You hear all the hoopla and read all the headlines. Social media has eclipsed many traditional marketing outlets in usefulness and only continues to gather steam.
It’s no wonder. Look back to when businesses were stuck advertising through mass media such as TV and print. Marketers must’ve lamented, “If only we had a way to communicate directly with people, one-on-one, yet also en masse simultaneously. What magic it would be!”
Social media is more than a magical trend. With more than 3 billion people using social media at least once a month and 11 more joining them every second of the day, social media is now a way of life. And if your business isn’t on social, you ain’t livin’.
It’s Time to Build a Social Media Marketing Strategy
You may or may not be the person actually hitting the “post” button, but you need to be part of developing your company’s social media marketing strategy because it’s such a large part of how people perceive your business.
- What topics do you want to discuss on social?
- Who, specifically, do you want to engage with directly?
- Are you going to be the voice of wisdom at all times or do you have a funny bone you want to show off?
- Should you add your logo to your images?
- What’s the best time to post on LinkedIn?
- How in the world will you know if what you’re doing is working?
This post eliminates the need to search for answers to these and many other social media marketing strategy questions. I’ve done the work for you! This post:
- Shares links to guides, webinars, online courses, checklists, and blog posts to help you develop a solid social media marketing strategy that actually works, and
- Shares information on each to help you decide which resources are best for what (and how) you want to learn.
The resources are from four top social media marketing software and service providers: HootSuite, Marketo, Buffer, and Sprout Social.
I stay away from the heaviest sales-oriented material but you will notice that each publisher is at some point promoting its own products or services.
That doesn’t take away from their expertise on the subject, though. In fact, it enhances it. Their recommendations and advice are not only valid – you can also be sure that their advice is tried and proven true. These players have resources and smart teams of marketers to ensure they get all this stuff correct.
Who knows, you may even opt to use one of their paid products or services to your advantage. Certainly, they are all top-notch trustworthy vendors. And I get nothing out of the deal — no kickbacks, no affiliated advantages. Just the satisfaction that I’ve (hopefully) saved you some time and effort.
But first, take note: It doesn’t matter if you follow every recommendation to a T. Your efforts are surely doomed to complete and utter failure unless you adhere to:
Social Media Marketing Strategy Ground Rule #1:
Create and Promote Amazing Content
As with every aspect of a successful marketing plan, you have to build a solid foundation on which to base your work. That means you need to consistently produce well-written content designed to meet your content marketing goals and to be of value to your audience.
You must take the time to create content that engages, inspires, educates, and entertains legal professionals.
If the content you share on social media is terrible, it hardly matters how often, when, or where you share it. It will always fail. By “terrible,” I’m talking about content that legal professionals aren’t interested in and don’t care about.
Terrible content is poorly written and difficult to scan quickly. It’s all the things you find in the links in the Wayback Machine that take you to websites created in the 1990s, which might as well be the 1790s in computer years.
For more on what NOT to do when creating new content, download the free PDF “7 Reasons Attorneys Don’t Read Your Content (and What You Can Do About Them).”
HootSuite Guide: Creating a Social Media Strategy
HootSuite created this 7-page guide as a “first step towards learning more” about creating a strategy for your business. This is just an appetizer, but it’s a good one. The full meat and potatoes are at HootSuite University.
HootSuite’s guide helps you:
- Determine which sites are most beneficial to post to and when to post on them
- Decide how large your social media presence should be
- Identify the right metrics to use to measure your progress
- Learn how and why to engage current customers online
Also assess where you are now, set new goals, and analyze competitors. The guide discusses ground rules for developing a solid content strategy (my favorite subject!) for sharing on social media. And how to measure your progress.
This guide is an introduction of sorts to HootSuite University where marketers get certified in social media marketing. Certification calls for much more time, effort and money than you probably want to invest at this point.
But if you’d like more thorough guidance than their 7-page guide, check out:
HootSuite Free Online Course: “Social Marketing Training”
- Optimizing social media profiles
- Social media strategy from A – Z including:
- Goals, objectives, KPIs, tactics, timing and key dates, budgeting, defining your persona and voice, incorporating content marketing in a social context, governance and crisis management, and measuring ROI.
- Growing your advocate community
- Content marketing fundamentals including:
- How to craft a content strategy, best practices for content curation, creation, and sharing, and tactics for measurement
- Social advertising fundamentals
Marketo’s guide is truly definitive. The real deal for sure. Marketo also loaded its impressive 90+ page guide with super cool features such as checklists and worksheets for the hands-on learner.
The guide has SO much information that it is, without a doubt, useful to anyone who reads it. Marketo states that it is for beginners, intermediate users, and experts and is designed to help you:
- Choose the right social media platforms for your brand (and get specific tips and tricks to use on each)
- Learn how often to post on each platform
- Create an editorial calendar
- Measure the effectiveness of social media campaigns
And so SO so much more. A guide over 90 pages touches on nearly every aspect of not only social media marketing but inbound marketing in general including:
- The 6 stages of the customer lifecycle
- Establishing writing guidelines and creating engaging content
- Harnessing the power of photos and videos
Also, learn how to create a social advertising strategy and how to develop a social media calendar. They even show you how to build a social media team, if that’s your jam. And, of course, no guide would be complete without sharing how to measure the ROI of your strategies.
Marketo Worksheet: How to Build a Social Media Calendar
This is just one of many worksheets Marketo offers for free to help you work out your social media marketing strategy and planning on paper.
Use this 23-page PDF download to create a plan to manage your daily, monthly, and yearly social media activities. Get a realistic idea of how much time and energy you’ll need to devote to your social media marketing, which up till now has been an arbitrary concept. Working and planning it all out on paper makes it real and gives you clear ideas of the commitments you’re making.Use the worksheet from @Marketo to get a realistic idea of how much time and energy you need to devote to your social media marketing Click To Tweet
Sprout combats the crippling myth that because you’re a B2B marketer, you’re automatically boring and your social media is instantly dull. Get key tips for working your way out of this negative mindset and into one of positive growth.
The post shares plenty of real-life examples of social media posts that exemplify the points they make. It also provides a list of important questions to ask when writing out your strategy.
And there’s an important guide on B2B best practices for behaving on social media, including a list of Do’s and Don’ts, which are critical live-and-learn aspects that go much easier if you get a heads up first.
Sprout shares 7 steps to create a winning social media marketing strategy in 2018 in this post that is chock full tips on how to:
- Determine which goals are most important for you to consider
- Research your audience
- Establish your most important metrics
- Research your competitors
- Build and curate engaging content
- Engage with your audience
- Track your efforts and improve
The careful data provided in each section is highly valuable in helping you understand not just how but also why certain strategies will or won’t work best for your business. For example, Sprout shares audience demographics for several platforms to help you determine where to focus.Get a great guide to B2B best practices for behaving on social media from @SproutSocial, including a list of Do’s and Don’ts--critical live-and-learn aspects that go easier if you get a heads up first! Click To Tweet
Buffer Free Email Course: 25 Expert Social Media Growth Strategies
Buffer says its 25-day email course helps you become a social media marketing expert in as little as 10 minutes a day.
This is another good choice for the hands-on learner and for those who don’t have a lot of time all at once to devote to learning. You receive daily lessons that include video tutorials, data, examples, and exercises to demonstrate what works in real life.
An overview of just a few courses includes:
- Tools for content curation and image creation — super helpful!!
- 10 free stock photography resources
- Using social media algorithms in your favor
- Create an educational screen recording to sell your product
- 6 time-saving social media tools
Of course, there is much, much more to be had over 25 days of emails. These are strategies the Buffer team now uses so you know they really work.
Buffer’s post provides a “framework you can use to make sure your social media marketing efforts are heading in the right direction and having the biggest impact this year.”
This guide delves deep into 5 steps of the framework to offer tips and suggestions to improve how you:
- Set social media goals that align with your company’s goals
- Break goals down into tactics
- Prioritize your efforts
- Set tasks and due dates
- Analyze results and adjust your efforts
Examples give a good idea of how others have successfully applied these strategies in real life, which is critical to understanding how to make them work for you.The 25-day free social media marketing email course from @SproutSocial is perfect for those who have just a few minutes a day to devote to learning. Click To Tweet
All four of these providers have TONS and TONS — just HEAPS, literally HEAPS — of content about social media marketing. Dig around. Subscribe. Watch. Listen. Read. And most importantly, enjoy your social media marketing strategy building!