If you use social media as part of your marketing plan (and these days, who doesn’t?), then you might want to consider using the SOSTAC marketing model in formulating your plan. The SOSTAC model was developed by PR Smith in the 90’s, and was later formalized in his 2004 book, “Strategic Marketing Communications”. It’s an acronym that outlines Smith’s six fundamental aspects of marketing: situation, objectives, strategy, tactics, action and control. This model can be a handy and comprehensive tool in finding the best way for you to utilize social media to benefit your brand.
Step 1: Situational Analysis
The first step is Situation Analysis. This can be a critical step, especially if done correctly. You need to thoroughly research all aspects of the brand you are marketing. A good situational analysis example would be to find out what kind of an industry does your brand belong to? What content strategy has worked so far? What are their competitors doing in terms of social media marketing? It’s important to get a comprehensive overview of what the brand’s current social media strategy. A good idea at this point is find out what your social media marketing goals are. Do you wish to focus on building awareness of your brand? Or is the goal to grow revenue? Knowing the overall business goals will also help immensely in the next step.
Step 2: Creating Objective
In step two, you need to create Objectives. This is a powerful tool in motivating and focusing your efforts. These goals should be specific and achievable metrics to gauge the success of your overall strategy. Good examples of objectives can be to grow your Instagram followers by 20,000, or to double your engagement rate on Facebook. You’ll want to be able to closely monitor how well you are hitting your objectives so that you can easily modify your approach if things aren’t going as well as you’d like.
Step 3: Developing Your Strategy
Now you’ll need an overall plan to hit those objectives. That’s where step three comes in; you need to develop a Strategy. This step isn’t about going into your specific, detailed plans for every platform. The strategy you are formulating here is of the more “broad strokes” variety. It’s a good idea at this point to decide on what type of content and core messages you want to get out to your audience. Think about what you can do to make sure your audience remains engaged, and how can you incentivize following. There are many options, from contests to signing up influencers.
Step 4: Tactics
Now that you have the broad strokes, it’s time to get into details. That brings us to step four: Tactics. This is where you get into the nitty-gritty of how you will plan out the content that ties into the core message you formulated in your strategy. In this step is also where you decide how often you should post, and to what channels. You should also think about major activities that will help carry out your strategy, such as whether to support ad campaigns.
Step 5: Action
Once you have a solid handle on your plans, it’s time to move on to the fifth step. Action is where you manage the day to day requirements of implementing your ideas. This is where the meat of the work gets done. In this step, you generate a timeline in which you can produce deliverables, as well as delegate tasks and responsibilities if you are working as a group. Make sure you and any potential team members have the right tools they need to accomplish their tasks, as well as the skills to put those tools to good use.
Step 6: Monitoring & Analysis
It’s critical to monitor and understand how your channels are performing, in order to generate a good picture of how your goals are progressing. That is where the final step, Control, comes in. This is also where you gain insights that you will utilize to improve future performance. Metrics you should be looking at include engagement, reach, conversion, and activity on your social media channels. Review these regularly, monthly at a minimum, and adjust your tactics or even your strategy accordingly. Finally, you should be generating reports on these metrics so you can have an accurate record of your progress over a given time period. This will help you plot out your strategy’s performance over time.
Social media is always in a state of flux, so your social media marketing plan should be ready to change with it. Keep your strategy flexible, and to keep a close eye on how it is performing, so you don’t waste any time when the need for change arises. Remember, the key to a successful social media marketing plan is to have a clear goal in mind, and to know that there are multiple ways to achieve it.