Key Elements of Social Media Strategy – Free Marketing Template!

[Download link to my free Social Media Marketing plan is at the end of this blog post!]

Social Media Marketing strategies are important to any organization looking to grow their audience online. There are some key factors that must be considered when making your marketing strategy if you want things to run smoothly, especially if you’ll be working with a team of other gurus

line_chartFirst you must come up with some objectives for your Social Media growth. Think about what goals you want your company to reach by establishing and nourishing an online presence. Are you aiming to create a solid space for customer service, are you strictly looking for a way to interact with your consumers, do you want to gain more attention for your brand, or are you looking to do all of the above? It’s important to have a clear set of goals in mind before continuing with your plan.

The next key step is defining your audience. Do some research to determine which groups you will be targeting with your Social Media messages; young women who are into video games, parents over the age of fifty, or even as broad as ‘college students’, to give a few examples. Such information can be gathered by studying user_groupsimilar brands and their audiences, or building your Social Media pages and watching closely with data analyzing tools like Facebook Insights and PeerIndex. Once you have groups targeted as your key audiences think about their specific objectives, as different groups will respond to your marketing messages in different ways.

You’re almost ready to start thinking about how you’ll build your presence online! Consider the ways you can integrate Social Media into your website, and how you’re going to deliver your messages. Will you use e-mail marketing campaigns, attend events in person, or put Social Sharing buttons on your website? Will you create an online forum where your audience can gather, or will you present your website on other forums and message boards? You also want to consider which Social Media venues are going to best suit your website. Facebook and Twitter are a staple in Social Media plans for all companies, though your audience may also fit well with Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+, or YouTube. Choose venues that will fit your pre-defined audience and be confident in why you’re picking them selectively.

Once you have you platforms chosen you should decide what tools you’re going to use to deliver these messages and monitor data. Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are popular choices, but which is best for your brand? You should also consider whether you’ll use the web versions of these applications, or if you’ll be downloading desktop versions and purchasing upgrades so that you have more options. Take the time to hammer out what roles your fellow team members will be have, too, so that each person has clearly defined responsibilities in your marketing plan.

graphNext, consider how often you’ll be checking the data for your various Social Media accounts, what you’ll use to gather said data, and then what you’ll do with the information. Will you have weekly, monthly, or yearly check-ins to see if your messages are being properly delivered to your audiences? Will you use Google Analytics, Klout, Facebook Insights, or a combination of the above? And finally, what will you do to make sure any negative data can be changed to positive data in the future? Try to summarize ideas for the ways you may be able to alter your marketing plan in the future, if your data isn’t coming out the way you’d like it to.

Once you have everything in a neat package, I suggest creating a marketing plan timeline and outlining any major goals you have for your company’s Social Media presence. For example, if you’d like to see a solid amount of participation on your Facebook page within six months, or double your Twitter followers within a year, note those objectives in your timeline so you have clear goals to reach.

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An excellent way to end your marketing plan is with a brief summary of your well-defined plans, tactics, goals, and implementations. You can also touch upon any budget restrictions you may have, as some Social Media tools can involve recurring payments made for upgraded plans. Even if you over-estimate what you’ll need for your budget, it’s a good idea to have all potential expenses written in your plan so that nobody is broadsided by costs.

In closing, you can download my Social Media Marketing Plan template for free and use it to craft your own long-term strategy with all of the elements mentioned in this blog post. Good luck and have fun!

If you like my free marketing plan template, please return the favor and give @Omnomedia a follow on Twitter!

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The Importance of Facebook Insights

Every business, organization, and group needs a Facebook page, but how can they make better posts to engage their fans on a more useful level? One answer is Facebook insights!

Because each business or group has a different type of listeners who respond to selective forms of media, it’s important to use Facebook statistics to gauge what sort of information your fans are readily consuming so that you can cater your messages to them in a way that will prompt Liking and Sharing. This is especially true for businesses looking to grow and gain more loyal fans, ultimately turning them into returning customers.

What are Insights?

Facebook insights are a collection of visitor statistics and participation data from your page. By looking at your insights you can gather a sense of Like progression or regression, buzz around your posts, weekly reach, subscriber rates, friends of fans totals, and audience demographic. Facebook compiles this information into easy-to-understand graphs and gives you the option of exporting the data for more in-depth analysis.

Exporting your data on page level will give you an overview of your page’s data, while exporting on post level will give you a more in depth view of your posts and their impact on traffic and participation. Both of these data sets offer input on how to better craft your daily posts to increase activity, engagement, and Likes by telling you what works best with your audience.

Why are Insights important?

Insights are your window into raw data representing just how your consumers are reacting to the information you are putting on your page. If you see a sharp spike in activity on one specific date, look back at what you posted that day and make a note that it was more popular than other posts. From these spikes we can tell what type of media your audience prefers. For example, if you receive surplus hits, Likes, and Shares on a day which you uploaded a photo, you’ll know that your audience is more aesthetically receptive. You can then begin to mold your message delivery. Try adding text to your wall photos using Photoshop or another editing program and deliver your posts that way, then go back to gauge whether this new tactic was effective. A good example of how this specific delivery tactic is used can be seen on Women For Obama’s official Facebook page, in which they use aesthetically pleasing images with built-in messages that are easy to share.

Don’t forget to study your page’s demographic information, too. If you look at your user location data and see that a good portion of your audience is in another part of the world, you can schedule some of your posts to deploy when they’re most likely to be online checking their Facebook feed. Otherwise you risk broadcasting your messages to one specific user base instead of catering to all of your fans for maximum reach.

How often should I use them?

Facebook Insights are not meant to be used occasionally, nor are they meant to be the final word in how your fanbase consumes information. Insights should be revisited again and again, especially as you make changes to how and what you post, so that you can gauge what is most effective. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try different posts to spark participation. Over time, you can build your own data sheets in Excel or create your growth charts from Facebook’s Insights to monitor how these experimental posts have effected your page.

Always remember that with Facebook the more you speak to your fans like an actual person and provide interesting content, the more likely they are to Share your posts with their friends which will ultimately give you increased exposure. Avoid updating at the same time every day and sounding like a fact robot by mixing up the type of material posted and changing when you present these messages. If you can use Facebook Insights to figure out how your audience consumes certain types of media, it will be much easier to engage your fans in a genuine way.