your target audience and keeping them engaged with your brand.
To be able to look, review, and analyze your data more clearly, here is a social media benchmarking template you can use and download.
4. Do market research
Insightful market research will give you valuable information about the needs and preferences of your target audience and existing customers. It must offer a better understanding of your brand, your industry, the latest news and updates about your industry, and the digital status of your brand across all platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Youtube, to name a few).
Before doing market research, define your goals and objectives. This will help you focus only on useful data. Allot enough time for data cleaning, i.e., the process of removing or modifying incorrect, incomplete, and irrelevant data. Finally, always keep an open mind, as you find opportunities through your audience's thoughts and opinions.
5. Conduct Social Listening
Another component of an effective strategy is social listening. This is similar to stalking what people are saying about your brand or the industry and your competitors; so you can create the right content, improve customer experience, and continuously refocus your strategy to fit current needs.
The process of social listening essentially requires you to search through social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, Youtube, Quora, Reddit, and taking note of key points and comments by those who posted them. You can also use available social listening tools online like the following:
This tool allows you to execute real-time brand monitoring and analyze social data for marketing insights. By filtering campaign and demographic data, you can identify the right content for your target audience. Sprout Social’s social conversation data will help you know emerging trends and top content relevant to your brand, competitors, and industry.
With Hootsuite, you can access messages, comments, and brand mentions across social networks in just one dashboard. It's Analytics and Reports provides an overview of trending topics about your brand, competitors, and industry.
They offer a feature that enables you to monitor social interactions with contacts in your database. You can set a keyword monitoring stream and receive email alerts to keep track of brand mentions. With HubSpot, you can also compare performances across your accounts.
There are a just few notable tools; we have a more detailed list of social media marketing tools you can check out.
To help monitor your brand's social media channels for customer feedback and direct mentions of your brand or discussions, you can use and download our template here.
6. Make a Competitor Audit
Competitor Audit is an essential component of a social media strategy. This allows you to view your performance against others similar to your industry. It involves checking all the digital trails and properties of your competitors. From there, perform a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis. You can do this at the start of your strategizing, but monthly monitoring of your competitors is ideal. A competitor audit should be able to give you information on the following:
- The type of content your competitors are creating and sharing;
- Their top-performing posts on all platforms;
- How they craft and use videos and images; and
- Who are the influencers are mentioning them?
To easily conduct a competitor audit, you can use the following tools:
- Facebook Pages to Watch
This allows you to compare the performance of your page with posts to that of other similar pages in your niche or industry.
- Open Site Explorer
The tool lets you evaluate the backlinks of your competitor’s website and identify the linked high-authority sites.
- Screaming Frog
Screaming Frog is a crawler that tells you how well your competitor’s pages have been optimized for search engines like Google.
- Rival IQ
Rival IQ enables you to see the top engaging content of your competitors, across social media channels.
Before you post social media content, you need to know what you’re up against. Use our competitor audit template to easily analyze and create insight for your strategy! Download here.
7. Craft your brand’s persona
Understanding your target audience is key to an effective social media game plan. Explore the benefits of persona creation. “For content marketing purposes, you need personas to help you deliver content that will be most relevant and useful to your audience,” said Ardath Albee, founder, and president of The Buyer Persona Institute. A Persona is a representation of your real target audience. It should include the following:
Demographics - the overview of the Persona’s background. This helps create a clearer and more personal image of your target audience. Demographics should include pertinent data such as age, gender, salary, location, and education.
Psychographics - refers to data about the Persona, their interests, opinions, and lifestyles. This can guide you in developing campaigns and building a fruitful connection with your audience.
Technographics - reveals the tools your target audience uses, what they use them for, and how long they have used them. This can help towards a more targeted prospecting and improved customer retention.
Challenges/Pain points - can help you hone your content. These data tell you the factors that prevent your target audience from achieving their goals.
Motivation - is critical in improving your content and campaigns. This provides information on what drives your target audience to interact with brands.
You can create persona information specific to your business and customers. A retail business needs different customer information versus a services firm. You may add hobbies, and sources of news and blogs as additional information for your personas.
Know who, when, and how you’re talking to your social media audience. To help craft your brand’s persona, use and download our template.
8. Identify the tactical approaches
After setting your goals and acquiring a deeper understanding of your brand, target audience, competitors, and buyers; your next task is to map out the tactical approaches for your social media goals.
Take, for instance, a goal to expand into a new target segment. The specific tactics may include:
- Use your brand’s persona to target your market;
- Connect the persona to motivations and issues the audience face; and
- Make this as a basis for your market’s wants and needs.
Adjust your tactics based on results. Get feedback, and always refer back to Analytics to identify those that work and those that don't.
9. Determine the content buckets
Identifying content buckets is an essential aspect of creating a strategy. Content buckets are categories that speak to different aspects of your targeted demographics. Think of it as a wheel in which your business goal is the hub at the center, and the content buckets are the spokes.
Take, for instance; a lifestyle brand that follows these content buckets for the whole weekday:
- Curious Monday, FAQs, or questions about the brand
- Fact Check Tuesday, related studies to support the brand
- Worthy Wednesday, mentionable product of the week
- Trial Thursday, first-time trial or try-on of products
- Figure-It-Out Friday, DIY or creative uses of the product
See? Each day a theme should be followed through all social media platforms to achieve brand consistency and even recognition. Here are some content bucket ideas for your 2019 social media strategy:
- Trending topics
- User-generated content
- Social media and blog comments
- Brand/business news and events
Feel free to tailor these buckets to suit your business goals and brand’s voice. Try it out yourself!
10. Craft the themes of your content
After the content buckets are identified, the next step is to craft your themes. Themes are your brand’s overall strategy. For Propelrr, it’s always “bold, courageous, all-knowing, and an expert in their field.”
It can help to add themes in your content calendar, that relate to your business. This will allow you to create unique and appealing content that is always relevant.
11. Create mood boards
After crafting your themes, discuss the creation of mood boards with your Creatives team. Mood boards consist of visual images and representations, including:
- Image inspirations/pegs
- Color scheme/color palette
- Overall look and feel of the photo
Here’s a sample mood board for a lifestyle brand:
If you decide to work on your own mood board, you can use tools such as Milanote, Pinterest, The Matboard, Evernote, and Sampleboard to help you organize your ideas. This wraps up your whole social media strategy, making you ready for execution!
Doing your social media marketing strategy is more than just posting content on social media. There’s so much more thought and process that go into it. Here are a few takeaways:
- Take time to understand your market to give you a better overview of what to tackle and emphasize in your content.
- Establish a benchmark to set your standards to help you produce better quality content.
- Conduct social listening regularly to finetune your brand’s messaging and voice according to your audience.
- Study your audience well. Take a walk in their shoes. Know the people you’re addressing with your content.
- Allow your strategists and Creatives team to collaborate on social media content production.
There you have it, our battle-tested step-by-step guide on how to create a social media strategy for your business. Whatever direction you decide to take, always place your target audience at the core of your strategy.