When you’ve started to get the wheels rolling on your business, it’s tempting to hop straight into marketing your service or product immediately. You might get lucky and just garner some explosive conversions, but in most cases, going in without a proper plan with set goals in mind might provide you a meager ROI compared to your expectations.
A proper strategy and concise plan not only allows you to spring something cohesive into action but also helps you measure how successful it was. Slowing down and taking the time to think about how you’re going to go about your campaign gives you a different perspective from the outset.
Step 1: Establish the groundwork with goals
Before you lay out a plan, you need to know what you want to get out of your campaign. Using the S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) framework, as cheesy as it sounds, is very conducive to social media marketing.
Here’s a good example of a set goal: I’m going to find two micro-influencers on Instagram who specialize in my niche to help hype up my product over the next month through an affiliate link promotion to test the waters.
Step 2: Erase all “pie in the sky” optimism
If it’s your first time ever promoting something on social media, don’t go in with optimistic expectations. Simply use a small budget to test the waters and use the results from that tiny campaign to determine whether you need to make adjustments to squeeze out the best ROI from your project.
“Going all in” and slamming all the chips on the table from the start will leave you very little room for experimentation and put unnecessary pressure on your campaign. A more patient and measured approach (remember, S.M.A.R.T. framework) helps you garner experience and test variables that could yield more ROI than you expect.
Remember, a weak campaign you spent $100 on has far less impact than one in which you’ve invested $20,000. And if a campaign turns out to resonate well with the audiences you’re trying to reach (i.e., you’re getting more conversions than expected) you can simply take the lessons from that and scale it up.
Unlike traditional media advertising, the online world provides a ton of flexibility in terms of the scales you’re allowed to work with. A magazine that has a circulation of more than 50,000 can’t adjust its print just for you on 200 copies, but the internet can do all of this and more!
Step 3: Start forming the plan
Plans for marketing campaigns don’t have to be incredibly complex. You just need a set of goals—which you’ve presumably already established the groundwork for—and a budget to work with.
Now, it’s time to determine what venue you want to use. If a significant proportion of your customers ask you whether you have a presence on one particular social media network, you should probably start with that one.
The best venue is one where you can locate potential customers. If you don’t already have customers asking you about your presence anywhere, look at what other companies in your niche are doing and where they’re most active.
You’ve already established S.M.A.R.T. goals, which usually are short term baby-step milestones, but you now need to establish goals that take more time to produce results. At first, make a plan for the next half year.
If you’re able to keep up with a 6-month strategy, then it shouldn’t be hard to transition to an annual perspective.
Aside from using influencers who have an already-established presence on social media, it’s useful to make your own presence as well. For this, you’ll need to set up a steady schedule which will provide a predictable trickle of posts that you can keep to.
At the same time, your grand plan should incorporate a periodic reflection of what you need to adjust to meet your long-term goals. Maybe start with weekly or monthly analyses as the influx of people to your business isn’t going to be explosive at first.
Step 4: Lift-off!
Now that you have a plan, it’s time to start executing it! As you start, remember to use analytics software like Google Analytics or Hootsuite to help you measure your campaign progress.
Take what’s successful, expand on it, and compare new campaigns to the old ones. Eventually, you’ll get the gist of what it takes to have a monster marketing strategy.