Measure Twice, Cut Once, Repeat: The Importance of Strategy in Social Media Marketing

This guest post was submitted by Erin Mueller, a Marketing Assistant with Webspec Design, operator of @TweetDesMoines, and impending graduate of the DMACC Marketing/Sales & Management programs.

Marketing StrategyAsk any business owner how their company is doing on social media and you’ll be sure to hear a lot of comments about how they could use more likes, a more engaged audience, and more consistent updates. The operative word being “more.” Take Facebook, for instance. These metrics are all easily noticed by the general public. Just by visiting a business’ Facebook page, we can see how engaged the business is with their followers, how often they update, the number of likes posts are generating on average, what content is being shared, and so forth. Some people make it look easy while others make it look like it would be easy to fix. Neither is true.

Before building or rebuilding a social media campaign, goals must be understood. As a marketer, I meet with the client to go over the list of what they’d like accomplished. I research their strengths and weaknesses, then research the competition. In all research, I’m looking for what’s worked in the past and what we could make work for us in the future. Also important – what didn’t work? Why didn’t it? If it was a good idea that could work with a different strategy and/or follow-through, it’s worth noting.

Once realistic goals are established, it’s time to build measurable objectives. It’s easy to say, “I want to gain more, more, more!” Going the easy route won’t help anyone in this situation. Instead, lay out a 30-60-90 day plan with weekly benchmarks based on your goals. Putting a time limit on each objective will help you stay on track and allow the client to see exactly what you’re completing.

Before moving forward, I need to take a moment to make a plea. Something I hear constantly and can’t help but wince while I hear screaming in my head is, “I read somewhere that the best time to post on Facebook/Twitter is between the hours of (blank) and (blank).” Let me just take the time now and beg you to stop paying attention to those infographics you see on Pinterest. Every business is different, which means every audience is different. Insights are there for a reason. Use them! Now back to the regularly scheduled post.

You’re ready. Your goals aren’t insane, your objectives make sense, and you’re ready to roll! Nothing else to do but put your head down and start following through on your plan, never looking up, right? No! That’s exactly how so many campaigns fail. Remember that term you kept discussing in pretty much every marketing class? It’s back, it’s real, and it rhymes with “schmamalyze.” It’s not enough just to analyze results, though. Be ready and willing to change course when something isn’t working. If you’re in marketing or hope to be soon, you’re probably like me and a little obsessed with using past insights to optimize future results because it only helps you control your campaign. If you’re not as in love with the “control” part of marketing, just think of Drake’s “Controlla,” smile, and do it anyway.

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For a more in-depth learning experience on achieving success with social media marketing, complete the Digital Marketing course or Digital Marketing Certificate offered by Des Moines Area Community College!

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