In about 15 years social media has gone from an entirely new concept to an integral part of everyday life. Now, any marketing mix that doesn’t include social media is unusual. With nearly 80% of Americans possessing a profile on a social networking platform, marketing through social media is one of the best ways to reach members of your target audience — no matter who they are. Plus, almost all prominent social platforms have paid advertising options that brands can leverage to increase exposure to relevant audiences. If you want to reach potential customers and key stakeholders, you need to be using social media.
But that doesn’t mean that social media marketing is easy, or even altogether straightforward! You and your team have probably struggled with how to create the right kind of content to engage the right people, and how to best measure success online. Don’t worry, you’re not alone — social media is a difficult and confusing tool for many marketing teams. A great step toward demystifying social media marketing is to streamline your social media workflow.
What do we mean by “social media workflow”?
A social media workflow is the complete process your team uses to plan, create, launch, and measure marketing efforts on social media platforms.
For many teams, the social media process starts with a brainstorming session where you ideate post content or campaign ideas for the coming weeks or months. Then, your creative team may develop assets while your social team compiles a posting schedule. You draft copy for each post (remembering that each platform may require a different style, tone, and character limitations!) and then get final approval before rolling out your posts according to your calendar. Finally, you pull analytics to understand what worked and what didn’t work for your audience, before starting the process all over again.
How to improve your social media process
The most important way to improve your social media workflow is by increasing efficiency. Because social media marketing requires constant content creation and daily upkeep, you need a consistent, effective, and easily replicable process. An efficient workflow will save you time and creative energy for other marketing efforts!
Research and planning
Allocating time to analyze your audience’s behavior will result in valuable time savings later, and is the key to social media success. Dedicate a few hours each month (or each week, if you’re ambitious) to understanding what your audience responds to best on social media. For instance, do your quote cards receive positive engagement within your target audience? Or do videos get the most shares? Did users really like your most recent cross-functional campaign? This will help you decide what kind of content to create in the future, so you can spend less time brainstorming and more time creating.
A great way to kill two birds with one stone is to use this time to engage with your audience’s social media community. Read the conversations that are happening around your brand or your sector on social media and respond to other users in this area; you’ll learn about what your audience is interested in while creating a two-way dialogue between your brand and your target customers. Big bonus: gather user-generated social content using a tool like TINT to create a stronger relationship with social users and better understand your audience at the same time.
Once you’ve established which forms of social media content work best for your brand and audience, keep templates on hand for all of your most common creative assets. Whether it’s a quote card template that allows you to plug in a new quote each time or a video template that you use for interviews. Using the same templates ensures that your content stays on-brand, no matter who’s creating it or when.
It’s also essential that everyone can find the latest version of the templates. Keeping them in a centralized location like a digital asset management (DAM) system gives everyone easy, secure access on demand. Otherwise, you risk making your workflow less efficient as your team sorts through a disorganized template library to find the correct asset.
Now that you’ve planned and created, you’re ready to share your social media content with the world. There are a variety of software platforms available to support this sharing process. Social planning tools like Hootsuite and content management tools like the Widen Collective® help streamline your workflow, while link management tools like Rebrandly help you brand, manage, and track the links used in your posts. And integrating these tools to work together, can make sharing your content even easier.
Being able to post easily and seamlessly will help you stay on schedule, too. Because social media is a fast, constantly-moving environment, falling behind on one social media task can domino into falling behind on a whole host of deadlines. That’s why you need to establish a clear social media timeline template that you can use over and over again. Setting regular deadlines to share content helps your team know what’s expected of them and allows them to manage their tasks more efficiently. It also helps you understand where you are in your social media content approval process at any given time.
When planning your schedule, you’ll also need to consider the time and platform on which you’re posting. While there is no “right” time to post, there is a “right” time for your audience. So testing post timing on each of your platforms can mean the difference between falling flat and going viral.
To determine the best time to post, what content resonates, or which platform is right for your audience, you’ll need to review the results from each post. Fortunately, the tools you use to post and manage your content should also allow you to measure the success of your campaign.
As part of your planning, it’s good practice to document the goals for each of your social campaigns. Whether that’s leads, engagement, reach, or impressions, you can only determine success if you know what it looks like. Then, once you’ve got a few campaigns under your belt, you can start making informed decisions about your new social media projects and reap the benefits of all your hard work.
Make your workflow work for you
Now that social media marketing is an integral part of any marketing mix, it’s essential that your team optimizes their social media workflow for efficiency. But improving your workflow doesn’t have to be difficult! Get started by taking the time to understand your audience, integrating your social media tools to help with content creation, sharing content seamlessly, and knowing what success looks like for your campaigns.