Social media planning is tricky business if you don’t have a structure to follow. A couple of months ago I led two separate workshops guiding 30 marketers through an interactive process of understanding how social media integrates into their digital marketing planning - a social business approach if you like. I introduced them to a number of social media planning tools to help them learn more about their audience, the competitive audience and the kind of content their customers are interested in.
I’m a big fan of the SOSTAC planning methodology, created by Paul Smith, and apply the framework to just about every part of my life. It’s logical, easy to follow and has never failed me.
S – Situation Analysis (Where are you today?)
O – Objective (What’s measurable objective?)
S – Strategy (Segment, Target and Position)
T – Tactics (What activities will need to be done?)
A – Action (What’s the detailed calendar plan?)
C – Control (How will you measure?)
I typically spend a lot of time on the Situation Analysis because without a firm understanding of your current situation, how can you build out a solid plan?
There are so many amazing tools out there to help you understand your social landscape that during one of my workshops someone suggested I create a matrix mapping out all the tools and what they can be used for. Smart idea for a blog post and a great example of how to get inspired to write content!
Many of these tools are free to use for a set period or have a limited number of daily searches. Either way, the more you utilise them the more you’ll find your rhythm and the ones you can’t live without.
1) Moz Followerwonk:
The name always gets a giggle in workshops but it’s memorable I guess. There are two amazing features that make this tool essential for social media managers.
If you need to find people with certain phrases in their Twitter bios, then this is the way to do it. You might use this to find influencers, employees that mention your company name in their bio, employees that are socially active within your target account. Check out the “more options” to refine your search by geography and use Boolean search queries to search for phrases e.g. “big data”
This is a smashing feature for those that want to analyse their Twitter account or the Twitter account of their competitor. For a free account can analyse up to 25,000 followers. Simply add the Twitter account, select “Analyse THEIR followers” and then let the graphs begin. The ones to check out are:
Most Active Hours:
Are you socially active on Twitter when your followers are? If not, time to reset those auto-publishing times in your social media publishing tool e.g. Buffer.
Bio Word Cloud:
Are you attracting the right followers? Check out their bio keywords to see whether your followers are aligned to your target audience. On track?
The best one. Check out who has the most social authority within the accounts follower community. Social authority is a measure of their influence. Who should you be engaging with more? Click on the numbers to see who they are. If they’re relevant to your business, consider an how you might engage them.
If you want to check out your competitors, influencers and prospective customers on Twitter then this is the tool for you.
You can build an amazing profile of the account you want to analyse by seeking out the hashtags they most use, the users they most mention, the users they reply to most, how much engagement their channel is receiving. You can spend a lot of time in this tool so focus your time - it’s awesome…and it’s free.
Hashtags aren’t just for Twitter. They’re now searchable on LinkedIn (both desktop and mobile app versions), used on Instagram, Facebook etc. If you’re promoting content as part of your plan (which I assume you are) then you need to know the specific hashtags to use.
Introducing one of my favourites - Hashtagify. Type in your word/phrase/hashtag and discover related hashtags. The larger the circle, the more it’s used.
Quick tip: Click on the “Advanced Mode” tab along the bottom and then select a circle to see how your original search is related to one of the suggested hashtags (see below). Helps you build and refine your hashtag strategy. Check out the Influencers tab too!
Excuse the guy picking his teeth on the front page - yes, really. Not a great first impression. Try to look beyond that because if you’re not a Google SEO expert (and many of us aren’t) and you want to discover content topics for your editorial blog calendar, this tool helps you discover the most popular questions that searchers look for online using search engine data.
The trick is not to be too specific in your search. Keep it to 1-2 keywords max otherwise you won’t get any results.
Most people search Google with intent - they're trying to find something. Discover what they're seeking answers to by searching for your phrase in Google. Scroll down and see some of the questions that other people have been searching for. Potential blog titles for you?
There are so many seriously amazing things about BuzzSumo that it’s difficult to know where to start. If you’re in any way, shape or form responsible for content at your organisation, get a license to this tool. It will become your best friend. There are three key areas that can be used for social planning:
Content Research – Most Shared:
If you want a better idea of the types of content that are being shared around your area of expertise, simply add the keyword at the top of the Content Research - Most Shared page. Then click on one of the columns to sort by most shared. This means you can view the most popular content shared on LinkedIn over the last 24 hours, week or even past year. Use the filters on the left-hand menu to refine your search.
Content Research – Content Analysis:
I love this function within BuzzSumo. It allows you to identify the most popular types of content relating to your search.
For example, should you be writing "How To" posts or "What posts" or "List posts"? Adding your search term and viewing the results here will give you some guidance on how to focus your content editorial plan for blogs. There's no point in writing "How To" posts if people are still asking the "What" question. This analysis also gives you insight into the platforms your should be sharing your content on.
Influencers – Twitter Influencers:
Finally, if you're seeking out influencers for targeted Influencer Marketing, then the Twitter Influencers feature within BuzzSumo is worth looking at.
It allows you to filter by location and type of influencer e.g. Blogger, Company etc. Simply add the keyword in the search field and view the results. Look for influencers that have a reasonable following but also a high social authority. This demonstrates their wider influence. The number of followers doesn't always equate to influence.
So there you have it – the secrets are out. The 6 social media planning tools I use to help customers win with their social media strategy. Well, I have a few more but they're for another blog post