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SOCIAL MARKETING

STRATEGY & PLANNING KIT


The Three Fundamentals of Setting a Successful Strategy

Introduction | 01
Setting a Social Strategy | 02
Why Marketers Need a Social Analytics Strategy | 03
The Two Core Functions of Social Analytics | 04
Planning: The Three-Part Process | 05
Audience Analysis | 07
Conversation Analysis | 9
Competitive Analysis | 11
Turning Insight into Strategy | 12
Conclusion | 13

Introduction
How important is planning? To quote Abraham Lincoln, Give
me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four
sharpening the axe.
In many ventures, planning can mean the difference between
success and failure. In the social marketing space, proper
planning can mean the difference between understanding what
success looks like and operating with a blindfold.
Though many social marketers try to plan their strategy, they
often do so without complete information about how their
current programs are performing. Lacking this full analysis
can lead to inappropriate goals or missing the tactics that are
actually working.
In this paper, well highlight the three fundamental components of
the planning process, how they fit into an overall social analytics
strategy, and what that means. Well explain where marketers
often miss an opportunity to strengthen their planning process
and how to transform what theyre currently doing to support
high-growth, complex social media programs.

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THE THREE FUNDAMENTALS OF SETTING A SUCCESSFUL STRATEGY

Setting a Social Strategy


Setting a social strategy starts with analysis, as it would in any
marketing channel. Modern marketers dont have to make purely
qualitative decisions. The vast amount of data available for any
digital channel arms them with the ability to inform and quantify
their entire social marketing process.
Social marketers have three distinct needs to address in order to
be effective:
1. The ability to define and plan a social strategy.
2. The ability to execute on that strategy.
3. The ability to measure and optimize the success
of the strategy and execution.
No marketing strategy is complete without coming full circle
from planning to measurement. In order to execute tactics,
marketers have to plan a strategy and, in order to plan, they
have to understand how their efforts make an impact.

PLAN
EXECUTE
MEASURE

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THE THREE FUNDAMENTALS OF SETTING A SUCCESSFUL STRATEGY

Why Marketers Need a Social Analytics Strategy


Social analytics is becoming a more critical component in the
social marketing process, allowing marketers to plan and measure
the actions they take to execute on their social strategy. But,
creating an effective process for analysis remains a challenge.
According to the 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report by
Social Media Examiner, social marketers lack the understanding
necessary to developing a social strategy.

91%
88%
83%

of marketers dont know which


tactics work the best.
of marketers arent sure of the best way to
engage their audience on social media.
of marketers arent sure how to find their
target audience on social media.

A complete social analytics strategy doesnt leave any holes


in social marketers knowledge. It gives them access to the
information, analysis, and insight necessary to plan their strategy,
measure their performance, optimize their tactics, and tie social
activity to larger business outcomes.

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THE THREE FUNDAMENTALS OF SETTING A SUCCESSFUL STRATEGY

The Two Core Functions of Social Analytics


Most marketers dont have a well-defined approach to social
analytics. They havent had access to all the information
needed to plan and measure correctly on their social
marketing tactics so their process has simply been to use
whats readily available, or ignore the process of analysis all
together. This isnt optimal and wouldnt be acceptable in
other marketing channels.
As the category of social analytics has formalized, the
expectations of what the process should cover has grown to
include a wider set of needs and enable both the planning
and measuring components of the social marketing process
outlined above.
Social analytics informs the planning process with intelligence
from several different components of a brands social
ecosystem and the measurement process by enabling a brand
to understand the impact of its own activities.
For the purposes of this paper, well focus on how a lack of
understanding on the planning side of this analytics process
creates a vacuum for social marketers, and makes setting a
social strategy nearly impossible.

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THE THREE FUNDAMENTALS OF SETTING A SUCCESSFUL STRATEGY

Planning: The Three-Part Process


Analytics in the planning category involves collecting insight
and intelligence about a broader social ecosystem, focusing
outward instead of on specific brand activities to define
strategic initiatives.
Planning within social media marketing is composed of three
key types of analysis:

1. Audiences

2. Conversations

3. Competitors

Using just one of these components as a basis for social


strategy is an ineffective way of operating and leaves out
crucial information. By combining all three, marketers gain a
holistic view of their social landscape.
The outcome of the planning process, when done effectively,
is a set of goals and tactics that relate directly to business
objectives and follow the S.M.A.R.T. criteria, first introduced
by Peter Drucker in 1981.
S.M.A.R.T. defines an effective goal as one that is specific,
measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. In the
context of social analytics, each goal and outcome of the
planning practice should fit into the S.M.A.R.T. framework.
Specific

Is the goal well-defined? Does it align with


overall business objectives in a way that is clear
to leadership?

Measurable

How is success or failure of this goal defined?


What are the tactics associated with this goal, and
what is the point where a pivot or optimization
is needed?

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THE THREE FUNDAMENTALS OF SETTING A SUCCESSFUL STRATEGY

Attainable

Is this goal even possible? Is the goal aligned with


an understanding of the audience and interest
around the product or initiative?

Realistic

Does this goal fit with overall business objectives


in a scalable and manageable way?

Time-Bound

What is the time frame for this goal? When have


other brands in the same space reached similar
objectives?

One of the biggest mistakes of many social programs is


disconnecting the planning and strategic development of a
campaign from the tactical execution and measurement of that
campaign. Planning and measurement must both be thought
through at the same time to create success. In Altimeters
2014 Social Business Governance report, the analyst firm
highlights the importance of strategy and tactical management
(governance) being developed in unison.

If you develop governance at the same time


as strategy, you can present to leaders the full
picture: the what and when of strategy and the
how and who of governance.

- Altimeter Group

Each of the three categories of analysis - audiences,


conversations, and competitors - has unique components,
but in concert, they are essential to forming a social strategy,
including useful goals and the tactics necessary to achieve
those goals:

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THE THREE FUNDAMENTALS OF SETTING A SUCCESSFUL STRATEGY

Audience Analysis
Audience analysis is the process of profiling, segmenting, and
grouping people by demographics, interests, and behaviors.
By conducting an audience analysis across multiple channels and
segments, marketers are able to gather information about who
their audience is, what their interests are, and how they interact
with both brands and other users on social media. According to
Social Media Examiner, identifying opportunities with customers
is a major challenge for many marketers.

Figuring out how to target customers and prospects is a


big concern for marketers (83%). Because of the enormous
size of social networks combined with ever-changing
ways to connect with people, marketers need guidance.

- Social Media
Examiner

Audience analysis can help ensure that marketers reach the right
audience with the right message at the right time by informing
tactics for specific groups, identifying opportunities and risks,
and leveraging interests specific to certain groups.

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THE THREE FUNDAMENTALS OF SETTING A SUCCESSFUL STRATEGY

Audience analysis can be broken into two main categories with a


variety of analysis types that can inform strategy and tactics:
Behavior Analysis:
Influencers: By identifying active and influential followers and fans
based on audience size, posting frequency, and engagement trends,
marketers are able to learn tactics that sway audience opinion and
behavior, develop partnerships that build trust and loyalty, and interact
with segments they were unable to engage previously.

Engagement: By analyzing the engagement earned from their

current audience, marketers are able to identify the users already


interacting with their brand, highlighting key characteristics
and interaction tendencies to inform content creation, network
opportunities, and posting tactics.

Negative Response: Negative engagement analysis is an often-

overlooked component of audience analysis. By understanding the


reasons an audience has responded negatively, either by hiding a
post, marking it as spam, or responding with a negative comment
or reply, marketers are able to develop best practices to build into
their overall strategy.
Demographic Analysis:

Keywords: By analyzing keywords in content and profiles, marketers

can discover common interests, characteristics, occupations, and


sentiment around specific topics, giving them necessary insight
into they way they develop and target their campaigns.
Profiles: Profile analysis allows the marketing team to align
audience segments and personas to other marketing initiatives.
This alignment allows them to develop an understanding of how
their social strategy ties to larger business goals.
Social analytics around existing or prospective audiences allows
marketers to target people for outreach or advertising, align their
social audience segments to known customer types, ensuring the best
chance of success, and craft the right content and the right time to suit
audience preferences.

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THE THREE FUNDAMENTALS OF SETTING A SUCCESSFUL STRATEGY

Conversation Analysis
Conversation analysis is the process of identifying and
understanding conversations surrounding a brand, specific
topics, or any selected area of interest.
Clement Teo, Sr. Analyst at Forrester believes that conversation
analysis is a major blind spot for many brands.

Brands all too often mistake social media platforms


as a broadcast channel and rave about their own
products and services without first understanding
the conversations going around them.

- Clement Teo,
Sr. Analyst at
Forrester

Conversation analysis can frame the way marketers speak about


their own products and brand, how they interact with consumers
by leveraging the topics that are already being discussed, and
what tactics and conversations to avoid altogether.

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THE THREE FUNDAMENTALS OF SETTING A SUCCESSFUL STRATEGY

Conversation analysis can involve a variety of factors:


Volume

By identifying the volume and frequency with


which users are engaging in conversation around
a specific topic, marketers are able to evaluate the
value of their involvement.

Sentiment

Sentiment analysis allows marketers to identify hotbutton issues, interests, and an affinity for specific
topics among specific groups.

Relevance

By analyzing conversations around specific


products, topics, and areas of discussion, marketers
can determine the relevance of any number of
conversations, building their strategy around the
impact various activities would have.

Influence

By identifying the influential members involved


in different conversations, marketers are able to
allocate resources, set tactics, and establish an
overall strategy based on the topics that will drive
the most value and exposure for their brand. This
analysis, like many in the planning category, will
overlap with audience analysis.

Social analytics around conversations allows marketers to pull out


aggregate and specific findings, benchmarking and analyzing
details to help create and deliver a relevant brand story in the
most impactful context.

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THE THREE FUNDAMENTALS OF SETTING A SUCCESSFUL STRATEGY

Competitive Analysis
Competitive analysis is the process of looking at specific
companies within a chosen industry or segment, focusing on
their activities, benchmarks, and tactics to gain strategic insight.
Competitive analysis should be conducted on at least one of the
following sample sets:
Industry
Competitors

Companies competing for the same market


share, customers, and dollars.

Aspirational
Social
Competitors

Brands from the same space, or a similar one,


that are operating effectively and can provide
guidance.

Once the set of companies is established, competitive analysis


can be used to determine useful benchmarks and tactics.

Share of Voice: By identifying the share of audience,

engagement, or conversation in relation to a competitive set,


marketers are able to establish goals and benchmarks that
are specific, attainable, and realistic.

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THE THREE FUNDAMENTALS OF SETTING A SUCCESSFUL STRATEGY

Tactics: Competitive analysis gives marketers the ability to


set benchmarks and baselines for a variety of metrics that
can then inform tactics. Follower growth, posting frequency,
content type, and engagement levels are among the many
metrics that make competitive analysis valuable.
Social analytics on competitors allows marketers to discover
new areas of focus and tactics that can be integrated into a
brands strategy.

Turning Insight into Strategy


Armed with insight about their audience, competitors, and
relevant conversations, a social marketer is able to transform
their social planning into a more sophisticated process than the
current status quo, simply by organizing the information gleaned
through their analysis.
Audience, competitive, and conversation analysis arent
necessarily independent from one another, and as marketers
conduct these analyses, the potential for overlapping insight
and information is high. Its important to remember the
relationship between each type of analysis when developing
strategy. Information about how a competitive set relates
to conversation topics or audience segments can lead to a
previously unrecognized opportunity, or an area to avoid.

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THE THREE FUNDAMENTALS OF SETTING A SUCCESSFUL STRATEGY

Social marketers are now ready to go through the following


steps, which help them sort through their findings and develop
a complete strategy and action plan.

Aggregate: Compile the insights gained from each of the


three areas of analysis. For example, marketers can organize
and group information about conversations with similar
insight about audience segments and competitors.

Align: Align this newly aggregated insight with overall

business and marketing objectives then develop tactical


roadmaps based on the desired outcomes, best practices,
and realistic goals gleaned from the analysis.

Prioritize: Prioritize the goals and tactics based on relevance

to company and department objectives, the amount of


resources needed, and the likelihood of a desired outcome.

Implement: Equipped with insight-driven goals and tactics


that are aligned with company objectives and weighted for
optimal success, begin acting to the newly developed plan.

Conclusion
To set the framework for strategic planning, social marketers
need to undergo regular analysis of audiences, conversations,
and competitors relevant to their brand. With these three
fundamentals of planning, they can create an informed social
media strategy that suits their current resources and business
objectives.
When this planning is then followed up with a review of tactics,
including measurement and optimization of activities, the
marketer has a complete social analytics strategy, enabling
end-to-end social marketing, founded in real insight instead of
guesses or instinct.

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THE THREE FUNDAMENTALS OF SETTING A SUCCESSFUL STRATEGY

About Simply Measured


Simply Measured is the most complete social analytics solution, empowering
marketers with unmatched access to their social data to more clearly define
their social strategy and to optimize their tactics for maximum impact.

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