How to Plan a Social Media Engagement Strategy | Facebook Linkedin Twitter

How to Plan a Social Media Engagement Strategy | Facebook Linkedin Twitter

Social Media Engagement Strategy

Low cost, reach, popularity, and CRM opportunities are driving the rapid transition to social media marketing.  This is a big trend and the challenge of mastering social media for business means we all need help.

Although software subscription service providers portray social media marketing as a no-brainer, it’s perhaps the most difficult of all channels to profit from.  Studies show many business owners are uncertain about how to organize a social media strategy and that’s the goal of this post.

Any business person avoiding or procrastinating about this might get run over by the social stampede. Let’s take the bull by the horns and build a strategy to generate customers from social media. We’ll cover everything from your value proposition, to goals, to metrics, and lots of posting tips.

Yes, it’s overwhelming even for the experts.  The issues of which content and posting activities could engage customers and build their loyalty, and how to use social media to build Google rankings and convert a sale, are why some companies outsource. But hold on, you really should know how to strategize, because at some point, as you know, it will land back on your desk.

Engagement is the Buzzword for 2017/2018

The biggest gains in marketing performance will come out of social media engagement. And as AI marketing software extends our powers, we’ll be able to make sense of the cacaphony of social interaction. Now that we have the tools plus a strategy framework, we can become social media strategists and shape the conversation.

Just as with high Google rankings, social media visibility generates real, highly qualified, potential customers, those whom you can engage with and build loyal connections. The road to social media sales revenue isn’t paved however. It’s a winding dirt path along a scenic route that you must enjoy walking.

Social media engagement is a flowing narrative just like this blog post.  It’s a process and you’re never sure which part of the process or which piece of content is most important to your social connections. It’s personal and individual within a group atmosphere.

What Drives a Social Media Marketing Strategy?

The driving force behind social media and your complete customer engagement strategy is your passion for your company, services, products and your customers. And social platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram can help you unleash all that energy and joy and become a fun part of your day.

Yet social media is just a single tool, in a process that involves your website, email and phone conversations, and helpful, engaging content that your customers want.

Social Media Creates a Context

Social media are a cluster of websites/services that help users create a context for connecting, networking and sharing experiences, viewpoints, and materials.

When you see people trade inside jokes with their family and close friends, or grandparents repond to their grandkids birthday or Halloween costumes,  you see the context is personal. It’s almost the opposite of Google.  It’s right brain vs left brain, art vs math. The reference point isn’t your product/brand, it’s their life and the people in it.

That personal context will create your greatest challenges. Whatever is outside their personal interest falls on deaf ears and lowers their estimation of your relevance to them.  By being strategic and analytic, you’ll find the right voice and topics and likely enjoy better success staying within their inner circle.

It’s Fun But you’ll Have to Earn It

Social Media can be addictive and a lot of fun, however it is an earned media where you must generate value to get results. And for best results you may have to travel and network and socialize a lot.  You might find the need to create a lot of interesting videos and have a graphic artist do some crazy good graphics for you.  You might have to give way stuff and run a contest. It’s an active medium.

This post received 7k shares because it asked people to talk about one of their favorite things. Simple. Screen pic courtesy of

And before you delve into that fun, it’s wise to get into a strategic frame of mind.  Because millions of people are doing social media aimlessly, without a purposeful end goal and you don’t want to slide into that trap.

When social media isnt done strategically, it may not be very fruitful. It could waste your time and energy, and create a burden, which is why strategy is a good investment of time and staffing resources.

The foundation for good social media is to clearly understand your business goals, your unique value proposition, your brand image, and who your target audience is.  If you’re not certain of that, your social media activity will be confusing and you’ll give up.

Strategy creates focus, clarity, and gets more done so you don’t end up wasting others time or your own.

Let’s Keep it Fun and Personal

Social media wasn’t designed for business, marketing or profit. Connecting people and sharing is what it’s all about, something which brings out very positive things.

A certain imagination, patience, finesse, and interpersonal skill are required to flourish with it.  Has anyone mastered it?  I doubt it, however some have built enough connections and traffic that they’re capitalizing on it. They found a niche and they simply do what comes natural.  Few understand their context or how their posts power up more engagement.  But then, that’s changing now.

If you visit some lifestyle bloggers on Facebook, you’ll see how they work their social magic and how they get people to return every day.  They do it on a very direct and practical level and this kind of constant contact is powerful.

What Will Social Media’s Role be in Your Marketing Mix?

Some companies do social media by itself with little reference to other channels. That uncomplicates it a little.

However social channels can help with your Google rankings. Links, shares, likes, and mentions are social signals Googlebot can find.

And it can be central to your customer engagement and sales strategy too. For many businesses, Facebook is their engagement channel.  Rather than viewing social media strategy as something separate by itself, see it as serving a role within a multichannel process that builds trust and loyalty with customers.

We all want likes and the essence of likes is trust.

If you’ve read this post on engagement strategy, you’ve learned a few ways to channel your content so the visitor is inclined to continue the conversation with you or your company.

The problem with website or social media engagement, is in how each visitor has their own pursuits, problems, perspective, budget and interests.

Some may not like what you’ve posted for other people so the matter of posting can be complicated. And if you’ve used Facebook you know abut the distractions, short attention span, and topics that bounce all over the place. So that reminds us of why social media needs strategy, goals and measurement.

New AI marketing software is giving us hope that we can customize our content for each visitor, something we can’t do ourselves.

What we can do right now is create accounts, post content, build friends and connections, start conversations, and get feedback. Because social media strategy is an iterative process where you adjust as you learn, having a guiding strategy helps to keep you on track to achieve tangible results and improve.

Before you can do great things, you need a general goal of getting involved and growing connections with the right people. Then you can establish more specific goals (which you’ll see below), learn more, and begin deepening the conversations you have. It’ll take time before you discover which topics/content you can present that result in people interacting with you.

What works for others may not work for you and for that reason you may not want to copy their tactics and topics.  Be prepared to learn and improve, over and over again. Your analytics will tell you if you’re on the right track.

Social Media Resources, Templates, Guides

Social Media Today –

Social Media Examiner –

Convince and Convert –

Sprout Social –

Wishpond –

Social Media Workflow

This infographic reveals what you’ll be doing on a daily basis from content creation to curation to engaging in conversations to strategy planning to asessing analytics. Lots to do!

Infographic courtesy of Mark Smicikalas of Intersection Consulting

So, with that in mind, one of the key ways to set the stage for high social media engagement is to develop social pages with specific content channels. Then we populate those channels with relevant content based on how we think users are engaging with the content.

For instance, if we are a lifestyle blogger who uses food, travel, kids, health, home, and enterainment channels, what content experience do we want for each of them? We can tag the content so it appears in the channel we choose.

However, is your Facebook page good enough as it is?  Does it look good? Is it displaying content so it’s appealing and does it really promote your brand well?  If not, your social engagement channel’s purpose might be to shift visitor’s over to your blog or website.

Your social media strategy then may rather be a gathering place to then transfer them to your website.

If this is to be your strategy, your FB and Instagram pages need to be engaging and interesting enough to get others to Friend you, Like your posts and generate conversations. You may want to set up this same conversation platform on your website.

For those FB users who would rather do Facebook only conversations, that’s fine.  Even if they make the trek to your website once, you’ve made a good branding impression. When they come around to get serious about business, the path to fulfillment will be paved.

And if they’d rather do business right on Facebook, then your strategy should let them do that too.

Hootsuite Social Media Strategy

Hootsuite is a Vancouver based software service that allows you to manage your complete social media campaign activity from one interface.  You may decide to use them to grow your connections. And you may find that it’s better to work right within Facebook’s interface to do your posting.

Hootsuite’s Social Media Strategy Tips

Hootsuite advises us to set up Smart Goals for your social media strategy:

They should be:

  1. specific
  2. measurable
  3. attainable
  4. relevant
  5. time bound

A free pdf or ebook or an event on a specific date are excellent vehicles for measuring results.  Set a stretch goal of 100 recipients/attendees and power up your activity to achieve it.

Social Media Goals

This part is very complex so you’ll want to pursue simple goals and objectives initially. Think about awareness, specific branding messages seen, responses, visits, repeat visits, content shares, and sales.

Awareness >> engagement >> sales

Some say the main goal of social media content distribution and conversations is to create a trusted relationship. I like that one, because people only interact and buy when they feel good and trust the person/company they’re interacting with.

Create a list of why people wouldn’t trust you and interact with you.

What are some specific goals to shoot for?  How about starting with the numbers of new connections, posts per day, visibility of posts, interaction levels, shares, comments, and referals to your website, etc.

Try 3 Main Social Media Goals

1. post on selected topics or popular topics to let your connections react, then you can do social listening to learn more about how prospects feel about a topic and where their pain points are

2. research and create an incentive that will help drive engagement such as a contest, giveaway, or free download

3. create sharable content, distribute it, and gauge its success in being mentioned or shared

This way we’ve got the right topics, and encouraging our connections to participate and share. Sharing is very important.

On Social Media, it’s About Emotion

The material you post on your blog and product pages isn’t wanted on social media. You’ll find most people look pretty shallow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the kinds of things they talk about and share, including their selfies. This could discourage you.

Hang in there though, because you can play that game, be purposeful, and still get them into your brand.  If people are posting about Halloween, kids first day at school, pop stars, lunch recipes, vacations, Xmas decorations, viral videos, etc, it’s best to chime in with nice comments and further material on the topic they’ve chosen. Be careful about reacting to tasteless, political, or offensive, negative material.

What you respond to in social media is who you are. That’s not good branding. Consider deleting connections with weird, negative, shallow, or tactless people. The downside with them is too high.

Active posting and responding though creates a bond and lets them see how you empathize with their daily lives. Building a bridge between there and your products might seem like a very long one at first. But through daily interaction, the path will eventually show up.

Pushing commercial products and services right away without creating a connection isn’t wise. If you’re going to follow through with social media as part of your marketin mix, ensure you have the time and expertise to do it.  It is very time consuming even with software tools.  It all comes down to conversations and how immediate they are.

Social Media Posting Tips

  • take interesting, creative photos – visuals are important
  • share a few funny viral types pics and videos – short funy videos are popular shares
  • focus on women – more women use Facebook and they have different sentiments than guys and they like to share

  • use tasteful humor such as jokes and funny cartoons
  • add the sumo social media sharing bar as you see on this page
  • post key posts at specific times each day
  • try a different topic or theme for all your social media for each day
  • test your post headlines
  • tag your posts using specific meaningful category words so you can which topics perform best
  • use a subtle call to action when necessary to give your audience purpose and direction
  • use tweets, blog posts, linkedin posts, G+ and pinterest post so you can get them to visit those pages
  • track you competitors, see what their followers are sharing and linking
  • offer discounts on purchase and run an expensive contest which you can talk about later
  • find a popular person, a social media influencer you like and retweet their posts and start a conversation with them
  • use your SEO keywords in your posts, because it tempers the meaning of all the things that get shared and what will give your website a ranking boost
  • revise your blog posts with new important info then repost on social media
  • don’t be so conservative and timid that everyone ignores you
  • target specific people or personas in your social posts – use hashtags and headings that let them know it’s just for them, since creating special material for people makes them feel special
  • avoid spamming by posting relevnt topics and using headings that indicate who the post is for
  • feature your happy customer’s pics and posts
  • retweet high quality posts or tweets realted to your industry
  • hashtag influencers and mention them in your posts/tweets
  • tweet/post the latest news – visitors want to know what you’re up to

Check out more tips at

Social Media Engagement Metrics

A strategy is difficult to execture without analytics.  Your main metric is likely to be Facebook metrics. You can learn more about them here: Klipfolio.  The problem with Facebook’s own metrics is that Facebook is really a content aggregator. Users curate most of the content in the FB post, and the user clicks on it and leaves FB to a website. That’s the way it should be.

But Facebook doesn’t know what you’re doing on that website.  Google does because you’re using their browser. Social media needs tracking code that will let you know what Facebook users viewed and whether they enjoyed it.

The large enterprise marketer wil want to look at enterprise analytics solutions such as those reviewed at G2Crowd.  For SMBs, a less expensive option is using Hootsuite’s analytics capabilities.  I’m not an expert on this topic so you’ll need to speak with an analytics expert or have your developer set the coding up for you. And you may have to manually add code to your links unless you use Hootsuite, Sproutsocial, or software while integrating your Google analtics code.

If you have a sucessful business, you may want to investigate better analytics solutions that Google Analytics.

Which Engagement Metrics are You Tracking?

Please read the post on Website engagement strategy for tips on what to track and measure.  It’s important to track the content your visitor is viewing on your FB page and your website. The two work together to create a customer. Engagement is factor that indicates a future sale. Tracking over a 90 day period will help you identify the returning visitor who views one or two pages and then buys.  In this last visit, they didn’t appear engaged, but in fact, they completed the presale process before.

Things to look for in social media engagement are the referring FB advertisement, post, Tweet, Pinterest pin, or instagram post they viewed, how long they stayed on your FB page and Website.  Likes, shares, return visits, comments, that culminate in a website visit is a good metric. It’s the combination of certain factors that generally produce a customer.

Sequential behavior, on a topic, can mean they’ve discovered something and pursued it. There are a lot of window shoppers on social media so it’s that last step you’ll want to scrutinize – where they left or abandoned their shopping cart. Most times, their drive/interest wasn’t strong enough and you did all you could to warm them up.

You’ll need to check your sales funnel process and discover ways to strengthen their purchase intent.  Sometimes it’s your content quality, or sometimes it’s just your copy and the kewyords you used, and other times it might be a lack of incentives.  Where do you think your UVP/Brand is weak?  Why do they think your product/service is not for them?  Who do they socialize with on Facebook? What do they post about most.  What do they share with others the most?

That will indicate their personal values and preferences.  Read what they say and what their topics of conversation are and what words they use daily.  Facebook’s artificial intelligence and analytics programs analyze all that information and use it to help you get your ads in front of the right prospects.  That’s the advantage of Facebook Ads.  Use them to improve your organic FB posts and Tweets.

Please do return to discover more strategy and tips to make your social media strategy and content strategy. Combine your strategy with Kaizen – the process of daily improvements and enjoy never ending growth.

Social media will assume more importance within your overall customer engagement strategy.  It may be time to hire a digital marketing specialist to help you prepare for AI marketing and other trends.

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