Social media marketing for the brand manager: Four things you need to succeed

Social media is saturated and consumers have no patience for brands that show up with weak content. Earning access to your target market’s circle of trust is a must. But many brands grapple with where to start or how to pivot when brand strategy changes.

Is better content and social media on your company’s list of resolutions for the year 2021?

Cultivated through ten years of working with leading consumer goods companies on social, here are four things I focus on to help brands rise up and win at content strategy and social media marketing. Read, adopt, and benefit.

#1: The Right Mindset

When it comes to building a content strategy and social media program, having the right expectations will help you with proper resource allocation. Here’s what you need to know.

There are “levels” of social media game. You likely recognize your program in one of the following:

  • Level 1: Beginner – a social media manager is “posting” and the general “strategy” is stay top of mind with your audience.
  • Level 2: Tactical – more focus is given to growing the account with tactics like giveaways and boosting posts.
  • Level 3: Strategic – here, we have a solid storytelling strategy that is clearly focused on our target market. Through an effective blend of growth and engagement-oriented plays, we’re winning day-in and day-out (meaning exponential growth and measurable consumer engagement).

At level three, social media is now supporting and contributing to the achievement of overarching business goals. And we’re learning valuable lessons about what our consumers like and don’t like. As the leader of the team, your job is to get the program beyond level three.

To get to Level 3, you need to understand the relationship between resources, time, budget, and talent:

It takes us (a seasoned team that specializes in building content programs from the ground up) about six weeks to build a content strategy, a month to plan and produce the first 30 days of content, and then about three to six months to push our program to market, observe, and optimize. If you have a bigger budget, you’re able to learn faster (if it’s big enough, you can condense all of this to a couple of months).

After that first phase of building and learning, you are ready to double down on what’s working and blow up (in a good way) your social channels accordingly. I tell my clients this about the relationship between quality, cost, and speed: If it’s good and fast, it won’t be low budget. If it’s good and low budget, it won’t be fast. If it’s fast and low budget, it won’t be good.

Producing strategic content is a big undertaking. Involving planning, shot lists, production crews and influencer programs (unless your target market has a big appetite for GIFs and repurposed cat memes, which does indeed make things “easier”).

#2: Tolerance

Thinking of the entire building process as a series of experiments that exist solely to collect the data that informs our next move can help shift your mindset and ease any anxiety around performance.

Failures are a vital, necessary, and totally useful part of the process. It drives our decisions and helps us understand and learn what to do next. If we get spooked every time something flops, paralysis sets in. Then we’ll never have the courage to run that idea that takes our account viral. Failure gives us the data we need to adjust our course and get closer to what works. So learn to love it and embrace it.

#3: A Custom Plan

Here’s what you’ll need…

  • A content strategy that builds the right kind of relationships with the right kind of people by earning their trust with a steady stream of value-adding content.
  • A tactical roadmap that gets your message in the right place at the right time with ultimate resource efficiency.
  • An editorial and social media calendar that clearly lays out what gets published where and when.
  • A production plan to ensure a steady flow of forward motion and to best utilize the resources you currently have.
  • An effectiveness model that tells you when things are working and when they’re not so you can pivot with ease and in a timely manner.

Document what you’re doing and learning every step of the way. Your company needs to keep succession planning in mind when it comes to social media. This is so that any transition of personnel feels seamless (for example, avoiding dramatic changes in tone of voice when your social media copywriter changes over).

#4: Hire Specialists

For nearly a decade, I was a one-woman content team. Building social media programs for big brands that had lofty goals, like Burton Snowboards and Tata Harper. I would create the content strategy, plan the annual/monthly/weekly editorial calendars, produce content, schedule content, and community manage – all necessary things that keep the machine well-oiled and running smoothly.

But once I started building my own agency, I learned that although I could perform that way, it’s not ideal. All of those activities mentioned above require different skill sets, levels of expertise, and motivations. Specialists allow a marketing department to optimize resources of talent, time, and money.

Hiring specialists can actually save and make you money, considering…

  1. People are happiest, most productive, and perform best in their zone of genius.
  2. Different costs for different jobs; paying a $50/hour employee to do a $15/hour task doesn’t do any favors for your budgetary spend.
  3. With specialists, the quality of the work improves drastically.

Make Your Move 

Better social media marketing is a huge undertaking, but it has the power to transform your bottom line. If you want a smooth, proven, reliable path to implementing a brand-growing social media strategy alongside a community of folks who are having fun with it, come and join me and my team inside of Strong Brand Social.

In your corner,

KW Content is a global content and social media marketing agency that develops and launches content and social media programs for purpose-driven brands. Strong Brand Social is our favorite place to hang out! That’s where we provide the absolute best (and most accessible) social media marketing education that empowers small brands to develop their own high-performing marketing programs that are guaranteed to drive growth. Teaching from our proven agency methodologies, we simplify the process and demystify the art of social media marketing to offer focus, efficiency, and measurable results to small business owners, brand directors, and social media marketers. [Learn more.]

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