Day 1: Establish goals for social
Establishing clear social marketing goals is the first step toward transforming your strategy. Think of exactly what you want social to achieve. Here are several examples of goals you might establish:
- Drive website traffic
- Raise brand awareness
- Boost brand engagement
- Generate new leads
- Nurture leads
- Build a community around your business
- Establish authority and industry expertise
- Improve customer support
- Shift brand sentiment
The objective here is to give purpose to your social efforts. Once you’ve established your social goals, the content you produce and share should continually support those goals.
Not sure what goals to choose? The 2020 Sprout Social Index surveyed marketers and found the goals below the most popular.
There are several methods to help you write out specific social media goals, including the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) method.
The OKR method asks you to set a broad objective statement and list out key results that describe what successfully achieving that objective looks like. Here is an example of a broad objective statement supported with clear standards that define meeting that objective.
The objective here is to boost brand engagement. To fulfill this, we must increase the number of likes, shares, mentions and comments by 20% by the end of the fourth quarter.
Day 2: Define your success metrics
How are you going to define the success of your social efforts? Decide which metrics will provide the right type of data so that you can determine whether or not social is supporting your business goals.
As you identify your success metrics, set clear standards for your social campaigns so that you know when success was achieved. If you are tracking audience engagement, what exactly do you consider to be successful engagement rates for your social content?
Depending on the type of content you produce, where you share and the goals you set for your social marketing efforts, the metrics you track will change.
If you’re at a loss for the goals your team should set, use the Social Media Metrics Map to assess options for owned, earned and paid social.
Day 3: List out your challenges
The task is simple: make a list of the challenges you face when it comes to social media marketing. Think of any barriers that are keeping your social content from making its biggest impact.
As you list out your challenges, write out simple explanations of how these barriers are impacting your marketing efforts or overall business success. Here are a couple of examples to help you get started.
Although we consistently post on social, we are not achieving ideal engagement levels.
We have seen a dramatic drop in our social content’s organic reach.
Not sure what your specific challenges may be? Our recent Sprout Social Index surveyed social marketers and found the below five challenges the most common.
Day 4: Brainstorm solutions
Round up your marketing team and brainstorm possible solutions to the challenges you previously listed.
Be sure to provide evidence to justify how you know this will be an effective solution so that you’re prepared when the time comes to gather resources and advocate for your budget.
Solution to Challenge 1:
We can use influencers to engage with our social content and drive conversation.
Justification: Ninety-one percent of brands using influencer marketing report it to be effective. With loyal followings, influencers can boost engagement and keep relevant conversations going on social.
Solution to Challenge 2:
We can invest in paid social media advertising to run highly targeted campaigns and reach the right people.
Justification: Social media spending in the US alone is expected to increase to $47.9 billion by the end of 2021. Marketers are investing more in social ads to reach buyers with purchase intent through the appropriate social channels.
Day 5: Analyze the competition
If you are running out of ideas, try running a competitive analysis. Be careful not to mimic your competitors’ content, but use their social strategies for inspiration.
Your brand and its competitors have similar ideal customer personas, so focus on the type of content that is most engaging, both within your own social efforts and those of the competition.
Here are a few questions to consider as you analyze your competitor’s social marketing efforts.
- Which marketing channels are my competitors using and are they successful in those channels?
- What are my competitors talking about and are those topics generating high audience engagement?
- Are there areas within our social strategy where we are outperforming our competitors?
Social analytics solutions are an effective way to compare your efforts against your competitors. Using Sprout’s social media analytics, you can directly benchmark your efforts against one or more competitors.
You can pinpoint days when competitors experienced peak engagement and can dive deeper into what content was shared on those days to understand the type of content that resonates most with target audiences.
Day 6: Determine your strengths and weaknesses
Take a deep dive into your social strategy and determine where you are successful and where there is room for growth.
It might even be a good idea to conduct a survey among your marketing, sales, customer service, and product teams to gauge where they see areas of success or room for improvement.
For each criteria regarding your social marketing strategy, determine whether it is one of your strengths or weaknesses. This will help identify what you should focus on over the next five weeks.
Day 7: Audit your content
Run a social media audit to identify your best-performing content and most popular channels. Take time to understand what’s working and why. Your metrics can help you identify which posts effectively cater to the interests of your audience.
If your posts aren’t engaging and resonating with your followers, your social media content strategy needs to shift. Use your audit to review the content you’ve shared and identify which posts had the biggest impact.
You can use Sprout’s Post Performance report to parse through your most popular posts across platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
For others like TikTok or Snapchat, there are alternative options for tracking your content performance. For instance, with TikTok, you can track engagement manually with a spreadsheet or other analytics tools.
Day 8: Create a list of relevant keywords
Use social media listening tools to identify the keywords most often associated with your brand. These keywords can help your team throughout the content brainstorm and creation process.
Social listening can help you uncover hidden conversations about your business.
For example, our team of analysts found that #staysafe was one of the most used hashtags while using social listening to dig into retail trends for the back-to-school season. This content topic is unique from the standard back-to-school shopping discussion. Using this data, retailers can stay up to date on the concerns of their customers and develop a strategic social media plan to mitigate those worries.
Day 9: Determine your brand voice
When it comes to building a social audience, consistency is key. Creating a brand voice will enable you to keep a consistent voice among all of your social channels.
This voice should align with the interests of your audience and match their communication style, while staying true to your brand. Start by choosing three words that characterize your brand. If your brand was a person, how would you describe them? After you choose these words, describe what that means for your brand and create do’s and dont’s to guide content creation.
Day 10: Optimize your social profiles
While much of your time is spent on planning and creating content, the information included on your profiles is vital to the success of your social marketing efforts.
When you’ve determined your brand voice, you can build out your profiles to align with that voice.
At a quick glance, your profile should speak to your brand with relevant visuals and engaging copy. Here are a few tactics to optimize your social profiles.
1. Use a consistent profile picture
If you own multiple social channels for your business, it is important that your profile picture is consistent across every channel. Most businesses will use their company logo or variations of their logo that have been designed specifically for their social accounts. Staying consistent across your profiles will increase opportunities for brand recognition.
2. Complete every section of your profile
If there is a field for information, take advantage of the opportunity to tell your brand’s story. In creative and succinct ways, you should be able to describe what your business does, the offerings you can provide and how you add value to the lives of your customers.
3. Add keywords to boost SEO
On Day 8, you compiled a list of keywords relevant to your industry, brand and its offerings. Use these strategic keywords in every section of your profile to boost SEO. They should appear in your bio copy, in photo names, interests and experiences.
Day 11: Develop your buyer persona
Transforming your social marketing strategy may require you to either revisit your current buyer personas or to create new ones from scratch.
Buyer personas help you better understand current and future customers, so that you know exactly who you are marketing to and can create relevant content and offerings. Start by writing down everything you know about your target customer and perform research to fill in any gaps. For a robust buyer persona, try to capture the following information.
- Purchase Behaviors
- Goals, Challenges, Pain Points
Day 12: Listen to your audience
Listening to your audience can help you gain insight into the minds of your followers, so you can be more strategic in your social marketing efforts.
Using social media listening, you can learn a lot about your audience (even when they’re not directly interacting with your brand) to inform a more effective strategy.
Here’s what you should listen for on social media:
- What your audience is talking about and what they are sharing most often
- What your audience is saying about your brand, industry, products, services and competitors
- What your audience is sharing on forum-style platforms like Reddit or Quora.
- How your audience engages with influencers, trending topics and relevant events
Day 13: Research industry trends and topics
To create relevant content and establish your brand as an authority on social, you must stay up to date with what’s happening in your industry.
Join conversations surrounding high-interest topics. Perform ongoing research to make sure that the content you produce and share aligns with the current interests of your community. Here are a few resources that may help guide your research.
As social marketers, research is one of our most valuable skills. Instead of browsing aimlessly through content, rummaging through thousands of social profiles or running endless Google searches, an easy way to streamline research is to sign up for a solid mix of newsletters.
Newsletters provide insights into the state of the industry, changes in technology, updates to social networks and emerging trends and best practices.
Here are a few newsletters that social media marketers should add to their resource list:
Social Media Examiner helps you discover how to best use social media to connect with customers, drive traffic, generate awareness and increase sales. Their newsletter shares articles, expert interviews and reviews of the latest industry research.
Social Media Today focuses on original analysis on what’s happening in social media today. Their content is platform focused, providing social marketers with insights on how to adopt new features and where other brands are finding success.
SocialMedia.Org is a membership organization for leaders in the social media marketing space. Their weekly newsletter, The Shortlist, highlights member stories as they share what they’re working on and what they’re keeping an eye on in the space.
Webinars can have a huge impact on social marketing strategies by generating new leads and prospects, nurturing existing relationships and demonstrating expertise in our industries. During webinars, many businesses will live-Tweet along with their users to answer questions and keep the online conversation going.
Webinars can also provide a way for us to learn, which can spark content ideas during our brainstorming sessions. Social Media Today provides a wide variety of webinars specific to social marketers. You can register for upcoming webinars or watch from their library of on-demand sessions.
Forums provide an effective way for marketers to identify the topics that are spurring the most conversation online. Quora is a great resource to discover topics of interest, ask questions and engage in conversations relevant to your brand. As a brainstorming tool, forums can help social marketers build social content plans that address questions people are already asking.
Adweek (and publications like Digiday and Marketing Land) are terrific because they give you the anatomy of the latest, most creative campaigns out there, and also fill you in on the most recent news. The Mission (and Medium generally) is great to turn to for thought leadership and gauging the pulse of our industry and the visionaries in it.
Day 14: Connect with other departments
As you continue researching industry trends and topics as inspiration for your content creation, connect with other departments within your organization.
Remember that marketing is just one aspect of the business and other teams can provide insight about your organization that can help you brainstorm content ideas.
For example, try speaking with members of your sales team. Our sales teams are often the first points of contact for consumers, and they can provide insight into customers’ needs, challenges and successes. This insight can help us generate content that addresses these needs or highlights successes.
Your human resources team can also provide insight into ongoing employer brand initiatives. Collaborate with HR to investigate how employees and potential hires are engaging with your brand on social. Their understanding of your workforce can help you identify what content is most effective for this important group of stakeholders.
If you’re having difficulty working across social media with your team you should look into a social media collaboration tool to streamline your efforts.
Day 15: Choose your content types
Start thinking about the types of content that will benefit your brand the most, while keeping your audience engaged.
Refer back to the buyer personas you created to determine if an image linking to a blog post would perform better than a Twitter chat or a Facebook Live broadcast. Consider the resources available to you to determine if you can create a high quality how-to video, or if you need to scale down your efforts and create an infographic using the same content.
For the best results, diversify your content to keep your audience interested. If you post the same type of content day after day or week after week, your audience will inevitably disengage.
Here’s a list of possible content types you can start incorporating into your social marketing strategies:
- User-generated content
- Photo and video
Before you start searching for content to share on social, you need to figure out what your audience actually likes. One way to do that is to look at past social media posts to see which were most successful.
Pull all of your unique social media analytics with a tool like Sprout Social, Twitter Analytics or Facebook Insights. Below is an example of how to view your published posts with Sprout (available with a free trial).
Make sure you’re sorting your posts by the metric that is most important to you, whether that’s clicks, responses or total reach. Once you have an idea of what kind of content works best, you can move onto the next step.
Day 16: Develop a posting schedule
Your publishing cadence depends on a handful of factors including your company, your audience, the campaign in question and the social networks being used. We cover this more in our guide to creating a social content calendar, but here are some suggested guidelines on how often to post:
- Facebook pages: 1-2 per day
- Twitter: 3-10 times per day
- Instagram: 1-3 times per day
- Instagram Stories: 2-5 times per day
- Pinterest: 3-20 times per day
- LinkedIn: 1-2 times per week
There’s a good chance your post frequency will depend on the size, experience and authority of your social media team, so don’t feel like you have to send out less than stellar content to meet these guidelines.
Your brand’s analytics can be extremely helpful here. You can use Sprout to see how often you post on each social network, then compare that against how much engagement you received over that same time period.
Look for trends between publishing rate and engagement. The screenshots above are from our Facebook Page Report, but you can do the same for Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn posts as well.
Day 17: Brainstorm content ideas
Now’s the time to gather your inspiration and plan out content you know will resonate with your audience. The key to effective brainstorming is to put yourself in the mindset that inspiration can come from anywhere.
Think of what your business does well and how you can turn that into an engaging content piece. Look through some of your older content and see if you can repurpose or reformat it for a different channel.
Based on the conversations you’ve discovered are popular among your audience, how can you contribute to those conversations with fresh content? Here are some of 2020’s most popular types of content.
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and LinkedIn have introduced features to support live streams from brands and content creators alike. Fifteen percent of adults ages 18-34 report watching multiple streams per day. Creating a live series can increase consumer attachment by showcasing your brand voice and personality in real time.
Sixty percent of businesses use video as a marketing tool and 74% say that video has a better return on investment than static imagery. Even if you don’t have the budget to hire a videographer, don’t rule this medium out. Tools like Canva and Biteable have democratized the creation process. Anyone on your team can make professional, on-brand videos, even while working remote.
Think of ways in which you can start a dialogue with your customers, engage your customers through polls or surveys, or create a contest and move your audience into action.
Quizzes, for example, have serious appeal and can generate a ton of social media shares for your brand. People are excited to discover new things about themselves, which is why quizzes are so effective on social media.
Marketers have been able to amplify user-generated content to increase brand awareness, promote products and services, and use the digital world-of-mouth concept to build brand trust and increase sales.
In fact, consumers find user-generated content to be 9.8x more impactful than influencer content when making a purchase decision.
Day 18: Gather resources
Once you’ve determined the types of content best suited for your business and have decided on a publishing cadence, start gathering your resources.
Think back to the types of content you decided to incorporate into your social strategy and what resources are needed to bring them to life. Here are several questions for you to consider as you start collecting your resources:
- Have you decided on the type of creative assets you’ll use and how you’ll store them?
- Who within the company needs to be involved in order to create this specific content piece?
- Do you need any sort of creative support for visual elements?
- Do you already own content (guides, e-books, blog posts) that can easily be repurposed for social?
Day 19: Create your content
It’s time to get to work! Start the creation process and set reasonable timelines for project completion.
Be sure to build social content that speaks to your customer persona, stays true to your brand voice, and can easily fit within the posting schedule you’ve established.
Day 20: Optimize your content
During the creation process, it is essential for you to optimize your content so that your efforts don’t go unnoticed in consumers’ crowded social feeds. Every net new content piece you create should be able to be repurposed for another use down the line.
Consider your video strategy. A video can be broken down into short clips, quote graphics, still images, and more. Think through your options while creating content so you can fill out your calendar with less effort going forward
Here are a few additional tactics to optimize your social content to maximize your reach and increase engagement:
- Include hashtags
- Shorten links
- Include images
- Adapt content for various social channels
Day 21: Create a call to action
Not all of the content you share on social needs to encourage customers to take action.
You may even find that some of your most popular posts are those that simply showcase your brand personality or provide a good laugh for your audience. Take Baggu, for example. Their Instagram strategy relies heavily on user generated content, but with a twist. They go beyond standard product shots, showcasing their brand in fun and creative ways that align with their seasonal product prints.
If the primary goal of your social marketing is to generate new leads and guide people into your sales funnel, you need to give your audience a clear next step. Include direct CTAs on those posts that you are using to drive action.
For copy inspiration, check out this article on effective social CTA phrases.
Day 22: Connect to more resources
Connecting your audience to more resources can benefit your brand in a couple of ways.
First, by connecting your audience to more resources (especially owned resources) you are establishing your brand as an authority on your space while inviting them to engage further. The more they learn about you and stay engaged with your brand, the more likely they are to convert.
At Sprout, we often share links to some of our favorite blog posts for our audience to learn more about the social networks, best marketing practices, and trending topics.
Day 23: Amplify your efforts
Once you’ve started promoting your content on social, think of ways you can amplify your messages to reach a larger audience.
Here is a short list of methods to consider in order to extend the reach of your content:
- Leverage an employee advocacy tool
- Give incentive for customers to share on their social
- Use influencers to extend the reach of your content
Day 24: Invest in your best content
As you promote and amplify your content, you may quickly notice that some content performs better than others in terms of engagement and conversion.
Extend the reach of these high-performing pieces through paid ads. You can target a highly specific audience, attract qualified traffic and leads, and grow your customer base.
The algorithms for social networks like Facebook and Instagram are now starting to favor paid content over organic content, making it increasingly important to invest in paid to give your content a fighting chance for discovery.
Which social media network you choose will depend on three important factors:
- Where your target customers are most concentrated
- Where your target customers are most accessible
- Where your target customers most actively engage with ads
Day 25: Engage with your audience
80% of consumers expect brands and companies that have a social media presence to interact with their customers in meaningful ways.
It’s important to engage with and respond to your audience. Engaging with your audience in a two-way dialogue builds brand trust and adds authenticity to your brand. As you monitor your audience’s reaction to your content, you can also gain valuable insight into the effectiveness of your content.
Read through comments on your social posts and respond to questions and insightful comments. The comments section is a great tool for social marketers looking for feedback on their content and can even inspire ideas for future content.
Day 26: Track your content
Content share tracking is an effective way to gauge engagement and track the movement of your content across social channels.
You can track all of your content with the Sprout Social Post Performance Report. Use the Post Performance reports to analyze published content down to the individual post and understand its performance with your audience.
Below is an example of how to view your cross-channel post performance with Sprout (available with a free trial).
Day 27: Compare results to goals
Think back to the objectives you set at the beginning of these 30 days.
For example, if your objective was to boost brand engagement, you needed to increase the number of likes, shares, mentions and comments by 20% by the end of the fourth quarter.
Using a social media analytics tool, you can compare month-over-month engagement for all of your social profiles to determine if you are on track to meet your social marketing goals.
Day 28: Report out
Share the results of your social marketing efforts with your marketing team and leadership. If you’re new to reporting or need to brush up on best practices, here’s a suite of resources that can help you create a routine reporting system.
This is your opportunity to showcase the goals you’ve established and your progress toward them. You should use hard evidence, like the data you’ve gathered through listening, and social analytics, to report on the success of your social marketing efforts.
Depending on your goals, you may want to build a custom report that zeroes in on what matters to your team. With Sprout’s report builder, you can customize performance reports to meet your exact business needs. Once you’re happy with your report, you can customize your branding and export it as a .PDF or a .CSV file for easy sharing.
Day 29: Revisit and readjust your strategy
The most savvy marketers know that marketing strategies are in constant flux. Revisit your strategy, revise your marketing goals, and adapt your strategies based on the data you’ve collected.
Day 30: Celebrate your transformation
Congratulations! You’ve successfully made it through the 30-day social marketing transformation program.
Celebrate your new strategy and the effort you’ve made to enhance your social marketing.
From awareness to acquisition: Creating a content funnel that convertsPublished on October 12, 2020 Reading time 6 minutes
Optimize audience engagement on your posts with Sprout’s ViralPost® send time technologyPublished on April 30, 2020 Reading time 5 minutes