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5 Steps to Developing a Solid Social Media Strategy

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For marketers, having a solid social media strategy has evolved from being a nice-to-have, to a must-have. Social media is not just about “real-time marketing”— and, in fact, social plays an important and growing role when it comes to helping shape the voice, tone and perceptions of your brand.

Orli LeWinter, VP of Social Marketing Strategy at 360i, recently led a Mediabistro Bootcamp Webinar on how to plan social marketing in the context of your overall brand strategy. Orli advises marketers to take the following steps in order to plan for success:

Identify and understand your target audience.

In order to best align your strategy with your consumer, focus on the ways your target audience thinks and behaves, and how they use online platforms in their everyday life. Beyond this, it’s also important to look at how the target feels about your brand or category. In some cases,  particularly when budgets are tight or the brand needs a little boost in authentic credibility, it actually might make sense to focus your messaging on a smaller consumer group rather than a general one—especially if that means you’re reaching those who wield a large influence over others.

Hone in on your brand’s unique currency.

Social media is all about creating relationships, so it’s crucial to find the unique value —or social “currency”— you will provide when you interact with your audience. It could be creating a sense of control or a feeling of belonging, or providing a utility. Whatever it is, your social currency will differentiate your message and your strategy. Brands can use currency-centered planning to guide their social strategy development and align it with their overarching brand strategy.

Establish clear goals.

KPIs should be connected to your brand’s business goals: The number of fans you have (and other metrics) should not be an end in and of itself. Furthermore, to gauge the success of your social efforts, you may have to measure other media as well. These might be things like search volume, clicks, web traffic, conversion rates, sales and so on. Finally, measurement is useless if you’re not applying what you learn. Social moves quickly. Re-evaluate and optimize your campaigns frequently.

Develop your social architecture.

In order to ensure that social architecture plays into your overall marketing plan, know that all media —TV, print, events, etc. — can be social nowadays. Consider all distribution channels for the content to be discoverable and integrated with other marketing efforts. Ensure strategic flow of traffic and content between channels and use influencers who already have built-in audiences to your brand’s advantage.

Budget wisely for content development and its distribution.

The Internet is a highly visual place, which makes video and photo content crucial. And because this content has to be on-brand and visually appealing, adequate resources should be allocated in order to create it and distribute it across paid, owned and earned channels.

Always be ready to pivot and continuously experiment.

Where will your consumer be tomorrow? In social, it’s nearly impossible to predict. Staying up to date with where your audience is moving is crucial for long-term success. Take the opportunity to test and learn by using the newest media platforms.

For more insights, download the entire presentation here.

Marisa Zupan contributed to this post.

Cover photo via Forbes