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Aug 29 2018

Social Media Checklist for Digital Marketers in 2018

Social Media Checklist

Quick Links to Explore the Social Media Checklist

At last count, about 90 percent of US brands report that social media marketing is critical to the overall success of their business. That (and the fact that you’re reading this article) lead us to conclude that yours is probably among them. The question is: are you getting it right? What if you had a definitive Social Media Checklist to guide you?

In 2018, just ‘doing’ social media is no longer enough to move the proverbial needle for your brand. With more than three-quarters of Americans proud owners of at least one social media profile, the rewards of a well-developed and -implemented social strategy are there for the taking. But if you are going to see the return on your social marketing efforts that you’re hoping for, you’d better be doing it well.

We’ll admit, that’s no small task. With the seemingly infinite supply of information and opportunity at a marketer’s fingertips, the whole affair can be profoundly overwhelming.

That’s where we come in.

We’ve laid out below the steps to take to achieve a successful social media strategy for your brand. Regardless of what business you are in, the social media checklist that follows can help digital marketers in any industry stay on track with their social media efforts.

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Step 1: Pinpoint what you hope to get out of it.

Social Media Checklist

The late great Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.”

Now, we’re pretty sure he didn’t have social media in mind when he said it, but when

it comes down to it, the way to achieve almost anything in life is to figure out what you are trying to do, or where you are trying to go, first—and then figure out the best way to get there.

Your social media marketing strategy is no different. Zeroing in on what you most need to achieve from your social marketing is critical to getting there. How will you define success on social media?

You might be surprised to learn that the response to that question can vary significantly from brand to brand, industry to industry. For some businesses, building awareness for their brand is the name of the game. For others, increasing sales is the bellwether for measuring success. Still others will gauge their ROI by the amount of traffic they are able to drive to their website.

The point is, you can’t figure out how best to proceed—what content to share, what platforms to share it on, and how best to deliver it—without first figuring out what you’re really trying to achieve in the first place.

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Step 2: Never forget your audience.

Social Media Checklist

Everything you do on social media should be done with your target audience in mind. Period. Before you make a post, an update, an Instagram Story or a snap, ask yourself the tough question: Why am I making this post? If it’s not something that will resonate with your target demographic, no matter how clever or compelling or valuable or foolproof you might think it is, step away from the ‘post’ button.

Which is not to say that every piece of content you share, every tweet you send, every video you post, needs to sell directly to the individuals or businesses who make up your target audience. In fact, quite the contrary. The aim of your social marketing efforts should be to share something that speaks to your audience. Maybe it entertains them, amuses them, informs them, or starts a conversation among them. But if it’s more for you than for them, skip it.

Next question: which social platforms are best for your brand?

There is no shortage of information out there about how each of the major social platforms is THE ONE your brand needs to be on. How best to decide?

Trick question! You don’t actually have to decide which platforms are right for your brand—you need to let your target audience decide for you. Figure out where they spend their time on social media…and then meet them there.

You know the ancient philosophical experiment of “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Same goes for social media—you may have the single greatest piece of video content that’s going to rock your business to its core, but if you post it to a platform where your audience is not, what good does it do you?

Which brings us to…

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Step 3. The content.

Social Media Checklist

Now we’re getting to the meat and potatoes of this post—and most likely, the part you are most eager to read. With all the talk lately of the importance of providing social media content that’s shareable and engaging, it’s the million-dollar question: What. Should. You. Post?

And here’s the answer: it depends.

We’re not being evasive—it’s just that there is no one right kind of content that applies to all brands in all industries and appeals to all target audiences.

BUT…it’s not all doom and gloom. If you keep the first two steps above in mind–and stick to the content marketing success checklist-within-a-checklist below—in no time you’ll be engaging your audience like never before.

  • Maintain a consistent posting schedule.

Which is not to say you necessarily need to be posting daily. Experiment and see what your audience can handle to find the sweet spot that will leave them eagerly awaiting the next post.

  • Share the mix of content that’s right for your audience.

While every audience is different, there is NO audience that wants to be constantly sold to. The quickest way to drive someone to unfollow your social account is to continually hit them with the same promotional (read: self-serving) message.

Instead, focus on creating and sharing content that puts your followers first. Post content that adds value to your audience. Maybe it gets them talking, or it makes them feel something, or it teaches them something new. Maybe it even compels them to share your content with their own social following.

Striking the balance between sharing content that your audience actually looks forward to seeing in their feed, and still being able to get your brand’s agenda across, is the key to winning at content marketing.

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  • Vary the method of delivery.

Yes, variety is the spice of social media life. And social media users can be a savvy, jaded bunch. It’s not just enough to vary your message—you also need to work to vary the method of delivering that message.

If one day you share a link to original blog content on your website, the next day’s content should be a video, a compelling image or a survey. You get the idea—the way to win your audience’s attention is to keep them on their toes.

  • Develop (and stick to) a content calendar.

If you’ve been fighting it until now, give yourself over to the content calendar. It can be a social media marketing game-changer.

The best way to maintain the balance and variety that are so crucial to your content marketing success is to create a schedule of the posts you’ll be making to each of the platforms you’re using.  Building a content calendar not only helps to organize your social marketing by providing a roadmap for the month or months ahead but it also forces you to stick to each of the aforementioned rules for content marketing success.

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Step 4. Beyond organic.

Social Media Checklist

You’ve spent time, energy and resources on creating just the right content and delivering it just the right way to reach your audience. And then…crickets.

Or maybe not crickets, exactly, but perhaps you’re just not seeing the ROI you’d expect from your fine-tuned social media efforts.

The sheer volume of content vying for social media users’ attention is staggering. Competition is fierce out there. If you’re doing everything right and still not seeing the engagement you’d expect, it may be time to allocate some of your marketing budget toward advertising on social media.

Done right, social media advertising offers brands a way to ensure their message gets noticed on social media. By the right people.

Relative to more traditional advertising methods, social media advertising makes it significantly easier to tailor your message to a specific target audience and deliver it directly to them. Even with Facebook’s recent removal of ad targeting options that had the potential to be misused for discriminatory purposes, social media advertising in general offers an unprecedented bang for your brand’s buck.

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Step 5. Keep the social in social media.

Social Media Checklist

One last step in our checklist that often goes overlooked. Remember that by definition, social media is meant to be social. Whether yours is a B2B or B2C brand, the reality is, there is a real-life person on the receiving end of every social post you make.

If you are lucky enough to have people actively commenting, messaging, mentioning or emoji-ing in response to the content you are sharing, for goodness sake, engage back! Monitoring your social pages and responding in real time to interactions goes a long way toward building a loyal relationship with your social media audience.

So, there you have it. Our checklist for social media success. If you’re ready to take your social media marketing efforts to the next level, but you’re not sure where to begin, give the social media pros at CMDS a call at 732-706-5555.

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