This article originally appeared on TOKY.com.
In our last social media tutorial, we walked through seven essential truths of digital marketing. This week, we’ll look at an easy-to-remember mnemonic device to help create a digital marketing strategy.
“Work smarter, not harder.”
We’ve all heard it, most likely from some glib corporate-type that you swear walked right off the set of Office Space and handed you a stack of TPS reports. But before you roll your eyes and get a “case of the Mondays,” I’d like to suggest that (at least in this instance) working smart is actually great advice, even if it’s a bit of a dead horse.
Designing a digital marketing strategy can be daunting. There are a lot of questions: Where do you want to invest your energy? Who is your audience? Why does this even matter?
And we’ll get to how to investigate each of these answers in the future. All of these answers will fail to deliver without a keen understanding of strategy. It isn’t enough to have locked down your social media handles and filled out profile pictures and bios. Operating without a digital marketing strategy only results in scattershot communication — if you put enough out there maybe something will stick, right? Think again. Blind social media chatter and crossed fingers is a flimsy base for your digital voice.
Step away from the keyboard and pull out a pencil and paper. We’re going to teach you how to create a SMART social media strategy.
A SMART social media strategy starts with appreciating and fully understanding your communication goals.
Take stock of where you are now and where you want to be at the end of your strategy. Let’s call this the big picture.
Start with a 100 mile view — your brand voice and values. Everything from this point forward, your audience, approach, and messages themselves — starts here.
Identify the steps that will get you your desired results. This narrows the focus to the 100 yard view — ask what messages and stories can you feature that dovetail into your identity.
Now that you’re telling your story, use your engagement to your benefit. This is the 100 foot view — crafting actionable messages that stay true to your brand and speak directly to individual audiences and social platforms.
The 100 mile, 100 yard, and 100 foot views are the basis of your SMART social media strategy.
Set SMART Marketing Goals
SMART goals are mnemonic shorthand for remembering the most important facets of building successful marketing strategies.
In creating goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound, your digital marketing communication strategy is built on a firm foundation.
Chances are, you wouldn’t take off on a trip without an idea of where you’re going. Especially when your business’s success is riding on your arrival. But if you’re chattering on social media without a purpose, this is essentially what you’re doing for your brand.
It isn’t enough anymore to have claimed your own little corner of Facebook and Twitter. Brand-consumer relationships are easier to build through social media, but if conversions (or sales or lead generation) are your goal, you need to take it beyond being a “friendly” brand.
Defining WHY your brand is on on social media is the first step of your SMART strategy.
It’s tempting to think that social media plus activity equals success and leave your strategy at that. It’s not. Hanging out at the gym doesn’t make you buff. You have to put the work into it through specific exercises and repetition.
Vague doesn’t equal awesome. Start with a specific goal that identifies the tasks that will carry your strategy toward success.
When you’re serious about digging into your digital strategy, you’ll need to understand how what you’re doing directly influences your results. Establishing criteria for goals and outcomes can help provide benchmarks as well as illustrate areas where your strategy could be stronger.
These metrics help define the WHAT of a SMART social media strategy.
Quantifiable results make understanding your data easier. With goals that you can work toward, your efforts gain focus and the cause and effect become more evident. Goal markers help you set a pace for your digital marketing work as well as provide a simple measure to report on achievements. This lets everyone on the team understand how the various parts of a marketing strategy are working together with the evidence to back it up.
A lot of people tend to view marketing on social media as a lead-generating magic bullet. A sort of “if you tweet it, they will come” idea. It’s not. A social media profile doesn’t guarantee the consumer floodgates will open for your brand. That’s why it’s important to set goals that are realistic as well as quantifiable and detailed.
Stepping back to take an honest assessment of your brand identity, marketing efforts, and existing audience will help you set an attainable goal for growth. Setting your incremental call-to-action helps define WHERE your strategy will drive your audience.
We live in a “buy it now” world. We’re used to getting what we want when we want it. In a lot of ways, this culture sets up false expectations. Digital media marketing is a long haul, more like watching the stock market rather than instant gratification. So long as the overall trend is moving in the desired direction, there is at least a portion of your strategy that is working. If your metrics remain stagnant or drop, it may be time to examine your efforts and shake things up.
Setting attainable and realistic goals helps keep perspective and provides an opportunity to build toward every goal that follows.
No one wants to be a small fish in a huge pond. When you’re launching (or re-launching) your brand digitally, you may feel like your fanbase doesn’t stack up against the competition. Much like those spam emails offering “enlargement” pills, many brands fall into the quick fix trap of buying “likes” and followers.
Don’t ever, ever, ever do this!
Purchased audiences are spam just like those junk emails. They artificially inflate your numbers but don’t offer any benefits other than vanity. It won’t increase your engagement and can actually devalue a relationship with your authentic followers.
Why? Because they aren’t relevant to your brand and goals. If you haven’t taken the time to define your target audiences, go back to step one.
Defining relevant specifics ensures that your efforts are being supported in helpful ways. This helps define the WHO of your SMART strategy and identity.
Without targeting relevant audiences and goals (i.e. relevant potential leads), your conversion and engagement rates won’t see much success.
We’ve all been there. When you have a project with a looming deadline, it’s easier to motivate yourself to work on it (even if it ends up being last minute). Without that deadline, the task would keep getting moved down the list of to-dos in favor of more pressing items that needed to be done yesterday.
Benchmarks for a timing are the last step in your SMART strategy. Similar to ensuring attainable goals, time-bound goals help build in metrics for success. This additional timely facet also shapes accountability.
Simply put, tasks with a deadline won’t get lost in the shuffle. You’re less likely to let them slide. Plus, adding time-bound goals to your digital marketing strategy establishes regular periods of evaluation and retooling. Timely benchmarks encourage evaluation and help manage the workload through accountability.
Time-bound goals define expectations of WHEN in a digital marketing strategy.
Setting goals with a clear due date keeps your overall digital strategy on schedule, making this last item a truly SMART goal.
Ok, SMARTypants. Get going!
By throwing your hat into the social media realm, you’re already stated your brand’s WHY value: to establish a digital marketing presence and build a relationship with your audience. SMART goals help focus your marketing attention on the how, what, where, who, and when in order to help you do so successfully.
- Specific = How you’ll do it
- Measureable = What you’ll do
- Attainable = Where you’re going
- Relevant = Who you’re talking to
- Time-Bound = When you expect results
Together, these SMART goals set authentic expectations for quality over quantity and ensure that your goals are actually helpful in getting your brand where you want it to be on social media.
Still feeling overwhelmed? Don’t be! From content designed for organic search to driving ticket sales online, TOKY’s Brand Publishing Team can help you get the most out of your digital and social media marketing. Give us a call or drop us a line.