8 tips on developing a winning social media marketing strategy

social media marketing strategy tipsWhen piecing together your social media marketing strategy, it’s always useful to have a number of successful case studies to follow.

Forward Role Recruitment is a North West UK based recruitment company that specialises in the digital marketing industry. As the business is aiming to interact with online marketing experts, it’s vital that it has a solid digital marketing strategy of its own. Forward Role recently won the ‘Best Social Media’ award at the Marketing & Advertising Recruitment Awards in London, so it’s certainly a good example for other organisations to consider when drawing up their own social media plans.

Here are eight tips that you could aim to follow when drawing up your own social media marketing strategy.

1)   Identify clear goals

A lot of companies start using social media for marketing purposes because they are told that it’s a good idea, but in many cases they don’t really understand why they are publishing content via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social channels.

Before you start, you need to identify your goals. For Forward Role, the overriding aim of the social media marketing strategy was to drive new and unique talent to the company’s website. In addition to this, Forward Role was keen to use social networking platforms to raise awareness of the brand and to garner positive reviews from happy clients.

2)   Know your target audience

social media marketing strategy tips

Producing generic tweets aimed at everybody and nobody won’t do you any favours. The Content Marketing Institute advises brands to create buyer personas, which isn’t a bad ploy at all.

It sounds bizarre, but by creating a made-up person who has specific interests and needs, you will find it easier to stay on track. Before you update your social channels, think about whether your post will engage these people. If not, don’t bother.

3)   Figure out the best ways to measure ROI

This is where many businesses slip up. How do you know if your social media work is worthwhile if you aren’t tracking results?

Forward Role uses a number of different methods in order to measure the overall return on investment. Platforms like Followerwonk are particularly useful for assessing the reach of tweets and which posts have generated the most engagement, while the Insights function offered by Facebook also enables Forward Role to see which posts are performing well and which type of people are responding positively to these posts (Insights gives you an idea of who is ‘liking’, sharing and commenting on your posts based on their age, gender and other variables).

Most importantly, you need to analyse exactly how many new leads on your website are being generated by social media. This is where you need somebody who has experience of working with analytics tools, as they can identify trends that can shape your future strategies.

4)   Think of the logistics

social media marketing strategy tips

It’s crucial that you base your ongoing strategy on the data that has been garnered from your analytics. If tweets or LinkedIn articles about certain subjects have performed well, it would be foolish not to explore these same topics again in a fresh, creative way.

When tailoring your strategy, you need to bear the following in mind:

  • How can I get my on-site content seen by as many people as possible?
  • Which industry influencers are we looking to interact with?
  • What can we do to get people talking about our brand?
  • Can we encourage our happy clients to leave positive feedback?
  • Are we capable of reacting to questions, criticism or just general chat from our followers within an acceptable time-frame?

The latter is a particularly interesting issue that is catching a lot of companies out. Research shows us that consumers are increasingly demanding when it comes to social media interactions. If you fail to respond to their tweet or Facebook message within an hour, there’s a chance they’ll start to harbour negative feelings towards your brand. Forward Role ensures that the logistics of running a busy social media channel are taken care of, with a member of the team always on hand to reply to incoming messages quickly.

When setting up your social media team, you should ensure that your staff are flexible, creative and fully understand how your brand wants to be portrayed in the public domain.

5)   Think before you tweet

social media marketing strategy tips

As this blog post by online marketing agency Bring Digital shows, brands sometimes tweet before they’ve had time to think.

This is understandable given the fact that consumers expect firms to respond to them in double-quick time, but tweeting in a hurry can end badly. Social media can be a ruthless place, with any mistakes – especially those made by larger brands – quickly going viral.

At Forward Role, we regularly get together to discuss the pitfalls of social networking. We sometimes recreate embarrassing scenarios, before discussing in depth how we would have dealt with the situation. It’s all about being prepared.

6)   Be creative

Primarily, you need to ensure the content you post on social media is aligned with your end goals.

The Forward Role social team meet at the start of each week to discuss an agenda. Of course, the business already has a long-term social strategy in place (usually running on a quarterly basis), but in order to run successful campaigns, you need to make sure you’re fully up to speed on the latest industry developments.

Pinpoint which news items or announcements are generating debate in your industry, and then jump into these conversations, offering an alternative viewpoint wherever possible. For Forward Role, any news of a new Google algorithm update, for example, works really well, especially if we can provide a different, thought-provoking angle. By sharing relevant content – preferably from our own website – we can demonstrate that we’re on top of everything that’s happening within our field of expertise.

7)   Run a blog in parallel to your social accounts

A large chunk of our social media strategy is heavily linked to the content we produce for our blog.

You only have 140 characters to grab someone’s attention on Twitter, but if you can offer them a link to something more substantial to read, you’re far more likely to interact with them. This is why article headlines are so crucial. There’s a fine line between spammy clickbait and boring, uninspiring titles, so you need to find the right balance.

Articles that have worked particularly well for us on social media include ’12 Types of Recruitment Consultants You’ve Probably Met or Worked With!’ and ‘Top 7 Graduate Mistakes When Applying for a Job’. These performed well because the titles inform the reader that they’re going to garner a certain number of tips from the articles and they are also based on subjects that our target audience will relate to.

‘How to’ articles are also effective most of the time. If you can gauge which questions your target audience are asking, you can instantly grab their attention by writing a piece that provides the answers. Again, this is where strong research comes into play, which is something that a lot of businesses tend to neglect or underestimate when planning their social media workloads.

Having an interesting, regularly-updated blog makes it much easier to drive traffic from Twitter to your website. It also gives you more power over the type of subjects that you will be talking about on social networking channels. One key tip is to ensure your onsite content and social strategies are intertwined.

8)   Make a strategy… and write it down!

You’ll be amazed at how many brands fail to actually write down their social media and content strategies.

Research shows that having a documented strategy is more likely to lead to success, which really shouldn’t surprise us, but clearly there are a lot of businesses that think they can store all of their plans in their heads. Make sure your strategy is written down and then review it on a regular basis. If your KPIs change, for example, you need to refresh your strategy, so don’t lock it away for months on end.

This free Search and Social Media Marketing course  can offer some further steps towards a successful social media strategy development.

About Nick Taylor

Nick Taylor is a member of the PR team at Forward Role Recruitment – a North-West-UK based business that specialises in marketing, analytics and digital recruitment.