4 Key Elements of an Effective Social Media Strategy (and Tools to Help) – Social Media Today

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In order to set your business up for optimal social media marketing success, you need to develop a clear and documented strategy and approach for all of your efforts.  
That said, a surprising number of businesses and marketers don’t actually have a documented plan. Instead, they create content as and when it’s needed, post it up and then hope for the best. A recent study conducted by Sprout Social found that around half of marketers say that their top challenge is creating social strategies to support their overall business goals.
This presents a significant opportunity for those looking to stand out from the crowd on social media. By planning your activities ahead of time, you can focus on your objectives, and on creating content specifically designed to help you achieve those marketing goals. 
In this post, I’m going to outline some effective tips and tools you can use in order to better create, manage, and measure your social media strategy.
As noted, in order to succeed at social media marketing, and to get your team working together towards common goals, you have to have a strategy. Your social media strategy will guide all the actions that you need to take on social networks, and will also help you to determine whether you’re failing or succeeding – and what you can do to improve your results. 
Within your plan, you need to cover off on the following key elements:
In this initial planning stage, there’ll be a lot of collaboration, a lot of back-and-forth with your team and, most likely, a lot of debate. 
To help with this process, you can look to use a planning and collaboration tool so that you can handle all of the process in one place, and easily collaborate with others on your project. Plus, this also helps ensure that your plan is clearly documented at each step.
One good option to consider is Monday.com, which is a team management/workflow tool that you can also use to plan your social media strategy. 
The way it works, in short, is that you create “boards”, either from scratch or by using one of their templates, and invite your team to join. You can then start creating and collaborating within relevant board topics.
If you want to do all of your planning on one board, you definitely have that option – you can assign tasks and set deadlines, and use color-coded status markers to track progress. You can also keep tabs on time spent by each team member, create checklists, and much more. 
You can also use different boards for different parts of the planning stage – for example, you could use a social media schedule board to plan individual updates (like the one in the screenshot above), one for a complete overview of the project/campaign, one to track social content production and so on. 
Using a management tool like this is a great, efficient way to keep a handle on the various threads of your plan.
Another key social media marketing consideration is content – to help build your brand presence, increase awareness and grow your following, you need to schedule and post new updates regularly. If you don’t, you’ll lose followers and engagement on your social media pages.
To put it in another way, without consistency, you’ll struggle to get results on social media.
That said, posting on several social media networks means that you also need to adjust your schedule to each networks’ rules and posting frequency. 
And if you’re thinking you can solely share updates through a manual posting process, you might want to reconsider. This can eat up hours of your time, time that would be much better spent engaging with your audience or creating content, for example. Posting manually is also more difficult to maintain, and as noted, that consistency is critical, as is meeting your followers when they’re most likely to be active online. 
A better way to maintain consistency for your social media updates is to schedule them. This way, you can send content to followers and still free up time for other marketing activities – particularly, as noted, creating new content and engaging with users and customers. Furthermore, you can track mentions of your pages and profiles and stay on top of overall engagement. 
Agorapulse is one tool you can consider – Agorapulse can help you schedule your social media updates, while also providing a full view of your social media calendar. You can also schedule different types of content, to different networks, from within your queue.
If there’s a single post you want to share on all your social media accounts at once, Agorapulse enables you to create the post once and push to all your accounts. Adding to this, you can also reply to your audience, and like and reshare updates right in your Agorapulse dashboard. 
This app also has team features built-in, through which can you can assign different social media tasks to your team members. With this, you can save considerable time and become more productive.
If every time customers talked about your business online, they also mentioned your brand profile specifically, marketers’ lives would be so much easier. Unfortunately, however, this is not always the case.
People will actually rarely mention your business directly, meaning that most businesses lose the opportunity to act on such. A study by Brandwatch found that some 96% of untagged brand mentions go without a response.
Of course, tracking direct mentions is vital for your business – but beyond that, you need to track other mentions apart from your business and product names.
Generally, the most important types of mentions you should track for your business are:
When you track these types of mentions, you’ll expand your opportunities – for example, tracking these mentions can help you to:
Mention.com is a listening tool which can help you to track your mentions on the web and in social media. Mention will also help you to analyze trends from conversations about mentions, and alert you to the same.
You can also filter your mentions by positive and negative sentiment, and keep tabs on the most influential people discussing your brand online. There are also options for assigning team members to select tasks to streamline your workflow.
Engaging in social media discussion and building your digital presence is great, but measuring the results of those efforts is equally important.
The two elements should never go without the other – this is what will help you track the effectiveness of your strategy, and what will tell you whether you’re moving in the right direction, in alignment with your overall goals, or not. 
Measuring your results shouldn’t just be after your campaign – rather, it’s something that you should be doing regularly. Through this, you can update and optimize your strategy, and ensure that you’re doing everything possible to reach your agreed targets. 
But what’s important to note here is that the metrics you need to measure will depend on your social media goals.
What are you trying to achieve through social media? Many businesses use social media for:
Before you begin your campaign, you need to state your goals clearly, and note the metrics that will enable you to determine whether you’ve achieved them or not.
A robust social media analytics tool that you can use for measuring your results is Keyhole.co. Keyhole can help you to track your campaign hashtags, keywords, usernames or URLs, while also providing more in-depth analytic insights.
Keyhole can also help you find relevant influencers who are using your target hashtag/s in their social media updates. And if you decide to partner with these influencers, Keyhole can provide analytics, so that you can better understand the impact of each influencer on your goals.
To produce your desired results on social media, you need to create a social media strategy – and even more, you need to manage this strategy to ensure it remains effective.
An important part is using a team management tool to plan your strategy and enhance collaboration. Then you need to schedule your updates, engage with followers, track mentions, and measure and optimize your results.
Using these tips and tools, you can take a big step towards using social media to increase brand awareness, capture leads and acquire customers.
– Lilach Bullock @lilachbullock
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