Six Steps for Developing a Social Media Marketing Strategy

For better (friendships!) or for worse (#fakenews), social media is inescapable in 2019. Gone are the days of reaching potential patients or customers through traditional means, like billboards on the highway or commercials on the radio. Today’s most successful practices and brands use social media to reach the perfect customer for less than the cost of traditional advertising. While it may seem as simple as posting a picture of your product and throwing up a couple of hashtags, social media marketing requires a thoughtful, well-executed strategy to be successful. Looking to develop a social media marketing strategy for your practice or brand? Start with these six steps.

STEP ONE - SET GOALS

The first step to developing a social media marketing strategy is to set goals for what you want your social media marketing to achieve. Are you looking to grow brand awareness? Increase sales and leads? Retain existing patients? Perhaps you’re interested in accomplishing all of the above or working towards an entirely different goal. No matter what your endgame is, make sure you set SMART goals:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Attainable

  • Relevant

  • Time-bound

A SMART goal would say something like, “I want to increase our Instagram web referrals by 10 percent in the next six months.” A not-so-SMART goal would say, “I want to schedule more liposuctions” See the difference?

STEP TWO - KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

In order to deliver content that will help you attain your sales and marketing goals, you first need to know who is actually looking at your social media accounts and what they want to see. Think about it - if you are selling leather jackets and your target audience is male bikers in their 60s, it probably wouldn’t make sense to feature a lot of toddlers and pastel colors in your content, right? Think about who your ideal patient is and try and be as specific as possible. These are real people with real wants and needs. What would you want to see if you were them? At the same time, don’t make assumptions. Whenever available, use real data to help you make decisions about which social media platform is the best fit for your audience.

STEP THREE - CREATE CONTENT

You can have the best product and the best marketing strategy in the world, but it won’t mean anything without great content. Now that you’ve established your goals and learned who your audience is, think about what they want to see. Don’t forget, you have personal experience with social media, too! What catches your eye on social media? Study your favorite brands and learn about what they do well and where you think they can improve. Also, what is the competition doing? How can you set yourself apart? Ask yourself what has been working for you on social media and what hasn’t. Then, design your content accordingly.

STEP FOUR - CHOSE YOUR PLATFORMS

One size does not fit all when it comes to social media platforms and content creation! As you undoubtedly know by now, different platforms specialize in different forms of content. For example, Instagram is all about the images (and videos in stories), while Twitter shines at facilitating quick and painless customer service. Consider what each platform does well and how your content might fit into it. Once you have chosen your platform(s), consider setting a SMART goal for each so you can easily measure if the platform is serving its intended purpose. Remember, you don’t have to use every platform, and it’s probably better if you don’t - it makes it easier to really focus on building momentum on the platforms that are most likely to reach your audience and suit your content.

STEP FIVE - GAME PLAN

You’re almost ready to execute your strategy! Now, it’s time to plan. Building a loyal audience depends on consistency, creativity, and engagement, so it’s important to make sure you are staying active on your accounts and reaching your audience at the right times. Consider setting up a social media calendar that not only allows you to set dates and times for your posts, but also facilitates brainstorming for content themes. Then, decide on a ratio for the type of content you’ll post. How often will you post content designed to drive sales versus designed to engage the customer (articles/blogs), etc? However, you decide to divide your content, make sure to schedule it in your calendar so you know you’re sticking to your plan.

STEP SIX - ANALYZE AND MEASURE

One of the best parts of utilizing social media to market your brand is how easy it is to tell if your strategy is working! All of the information you need is right there in front of you and generated automatically by your computer. While it can be tempting to focus on “flashy” metrics like likes and retweets, those measurements aren’t always the most useful. Instead, focus your attention on the leads generated by your content, web referrals, and your conversion rate - that’s where the sales and money are coming from! Once you have the data you need, adjust your strategy accordingly. We recommend checking your analytics and metrics at least once a month so that you can quickly see what’s working and what’s not.