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Episode 1: How to Create a Social Media Strategy

This season of Skill Up, we’re looking at social marketing. You want to always meet your customers where they already are. And it just so happens that over 30 billion users across all channels are on social, interacting with brands and communities. That’s a lot.

So before you start trying to market to all of them, you need to create a social media strategy. Host Matthew Brown gives you five things to keep in mind as you start your social marketing.


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Episode Transcription

Hi. I’m Matthew Brown from HubSpot, and this is Skill Up, the show where you’ll learn how to take your sales, marketing, and service skills to the next level.

We’re back. Another season of Skill Up. [Deep Inhale.] Mmm, Drink. It. In. Somewhere between a new car smell, hot steel, and a shock of electricity. 

[off mic] Actually, is there something wrong with these mics? I should only be using one? [back to mic] Ok, first lesson learned. We all know better now, right? Look at us.

In season’s past, we looked at SEO, sales enablement, and advanced marketing. All of which is right there in our show’s feed. Have a listen… later.

This season, we’re smashing that “Like” button and subscribing to everything you need to know about social marketing. I’m going to focus on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and I’ll tackle everything from reporting, to driving engagement, to content creation, to so much more.

What makes this season of Skill Up so magical is our slate of experts. I’ll be talking with some of HubSpot’s best and brightest on not only the how-to’s of it all, but what they’re working on right here at HubSpot. That way, you can level up your skills with some of the ol’ tactical takeaways each episode.

Not a bad deal right? Ok, let's get into it. Ah, first synth of the season.

[cue synth flourish]

When we talk about social media, to say the term ‘broad strokes’ is maybe an understatement. That’s because we’re talking in excess of some 340 billion with a ‘B’ users. And each platform trends towards different audiences and focuses. 

Let’s take Twitter for example. It’s primarily made up of millennials and is generally speaking best for PR and customer service. Unless you’re Wendy’s. Or MoonPie. But, when we turn our heads to LinkedIn, with its 645 odd million users, the audience is much more spread out across Boomers, Gen X-ers, and Millenials. LinkedIn’s really great for B2B relationships, biz dev, and employer marketing -- oh, I see your future episode. Have a seat for now, I’ll get back to you later.

So when it comes to social marketing, let’s start by making like Eddie Redmayne, hop into that balloon, and climb 36 thousand feet. Because everyone belongs in balloons. And the CG view seems great.

[cue segment music]

Alright, the first question first: What is social media marketing?

Well… Social media marketing is the act of creating content to promote your business and products on various social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. 

Social media marketing is all about meeting your target audience and customers where they already are, socially interacting with each other and with your brand.

The main thing to keep in mind is your content. All content you create should be tailored to the specific platform it’s being shared on. As great as sharing some natural-looking photos of folks around the office might be on your company’s Twitter, you’ll likely find the most value posting it on Instagram. 

So tailor your content. You’ll see a boost in conversions, an increase in brand awareness, and a stronger relationship with customers.

[end segment music]

As with any content channel, you’re gonna need to have a strategy in place before you start on production. And when you’re setting out to define your social media marketing strategy, there are 5 things to keep in mind:

  1. Research your buyer personas and audience
  2. Determine which social platforms you’ll market on
  3. Create unique and engaging content
  4. Organize a schedule for your posts
  5. Analyze your impact and results

Let’s start by researching your buyer personas and audience.

The first step to creating a social media marketing strategy is to determine who your buyer personas and audience are. That way, you can target their needs and interests appropriately. To do this, think about the people you’re trying to reach and why. How would you classify them as a group? 

For example, let’s say you’re Kate Hudson. You’re taking a breather from a decade of Rom-com dominance, and you’re looking to sell some trendy leggings and joggers. Now, you might classify your target audience as millennials who like to wear stylish athleisure apparel. Because, yeah, it’s all about that fit.

By considering your buyer personas and audience, you can determine what content will attract and retain the types of customers you hope to gain.

Next up, determine which social platforms you’ll market on.

Look, you’re a social marketer. You’re likely going to have your work spread across as many channels as humanly possible. I hear you, girl. But it’s crucial you determine which platforms fit the needs of your target audience best and where they tend to spend their time.

Let’s go back to your athleisure-loving millennials, Kate. You may want to focus the majority of your social media efforts on Instagram, because millennials cover the largest portion of users on that platform.

The third step in your social media strategy is to create unique and engaging content.

If you’re a marketer, dare I say an inbound marketer, then you’ve got the goods when it comes to creating unique and engaging content. It’s like the Frosted Flakes of Inbound, right?

The thing is, with billions of social media users around the globe, there’s no question that at least some of your followers have also been eyeing your competitor’s content. So yours needs to stand out. Good enough is not good enough. Give your audience the reason to click “Follow” and interact with your brand.

To help you get creative, think like your audience. Consider the content your competitors are sharing and how you can uniquely promote your products. Also, take advantage of the features offered by the platform you’re using. For instance, you can create live videos on Facebook to share the latest details about a product launch or conduct a giveaway.

You could also use your current customers and promoters to help you generate content. Re-post their content or encourage them to use a hashtag to share their own experiences with your product.

Which takes us to number four: Organize a schedule for your posts.

So now’s when I tell you you need a social management tool. And the ol’ brain upstairs is not going to cut it. Social management tools allow you to write captions, prepare pictures and videos, and schedule posts in advance. 

They automatically share your content, on schedule, and monitor all post interactions and engagement for you. Social media management tools save you time and allow you to focus on your other tasks.

[cue woosh] 

Side Note!

Ok, so one question I get all the time at this point is: How often should I post on social media?

I’m gonna go ahead and take it you’re at the very least wondering that same question eventually, so let’s break it down.

A good rule of thumb, you should only post on social when you have quality content to share. Not to fill empty time slots. Meaning, there’s a reason for posting the content. This is the easiest way to strike the right balance of posting frequency. 

If you post too infrequently, you’re bound to be forgotten by your followers. Not great. Less than ideal. But if you post too frequently, you’ll likely come to annoy your followers. Also, yea, not great stuff to do.

So to avoid this, there’s plenty of studies and resources available.. explaining social media post frequency standards.. by industry and platform. for you to follow. It really does depend on what’s right for your business and your audience. 

Begin by experimenting with more or fewer posts, maybe test out the time of day your posting, and iterate until you find what gives you the highest level of engagement.

[cue woosh]

Ok, so to round out our social media strategy list, we need to talk about analyzing your impact and results.

We’ll talk about reporting later in the season, but there are a few things to know upfront. Of everything we’ve covered, maybe the most important aspect of social media marketing is making sure your efforts are successful in helping you meet your goals. Right? Sort of applies to most things in marketing.

So to figure this out, you’ll need to keep track of all of your posts, on every channel. And you can do that by reviewing and managing your social media metrics. These could include data about your level of engagement, reach, follows, shares, mentions, and all the other interactions happening on each platform.

When you solve for these metrics, you can do everything from increase your social following, to improve overall engagement on your profile, by using the same tactics you would to generate leads and boost conversions. 

You can also interact with your followers more frequently by talking with them (stay out of those DMs for now), tagging them in content, responding to their questions, liking their posts, re-posting their content, encouraging them to use your hashtags, and sharing your content.

[cue synth flourish]

So to recap, we know social media marketing is incredibly valuable to a company. And before you set out to create content, you need to make sure you have a strategy in place so your social efforts can solve for your team's goals. 

So make sure you research your buyer personas and audience, determine which social platforms you’ll market on, create unique and engaging content, organize a schedule for your posts, and analyze your impact and results.

Look at us. Strategists. 

Next week, it’s every inbound marketer’s favorite fever dream: content. So, hey, I’ll see you there.

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