Let’s start with a basic premise: social media marketing is not a spontaneous process. It requires knowledge, analysis, continuity and sensitivity. In a business context, social media are so much more than simply message boards where you unload undifferentiated content, posts or adds. Indiscriminately marking every channel with your presence, disregarding form and content, serves no purpose.

Social media are strategic channels that must be handled with professionalism and careful planning, just as you would with any other area of business or with more traditional marketing channels.

In this blog post, we take you through the basics of any social media strategy: strategy, activation and analytics.

1. Listen to your target

Social media is a great relationship-building channel. Understanding the interests, tastes and habits of the people we want to target – listening, in other words – is the primary task of any social media strategy. Your content begins to take shape when you identity your target’s profile, and to do this you need to listen and listen again.

It is also essential to understand the prevailing image surrounding your brand, so you know where and in which direction to take action.

2. Trace their profile

If you haven’t already set up your identikit of potential buyers, start out by deciding the key demographics of your target audience: age, gender, occupation, income, hobbies and interests.

Deciding your target is key to understanding what these users are experiencing, what they’re looking for and what they need. Focus on 3-4 types of people that could serve as models for the majority of your target audience. This will be followed by more in-depth and precise profiling.

3. Draw up your editorial calendar

All strategies are based on scheduling activities: the editorial plan is more than just a reminder, it is a mental map that organizes, rationalizes, and creates a common thread between a stream of activities that would otherwise be disjointed and haphazard.

Having an editorial calendar gives you an overview of your content, which is key to seeing beyond the short-term and being able to assess which parts of your communications deserve more focus and a greater investment of time and resources.

4. Create original content

Content lies at the heart of a successful social media strategy. This is where you will focus most of your attention, to create high-quality, trending content (essential) that is not a rehash (or worse, a copy) of content found on the web.

The wider umbrella of content includes blog posts, ebooks, white papers, guides, infographics, videos, case studies, which must be interesting, useful and educational: this way customers will be more inclined to share your posts on social media, thereby expanding your user audience.

How often? It depends on the type of social network, but publishing at least one new post per week is the recommended minimum.

5. Choose the right channels

Social media are not the yellow pages. Rather than tapping into all channels available, using rushed automation techniques, it is much better to manage a few well-selected social networks. Every social media has its own language and needs time to manage and adapt content.

The biggest mistake is automatically publishing the same post to multiple social networks, e.g. linking Twitter to Facebook, or Instagram with Facebook, leaving out tags and hashtags.

Most small businesses rely on a user base that enables them to establish and maintain a strong presence on just a handful of social media channels. So before engaging in multiple social networks, do research to find out on which channels your target is most active, so you can put your time and effort into a relevant community.

6. Analyze the results

What you can’t measure, you can’t optimize. That’s the motto. Thanks to the analytics of individual platforms (Twitter Analytics, Insights from Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram and Google Analytics), there’s no shortage of useful data. What really counts is setting up the right metrics to give your brand real indicators of your strategy’s progress.

During your analysis, the extremes are never good: be it a lack of data or too much.

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