A social media marketing strategy should be a sub-section of a broader marketing strategy for an organisation.
Step 1: Locate the marketing strategy and determine where the social media tools will enhance what is already there. If there is no marketing strategy then this is an opportunity to develop one that includes social media.
Step 2: Ask the questions: who; what; why; where; and how. Who is your audience or community? What are you going to do in those social media spaces? Why is this important or needed? Where in the social media landscape do you wish to play? How will this be done on a regular basis?
Step 3: Reword this information into strategic planning terminology. What is your mission, aims, objectives? How will these be translated into actions? What outcomes do you expect? How will you measure and evaluate this? What is the demographic information about your community? What are the realistic capabilities of your organisation?
Step 4: As part of an organisation there is a requirement to abide by “the rules” so locating the governing documentation is imperative. As is making sure all of the staff are well versed in these measures. Is there a social media policy? Is there an organisational marketing plan? Is there a social media procedure? What about the staff code of conduct? And the corporate style guide and branding? Has risk been assessed? Who are the people responsible for marketing, media and promotions in the organisation? How do the social media tools integrate with the organisations website? What is the role of the IT Department in this strategy?
Step 5: Larger issues too need consideration, such as: freedom of speech; copyright; privacy; security; and human rights. Locating the relevant information about these issues is important and then informing your staff.
Step 6: Then put it all together into a document that sits within the broader marketing strategy. A typical structure as suggested by Ned Potter might be (Potter, 2012, p. 35):
- Executive summary
- Internal campaign details
- Market research
- Market segmentation
- Promotion methods and activities
- Method of measurement
- Evaluation framework
- Areas of responsibility
- Cost analysis
Alternatively you might like to map out the strategy in a less linear fashion. This map, offered by Gary Hayes and Laurel Papworth, shows a progressive journey through: involvement; creation; discussion; promotion; and measurement. (Hayes, 2008, slide 37)
So how do you know if your marketing strategy is successful? According to Hayes, “The winners are those who enable the conversation.” (Hayes, 2008, slide 73)
Hayes, G. (2008). The future of social media entertainment. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/hayesg31/future-of-social-media-entertainment-presentation-690535
Potter, N. (2012). The library marketing toolkit. Facet Publishing, London