With 2018 coming to a close, many brands are planning budgets and strategies for 2019. The fun part about social media marketing is that things are always changing and there is always something new to test.
However, when thinking about all the possibilities available, social media marketers must also be realistic. While planning for 2019, ask yourself, “Where do I want my brand to go?” But don’t forget to follow up with, “How will I get there?”
To help you “get there” in the coming year, the social media marketing team at Socialight Nigeria has put together the following tips for planning your 2019 social media strategy.
First and foremost, you should audit your social media content strategy. This requires going through the content you published throughout the year and figuring out what resonated with your audience and what didn’t.
You will likely collect a lot of data, so you will want to have an assessment process in place. Start by categorizing your content into buckets, and then measure the performance of each bucket against one another.
A platform like Sprout Social will help immensely – they have a really nice tagging feature that allows you to categorically organize content to measure results from a top-level perspective. You can also export post- and tweet-level data from the individual social platforms and measure accordingly.
Bear in mind the goals of your content strategy audit are to:
Double down on the content that is winning the most impressions and engagement
Refine the content that isn’t hitting the mark
Often the perception of what kind of content “works” is different than the reality. Sometimes one might think a highly stylized custom graphic would work the best, when the data shows that an image featuring people in a contextually relevant situation performs better. Keep an open mind and trust what the data reveals about your social media content strategy.
Next, you should turn your attention to your social advertising strategy and conduct an audit there as well. Begin by analyzing all your paid efforts from the perspective of results, considering cost per result, cost per impression, and number of conversions. Use a few different key performance indicators (KPIs) to gain a more accurate idea of the impact of your ads and campaigns.
If your company operates with a monthly campaign structure, you will want to measure the results of the campaigns against one another AND the performance of each ad set and ads within each campaign. This particular audit can become VERY data heavy; however, you will be able to understand which targeting types are working the best as well as grasp the true performance of the ad creative. Again, the philosophy here is that going forward you will want to do more of what is driving the best results and less of what isn’t working so great.
One thing to keep in mind when it comes to the paid advertising side of social media is that you will need to decide exactly what success looks like to you. For instance, is a Facebook campaign that is driving traffic to your site for $0.25 per click but not converting more “successful” than a campaign that is driving traffic for $0.75 per click with conversions? You must define success before you can optimize for it.
One quick tip here, unless you are working with the Facebook Pixel, conversions will likely be through last-click attribution (which means the last action taken before the conversion will get credit). This last click doesn’t usually come from social media ads.
The logic of “see the ad, click the ad, buy the product” is rare! Remember to keep that in mind when conducting your social advertising audit and when planning your 2019 social media strategy.
Now that you have audited your social media content strategy and your social advertising strategy, you will likely see some opportunities to improve the content used in your social posts and ad creative. We HIGHLY recommend that brands invest in content creation for their 2019 social media marketing strategies.
Conducting photo shoots, video shoots, and creating fun graphics is always a good idea when planning for the coming year. Now, the key here is to take the lessons learned from your audits and apply them to produce more of what works the best.
Not every brand has a big budget, so if you need to repurpose content year over year, it’s no big deal. It’s highly unlikely that a user will recall the repurposed creative and call you out on it. However, if you are in budget planning and can set some funds aside to properly create fresh assets for your social media strategy, you win – especially with video content!
Video is taking over the digital world, so the sooner you adopt it, the better off you will be. There are some out there that will say any video is good; however, there IS such a thing as a bad video, and bad videos still cost money to create! Do some additional research on your industry to keep tabs on trends and see how you can leverage them. In the past, low-quality images and shoddy video would still generate results on social media; however, the competition is heating up and those who don’t take their content seriously will fall behind.
Just like any other digital marketing trend, influencer marketing will likely morph and evolve into something else, but currently it’s here and making a lot of noise. Partnering with influencers can be a great thing, as long as you clearly define your expectations, outline the deliverables, and thoroughly vet those with whom you might partner.
Now that literally anyone can build a platform and a personal brand, there are a lot of shysters and unrealistic individuals out there claiming to be social media marketers who want considerable compensation for partnerships, despite their not having tangible performance data. Please don’t fall in love with the concept of “influencers” and become blinded by the tactical reasons they are relevant.
Connect with influencers that are relevant to your brand or industry, analyze the kind of content they put out, and evaluate how much engagement that content generates. Depending on the platform (and the willingness for transparency), you can also simply ask for screenshots of the analytics any influencer claims to have.
Definitely include influencers in your 2019 social media strategy; however, do it for a strategic reason – not just because influencer marketing is the bright and shiny new toy out there with which to play.
I am a firm believer in keeping an eye on the competition to gain insights and inspiration. You should definitely benchmark your competitive set when planning your 2019 social media marketing strategy. What are your competitors doing well? Can you “borrow” an idea from them and improve upon it? Looking at your competitors in the market can be great exercise that surfaces opportunities for your brand.
A major caveat here is that a campaign or concept that looks successful for your competitor may not have been successful by their standards (and vice versa). We never really know what kind of strategy our competitors are running or how much budget they are putting behind things. Be careful not to make a wrong turn by acting on incomplete information. Instead, take a peek at what they are doing, determine where you fit in the mix, and decide where you can improve. Competition is healthy, just don’t obsess! At the end of the day, you have to focus on your own 2019 social media strategy!
Last, and certainly not least, be sure to carefully test new technologies in your 2019 social media strategy. I say “carefully,” because there are always new trends popping up, but not all apply to your brand or are even ready for implementation.
If you are reading this blog post hoping it was talking about chat bots or AI, I am sorry to disappoint you. These two technologies are exactly what I am talking about when I say be careful. If your organization is smaller and there aren’t a lot of extra resources available to thoroughly test these new toys, you will waste money chasing your tail.
Be open to embracing new technologies, but be realistic about where they fit into your plan. It would be a terrible thing to have your 2019 social media strategy not generate the results you were hoping for because you were spending most of your time trying to get your chat bot to return the right response.
Be realistic! If you can integrate these new capabilities in a safe way, great! If not, keep your eye on them and revisit them down the road when the features are more developed.